“Char” for Borderland Beat 

This article was translated and reposted from MILENIO 

In the recent decade, the municipality has become the epicenter of the criminal organization with the largest presence in Mexican territory: the CJNG.

Victor Hugo Ornelas
Guadalajara / 01.08.2020 10:52:12
The inert eyes of the Santa Muerte hanging from the chest of a policeman are added to the stares that rest on an unknown face just arrived to the place, some murmur, others warn by phone about that unusual presence, in a direct way a man asks what are they coming to do here? This is the welcome to Villa Purificación.
To request an interview with an official there is no social communication office, the data is recorded by an element of public security, name, surname, place of origin, characteristics of the vehicle and its plates, persons accompanying, unusual data for an interview.
Villa Purificación was the first territory to consolidate as a municipality in the state of Jalisco, it is also one of the most extensive with almost 2 thousand square kilometers of surface, but the stories told about the place do not revolve around its culture and biographical data, but about drug trafficking and organized crime, about the presence of a man who has become the most powerful capo in the country, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias El Mencho, leader of the Jalisco Cartel New Generation.
In the recent decade, Villa Purificación became the epicenter of the criminal organization with the largest presence in Mexico, its vast territory surrounded by mountains and its hundreds of roads and trails offered the right conditions for the cartel members to hide and move from one place to another without being detected by the authorities.
The South Coast region, to which Villa Purificación belongs, is guarded by members of the Regional Police of the state, National Guard and Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena), the units circulate in convoy, never individually, because the area is considered high risk, although this version is incomprehensible to municipal authorities, as the general secretary of the city council, Plutarco Garcia, “is a quiet town, the security issue is not alarming, well I think that as a country, is exactly the same,” he said. He also described the local people as friendly and hospitable.
And so it is, in general people in Villa Purificación are cordial, they tell personal and life stories, they like to talk before the unusual presence of a reporter, but only about usual topics, when the subject of drug trafficking is broached, the countenances change, the expression becomes rigid and the words choke before being pronounced, “I don’t even know the man you mention (El Mencho), I’ve seen some things on the news but no, here it’s very quiet, it’s all lies,” explains a man while withdrawing cash from an ATM located next to the entrance to the municipal palace.
As the minutes pass, our presence seems to become uncomfortable and the tension begins to be evident, from the windows of the city hall, perfectly uniformed public servants peek out and, upon making eye contact, hide again inside the office. In addition, young men no older than 20 pass by again and again on their motorcycles, all with defiant looks on their faces. One of them even stops his vehicle and stands in front of it, pulls out his cell phone and begins to speak loudly, as if his intention was to be heard “yes, here in the square… aha, so what about the press?” he asks.
The target the Milenio Jalisco team is trying to reach is El Alcíhuatl, a place high up in the mountains, where there is a health center that was supposedly used to treat the leader of the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation on several occasions, before turning the corner, in front of the Public Security Police Station where there was a unit with four elements on board, We are intercepted by a man in a red T-shirt, with a shaved head, a tattoo that runs from shoulder to shoulder with a phrase that cannot be seen, he also carries something on his waist in front but it is covered by his clothes, not so the knife of approximately 30 centimeters that hangs on the side of his lower back, “Are you the ones who want to go to El Alcihuatl? “he asks. When we answer in the affirmative, the guy gets back in the car and gets close enough to make sure we hear every single word: “You have nothing to go there, there is nothing there, don’t go bother the people, here take all the pictures you want of the temple and the kiosk. Look, it’s beautiful, take it there and then leave, if you understand or not,” he said.