Author Biography

Nathan P. Jones is an Assistant Professor of Security Studies at Sam Houston State University a Small Wars Journal El Centro Fellow and Non-resident Scholar with Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy with the Mexico Center and Drug Policy Program. He recently published his book Mexico’s Illicit Drug Networks and the State Reaction with Georgetown University Press. Prior to joining the Sam Houston State University Security Studies Department, Dr. Jones was the Alfred C. Glassell, III Postdoctoral Fellow in Drug Policy at the Baker Institute, where his research focused on drug violence in Mexico. As a Ph.D. student, Dr. Jones won the Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation Dissertation Fellowship to conduct fieldwork in Mexico and spent a year in Tijuana and Mexico City assessing the resilience and illicit network structure of the Tijuana cartel. His dissertation won the best dissertation award from the Western Political Science Association.



Subject Area Keywords

Gangs and criminal organizations, Governance and rule of law, Homeland security, Mexico, Narcotics trafficking, Nonstate actors


Most security analysts now view the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) as the most powerful organized crime group (OCG) in Mexico. This article explores the strategic/security implications of the rise of this new and aggressive group by providing an in-depth historical case study. The case study shows that the CJNG is a highly resilient and geographically dispersed entity that draws upon the experience of its members, which studied under the tutelage of the Milenio and Sinaloa cartels. Since 2015 the CJNG has begun “adopting orphan” criminal cells left in the wake of the US and Mexican kingpin strategy and the resulting OCG fragmentations. This demonstrates the limits of kinetic strategies in the drug war as the Mexican drug trafficking system appears to be reconsolidating under the CJNG. Policy reform areas such as legal reform implementation, penal system capacity building, and tax reform goals are discussed.