Mexican Cartel Urges Keeping Innocents Out of War on Drugs in Video Message

MEXICO CITY, July 8 (Reuters) – A video claiming to be from Mexico’s powerful Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) cartel circulated on social media on Friday, calling for keeping up fighting between criminal groups and avoiding the innocent.

Two Jesuit priests and a tour guide were killed last month in an alleged altercation with a wanted drug trafficker in the border state of Chihuahua, a crime that shocked Mexicans and was condemned by Pope Francis. Read more

More than 30,000 people were murdered in Mexico last year, with much of the violence linked to fights between rival drug trafficking organizations.

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“I ask you that the war stay between us, that we don’t involve anyone who shouldn’t be involved,” a Spanish-speaking man said in the video, which also showed masked and heavily armed people dressed in combat camouflage.

“We are people who are for the people,” the man said.

On behalf of dark cartel leader Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, aka “El Mencho”, he urged rival cartels across the country to spare doctors, medical staff and teachers.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the video.

A source familiar with cartel beliefs said it appeared to be real but could not say if it was Oseguera’s voice.

A press officer from the attorney general’s office said authorities were analyzing the footage.

Oseguera, a former police officer, orchestrated the emergence of the CJNG as a criminal empire spanning five continents and a rival to the Sinaloa Cartel of captured ringleader Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, now in a US prison.

US authorities placed a $10 million bounty on Oseguera’s head in 2018.

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Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz and Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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