Apart from being a tourist paradise, Puerto Vallarta has emerged as a strategic point for organized crime bosses to carry out their operations. For example, after an operation carried out on Thursday in the Fraccionamiento Marina Vallarta of the coastal municipality, the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) confirmed on Sunday that they captured Carlos "N", known as "Don Carlos".
This individual is considered to be the regional head of the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG), as he is in charge of supplying weapons and vehicles in Puerto Vallarta and the central zone of Jalisco. But this is not the first time that organized crime leaders have been captured in the country's second most popular tourist destination, as the brother-in-law of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes "El Mencho," Abigael Gonzalez Valencia, was arrested in 2015 in Puerto Vallarta.
Gonzalez Valencia, known as "El Cuini," was apprehended on February 28, 2015, based on a provisional arrest warrant for extradition purposes. Since then, he has been held in federal prisons in Gomez Palacio, Durango, Altiplano, Reclusorio Norte, and Santa Martha Acatitla Penitentiary in Mexico City, while awaiting extradition.
On the other hand, in April 2018, Adrián Gómez Meza was arrested after an operation derived from a search warrant in a property in Colonia Moderna, in Puerto Vallarta. On that occasion, federal authorities reported that Adrián Meza would be in charge of accounting for the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation.
Another arrest that transcended was when on November 13, 2020, Agustín González Chavarín was captured at a home in Palmar del Progreso, in Puerto Vallarta. Agustín González, who was known as "Don Guty" or "El 14", had two handguns, five magazines, cartridges, a vehicle, and a bag with fentanyl seized; he also had two arrest warrants for kidnapping and homicide.
"Don Guty" was identified as the main operator of "El Mencho" in the northern coast of Jalisco and was arrested along with Leopoldo "P"; a judge sentenced them both to trial for various crimes, including organized crime to commit crimes against health. In April 2014, Miguel Angel Perez Quintero was arrested at a home in Marina Vallarta; the individual was accused of being the CJNG's then head of the CJNG in Puerto Vallarta.
On the other hand, there are still fugitives of the CJNG who operate in the coastal municipality, among them Hugo Gonzalo Mendoza Gaytán, known as "El Sapo", who is identified as the head of the CJNG in Puerto Vallarta. Mendoza Gaytan has been identified by federal authorities as a prime target, as he is allegedly the second in command of the criminal organization led by "El Mencho" and could become his successor.
Another criminal leader who is on the run and is also wanted by the DEA is Carlos Andres Rivera Varela, nicknamed "La Firma," who is of Colombian origin. According to reports, "El Sapo" allegedly brought "La Firma" from Colombia to take over the Puerto Vallarta plaza. The Municipality has become a money-laundering paradise. The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control has reported that companies linked to the CJNG have addresses in Zapopan, Tonala, and Puerto Vallarta.