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

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Mother Fled Violence in Michoacán Only to Find More in Tijuana

"El Choclo" for Borderland Beat

Sanchez Toboada, Tijuana, where there is a murder almost every day.
A Michoacán mother forced to leave her home state after being kidnapped by police and handed over to a criminal gang is immersed in violence once again after moving to Mexico’s most violent city.

According to a report by the newspaper El Universal, Lupita (no last name given) was eating a meal at her Michoacán home with her children when municipal police kicked her door down, aimed their weapons at her, beat her, forcibly removed her, drove her to a hill outside town and handed her over to the Viagras crime gang.

Cartels Take to Social Media to Peddle Deadly Fentanyl Pills, DEA Says

"Anonymous" for Borderland Beat

A wave of the illegal synthetic drug fentanyl is coming to the border on its way to the American heartland. But some of it is staying in border communities like El Paso, where law enforcement officials say gangs are using social media platforms to market the illicit and potentially deadly pills to potential consumers of all ages.

“The majority of those pills are being made to look like actual pharmaceutically-produced medications, but they are counterfeits, laced with fentanyl. These pills are being sold throughout the United States by transnational cartels through various methods, including social media,” said Carlos Briano, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Division.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Journalist From Guaymas, Sonora Murdered On His Birthday

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Ricardo Domínguez López (photo credit: El Universal; photo editing: HEARST from Borderland Beat)

On Thursday afternoon, Ricardo Dominguez Lopez, the director of the media outlet Info Guaymas, was killed at a supermarket that is in front of the police station in Guaymas, Sonora. 

According to local media, the killing occurred at around 5:15 p.m. in the parking lot of a supermarket. Armed men approached the journalist and shot him dead in front of several eye-witnesses.

His body was found without vital signs when paramedics arrived at the scene. The military and the state police arrived minutes later to confirm his death. No arrests were made.

The current governor of Sonora, Claudia Pavlovich, shared her condolences for the journalist's murder and gave instructions to begin investigations to find those responsible.

“I deeply regret the condemnable events in which journalist Ricardo López, director of InfoGuaymas, lost his life. I ask [state and federal authorities] to initiate the investigations to find those responsible [...] My deepest condolences to family, friends and the journalistic union of Sonora for this painful loss," she said on Twitter.

Dominguez Lopez had turned 47 years old on the day he was killed.

In addition to his work at InfoGuaymas, he was the President of the Metropolitan Association of Independent Journalists of Guaymas and Empalme. He also worked for Televisa Sonora, Diario del Yaqui, and Larsa Comunicaciones.

On March 29, months before his murder, Dominguez Lopez reported in a press conference that he had received death threats from organized crime groups. He also said that most of the independent journalists in the Guaymas area were working under threats.

His murder comes days after Abraham Mendoza, a journalist from Morelia, Michoacan, was killed. Witnesses say that Mendoza was shot dead as he left a gymnasium. 

Image credit: El Universal

Tijuana, Baja California: Narco Tarps And Human Remains Abandoned

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Narco tarps and human remains are abandoned in different parts of Sánchez Taboada

Human remains and narco-blankets were abandoned on Thursday morning, in different points of the Sánchez Taboada delegation.

The first discovery of a narco-tarp occurred on Yonqueros Street in the Reacomodo Sánchez Taboada neighborhood, next to the Cristo Redendor temple.

Then, a second narco-tarp with human remains was found, on Mercury Street, next to a self-service store.

Three detainees

Two subjects were arrested by Municipal Police officers when they were discovered placing a narco tarp and leaving human remains in the Sánchez Taboada delegation.

At 6:00 a.m., inhabitants of that neighborhood reported the discovery of tarps at three different points.

In the Emperadores neighborhood, in the same delegation, the officers attended the third report and apprehended two subjects while they were dumping human remains.

The subjects tried to flee, however, they were arrested by the officers and later turned over to the Public Ministry.

In the latter case, three people who were on board a compact tan vehicle were arrested.

