Five hundred drug cartel gang members arrested in daring raids

More than 500 people who are all believed to be involved in a Mexican drug cartel have been arrested, authorities have said.

The Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has announced it has arrested more than 500 people who are believed to be members of Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG).

The arrests were made as part of the ongoing Project Python, a DEA-led multilateral interagency operation encompassing all global investigations and related disruption activities targeting the CJNG.

“Project Python is the single largest strike by US authorities against CJNG, and this is just the beginning,” said DEA acting administrator Uttam Dhillon.

“This strategic and coordinated project exemplifies DEA’s mission: to disrupt, dismantle, and destroy drug trafficking organisations around the world and bring their leaders to justice.

"Today, DEA has disrupted CJNG’s operations, and there is more to come as DEA continues its relentless attack on this remorseless criminal organization.”

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Criminal Division said: “Project Python marks the most comprehensive action to date in the Department of Justice’s campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately destroy CJNG.

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“When President Trump signed an Executive Order prioritising the dismantlement of transnational criminal organisations, the Department of Justice answered the call and took direct aim at CJNG.

"We deemed CJNG one of the highest-priority transnational organised crime threats we face. And with Project Python, we are delivering results in the face of that threat for the American people.”

The DEA says that CJNG is one of the fastest growing transnational criminal organisations in Mexico, and among the most prolific methamphetamine producers in the world.

It says the group is responsible for a significant proportion of drugs entering the United States, and elevated levels of violence in Mexico.

Project Python aims to disrupt CJNG’s ability to distribute methamphetamine and other drugs throughout the United States by attacking the group at all levels.

Federal law enforcement has taken a number of steps to degrade CJNG’s ability to operate in the United States.

Today, the Justice Department and DEA announced a superseding indictment on charges of alleged continuing criminal enterprise against Nemesio Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho,” who they say is the undisputed leader of CJNG.

Last month, El Mencho’s son, Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez, also known as “Menchito,” and second in command of CJNG, was extradited from Mexico to the United States on charges of alleged drug trafficking and firearm use in relation to drug trafficking activities.

On Feb. 26, 2020, El Mencho’s daughter, Jessica Johanna Oseguera Gonzalez, was arrested in the United States on financial charges related to her alleged criminal violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

The DEA has also worked with partners to apply further pressure to CJNG.

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The US Department of Treasury has designated El Mencho as a “specially designated narcotics trafficker” pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, and the US Department of State has issued one of the largest narcotics rewards ever – $10 million – for information leading to the arrest of El Mencho.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Steven S. Whipple said: “The arrests made as a result of Project Python were part of heavily coordinated operation targeting elements of the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (CJNG) in South, Central and East Texas.

" The CJNG is a violent drug trafficking organisation responsible for the importation of ton quantities of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine across the United States.”

In the US, a total of 112 indictments have been secured against CJNG associates, and DEA has made 230 arrests and executed 11 search warrants related to Project Python.

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