Mexico’s FIU freezes bank accounts used to launder money of 1,937 suspected CJNG cartel members and their lawyers

By Christine Duhaime | June 4th, 2020

Mexico’s financial intelligence unit, working with the DEA, yesterday announced that it had frozen the bank accounts of 1,770 men and women and 167 companies believed to be tied to, or working for, the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (“CJNG“), believed to have been used to launder approximately US$1.1 billion in proceeds of crime from the drug trafficking activities of the CJNG.

The head of Mexico’s FIU, Santiago Nieto, tweeted the freezing of the CJNG bank accounts.

The operation, dubbed Operation Blue Agave, named after the drink of Jalisco, went after CJNG cartel leaders, politically exposed persons in Mexico, CJNG lawyers and family members of the CJNG who are believed to have participated in, or benefited from, the alleged money laundering activities of the CJNG.

On Friday night, Francisco Navarette Serna, an alleged local leader of the CJNG was killed on stage singing during a live concern in Tierra Blanca, Mexico.

The CJNG is based in Guadalajara. Operation Blue Agave also targeted the Sinaloa cartel. The Sinaloa is known to be in charge of heroin and fentanyl trafficking in the US.

The CJNG is fighting for territory from the Sinaloa to control the lucrative fentanyl and counterfeit pill trafficking business into the US and Canada. The CJNG is the most powerful cartel in Mexico today as well as the richest. In some states, there are five cartels fighting to control the business of making and exporting fentanyl to the US, and onwards to Canada.

The leader of the CJNG is a former police officer named El Mencho. The cartel operates in at least 35 US states and in Puerto Rico. 

In February, El Mencho’s son was extradited from Mexico to the US to face drug trafficking charges in Washington, DC. He is known as “El Menchito,” or “Lil’ Mencho,” and was No. 2 within the CJNG, which has an army of 5,000 soldiers. 

His sister known as “La Negra” traveled from Mexico to Washington for his Court appearance but was arrested upon entering the courthouse.

And in May one of El Mencho’s brothers-in-law, was extradited from Uruguay to the US on charges of conspiracy to import cocaine and methamphetamine into the US.

The CJNG is a designated drug kingpin, as are many of its leaders.

The head of Mexico’s FIU subsequently tweeted that Mexico is going to continue to confront organized crime and exchange information with the DEA.

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