Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nacho Was in the Hands of Police Authorities 17 Years Ago

"The Nacho" Coronel was incarcerated in the prison of Aguaruto nearly 17 years ago, but local authorities did not know who he was.

The Center of "Ejecución de las Consecuencias Jurídicas" in Sinaloa had among their cells the capo Ignacio "El Nacho" Coronel Villarreal on November of 1993.

Under the alias Arturo Barrios Cesar Romero, born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, Coronel Villarreal was arrested on November 2, 1993, along with 11 other people, including four alleged agents of the defunct Federal Judicial Police, when they were traveling in a convoy of three vehicles with an arsenal of weapons.

At the time, it caused such a stir that even the State Human Rights Commission and the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights in Sinaloa were involved.

It was an incident of great media coverage. The reason is that apparently this group had entered Sinaloa from Ciudad Obregon, to assassinate a regional boss. What frightened society the most nearly 17 years ago, is that the federal agents also reportedly provided protection or served as escorts to organized crime.

The story has several chapters: After the arrest and finding that four of the defendants were agents of the defunct Federal Judicial Police, the so-called "Group of 12" or "The 12 Apostles" were moved to the then Institute of Social Rehabilitation of Sinaloa.

They were issued orders of sentences to all that included offences against the administration of justice, possession of firearms for some, and even falsification of official documents for one more.

A team of 11 lawyers defending the accused cause a plea that got lost in the legal shuffle when the then head of the PGR in Sinaloa, Héctor Márquez Sandoval was replaced by Carlos Flores Gonzalez, by order of the Federal Attorney General Jorge Carpizo McGregor, who entered a plea of release before a federal judge.

The theme of drug trafficking in that year was already circulating information about an assassination attempt on Amado Carrillo in Mexico City.

The arrest, failure to pay a toll booth in La Costera

According to newspaper reports, the arrest occurred at 10:00 pm on November 2, 1993, after the convoy made up of a dark gray Grand Marquis, a green Ram Charger and a Chevrolet SS pick-up refused to pay the toll at the booth located in La Platanera, which is on Highway Benito Juárez.

A patrol of the State Judicial Police who was passing by came to help, tried to stop them and the group identified themselves as agents of the PJF.

The patrol officers followed them and requested for assistance from Centracom (now C4) and managed to stop them miles ahead through a roadblock. The group was spearheaded by the late Francisco Javier "El Flaco" Bojorquez Ruelas, killed in August 2005.

When they were surrounded the alleged criminals tried to intimidate the authorities with "cuernos de chivo," AK-47s. But eventually they were taken in to custody without resistance and taken to the PJE facilities in Culiacan.

There they tried to explain that they were agents with a special mission in Sinaloa.

They were in possession of an arsenal of weapons

When they were presented to the media, it was reported that the group was in possession of seven AK-47 rifles, an AR-15, seven 9-mm handguns and two rifles .380.

One of the guns was engraved with the national coat of arms, and embedded with diamonds, a ruby and an emerald. Another handgun had ivory handgrips.

They also had 614 rounds of ammunition for the AK-47s, 20 fully loaded magazines, 186 rounds for the AR-15, 115 for the 380 and 165 for the 9mm handguns. They also had a red undercover police emergency light, six cell phones and counter intelligence equipment used to avoid being tracked from communication signals.

In cash, they had 40,000 pesos and $2,000 in US dollars.

The suspects posing as agents were identified as Jose Ramon Chavez, Enrique Prieto and the police commander Olegario Pérez, all from Mexico City.

There was also Ranulfo Galindo who claims to just started working as a Federal Agent for "fees."

At that time, "El Nacho" Coronel was using a fake name of Arturo Barrios Cesar Romero.

In the operation they also detained David Serratos Gutiérrez, Dagoberto Rodríguez Jiménez, Jorge Zamora Gutiérrez and Alejandro Cháidez Villalobos, all supposedly from Guadalajara, and the latter with photojournalist credentials.

They also arrested Jose Luis Galeana Rosales from Acapulco, Armando Machado Colonel from Guasave, Sinaloa, and Jesus Antonio Rivera from Cosalá, Sinaloa.

The Charger was stolen and "the special mission"

By noon it was learned that the Ram was stolen from Sonora. The unit had been taken for a test ride from a car dealership and was stolen. This was confirmed by the dealership Cajeme Automotive in Ciudad Obregon, according to a newspaper article.

Then in a second call from the dealership they said that the truck had been paid and title transferred but no name of the new owner was provided.

During the interrogations of the suspects the commander Olegario Perez kept his cell phone and agents did not take it from him, so he was able to make several calls.

Olegario said during the interview that he and another passenger were riding in the Marquis. The later agents testified that both were actually travelling in the red Charger truck.

Authorities from the PGR said they did not know the detainees. But the suspects maintained that their mission was to go from Sonora to Durango, and then return to Sonora, then eventually to Sinaloa, all under a special mission.

The suspects pretending to be agents of the PJE refused to allow their photos to be taken.

The Vehicles, weapons, cash and jewelry were turned over to the PGR. Also turned over were eight changes of clothing, several pairs of exotic skin boots and a black cap with yellow letters that formed words "Federal Judicial Police. DN Militar."

"The investigation on these facts continued for the rest of the day, as it was suspected by the judicial authorities, that the names provided by the suspects might be false.

The newspaper Noroeste reported on November 2, 1993 that they contacted the delegation of the PGR in Sonora, Fausto Destenabe Cur, who said he did not know the suspects that were alleged to be assigned from Sonora.

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