Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Extrajudicial Killing In Tamaulipas? National Guard Kills 2 Then Reportedly 'Plants' Evidence at the Scene

"MX" for Borderland Beat; TY to "El Zacatecas"

Residents of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, confronted elements of the National Guard (GN) after a shootout in which they were involved that left two people dead. Witnesses say that elements of the GN shot and killed a man who was driving a truck and a woman who was a street vendor.

Reports say that the shootout occurred on the streets of Ocampo and Victoria, in the historic center of the city, just two blocks from the International Bridge that connects with Laredo, Texas.

The driver of a blue car, a 42-year-old customs broker named Jorge Alberto Rivera Cardoza, died of a gunshot to the head. The other victim, a woman of unknown identity, was outside a church when she was killed in the crossfire.

After the events, residents of Nuevo Laredo protested against the GN, assuring that they tried to "plant" weapons, a bag with drugs, and radio communication equipment in Rivera's car.

Local reports say that the people who were there took these objects and tried to hand them back to the GN. However, the GN refused and chose to leave the scene.

The Nuevo Laredo Human Rights Committee (CDHNL) filed a complaint with Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) against the GN. In addition, they blamed the officers for trying to tamper the crime scene by "planting" ammunition, drugs, and communication devices.

WARNING - Graphic Video Below

Video recording from a witness at the scene showing the dead person inside his vehicle and protestors gathering around the GN members.

Recent events

This incident comes a few days after 30 Mexican Navy members were ordered arrested over the disappearance of an unspecified number of people in Tamaulipas. Prosecutors say the victims went missing when the marines deployed in the border city of Nuevo Laredo.

The marines were handed over to the attorney general's office last Friday "in compliance with arrest warrants... for the alleged crime of forced disappearance of persons", the Navy said in a statement. No details have been made public.

Enforced disappearances are rarely fully investigated in Mexico and almost all cases are left unsolved. Thousands of victims end up unidentified in morgues across the country or buried in clandestine graves. Corrupt security forces are suspected of involvement in many of the disappearances, either to cover up wrongdoings that led to deaths or in collusion with criminal organisations who hold the victims for ransom, activists say.

Tamaulipas, one of Mexico's most violent states, has one of the highest rates of missing persons in the country. Many of the disappearances take place on roads leading to the US.

The city of Nuevo Laredo is the headquarters of the Northeast Cartel (Cartel del Noreste, CDN), a faction of the old Zetas cartel. 

The aftermath of the shootout; in the background several people observed and recorded with their phones

Sources: El Universal; Animal Politico; Elefante Blanco; BBC; Milenio

Chihuahua: 6 Sinaloa Cartel Members Killed; 2 Were Beheaded

"MX" for Borderland Beat

According to investigators, there may be a possibility that these Sinaloa Cartel members from Valle de Zaragoza Municipality were killed by another Sinaloa faction based in Parral Municipality.

The bodies of six men were found during the early morning in Zapien, a rural community in Parral, Chihuahua. Personnel from the State Investigation Agency arrived at the scene following an anonymous call and discovered the bodies.

All of the victims were shot dead; at least two were beheaded. Preliminary reports indicate that the victims were between 25 and 30 years old. After the discovery, the police cordoned the crime scene and called on foresic experts to gather evidences there.

Investigators say that four of the five victims were from Sinaloa and believe they were part of the Sinaloa Cartel faction Gente Nueva. Among the dead was Rogelio Adán Vega Rodríguez alias 'El Rojo', who was the plaza boss of the Sinaloa Cartel in Valle de Zaragoza Municipality.

César Augusto Peniche Espejel, the Attorney General in Chihuahua, said that El Rojo and his faction had issues with La Linea, the former armed wing of the old Juarez Cartel, and with Sinaloa Cartel members under Antonio Leonel Camacho Mendoza, alias 'El 300 de Parral', suggesting this may have been an internal strife. 

These criminal groups are competing for the control of the drug smuggling routes in the area. However, Peniche stressed that there is a growing huachicol (oil theft) presence in southern Chihuahua, so they have not discarded this as a possible motive for their dispute.

Meanwhile, he said that this event was similar to what occurred on February 14 in the municipality of Coronado, where five people were killed, three which were beheaded. Peniche added that there is coordination with federal authorities to facilitate the investigation.

El Rojo (pictured) had issues with La Linea and another Sinaloa Cartel faction.

Borderland Beat analysis

As reported by Borderland Beat, the criminal group that reportedly operates in Parral is Gente Nueva. They get many of their reinforcements and support from the neighboring state of Durango. As for the municipality of Jimenez, local newspapers indicate that La Linea operates there.

