CARTEL kingpin El Mencho is even more brutal than El Chapo and may never be captured as he hunkers down surrounded by a private army protecting his $1billion empire, a legendary narco cop has said.
Mike Vigil, a former Drug Enforcement Agency chief, told The Sun Online that El Mencho's vicious Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) now has an empire more powerful than the once feared El Chapo.
Vigil is one the world's leading experts on Mexican cartels – being the former chief of international operations for the DEA and having gone undercover as an agent in Mexico.
The top cop told The Sun Online that El Mencho has brought a new level violence that marks him out from other drugs kingpins.
“I would describe El Mencho a hyperviolent and extremely cunning but not ostentatious like most drug traffickers," Vigil told The Sun Online.
His rise has been accompanied by a shocking savagery that has been compared to the brutal acts committed by terrorist group ISIS.
It has included ripping out victims' hearts, dissolving their bodies in barrels of acid, publicly hanging enemies, and even targeting pregnant women.
Among its ranks are glamourous women killers such as La Catrina, who died in a shoot out with cops.
The ruthless warlord is also investing a huge amount of cash in building a "state within a state" which is armed to the teeth with armoured vehicles, machine guns and rocket launchers.
His private criminal security force is seen as even a challenge to the Mexican Army, with ministers having to deny they consider them a danger.
El Mencho is the DEA's number one most wanted criminal – and has an extraordinary bounty of $10million dollars on his head.
El Mencho is much more intelligent and cunning than El Chapo
Vigil has observed closely the rise of the drug lord – real name Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes – and how CJNG has eclipsed the empire of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman – once considered to be the most powerful drug trafficker in the world.
“Make no mistake about it El Mencho is deadlier than a rattlesnake – and totally more deadly than El Chapo," says Vigil.
He contrasts paranoid and austere El Mencho with the bling El Chapo, whose fondness for women, love of the limelight and partying were his downfall.
CJNG’s ascendancy has been helped by the capture of El Chapo, the former leader of the rival Sinaloa cartel, who is now languishing in a US Supermax jail.
He went on: “El Mencho is very different from the Sinaloa cartel in that he has invests a lot of money in creating a paramilitary forces which are very well armed and they operate in armoured vehicles.
“Most of the drug traffickers, they invest in shopping malls, dairy farms, real estate jewellery but El Mencho is very astute and invests more equipment for his men and to get more men into the ranks of Jalisco New Generation.”
Vigil believes the incredibly paranoid drug lord is not going to be captured any time soon as he hunkers down behind with this private army.
He points to a 2015 attempt to capture El Mencho as a sign of just how vicious the kingpin can be.
The Mexican air force brought in helicopters flew them over a convoy carrying the cartel boss but in a terrifying display of firepower, his bodyguards shot one of them down with a rocket launcher.
CJNG went offensive by hijacking 39 buses, trucks, and cars setting them on fire and using them as roadblocks to ensure El Mencho’s getaway.
The cartel regularly puts on shows of force that show heavily armed gunmen brandishing weapons, including .50 calibre machine guns and sniper rifles.
“He is heavily protected by these individuals so the chances of El Mencho being captured in the near future are very minimal,” he said.
Who are the CJNG?
The CJNG have marked themselves out as being extraordinarily violent even by the standards of Mexico’s bloodsoaked narco wars.
They have turned on their former masters the Sinaloa cartel, seizing territory and buying off thousands of corrupt police.
They are now thought to have interests from China to North Africa to eastern Europe and now South America, where they have displaced Sinaloa.
The speed of its ascent shows how quickly power can shift in Mexico’s multi-billion-dollar drugs trade.
They predominantly deal in amphetamines rather than shipping cocaine from South America,.
Not only are the profit margins higher but according to one DEA analyst, has helped to shape their savage way of operating.
“The problem with meth guys is that they’re unhinged.”
“They didn’t have to wine and dine Bolivian suppliers, or fly to South America to do international negotiations.
"They’re not sophisticated. They’re very rough.”
Vigil explained that the cartel leader “never stays in one place for very long”.
“He normally stays one night in one location and maybe two nights. He’s always on the move and has a good security force.
“He moves from Jalisco to different states and he stays up in the mountains and is very well guarded by a virtual army.
