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New Generation drug cartel threat to Mexico

According to Agence France Presse, Mexico is facing a new and growing security challenge from the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel. As the name suggests, the group first emerged in Jalisco in the western part of the country, as an offshoot of the Sinaloa cartel; but is now an independent entity with links worldwide to gangs and organized crime “in the United States, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.” In the estimation of a former senior U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency official: “`They are the fastest-growing cartel and if they continue to grow as they have been they will become more powerful than the Sinaloa cartel and the Zetas combined’.”

The Jalisco New Generation cartel is also targeting federal, state, and local security forces; and is taking the violence to an area that “is one of the country’s economic and cultural hubs.” This, plus the group’s growth, has placed the cartel firmly in the crosshairs of Mexico’s government; and commentators have therefore suggested that these tactics will ultimately work against the cartel.

Civil society may also prove to be an increasingly powerful force as these and other challenges continue to play out in Mexico. Recent reporting by The Economist suggests that Mexican NGOs “are gaining big influence” using “hard facts and solid arguments”; hence the government may experience pressure from an additional source, to deal with the latest incarnation of the cartel problem effectively and quickly.

To be fair however, that is no easy task, bearing also in mind the demand side of the equation. Domestic and international drug control policy remains a subject of heated debate; and the pitch of that discussion will undoubtedly rise as the 2016 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the world drug problem draws nearer.