Narco message reads as follows:

This message goes out to Cabo 20 or Lobo as well as 45. This is the reason for your incompetence you freaked out gang of cowards. You need to stop killing innocent civilians like frantic men who are drowning in desperation. I’m aware that you no longer confidently have all your operatives. 

Everyone is turning on you to come with us. They all found out how beggarly and incompetent you hungry fucks all are. It’d be nice to see if you had the balls to face us in an armed confrontation. So that you and the few disposable operatives you have left could feel this dick we want to give y’all. 

You tend to view your men as nothing more than disposable members. You’re supposed to take care of your personnel. We have old school ways. I am the Lord of Lords. Sincerely, Cabo 27 CDS

El Blog De Los Guachos

El Imparcial

San Luis Potosí: Gulf Cartel Searching For Cotorra, Ramon and Chore

 "Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

A new video from the Mexican underworld has just surfaced online. For this broadcast members from the Gulf Cartel (CDG) are in the San Luis capital hurling insults towards their rivals.

The armed criminal cell brings to light the names of Cotorra, Ramon and Chore in their disseminated film. In addition the names of these operatives were reported by Borderland Beat.

Inhabitants of the Nava and Colonia Santa Fe sector in the capital of San Luis Potosí, reported that during the early hours of yesterday.

10 vehicles of the Gulf Cartel (CDG) were casually on the street screaming shit to their opponents. According to the inhabitants they were there for some time. 

Video translation is as follows:

Sicario #1: We’re here gentlemen. Where the fuck is that New San Luis Cartel at you sons of bitches? I thought you guys said you were such hot shit? We are the absolute Gulf Cartel you sons of bitches. 

Y’all were claiming that you wanted an armed confrontation. Well, here we are. Come the fuck out. We are the absolute Gulf Cartel bitches. 

Sicario #2: You faggots, we are the absolute Gulf Cartel!

Sicario #1: Where the fuck are those independent operatives?

Sicario #2: Come the fuck out you faggots!

Sicario #1: Your worlds will go to shit for you sons of bitches who support Cotorra, Ramon and Chorre. We are the absolute Gulf Cartel you bitches. And we’re here on this public thoroughfare. 

El Blog De Los Guachos

Inside Mexico's Most Powerful Drug Cartel

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Tens of thousands are missing, many more murdered. So why are Mexico’s violent drug cartels operating with impunity? We go inside the most powerful cartel to meet the footsoldiers. Corruption, they say, goes right to the top. Produced in collaboration with Ben Zand and Vice TV.

In Mexico’s Sinaloa state, violence has become a way of life.

Home to the country’s most powerful drug syndicate, the Sinaloa cartel, murders and disappearances are rife.

The police, meant to protect the population, are often the targets of violence. Over 500 officers were killed in Mexico last year.

They’re also often complicit, with corruption in the police force and government a major problem.In this shocking portrait of a country caught in the grip of organised crime, reporter Ben Zand takes us where few have gone – inside the Sinaloa cartel in the Sierra Madre mountains where he witnesses the group’s operations up close.

At their hidden base, the group grows poppies and marijuana for export, fends off outsiders with guns and bribes visiting police and security officers with money and women.

“The government is the one in charge” say the local leader. “The cartel is only as big as the government wants us to be.”

Commentator and writer Ioan Grillo believes that the police and military used to have the upper hand with the cartels but says that’s now changed.

“Some of the cartels have become much more powerful,” says Grillo. “[now] the cartel is actually bullying and controlling elements of the security forces.”

It’s the community who’s paying the price for corruption and impunity. 

Mirna Quiñones’ son disappeared suddenly 7 years ago. When police refused to help her, she set out to find him herself. 

She went on to set up the Trackers of El Fuerte group which helps parents looking for their children. In the last seven years of searching, they’ve uncovered over two hundred bodies.

“There is no justice. We all know that. I have been threatened by the municipal police here. The government and crime are united.”

Interior Minister, Olga Sánchez Cordero, concedes there is corruption. “The trials, and the investigations, are deficient”, she says. “Lawyers are threatened. Judges are threatened. That is just the reality.”

