Gerardo González Valencia, aka Lalo, former leader of CJNG’s “Los Cuinis” in prison for life

The life, crimes, and consequent downfall of Valencia, the financial mastermind behind Mexico's notorious Jalisco Cartel.

The Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG) has established itself as one of the most prolific and dangerous criminal organizations currently operating in Mexico. With a presence in more than half of the territory, the criminal organization headed by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, better known as “El Mencho,” has been categorized by Mexican and US authorities as a criminal enterprise.

In addition to the multiple criminal activities that members of the four-letter cartel carry out throughout the country, the criminal organization has also had loyal allies who have supported them in laundering the money from the millions of dollars earned from crimes such as drug trafficking.

In this context, the US Department of Justice identified a criminal cell known as “Los Cuinis,” which is made up of a group of brothers who coordinated the work that led them to become the financial arm of the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG).

Over the years, some of the members of “Los Cuinis” have been apprehended by authorities around the world, as was the case with Gerardo González Valencia, the former leader of the criminal group who was recently sentenced to life in prison in the United States following his extradition in May 2020.

But who is Gerardo González Valencia, the erstwhile leader of ‘Los Cuinis’?

The brother-in-law of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias "El Mencho" was arrested in 2016 in Uruguay (U.S. Embassy in Uruguay).
The brother-in-law of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias “El Mencho,” was arrested in 2016 in Uruguay (US Embassy in Uruguay).

Known also as “Lalo,” Valencia stood as a pivotal figure in the “Los Cuinis” cell, the financial backbone of the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG). His ties to the notorious cartel extend beyond mere business; he is also the brother-in-law of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias “El Mencho.” Valencia’s arrest occurred in 2016 in Uruguay, as reported by the US Embassy in Uruguay.

It’s important to remember that both “Los Cuinis” and the founder of the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG), “El Mencho,” kick-started their criminal careers in the so-called Milenio Cartel, which also spawned figures like Oscar Nava Valencia, known as “El Lobo.”

Gradually, “El Mencho” began to carve out his own cartel, anchored in the state of Jalisco. Meanwhile, “Los Cuinis” started their operations across the border in the United States. Although “Los Cuinis” also consists of brothers Abigael and Jose Gonzalez Valencia, the US Department of Justice specifically accuses Gerardo of leading the cartel’s financial arm from 2003 to 2016.

Also interesting:

"Los Cuinis" are made up of several González Valencia brothers (Photo:
“Los Cuinis” is made up of several González Valencia brothers (Photo:

The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a statement, “The CJNG and ‘Los Cuinis’ constitute one of the largest, most dangerous, and prolific drug cartels in Mexico. They traffic considerable amounts of illicit drugs into the United States and employ extreme violence to achieve their objectives.”

Accordingly, the US authorities indicted Gerardo González Valencia for personally investing in and coordinating several shipments of tons of cocaine intended for the United States.

The US Department of Justice detailed some of the intercepted shipments, “including the seizure of approximately 280 kilograms of cocaine from a semi-submersible intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard and the seizure of 750 kilograms of cocaine concealed in frozen shark carcasses destined for the United States and seized by Mexican law enforcement. Gonzalez-Valencia also directed the murders of rival drug traffickers and used and supplied weapons in furtherance of the drug trafficking conspiracy.”

"Lalo" opened several stores and convenience stores in South America (Univision/U.S. State Department)
“Lalo” opened several stores and convenience stores in South America (Univision/US Department of State).

Throughout his criminal career, “Lalo” lived a life of luxury and constant travel, according to a sentencing memorandum submitted by his attorneys to a federal court in Washington DC, which Univision had access to. The document also reveals that the drug lord sought to relocate with his family to Uruguay to escape the swath of violence unleashed by the cartel across various Mexican states.

However, Gerardo González Valencia’s evasion of justice came to an end when a formal indictment was lodged against him by the US government in April 2016, leading to his capture in Uruguay.

After serving four years in a South American jail, “Lalo” was extradited to the United States in May 2020 to face an array of charges related to drug trafficking and money laundering. Though his sentencing was initially slated for last April, it was not until the afternoon of Friday, July 21, that the US Department of Justice announced that “El Mencho’s” brother-in-law had received the maximum sentence for his crimes. Consequently, he is destined to live out the rest of his days in prison in the United States.