MEXICO CITY — The U.S. treasury just sanctioned a sitting police chief in Mexico for allegedly being on the payroll of the hyper violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
Severo Flores Mendoza served as chief of police in a rural area of the western state of Jalisco, from which the CJNG take their name and is the base of much of their operations. U.S. authorities alleged that Flores Mendoza “provides law enforcement information to CJNG in exchange for bribes.”
The town of Ameca, where Flores Mendoza was police chief, is located in a rugged area of Jalisco off the principal highway that links the beachside resort of Puerto Vallarta and the state capital of Guadalajara. He also is reportedly the coordinator of police chiefs in the region that includes Ameca and 13 other municipalities. It’s long been speculated that the reclusive boss of the CJNG — Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes alias El Mencho — is hiding somewhere in this inland region between the two large cities. El Mencho has a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture.
The Ameca Police Department refused to comment on Flores Mendoza when reached by VICE World News. However, they noted that he no longer was serving in his position as police chief. The department would not provide any information about when he was removed from the position, or the circumstances surrounding it.
The headline of the U.S. government’s press release said “Treasury Works with Government of Mexico to Sanction Corrupt Police Official”, although it did not explain what role Mexican officials played in the sanctions that will affect Flores Mendoza’s U.S. assets. It’s also unclear whether any Mexican law enforcement entity has issued an arrest warrant for the active police chief.
Both the Mexican Federal Government’s Attorney General’s Office and the Jalisco State Attorney General’s Office did not respond to VICE World News’ questions regarding arrest warrants for Flores Mendoza.
Along with Flores Mendoza, the U.S. treasury also sanctioned five other people allegedly associated with the CJNG. One of those is Julio César Montero Pinzón, alias El Tarjetas, alleged to be one of the CJNG’s top bosses in Puerto Vallarta. It’s believed that El Tarjetas was one of the intellectual authors of the brazen assassination attempt on Mexico City’s top security official, Omar García Harfuch, in June 2020. In that attack around a dozen gunmen unloaded on García Harfuch with high artillery weapons on one of Mexico City’s most prominent traffic arteries in the early morning. He ended up in the hospital but survived and remains in his position today.
The rest of those sanctioned are family members of deceased CJNG capo Saúl Alejandro Rincón Godoy, aka El Chopa. U.S. authorities claimed that El Chopa “acted as the intermediary between CJNG leader [El Mencho] and senior cartel members.” While El Chopa died in a firefight with Mexican authorities in Puerto Vallarta in April, the Treasury sanctioned four of his family members for their alleged involvement in helping El Chopa support El Mencho. Before his death, El Chopa was reportedly one of the suspected masterminds behind the 2020 assassination of former Jalisco state governor Aristóteles Sandoval in Puerto Vallarta.
The U.S. Treasury seemingly alluded to both theories regarding the attempted assassination of García Harfuch and the murder of Sandoval, saying that El Tarjetas was part of a group that “orchestrates assassinations of rivals and politicians using high-powered weaponry,” while El Chopa was “was linked to assassinations conducted by CJNG in Puerto Vallarta.”