Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF)
On 24 June, Mexican media outlet El Universal, published statements from local security consultant David Saucedo Torres, framing the present condition of the State of Michoacán's security environment following the recent transition of power in the area from the United Cartels to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). Torres indicates that CJNG possesses a fleet of an unidentified number of armored vehicles, attack drones, missiles, and various explosives--including remote-detonation bombs, anti-personnel landmines, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), some of which have been created out of fire extinguishers and other parts. El Universal added to Torres' commentary that some IED incidents have reportedly occurred along various arterial roads connecting the Michoacán City of Apatzingán with other neighboring communities, making the state "a laboratory of war games" for the CJNG.
OSIRIS notes that the State of Michoacán covers roughly the entire western half of Mexico's 19th degree of latitude. Though this area may not qualify as a geographical chokepoint, it may nonetheless be important for any cartel seeking to control the flow of illicit trafficking originating from Central and South America and destined for the United States of America (US). Alternatively, US-made weapons are illegally exiting the US southbound through Mexico. As we continue to investigate further, any cartel stronghold in Mexico can be considered a "two-way street" for various forms of illicit trafficking.
We also noted some commentary on social media of some alleged local residents in the area expressing the opinion that the Michoacán government has contributed to prolonging the inter-cartel conflict between CJNG and the United Cartels by allegedly protecting the later from the former. Though, we can confirm a violent conflict has been occurring between the governmental forces and the CJNG, we cannot confirm an ulterior agenda behind the governor's office at this time. It is worth noting any potential retaliation of United Cartel forces in the area during the upcoming months.
As It Pertains to Global Security
This issue pertains to global security, because the activities and capabilities of extra-governmental criminal organizations in a geographically significant chokepoint facilitating illicit trafficking between both continents of the Western Hemisphere can determine the efficacy of such transnational illegal operations. Knowing what cartel predominately controls Michoacán and by what means can help global security professionals better obfuscate various illegal multi-national trades that utilize this supply chain hub. This area is also of international concern because fentanyl-ingredient suppliers from the People's Republic of China have been using Mexico as a southern entry point to massively smuggle the deadly drug into the US and Canada.
As we investigate rumors that US-made firearms and other weapons and tactical supplies are being smuggled through the black market southbound, understanding the role that Michoacán plays in Mexican organized criminal networks can help determine the path that many of these weapons may take--either further south into Central and South America or exported across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. If US-made weapons are illegally ending up in other countries, then they are probably possessed by illegal actors. Illegal actors possessing illegal firearms present a significant threat to any community across the globe.
As It Pertains to Civil Society
This issue pertains to civil society, because the inhabitants of Michoacán--the non-conflict participating civilians who are neither law enforcement, military, or cartel members--are victims to the violence. Many citizens have died due to landmines, IEDs, and other explosives. Due to the unknown, albeit excessive, amount of landmines planted by CJNG in the area, it is almost impossible for the local residents to carry out their daily lives without fear of accidently detonating a hidden landmine. Governmental forces have limited resources and often begin minesweeping only after a resident accidently detonates a hidden landmine. Governmental forces are also divided with their time and resources between minesweeping and actively engaging CJNG in kinetic warfare.
As It Pertains to Individual Sovereignty
This issue pertains to individual sovereignty in many ways. It restricts the freedom of movement of local residents, as their area is being used as a "laboratory for wargames." As long as any cartel persists in this area, local farmers and other small businesses will find it difficult to carry out their businesses without threat of extortions or violence from the ruling criminal organization at the time. As noted above, what happens in Michoacán potentially affects the sovereignty of millions of individuals elsewhere in the world, including the US and Canada to the north, Central and South America to the south, as well as Europe and Asia. Drugs, illegal weapons, and human trafficking affects all individuals involved at every point of the illicit supply chain running through this Mexican state.
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