“Thousands of troops, backed by armored personnel carriers and quasi-military federal police, are pouring into Jalisco to curb the New Generation Jalisco Cartel,” wsj.com reports, “which officials say has grown rich selling hundreds of millions of dollars of smuggled methamphetamines from Mexico and South American cocaine to consumers in Mexico, the U.S. and elsewhere. The government took the rare step of appointing a general to lead the mission.” While the American media has ignored the heavily-armed and bloody conflict, and there are no “good guys” in this uncivil civil war. In fact . . .
The Mexican military’s deployment into the failed state of Jalisco highlights the fact that America’s War on Drugs is, in fact, a war. With trained troops on both sides . . .
The New Generation cartel is perhaps Mexico’s most audacious and vicious criminal enterprise, after the government captured or killed most leaders of the Zetas gang based in northeastern Mexico, say officials and security analysts. Like the Zetas, originally formed by army deserters, the New Generation gang favors paramilitary methods, and has received tactical training from Mexican and foreign mercenaries, these people say, including the use of rocket-propelled grenades against the helicopter.
“They have ranks and a hierarchy like armies do,” said Alfonso Quintero, a retired Mexican air force captain who now specializes in intelligence issues. “They are very united behind their leader and have made loyalty a supreme value.”
Former members of the Kaibiles, Guatemala’s feared army special forces, and Mexican military veterans have given strategic and paramilitary training to the gang, said Mr. Solorio, the state security commissioner. Captured cartel members also have said an American veteran—“a very aggressive, very wild U.S. Marine”—has also been training the group’s gunmen, he said. “We believe he was paid a fortune to give them training,” Mr. Solorio said.
Despite the Wall Street Journal’s entirely-too-credulous reference to “the U.S. black market” the so-called “Iron River of Guns” supposedly flowing to Mexico from Bob’s Gun Store – once a rationale for U.S. gun control, which justified a multiple-gun reporting requirement still in place in our border states – has sweet FA to do with it.
The cartel’s weapons—rocket-propelled grenades, antitank missiles and 50-caliber sniper rifles—come mainly from Central American and U.S. black markets, officials say. Soldiers have seized makeshift factories in Jalisco’s mountains where cartel members assemble their own assault rifles, the officials say.
borderlandbeat.com gives us another look at the situation at the sharp end:
The troops have been deployed to Jalisco in the strongest show of military might ever seen in Mexico, according to a report today by Milenio.
One week after a criminal gang, believed to be the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel, shot down a Mexican Air Force Cougar helicopter killing six soldiers, the Armed Forces are on the move.
From San José de Avila to Villa Purificación, the municipality where the attack on the helicopter took place, on the highways and on the approaches to towns in the region, usually under the control of the cartels, is an impressive display of military machinery.
French-made Panhard armoured vehicles carrying 12 soldiers are on patrol. Their 50-caliber guns will fire 1,000 rounds a minute.
But how strong is the vehicle’s armor, a soldier is asked. Strong enough to withstand the shot that took down the helicopter last Friday?
The soldier smiles and says, with typical military frugality, “Yes.”
Residents look at the show of force with astonishment, but they’re not displeased. In fact, they’re glad to see it, although none will appear in front of a camera to say so.
“The truth is, we feel calmer seeing the soldiers everywhere with those huge tanks,” says the woman at an Oxxo store.
“It’s like a movie,” says a woman to her husband while soldiers look over their truck at a checkpoint.
But the scene — armored vehicles, soldiers with bazookas on their shoulders and rocket-powered grenade launches ready to fire — is real enough.
It smells like war in Jalisco.