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How the Jalisco New Generation Cartel is terrorizing the people of western Mexico

April 11, 2015
A bullet punctured the windshield of a vehicle in the community of Ocotlán, Jalisco, after a March 19 shootout that left 11 people dead. (Photo by Victor Hugo Ornelas/VICE News)

A bullet punctured the windshield of a vehicle in the community of Ocotlán, Jalisco, after a March 19 shootout that left 11 people dead. (Photo by Victor Hugo Ornelas/VICE News)

Over a breakfast of chilaquiles and coffee at a traditional restaurant in Guadalajara, a tequila producer named Eduardo Pérez recently described how suspected members of the city’s dominant drug cartel demanded extortion payments in order to keep himself and his business “protected.”

“They warned me that if I didn’t pay, then I’d be in trouble,” Pérez told VICE News. “I changed my phone number and everything, but the extortion continued.”

For almost two years, Pérez paid his extortionists 200,000 pesos each month (about $13,400) to avoid repercussions. He was eventually forced to close his business because of the payments to suspected extortionists linked to the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, or CJNG.

The drug gang is currently muscling itself into headlines and onto the country’s security agenda by carrying out ambushes against police forces. The latest attack, on Monday night, left 15 Jalisco state police officers dead, including one female agent.

Two boys pass a bullet-ridden home in Ocotlán. (Photo by Victor Hugo Ornelas)

Two boys pass a bullet-ridden home in Ocotlán. (Photo by Victor Hugo Ornelas)

“You have to pay the famous quotas. If you don’t, then they’ll start to harm you or your business,” said Pérez, who owns a tequila company in Jalisco, one of Mexico’s largest and most important states.

“This isn’t just happening to us,” he added. “It’s happening in all kinds of different industries in this region. It’s really frightening…”

This is the second in a two-part series on the Jalisco New Generation Cartel that I worked on with Mexican journalist Víctor Hugo Ornelas for VICE News. Click here to read part two in full.

Click here to read part one in English o haz clic aquí para leer la primera parte en español. 

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