Vehicles and businesses destroyed after authorities arrest drug cartel ‘bosses’ in western Mexico

Authorities have made a series of arrests of drug cartel figures in western Mexico that have sparked the destruction of vehicles and businesses in two states in an apparent response.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador did not identify those arrested in Jalisco state on Tuesday, but said soldiers confronted criminals, including “bosses”, in a “two-gang meeting”. There was a shooting, arrests and then “it caused protests of burned vehicles, not only in Jalisco, but also in Guanajuato”, he said.

Footage circulating on social media showed men commandeering cars and buses and setting them on fire in the middle of the roadways. Others showed burnt-out convenience stores.

Members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) burn vehicles in Zapopan
Police officers walk past a vehicle set on fire by members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) following the detention of one of its leaders by Mexican federal forces, in Zapopan, Jalisco state, Mexico, on August 9, 2022.


Cartels often create such chaos in an effort to prevent authorities from transporting cartel bosses.

López Obrador said Wednesday that authorities were still deployed in the areas, seeking to make further arrests.

The governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro said via Twitter that no one was injured in the destruction that followed the arrests and that “the situation is under control”.

The region is dominated by the Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) cartel, which the Department of Justice considers “one of the five most dangerous transnational criminal organizations in the world”.

The leader of the cartel, Nemesio Oseguera, “El Mencho,” is among those most wanted by Mexican and American authorities. There was no indication that Oseguera was present during the clash.

Members of the state attorney’s office and municipal police guard the area where gang members set fire to a bus blocking a highway to prevent authorities from pursuing them in Zapopan, Jalisco state, in Mexico, August 9, 2022.

ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images

In May, the Mexican authorities announced that they captured a suspected leader of the CJNG. Francisco Javier Rodriguez Hernandez, known as “El Señorón” or “XL” or “Frank”, was apprehended in the tourist town of Mazatlan, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, during an operation carried out by naval officers.

Mexico is trapped in a spiral of cartel violence that has claimed more than 340,000 lives since 2006, when the government launched a controversial drug operation with federal troops.

In April, López Obrador confirmed that Mexico had disbanded a special unit trained by US authorities to fight drug cartels as he was infiltrated by criminals.

A month earlier, López Obrador had accused popular TV shows of glorifying the violent drug trade. He criticized TV series on platforms such as Netflix, saying they presented a rosy version of drug dealer lifestyles.

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