Parallel conflicts: "Grupo Élite"

If officials had authorized covert actions, would the political opposition use the knowledge of that against them?

Parallel conflicts: "Grupo Élite"

There are at least two distinct conflicts involving Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) Grupo Élite (GE). The first is the conflict between "GE" and El Marro/Cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL) and the local officials (municipal police, judges, businesses, etc.) which support El Marro/CSRL. Supposedly, "CJNG" wants to take territory in Guanajuato's industrial corridor in the cities of Abasolo, Cortazar, Celaya, Irapuato, Salamanca, Silao and others, which are predominantly controlled by CSRL presently.

But there are uncanny parallels to the "CJNG"/CSRL dispute, and the conflict between the state and/or federal government(s) and CSRL (and their local official support). On 3 March 2019, the state government of Guanajuato and federal government of Mexico began a coordinated effort to remove El Marro and CSRL from territory they held in Guanajuato. Focusing initially on the municipality of Villagrán, Operation Timón Coup (Plan Operativo Golpe de Timón) involved coordination between elements of the state and federal forces, including the marines (SEMAR), the federal police (Gendarmería Nacional), as well as state public security forces (SSP Guanajuato) and the Criminal Investigation Agency (Agencia de Investigación Criminal).

While some significant progress has been made in the 17 months that authorities have been conducting the operation, officials have so far failed to capture El Marro or remove CSRL from Guanajuato. José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, aka “El Marro”, has so far managed to avoid capture during attempts in March 2019, October-November 2019, as well as January and March of 2020, according to an article from the end of June 2020. One interesting thing to note is the correlation between periods of activity for Operation Timón Coup and the communications and actions of "CJNG GE".

El Marro 

But there is another distinct conflict involving "GE" apparent in several of their communications. The recent series of three video communications purportedly from CJNG "GE" published 17-23 July 2020 on social media (apparently directly from private WhatsApp chats with officials) appears to have at least some elements of a political motive. Videos 1 and 2 show an impressive convoy of 22 armored vehicles, painted very professionally, along with 74 heavily-armed and impeccably dressed men in full combat gear. To the casual observer, the convoy is possibly the most spectacular "cartel" enforcer group ever filmed. However, in subsequent analysis of the videos, it appears "GE" would still be outmatched by the Mexican military. As impressive as the convoy looked, it appears the primary goal of the videos was to display the power, wealth and organization of the so-called Elite Group, or perhaps to make the government look weak and incapable of providing security as paramilitary armies roam the country. There appears to be a political conflict between CJNG "GE" and the state which correlates with the conflict between the federal government and their political opposition, including elements within the armed forces, who in the past have expressed disapproval with the government's security strategy of pacification. Like every video communication from "GE", the political opposition capitalized on the spectacle to criticize the federal government.

In summary, two conflicts are apparent here:

1.) the dispute between "GE" and CSRL, which is analogous to the dispute between the state and federal government and CSRL, and

2.) the political conflict between "GE" and the federal government, which correlates with the conflict between the current presidential administration and their political opponents

So what does that tell us about the identities of CJNG Grupo Élite? Well, is it implausible to think that if federal officials had authorized covert actions using the attribution of CJNG GE, the political opposition, including perhaps elements within the security forces, might use knowledge that officials couldn't reveal against the administration? If they had nothing to lose by exposing or prosecuting whoever is behind the 74 man convoy 4 km from a military base, why not denounce any corrupt or subversive elements within the armed forces or state police? Perhaps it's for the simple reason that the administration does not want to undermine its relationship with the armed forces. In any case, there appears to be something more to these videos than what is public knowledge right now. What exactly that is isn't clear just yet.

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