A surge in violence in Colima – including numerous murders between Monday and Friday last week – is the result of a scission between the Independent Cartel of Colima, also known as Los Mezcales, and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), according to a report by Milenio.
Government sources who spoke with the newspaper said that Los Mezcales had acted as the armed wing of the CJNG in the small Pacific coast state, but its sicarios decided to switch allegiances to the Sinaloa Cartel.
The first manifestation of the split was a brawl in late January between CJNG and Independent Cartel members imprisoned at a prison in Colima city. Ten inmates were killed and seven others were injured. The feuding inmates were housed together because they previously identified as belonging to the same criminal group, Milenio said.
Violence subsequently broke out on the streets of Colima city and the neighboring municipality of Villa de Álvarez. At least 10 narcomantas, or narco-banners, on which the CJNG and Los Mezcales threatened each other and Governor Indira Vizcaíno, have appeared in the Colima city-Villa de Álvarez metropolitan area.
After days of silence, the Colima Attorney General’s Office (FGE) reported last Friday that police were investigating crimes including homicide and attempted murder committed last week in Colima city, Villa de Álvarez, Coquimatlán and Manzanillo.
In a statement posted to its website, the FGE acknowledged 15 murders or discoveries of bodies between Monday and Friday of last week. It said that additional human remains were found in two different locations last Tuesday but didn’t specify the number of victims, and noted that six people were wounded in armed attacks and one person was abducted.
The FGE also said that two people were arrested in possession of firearms last Tuesday. It said the spate of violence was the result of a dispute between criminal groups, but didn’t specifically mention the CJNG or Los Mezcales.
The former is one of the two most powerful cartels in Mexico, the other being the Sinaloa Cartel. The CJNG’s leader, Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, is a wanted man both here and in the United States.
Los Mezcales was formed in and takes its name from Mezcalito, a Colima city neighborhood known for crime and described by Milenio as one of the “key points” for the distribution of drugs in the capital.
The gang is led by a man known as “El Vaca” (The Cow), whose identity hasn’t been disclosed by authorities.
With reports from Milenio