REPORT: U.S. Special Forces Train Drug Cartel Enforcers Linked to Rape, Torture, Decapitation

Free Thought Project

AM) 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.

In 2019, after a U.S. ex-pat family was killed by drug cartel gunmen, then-President Donald Trump tweeted that now was “the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth.”

However, the goal of defeating the cartels is undermined when U.S. Special Forces soldiers are actually assisting their enemy, and training drug cartels that commit horrific atrocities.

The most well-known example of U.S. training disseminating into the wrong hands has been Los Zetas.

The Zetas were enforcers for the Gulf cartel which recruited deserters from Mexico’s Airborne Special Forces Group (GAFE). Formed in 1986 as an elite quick reaction force specializing in counterinsurgency and unconventional warfare, the GAFEs received their first combat experience in the brutal fight with the leftist Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in Chiapas when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect in 1994.

According to reporting by Carlos Marin, the army deployed the GAFEs in Chiapas to create paramilitaries and displace the population in order to disrupt the support of the people in the area for the EZLN, a counterinsurgency approach, which would later be used against organized crime.

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