Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Military and Police were Protecting "El Barbas"

Monday, December 21, 2009 |

The protection system of el capo of the Beltran Leyva cartel included informants within the military, ministerial and municipal police forces and sicarios with the key calssifications like Zafiros and Halcones who moved in vehicles or taxis throughout the city.


CUERNAVACA, Mor.— Mexico's Navy located and dismantled at least four rings of security that protected Arturo Beltran Leyva, El Barbas, who was eventually gun down in an operation that was implemented for his capture last Wednesday.

The protection system of el capo of the Beltran Leyva cartel included informants within the military, ministerial and municipal police forces and sicarios designated under the key names of Zafiros and Halcones who moved around in vehicles or taxis throughout the city.

His inner circle of security escorts was composed of the most hardened sicaros who always guarded him and who were killed during the clash in Punta Vista Hermosa Altitude a community in Cuernavaca, Morelos.

All this information is according to the official files of the PGR/SIEDO/UEIDCS/166/2009 of the Deputy Attorney General Specialized Investigation of Organized Crime (SIEDO).


The information on reports collected on the system of protection for Beltran Leyva, specifically testimony from various witnesses who had been detained by the federal police and federal prosecutors, confirmed that within the criminal cell there were a network of contacts from the Mexican military who were actively participating in providing information to the cell about operations and other acts of intelligence, including the locations of checkpoints or roadblocks. The report does not mention any names of these alleged "contacts"

Within the group of protection that fell to the operation of the infantry of the Navy of Mexico, there were also active police officers who with the backing of their superior officers were directly responsible to provide protection to the houses of cartel members, to be bodyguards for cartel leaders or to be guides for different groups sicarios living in other states.

The document details how the agents were paid 2,000 dollars a month and their mission was to report any operation against the cartel, rescue or assist those members of the cartel that might get arrested, to report all suspicious vehicles or even serve as a "wall of protection" in ensuring the success of actions perpetuated by sicarios or executioners of the organization.

The large numbers of Halcones that dedicated itself to conducting runs throughout the state capital had private vehicles to carry out surveillance, while alone or in pairs and sometimes even in teams of four.


The document revealed that the Halcones were usually equipped cell phones or radios, but were not armed. Their primary mission was to report the movements of the Army, federal and state police, in addition to the presence of suspicious vehicles in each of their perspective areas.

The sicarios called Zafiros, who received the information from the Halcones, were in charged with alerting the cartel leaders of any threat, as was the presence of the naval soldiers who ultimately took the life of el capo known as Jefe de Jefes in his luxurious apartment.

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