The United States Cartels: from a criminal cell in Michoacán to a threat to the United States

(Photo: JUAN JOSÉ ESTRADA SERAFÍN / CUARTOSCURO)
(Photo: JUAN JOSÉ ESTRADA SERAFÍN / CUARTOSCURO)

In 2015, when the criminal organization Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) managed to unseat the Sinaloa Cartel As the most powerful, criminal groups in the country knew they would face a new headache.

Little by little, according to the experts, the criminal organizations began to understand that if the CJNG forces came to control more territories, they would end up losing their main bases of operations. This is how it came about United Cartels (CU), which is nothing more than an alliance of several criminal cells to confront the advance of the CJNG troops.

More out of necessity than pleasure, large organizations agreed to fund criminal groups and back them up with weapons and tactical equipment.

Last April, from a drone, alleged CJNG criminals recorded their arrival in the municipality of Tepalcatepec, Michoacán (Photo: Screenshot / VIA Twitter @antonioaranda_)
Last April, from a drone, alleged CJNG criminals recorded their arrival in the municipality of Tepalcatepec, Michoacán (Photo: Screenshot / VIA Twitter @antonioaranda_)

In November 2019, a video began to circulate on social networks in which allegedly 200 CU hitmen arrived in the municipality of Villagrán, in Guanajuato, controlled by the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG). Supposedly they would be supporting the huachicolero leader José Antonio Yépez, alias el Marro, currently a prisoner in a maximum security prison.

That first action would have been the confirmation of the formation of the CU, who in addition to supporting the Marro in Guanajuato, too would be allied with the self-defense groups that operate in Michoacán with the intention of expelling the Mencho.

For the drug cartels, three of the states controlled by the CJNG, such as Colima, Jalisco and Michoacán, are strategic due to their geographical location, connections with ports and tourist centers.

In Michoacán, as in the Bajío area, the United Cartels – an alliance of the Familia Michoacana, Caballeros Templarios and Los Blancos de Troya cartels – dispute the control of the territory with the cartel of the four letters.

The beginning of the recent clashes took place in November of last year. One afternoon that month, a group of criminals from Cartels United reached the upper area of Tepalcatepec. Videos captured by the same hit men showed shocking images. Armored vehicles, bodies lying, the endless rattle of long weapons and a thunderous explosion that would announce the death of several people.

The assault has lasted for several weeks. Several days of horror for the villagers. There were deaths and injuries. According to local media, most are from the Jalisco side.

(Photo: JUAN JOSÉ ESTRADA SERAFÍN / CUARTOSCURO)
(Photo: JUAN JOSÉ ESTRADA SERAFÍN / CUARTOSCURO)

The group of Juan José Farías, the Grandfather, leader of the United Cartels, applied his own security protocol: no one could enter or leave.

On November 17, the accesses to the Pinolapa community, in the municipality of Tepalcatepec, were closed through the destruction of ditches, and there were new attacks.

The brand new National Guard did not appear, until December 3, when clashes were recorded between the armed forces and the cartel of the four letters, in the municipalities of Cotija, Tocumbo, Tingüindín and Los Reyes.

Violence in Michoacán is not newIn fact, it was one of the first places to export marijuana thanks to its fertile land. However, in 2006 the situation got out of control and the state governor launched a call for help to the then president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) in the face of the brutal violence imposed by Los Zetas, La Familia Michoacana and Los Caballeros Templarios. The president’s response was to deploy the Army and since then they have not returned to the barracks.

Michoacán is a strategic region because it is a place of passage for drugs and the control of the Lázaro Cárdenas port in the Pacific, chemists’ entry point for synthetic drugs that have made CJNG a millionaire.

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