Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Jalisco Cartel New Generation - 'Cártel del Tabaco'

The Jalisco Cartel New Generation (Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación - CJNG) has been increasing the production and sale of illegal cigarettes in Mexico through a group known as the Tobacco Cartel - Cártel del Tabaco. The Tobacco Cartel makes cigarettes and forces vendors to sell them. Business owners and distributors of other cigarette brands were given fake letters from government departments that state cigarette brands other than those distributed by TIH are illegal and cannot be sold in Mexico. The Federal government says no such letters exist. It is run by three brothers who own cigarette factories in the State of Mexico, Jalisco and Campeche. Production is carried out under three companies, Sijara International Manufacturing, Braxico Manufacturing and Burley & Virginia Tabaco Company. The first two are subsidiaries of Tobacco International Holdings. (TIH)
Since 2017, stocks of other cigarette brands have been destroyed and vendors have been threatened, tortured and shot for not complying. TIH is a “Swiss-founded company for the exclusive purpose of having the rights of the brands registered in Mexico.” Those brands, Laredo, Botas and Económicos among others, are all much cheaper than better-known cigarette brands. The illegal cigarette business is growing rapidly in Mexico. “Seize and destroy operations” of non-TIH smokes have been carried out by municipal, state and federal police, according to people targeted by them. The head of the Tobacco Cartel is thought to be Carlos Cedano Fillipini, a former police officer who has worked with several federal agencies including the Attorney General’s office. Known as 'El Rambo', he has links to the CJNG.
In Michoacán, the Tobacco Cartel has distributed flyers to small grocery stores stating that by order of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, only TIH cigarette brands could be sold. The gang produces over 30 cigarette brands, with prices as low as 35 pesos (about $1.75). The price of branded cigarettes is between 62 and 70 pesos. ($3.17-3.58) Mexican-made illegal cigarettes are becoming more popular. About 19% of cigarettes consumed in Mexico are illegally produced, up from 2% in 2011. The registered owner of TIH is José Guadalupe Varela González. He was investigated for drug trafficking in 2006.