“He’s never cavalier with his security and always has an escape plan and has a large force that will engage with the Mexican security forces.”
His obsession with security is in again in contrast the flamboyant El Chapo who is married to Emma Coronel Aispuro, more than 30 years younger than him.
He also struck up a friendship with Kate del Castillo, who introduced him to Hollywood star Sean Penn with the three all pictured together.
El Mencho – the narco ‘ghost’
EL MENCHO’S personal fortune of around $1 billion marks him as being one of the narco world’s brutally successful kingpins.
But in stark contrast to the flamboyant Pablo Escobar and El Chapo who carefully cultivated Robin Hood personas to offset their violent reputations, very little is known of El Mencho.
What is definitely known is that he is five feet eight of slim build and has brown eyes and hair.
He was born into extreme poverty and one of his early jobs was guarding marijuana and opium plants in his village.
In the 1980s him and his brother went to California and he they engaged in petty crime.
He was arrested and was deported but made it back. After being caught trying to sell heroin to an under over cop he was deported back to Mexico.
Incredibly he became a police officer on his return but soon became involved with criminals in the state of Jalisco.
He became a 'sicario' or hitman for the Milenio cartel and married the sister of one of its leaders, with whom he had three children.
The cartel became aligned to the Sinaloa cartel but fragmented into two factions.
El Mencho became the leader one faction called Los Torcidos – or the 'twisted ones' – and he went onto rename it Jalisco New Generation.
Songs have been sung celebrating rumoured love of fast motorbikes and $100,000 cockfights – one of his nicknames is “El Señor de los Gallos” or “The Lord of the Roosters”.
He’s been described as “careful” and “paranoid”, so elusive that he's been as a “kind of a ghost”.
So paranoid about his own security is he that he reportedly built his own hospital to get treatment for a kidney problem.
What doesn’t lack, though is confidence and in 2016 he organised the kidnapping of El Chapo’s sons who had dared to have a night out on his patch.
Vigil told The Sun Online: “El Chapo started to make mistakes and is one of his main mistakes was his obsession with women.
“He was hanging out in the mountains of Sinaloa and his wife wanted to go into the city and party. He then starts communicating with Kate Castillo. All that leads to his eventual capture.
“El Mencho is not obsessed with women. He’s very devoted to his wife.
“He’s very austere, very cautious individual, doesn’t appear in photographs, doesn’t wear all the jewellery.
"El Mencho is much more intelligent and cunning than El Chapo.”
The authorities can now only hope he slips up though they are unlikely to he get any inside help says Vigil.
“He’s killed individuals that have crossed him. He does not forgive any treasonous behaviour at all.
“It’s going to take a lot of effort and a lot of luck but he’s not really made any mistakes so far so we’ll have to wait and see.
"But I can assure you he’s not going to be captured any time soon.”
The US Justice Department describes CJNG as "one of the five most dangerous transnational criminal organisations in the world, responsible for trafficking many tons of cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl-laced heroin into the United States, as well as for violence and significant loss of life in Mexico".
The brutal turf wars El Mencho has fought with rivals, in particular with the Sinaloa cartel, has seen beheaded corpses hanged of bridges as a warning to others.
Chilling footage showed a rival gangster tied up in his underpants shortly before being slaughtered and his body then found hanging from a bridge.
The cartel kingpin has been indicted in a US court on charges of drug trafficking, corruption and murder and is in hiding with a record $10 million bounty on his head.
But the extradition of close associate Juan Padilla ‘El Cherry’ Vizcarra and El Mencho’s own son Rubén Oseguera González known as Menchito, who been tipped to take over at the helm of CJNG, had led to speculation El Mencho could be next.
Robert Bunker, director of research and analysis of security consultancy C/O Futures and an expert on Mexico’s cartels, believes El Mencho’s associates are being targeted with the aim of ultimately capturing or killing him.
"As part of the kingpin strategy being applied against El Mencho those high value CJNG individuals surrounding him are being targeted and arrested,” Dr Bunker told The Sun Online.
"Juan Padilla Vizcarra's – El Cherry – recent arrest and extradition represents a component of that ongoing process.
"Overtime the constant pressure on the CJNG will lead to either the arrest or death of its leader El Mencho."
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