Both Parral and Jimenez connect to Chihuahua city, where other gangs like La Empresa operate. The Mexican Federal Highway 16 goes through Chihuahua city and connects it to Ojinaga, a town just across the US-Mexico border from Presidio, Texas. Controlling the municipalities that connect to Chihuahua city are crucial for smuggling activities.

Clashes between La Linea and Gente Nueva increased in 2020 in this part of rural Chihuahua. Reporters say that La Linea is "cleansing" rival gang members because they are competing for control of the Presidio-Ojinaga corridor.

Sources: Diario de Chihuahua (1); (2); (3)Milenio; El Heraldo de Juarez; Codigo 13 Parral; (2); (3); Diario de Juarez

US Offers US$5 Million Bounty for High-Ranking CJNG Member

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Audias Flores-Silva

Today the U.S. Department of State announces a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Audias Flores Silva, a high-level member of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG – Jalisco New Generation Cartel). 

This reward offer complements the Department of the Treasury’s designation today of Flores-Silva under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.  These actions are part of a whole of government approach to combating drug trafficking and transnational organized crime globally and in Mexico.

Flores-Silva is very closely aligned with the leader of the CJNG, Nemesio Ruben Oseguera-Cervantes, alias “El Mencho,” who is also a designated target of the State Department Narcotics Rewards Program (NRP) with a reward offer of up to $10 million for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction.

Flores-Silva was charged in a federal indictment returned on August 13, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The indictment charges Flores-Silva with conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and one kilogram or more of heroin for importation into the United States, as well as carrying, using, and possessing a firearm in relation to a drug offense.

Flores Silva previously served a five-year prison term in the United States in connection with a conviction for narcotics trafficking.  After his release, he returned to Mexico.  In 2016, Mexican authorities arrested Flores Silva after being accused of orchestrating an April 2015 ambush against Mexican police officers in Soyatlan, Jalisco. Flores Silva was later released from Mexican prison after fighting his charges in Mexican courts.

US Department of the Treasury organizational chart showing Audias Flores-Silva


Shootout Between Police and Cartel Members Leaves 3 Dead in Irapuato, Guanajuato

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Two cartel members and a state police officer died during a confrontation in the community of Tomelopitos, in Irapuato, Guanajuato.

According to the investigations, agents of the State Attorney General's Office were conducting investigative procedures when they were shot by at least 6 armed men who were traveling in a van.

The agents repelled the attack and killed two gunmen, but one of the agents was injured and died while receiving medical attention at the scene.

At the site, specialists from the Prosecutor's Office recovered three firearms, ballistic vests, ammunition, as well as more than 100 bullet shells of various calibers.

An operation was immediately launched in the area to locate the other 4 accomplices in the attack, however, they were not located.

This is the second attack against state police in Irapuato in recent days. On Monday, April 5, two state policemen were killed in an armed attack when they were on patrol in Lázaro Cárdenas neighborhood.

The mayor of Irapuato, Ricardo Ortiz Gutiérrez, will request support from the military to concentrate their efforts on the eastern part of the city, where more than 20 percent of the murders perpetrated this year have been registered. He claims that most of the murders are driven by a competition over narcomenudeo (drug dealing) spots.

As reported by Borderland BeatIrapuato is one of the municipalities that has been hit the hardest by violence and crime, where reports of missing persons between 2019 and 2020 exceed one hundred, according to reports made by relatives themselves on a page dedicated to finding missing people.

Sources: Televisa; NotiInfoMex; Informativo Agora; Periodico Correo

The Grotesque Side of the Mexican Underworld

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Warning - Graphic Beheading Video Below

A video of a beheading from the Mexican underworld popped up on Twitter. It lingered for a bit online before it just as quickly disappeared. Algorithms that dictate what will not be shown on its platform made sure of it. 

Intel on who these men were or what their crimes could’ve been is unknown. Only their executioners carry that knowledge with them. 

There’s a hurried swiftness to what they’re doing while committing murder. One sicario kneels on the first victim. At the same time another sicario with a 6 inch knife quickly cuts away the first victims head. Several feet away the next restrained victim awaits the same fate. 

This is the harsh reality of the Mexican underworld.

Source: Ghost Deviil (Twitter)

Internal War Within 'Los Mexicles' Left 14 Dead Over the Weekend In Ciudad Juárez

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Authorities investigate a crime scene in Ciudad Juarez; the state-attorney general says the violence is driven by gangs competing over street corners to sell heroin, cocaine, and meth.