But she maintains the government is doing its best to investigate the cartels and to undermine their support base. 

Investigative journalist Anabel Hernández disagrees, saying she has little faith the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, elected two and half years ago, will tackle the problem.

“He promised to do something different but….it’s just the same. Nothing changed. In some parts it's worse."

ABC News In Depth

No Trace of 10 Yaqui Men From Sonora Who Went Missing Last Week

"El Choclo" for Borderland Beat

Nine of the 10 men missing in Sonora.

Ten Yaqui men remain missing after disappearing last week in southern Sonora, home to one of the world’s most violent cities.

The men, members of the Yaqui community in Loma de Bacúm, were last seen on July 14 traveling on dirt roads between ranches in the municipality of Bacúm, which borders Cajeme (Ciudad Obregón), Guaymas and San Ignacio Río Muerto.

The man are aged between 27 and 65 and were transporting cattle when they disappeared, Televisa News reported. Five other men also disappeared but were subsequently released after being kidnapped.

Sonora authorities and members of a Yaqui security group are searching for those still missing.

“… We don’t know if they’re drinking water or eating, if they’re being beaten. We don’t know anything and that hurts,” said the mother of Heladio Molina Zavala, one of the missing men.

The abduction follows the recent murders of two Yaqui leaders and the deployment of soldiers and National Guard troops to the area.

“They’re trying to terrify us. They’re trying to make us afraid,” said Yaqui man and security group member Guadalupe Flores Maldonado, referring to unnamed criminal groups.

The deployment of the military to Yaqui territory angered members of the community, who claim that the federal government is planning to expropriate land and grant mining concessions to private companies. Yaqui representatives said in a statement that some soldiers were forced to leave their land by members of the community.

Flores claimed that almost 500 kilograms of methamphetamine seized by the army earlier this month in Bacúm was planted on residents.

“It’s always the same strategy. They come and plant drugs to try to accuse us and justify their repression,” he said “… The state itself promotes and protects criminals. They’re the same.”

The Yaquis have historically mistrusted authorities, and held numerous protests last year to demand that the federal government compensate them for ceding land for a range of infrastructure projects and to fulfill social development commitments.

They live in a part of southern Sonora that is notorious for violent crime. Ciudad Obregón, located about 20 kilometers southeast of Bacúm, was the fourth most violent city in the world in 2020, according to the Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, a Mexican NGO.

The city, Sonora’s second largest after Hermosillo, had a homicide rate of 101.1 per 100,000 people last year, the fourth highest in the world after Celaya, Guanajuato; Tijuana, Baja California; and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. In the first five months of this year, Cajeme was the fourth most violent municipality in the country with 225 homicides, federal data shows.

Abel Murrieta Gutiérrez, a former Sonora attorney general who was running for mayor of Cajeme, was murdered in broad daylight in the city in May.

Later in May, Tomás Rojo Valencia, a community leader and water rights activist, disappeared and his body was found half buried in a rural area near the Yaqui town of Vícam in mid-June.

Also in June, Yaqui environmental activist Luis Urbano was shot dead in downtown Ciudad Obregón.

Sonora was home to six of the 50 most violent municipalities in Mexico between January and May of this year. In addition to Cajeme, Hermosillo, Guaymas, Nogales, Caborca and San Luis Río Colorado made a list of those municipalities presented by the federal government earlier this week.

Sources: El Pais; Televisa; Fronteras; MND

Nearly 7 Tons of Marijuana Seized from Suspected Cartel Grow Sites in Monterey County, California

 "Socalj" for Borderland Beat

Just a week after Monterey County drug agents confiscated 3.5 tons of illegal pot plants, the same agents hauled in another 3-tons of illegal plants Wednesday. Law enforcement officers say they uncovered two unlicensed grow operations off Jolon road near Fort Hunter Liggett.

Valparaiso, Zacatecas: The Hellish War Between CDS And CJNG

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Valparaíso became in recent weeks the nerve center of the "war" between the Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generación cartels, which has left almost a hundred dead and caused the forced displacement of many families.

