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‘Happy Children’s Day’: Notorious Drug Cartel Reportedly Handed Out Toys To Kids To Win Over Locals

A convoy of alleged Mexican drug cartel operatives gave out toys in several towns in southwestern Mexico last week for the country’s Children’s Day, with some residents rebuffing their attempts to win public favor after violent criminal activity, according to the Mexican outlet Dominio Publico Noticias.

The violent Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) traffic large quantities of fentanyl and other illegal drugs sent into the U.S., according to the Treasury Department. The cartel’s alleged convoy handed toys to residents in the State of Zacatecas’ Apulco and Nochistlan cities, and the towns of Yahualica and Mexticacán in the State of Jalisco, despite having displaced hundreds of families through shootings in the region, Dominio Publico Noticias reported.

The CJNG spread to 27 Mexican states by 2020, with a “continuing reputation for extreme and intimidating violence,” according to the Congressional Research Service.

“They have no shame,” one resident said, according to Dominio Publico Noticias. “Instead of giving toys to kids and winning their favors, they should stop bothering the town and give back all the people they have taken.”

The CJNG reportedly provided food for some poor people in Mexico’s San Luis Potosi state in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to La Opinion. Brookings Institute Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown said Mexican criminal organizations engaged in such activities during COVID-19 lockdowns to “build political capital.”

“What they are doing looks more like a joke to us,” a municipal worker told Dominio Publico Noticias of the recent toy giveaway. “Look at them, with such a face, giving toys to kids whose fathers have been taken away from them and kids from those who have been humiliated. How can they expect to pass for good people when they have stolen our peace?”

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