Mexico’s most powerful cartel suffered a severe blow after a rival gang tortured and killed one of its leaders – before destroying its military vehicles.
The United Cartel carried out the attack against the Jalisco New Generation Cartel [CJNG] on the border separating northern states Michoacan and Jalisco earlier this month.
In disturbing footage, thugs smash a man’s face into a truck before kicking and punching him on the floor.
They then go about destroying trucks with technological equipment and military-style armour.
In videos circulating on social media, the victim has been identified as a CJNG lieutenant based in Michoacan known as El Venado [The Deer], according to La Opinion.
Other reports claim that high-ranking CJNG member Miguel Fernandez was killed in the attack.
The cartels have repeatedly clashed over recent moths as they fight to control territory and drug trafficking routes in the states.
In January, a resident from the municipality of La Anguilla in Michoacan told newspaper La Silla Rota that the CJNG threatened to kill locals if they did not offer the cartel support.
Hundreds of families have been forced to flee the region and have appealed to Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador [AMLO] for help.
Residents also claimed that Fernandez had used them as human shields in order to prevent authorities forces from entering the area.
In recent years, the CJNG has overtaken the Sinaloa Cartel to become Mexico’s dominant criminal organisation.
It is led by the elusive Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes and operates in at least 35 states across Mexico and Puerto Rico.
While the gang has managed to expand rapidly across the country, internal tensions have emerged in the state of Jalisco.
Colombian Carlos Andres Rivera Varela, known as La Firma, was dispatched to coastal city Puerto Vallarta by El Mencho last year and has ambitions of taking over the entire state, Infobae reported.
Last year, he went after local CJNG leader Agustín Gonzalez Chavarin – who was eventually arrested – and has since placed bounties on other members’ heads, it is claimed.
One of Mencho’s key lieutenants has also been extradited to the US to face trial.
Juan Padilla Vizcarra, known as “El Cherri”, was taken to Mexico City International Airport and flown to Los Angeles, California last month.
El Cherri, who was initially captured in 2016, has been accused of “drug trafficking and money laundering” for the CJNG.
Robert Almonte, a former US federal marshal who spent 25 years in El Paso’s Police Department tackling narcotics, believes it may prove a significant blow to the gang’s leader.
He earlier told the Daily Star: “His extradition has the potential to bring authorities in Mexico closer to apprehending El Mencho.
“Vizcarra may provide some potentially damaging information in exchange for leniency, to include information that would assist the authorities in locating El Mencho.”