MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities announced the arrest Tuesday of Rosalinda González Valencia, charged with laundering money for the hyper-violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which is led by her husband, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias El Mencho.
The founder and leader of the cartel, known by its Spanish acronym CJNG, El Mencho currently has a $10 million bounty on his head from the U.S. government. The CJNG is considered to be one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico and operates in many states throughout the country. It is believed to be one of the principal producers of the fentanyl and methamphetamine that enters into the U.S. and other countries, and is one of the main instigators of violence across Mexico.
El Mencho has remained a free man while a majority of his immediate family, and now his wife, have been detained by both U.S. and Mexican authorities.
González Valencia, believed to be in her late 50s, was arrested by the Mexican army on Monday evening in a posh suburb of Guadalajara. Authorities did not announce the detention until the following morning, reportedly out of concern that cartel members would try to free her before she could be transported to a prison in the state of Morelos, more than 350 miles away. In its announcement, the government said that it had dealt “a significant blow to the financial structure of organized crime” in the state of Jalisco.
Past arrests of cartel members have led to shootouts on the streets, as associates set vehicles on fire as roadblocks and created chaos in attempts to foil authorities.
It wasn’t her first arrest. In 2018, González Valencia was detained outside a 7-Eleven in Guadalajara and held on money laundering charges before being released three months later after paying bail. It's unclear what happened to the initial charges and if this week’s arrest is related to them.
Her arrest followed those of her brothers and two of her children and draws a tighter net around the organization that U.S. officials say is in charge of laundering drug proceeds through businesses including real estate, construction, a clothing store, a bakery and even an organic products company.
Her son, Rubén Oseguera González, known as El Menchito, was arrested by Mexican authorities in 2015 on drug trafficking charges. El Menchito was extradited to the United States in February 2020 and is currently awaiting trial.
After El Menchito's extradition, his sister Jessica Oseguera González, aka La Negra, traveled to Washington to visit her brother. She was arrested when she arrived at the courthouse for El Menchito's hearing. La Negra was sentenced to 30 months in a U.S. prison in June for her connection to a number of businesses connected to money laundering for the CJNG, including two sushi restaurants and a bundle of tourist cabins in Jalisco, where Guadalajara is the capital.
González Valencia's alleged connection to organized crime began before her marriage to El Mencho. Her family founded another criminal organization known as Los Cuinis that is closely aligned with the CJNG, U.S. officials say.
The group was reportedly led by her brother, Abigael González Valencia who went by the eponymous nickname El Cuini. He was arrested in Puerto Vallarta in 2015 and is currently fighting extradition to the U.S. Her arrest came just days after another brother, José González Valencia, alias La Chepa, was extradited to the United States to face cocaine trafficking charges. La Chepa was arrested in Brazil in 2017.
There does not appear to be a formal extradition request from the United States for González Valencia, unlike her husband El Mencho.