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Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski Delivers Remarks at the Project Python Press Conference


Washington, DC
United States

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you for joining us.

Today, we are announcing the results of Project Python, a multilateral interagency operation targeting the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, also known as CJNG.  

This operation was led by the DEA, and on behalf of the Department, I want to thank Acting Administrator Dhillon for his strong leadership in the fight against transnational organized crime. 

And I want to express my appreciation for the courageous law enforcement professionals of the DEA – the men and women who, day in and day out, put their lives on the line to shield us, our families, and our communities from dangerous drugs and the violent activities of the organizations that traffic in those substances. 

As you all know, the DEA is dedicated to taking down the most dangerous and destructive cartels in the world.  Its brave agents work tirelessly to disrupt and dismantle criminal drug trafficking syndicates, to reduce the availability of drugs, and to ensure that the places where we live, work, and raise our families are safe and secure.

Project Python began on September 1, 2019, culminating in today’s announcement. 

As Acting Administrator Dhillon will describe in more detail, Project Python was unprecedented in both scale and complexity.  The DEA, through its Special Operations Division, coordinated and de-conflicted more than 350 field investigations to identify the global networks controlled by CJNG.  This entailed not simply the management of investigative activities, but also the careful coordination and synchronizing of domestic and international law enforcement operations. 

More than 100 investigations will now form the initial target deck for Project Python.  And we will continue to investigate and analyze the roles that these individuals play in CJNG, to identify and map out the cartel’s logistical nodes and pathways, and to link additional investigations and prosecutions.

Project Python marks the most comprehensive action to date in the Department of Justice’s campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately destroy CJNG. 

CJNG is one of the most dangerous transnational criminal organizations in the world.  The cartel has its hands in trafficking multiple deadly substances.  It is responsible for moving tons of cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl-laced heroin into the United States.  CJNG is also a prolific methamphetamine producer and chemical importer, using precursors procured from China and India.  It also produces its own precursors, and recruits chemists and experienced cooks to its operations, further expanding the reach of its fentanyl and heroin production and distribution operations. 

According to DEA’s intelligence, CJNG runs major methamphetamine labs in Mexico, and continues to increase its presence along the Southwest Border.  And with primary drug distribution hubs in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, and Atlanta, CJNG is one of the most powerful Mexican cartels operating within the United States. 

At the same time, CJNG has contributed to a catastrophic trail of human and physical destruction in Mexico.  It is the most well-armed cartel in Mexico.  Its members willingly confront rival cartels and even the security forces of the Mexican government.  CJNG is responsible for grisly acts of violence and loss of life. 

That is why, when President Trump signed an Executive Order prioritizing the dismantlement of transnational criminal organizations, the Department of Justice answered the call and took direct aim at CJNG.  We deemed CJNG one of the highest-priority transnational organized crime threats we face.  And with Project Python, we are delivering results in the face of that threat for the American people. 

Back in 2018, the Department announced 15 indictments against CJNG leaders, financiers, transporters, and sources of drug supply.  One of those indictments was of Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez, also known as “Menchito” – the son of CJNG’s undisputed leader, who is now facing trial here in federal court in Washington, D.C. 

Project Python shows that, with close cooperation and clarity of mission, we can take the fight to one of the largest and most dangerous drug cartels on the planet.  The Criminal Division is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the men and women of the DEA, as well as with United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, in this critical operation.

Thank you.  I will now turn the podium over to Acting Administrator Dhillon.

Drug Trafficking
Updated March 11, 2020