Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) has become one of the most feared paramilitaries in Mexico over the last decade. Images of the group have become the standard depiction of the Mexican cartel writ large. Their propaganda videos often feature groups of masked men bristling with enough small arms to make them formidable against even conventional armies.
In an interview aired on Mexico’s Telemundo network in May 2019, a former CJNG soldier described his experience at a training camp and claimed that the cartel employed U.S. special operations forces (SOF) to train their recruits. According to the former sicario assassin: there were Marines, there were Navy from the United States, there were Delta Force, there was everything there.”
The cartel dropout’s account is consistent with years of reports which show that U.S. special forces training is diffusing into the service of paramilitaries in Mexico.
The Special Forces training has been funded under the Plan Mérida, which has resulted in the U.S. providing more than $1.6 billion for fighting the War on Drugs, most of it in military aid.