Another violent weekend took place in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. 14 people were murdered in different parts of the city. This brought the total monthly homicide rate to 51 in the first 11 days of April, an upward trend compared to the previous three months.

Of all the April victims, 47 are men and four are women. In 31 cases, a firearm was used; 17 more died from violent physical blows or from bladed weapons. Last Friday there were five murders, followed by six on Saturday.

An internal war between two leaders of the criminal group "Los Mexicles" is the main cause of the executions that occurred in recent days, according to a crime report conducted by the State Prosecutor's Office in the Northern Zone of Chihuahua.

Prosecutor Jorge Nava López pointed out that the increase in homicides is due to a division among the members of the gang, who are fighting among themselves for control of the drug sale spots in Ciudad Juarez.

Borderland Beat analysis

Los Mexicles are based in southern Ciudad Juarez. However, most of the homicides in April were committed in the northwestern sector (near Anapra sector), where La Empresa and Los Aztecas are based.

As previously reported by Borderland Beat, most of the homicides in Ciudad Juarez are also driven by gangs competing over street corners to sell heroin, cocaine, and meth.

Several drug dealers of Los Mexicles have been executed by another Mexicles faction in different neighborhoods. However, investigators say that one of the Mexicles faction is working with another group. Most of the homicides are concentrated in three areas of the city in the northwestern zone.

Anapra is the area of ​​Ciudad Juárez where the most homicides were committed in the month of April. This part of the city borders Sunland Park, New Mexico, which is part of the Juarez–El Paso, Texas, border area.

Sources: Diario de Juarez; (2); (3); (4); Borderland Beat archives

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Los Viagras: Times Are Rough for Chucky Espartano

 "Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

A hitman for Los Viagra is accused of asking for money and pawning weapons on social networks; so far the authorities have not made a statement on this matter.

An alleged hitman for the Los Viagras Cartel identified as “Chucky Espartano”, allegedly asks for money and is pawning his weapons, as well as the stolen vehicles, because his bosses have not paid them. This according to a post made on Facebook.

In the aforementioned social network identified as "Unidos con Inteligencia", photos of the alleged hit man were published in which he allegedly requests financial support and offers a heavy-caliber weapon.

In addition to this, the publication states: "SICARIOS VIAGRAS They ask for money through social networks because their employers have not paid them, they also pawn their weapons and stolen cars to survive ... would you help them?"

So far, the security authorities have not ruled on the matter, despite the fact that the publication is already circulating on social networks.

Source: Contramuro

Recreational Marijuana Now Legal in New Mexico

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Marijuana becomes legal in a third of US states as New Mexico signs off on drug. Seven states have legalised the drug since last November alone.

Calling cannabis a “game changer” for New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill into law Monday that legalizes recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.

“Congratulations to every single one of us in New Mexico for getting this right,” the governor said during a windy and socially distanced news conference on the west side of the state Capitol. “I couldn’t be prouder.”

The governor also signed into law a separate measure that expunges certain cannabis-related convictions, which could affect tens of thousands of people.

“There is work already on social justice,” said Lujan Grisham, adding the state Corrections Department has identified 100 people behind bars today who could be eligible for early release and that the New Mexico State Police identified 150,000 individuals whose convictions will be reviewed for possible expungement.

Legalizing adult-use cannabis brings about social justice “in ways in which we have been talking about and advocating for, for decades,” Lujan Grisham said.

“We know one thing, and I’m looking right at the Drug Policy Alliance when I say this,” the governor said. “It is a failed war on drugs which has disproportionately, negatively impacted communities of color, and this is a way to not only diversify our economy — good for local governments, good for the state government — but it means that we’re bringing about justice in every single community to so many New Mexicans who have waited far too long for us to get that done. And I congratulate this Legislature for getting this bill across the finish line.”

The bill signing comes after the governor called a special session to deal almost exclusively with legalizing recreational marijuana after lawmakers failed to reach agreement on the matter during the regular 60-day legislative session. Efforts in previous years had failed as well.

“I think today New Mexicans can finally exhale,” said Emily Kaltenbach, a state director for the Drug Policy Alliance.

But not everybody is thrilled about New Mexico becoming the 17th state in the nation to legalize adult-use cannabis. In a statement issued immediately after the bill signing ceremony, state Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce said recreational marijuana would lead to more crime, underage use and impaired driving.

“The governor has a pipe dream of saving the state’s finances by hoping to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars from marijuana revenues, but it’s unclear just how much money will end up in state coffers,” he said.

