WASHINGTON – The Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration today announced the results of Project Python, a DEA-led multilateral interagency operation encompassing all global investigations and related disruption activities targeting the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG).
This announcement marks the conclusion of six months of investigative and enforcement activity targeting CJNG, culminating in large scale arrests throughout the country within the past week. Project Python has resulted in the arrests of more than 600 CJNG associates, 350 indictments, as well as significant seizures of money and drugs.
“Project Python is the single largest strike by U.S. authorities against CJNG, and this is just the beginning,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “This strategic and coordinated project exemplifies DEA’s mission: to disrupt, dismantle, and destroy drug trafficking organizations around the world and bring their leaders to justice. Today, DEA has disrupted CJNG’s operations, and there is more to come as DEA continues its relentless attack on this remorseless criminal organization.”
“Project Python marks the most comprehensive action to date in the Department of Justice’s campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately destroy CJNG,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Criminal Division. “When President Trump signed an Executive Order prioritizing the dismantlement of transnational criminal organizations, the Department of Justice answered the call and took direct aim at CJNG. We deemed CJNG one of the highest-priority transnational organized crime threats we face. And with Project Python, we are delivering results in the face of that threat for the American people.”
“The CJNG is responsible for the production and distribution of tons of dangerous drugs such as illicit fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine across the country,” said Jonathan A. Wilson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Philadelphia Field Division. “The current drug crisis has had a devastating impact in our region and across the nation at large with the loss of thousands of lives due to drug overdoses. This operation is indicative of the DEA and the Justice Department’s unwavering mission and commitment to disrupt the most dangerous drug-trafficking organizations in the world.”
The Justice Department and its law enforcement partners are committed to fulfilling the President’s Executive Order 13773 to identify, interdict, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations. The department designated CNJG as one of the top transnational criminal groups targeted as part of carrying out this executive order, and DEA instituted Project Python as part of this ongoing effort.
CJNG is one of the fastest growing transnational criminal organizations in Mexico, and among the most prolific methamphetamine producers in the world. It is responsible for a significant proportion of drugs entering the United States, and elevated levels of violence in Mexico. With methamphetamine abuse and overdose deaths on the rise, Project Python aims to disrupt CJNG’s ability to distribute methamphetamine and other drugs throughout the United States by attacking the group at all levels.
Federal law enforcement has taken a number of steps to degrade CJNG’s ability to operate in the United States. Today, the Justice Department and DEA announced a superseding indictment on charges of alleged continuing criminal enterprise against Nemesio Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho,” the undisputed leader of CJNG. Last month, El Mencho’s son, Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez, also known as “Menchito,” and second in command of CJNG, was extradited from Mexico to the United States on charges of alleged drug trafficking and firearm use in relation to drug trafficking activities. On Feb. 26, 2020, El Mencho’s daughter, Jessica Johanna Oseguera Gonzalez, was arrested in the United States on financial charges related to her alleged criminal violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.
Additionally, DEA has worked with its interagency partners to apply further pressure to CJNG. The U.S. Department of Treasury has designated El Mencho as a “specially designated narcotics trafficker” pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, and the U.S. Department of State has issued one of the largest narcotics rewards ever – $10 million – for information leading to the arrest of El Mencho.
As a result of cases conducted by the DEA Philadelphia Field Division, 41 arrests have been made as well as the seizure of 28 kilograms of heroin, seven kilograms of illicit fentanyl, 110 kilograms of cocaine, eight pounds of methamphetamine, and over $4.6 million in assets have been seized from CJNG associates pursuant to Project Python.
The efforts highlighted in the more than 600 arrests nationwide are illustrative of the significant reach the CJNG has in manufacturing, importing, and distributing a wide array of illegal narcotics within the United States and the negative impact on the fabric of our local communities. The proceeds from the local distribution of these narcotics are repatriated back to Mexico and further fuel transnational organized crime organizations such as the CJNG. The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners will continue to vigorously fight this scourge against the United States.
The Department of Justice’s multi-agency Special Operations Division, federal prosecutors from the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section of the Department’s Criminal Division, the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and Office of Enforcement Operations provided invaluable support to this operation.