The recent history of the municipality of Valparaíso shows the degree that armed violence reached in Zacatecas since last year, when a CJNG convoy arrived in that municipality and proclaimed the beginning of its offensive to subdue other criminal groups. 

In this region, armed civilians install illegal checkpoints, threaten and murder health workers and cause them to stop caring for the population of communities and ranches, as well as numerous families leave their homes in an attempt to escape the shootings.

A dozen vehicles, labeled with the acronym CJNG and with men carrying large caliber weapons, broke into the municipal capital of Valparaíso on the night of April 21, 2020 and parked for hours in front of the Municipal Presidency.

The inhabitants of this municipality remember that this is how the wave of violence began in this eastern region of the state. "We are the absolute mob of Lord Mencho!" shouted the armed civilians, who videotaped themselves to send a threatening message to their rivals. The videos taken by them and by some residents circulate on social networks.

Valparaiso become in recent weeks the nerve center of the "war" between the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels (CJNG), which has left almost a hundred dead and caused the forced displacement of many families, who leave their homes in the communities of the mountains for fear of being victims of the constant confrontations.

With the arrival of the "Jaliscos", as the inhabitants name them, the murders of alleged members of rival groups began and the climate of terror in the communities of the mountains. "On the roads they began to put checkpoints, they asked you where you were going, they checked your vehicle," says Juan, a merchant from the municipal capital who, like others who share their testimonies, ask for anonymity.

State public security authorities confirm that six months ago insecurity began to worsen and with it the wave of violence, when gunmen from the Sinaloa Cartel broke into the municipality and began a fierce dispute with the CJNG over the routes to Nayarit, Jalisco and Durango.

In San Juan Capistrano, a mountain community of 399 inhabitants, they do not forget the afternoon of last June 23, when "the gunfire began to be heard towards the mountains." Thus began a bloody battle outside the town that lasted until the early hours of the 25th. Gunmen from the two aforementioned cartels clashed with grenades and high-powered rifles.

The government of Zacatecas reported that at 3:00 p.m. military personnel, National Guard personnel, state police, investigation and experts from the State Attorney General's Office arrived at the place, who collected 18 bodies and dozens of weapons, in addition to finding three vehicles, one of them burned.

The Secretary of Public Security, Arturo López Bazán, declared that it was an ambush. Members of the Sinaloa Cartel circulated on social networks a video in which they presume to have killed 43 CJNG hitmen. A resident of San Juan Capistrano says: "I think they were more dead, the shooting was very ugly.


Chihuahua: 5 Suspected Illegal Loggers Killed; H19, Successor of La Linea Boss H7

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Note: This is a two story article. The first part covers a recent massacre in Guerrero, Chihuahua. The second story discusses a recent revelation on La Linea cartel boss H19.

Guerrero municipality within the Mexican state of Chihuahua, Mexico (photo credit: HEARST from Borderland Beat)

At least five people reportedly involved in illegal logging were killed in Ejido Calaveras, in the municipality of Guerrero, Chihuahua. According to local residents, an armed group attacked them shortly before 10 a.m. on Tuesday while they were cutting pine trees.

The assailants fled in the trucks in which they arrived. They had appointed a getaway driver for each of the vehicles. Witnesses said that another vehicle with armed men was posted about 100 meters (328 feet) from the crime scene to protect the attacking group.

Sources close to the investigation confirmed to local reporters that the death toll could be higher because others loggers fled into the forest and were chased down by sicarios. Their whereabouts are currently unknown.

The local police was the first to arrive at the scene after several emergency calls were made. Upon arrival and confirming the death count, they cordoned off the area and called the Forensic Medical Service (SEMEFO) and the Chihuahua State Police to help in the investigation.

The deceased were preliminarily identified as Ramón Cornelio A. T., 44 years old, and his son Édgar Said P. A., 26 years old; Juan Miguel G. N., 28 years old, Ramón P. S., 30 years old; and Jesús Darian C. R., 17 years old.

No arrests were made.