According to the bill’s fiscal impact report, the industry could create about 11,000 jobs and create tens of millions of dollars in new revenue. According to preliminary estimates, the excise tax will generate at least $20 million for the general fund in the first full fiscal year and grow in subsequent years.

“I hope that all of the projections are more than realized,” Lujan Grisham said. “I really hope we exceed all expectations.” The law will go into effect June 29. “It will not be legal to possess or to grow your own until June 29th or later,” Regulation and Licensing Superintendent Linda Trujillo said.

Commercial sales will begin no sooner than April 1, 2022, and the issuance of licenses to conduct commercial cannabis activity will begin no later than Jan. 1, 2022.

Under the law, adults 21 and older can buy and possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis or 16 ounces of cannabis extract, or up to 800 milligrams of edible cannabis. The governor, however, won’t be partaking, at least not immediately.

“I just don’t really engage,” she said. “I have no reason not to when it’s ready to go, but I have no plans to rush out and do so. … I probably will just stay the course and look for endorphins in other places. But no opposition at all from this governor.” Several Democratic lawmakers attended the ceremony and touted legalization.

“It’s not the perfect bill, and the fact that we got a piece of legislation across the line is what had to happen,” Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth said.

“What’s important to me is that we have in place a structure.”

Changing Times

The US is nearing a tipping point of sorts on marijuana legalization: Almost half the country — about 43 percent of the population — now lives in a state where marijuana is legal to consume just for fun.

The past two months alone have seen a burst of activity as four states across the US legalized marijuana for recreational use: New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and, on Monday, New Mexico.

It’s a massive shift that took place over just a few years. A decade ago, no states allowed marijuana for recreational use; the first states to legalize cannabis in 2012, Colorado and Washington, did so through voter-driven initiatives. Now, 17 states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana (although DC doesn’t yet allow sales), with five enacting their laws through legislatures, showing even typically cautious politicians are embracing the issue.

At this point, the question of nationwide marijuana legalization is more a matter of when, not if. At least two-thirds of the American public support the change, based on various public opinion surveys in recent years. Of the 15 states where marijuana legalization has been on the ballot since 2012, it was approved in 13 — including Republican-dominated Alaska, Montana, and South Dakota (although South Dakota’s measure is currently held up in the courts). In the 2020 election, the legalization initiative in swing state Arizona got nearly 300,000 more votes than either Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

Legalization has also created a big new industry in very populous states, including California and (soon) New York, and that industry is going to push to continue expanding. One of the US’s neighbors, Canada, has already legalized pot, and the other, Mexico, is likely to legalize it soon, creating an international market that would love to tap into US consumers.

Sources: SantaFe New Mexican; Vox

Tecamac, Edomex: The Dirty Bomb Component Has Been Recovered

 "Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

The federal agency reported that if the radioactive source was removed from its container, handled or if there was direct contact with it for a few minutes or hours, it could cause permanent injuries.

After Borderland Beat reported it as stolen, it has been reported in the last hours that the dangerous radioactive source that was stolen with violence in the State of Mexico, has already been located by Tecamac police.

In this regard, it was through a statement that Civil Protection issued that it was confirmed that the object was found, after having been stolen in the municipality of Teoloyucan.

According to the information provided, the radioactive source was located in the community of San Francisco Ojo de Agua in the municipality of Tecamac, where various corporations arrived.

It was elements of the Ministry of Energy (Sener), the National Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Coordination of Civil Protection, who were in charge of taking knowledge of this finding.

While for their part, Municipal and State Public Security cordoned off the site.

Source: Vanguardia

Papantla, Veracruz: El R15 Leaves a Human Head and Narco Message

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

A large police mobilization was registered this morning on Ramón Espinoza and Salvador Díaz Mirón streets, in the vicinity of the Fénix field. A human head and a narco message were located on the railing of a private home.

Through an anonymous call, the police were informed about this crime. It’s currently unknown who could be responsible. The deceased male is not a resident of this populous sector of the Barrio de Santa Cruz.

Once the police elements arrived, they cordoned off the area to prevent the passage of neighbors and thus preserve the scene. While awaiting the arrival of the authorities from the District Attorney's Office so that they could begin their investigative work.

The message was not readable from the pictures but it was signed by people working for R15, a cartel operative in the area.

Neighbors are fearful of what happened. A horrific act like this had never transpired within their neighborhood. They asked the municipal police for greater vigilance in the area.


Source: Noreste; Vanguardia Veracruz