Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

The Sicario War and the Drugs of El Mayo

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 |















Original article by Zeta Tijuana

In Tijuana, family members of Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada have been kidnapped, in Toluca, the same has happened to the family members of the Arellano Felix cartel.

The Drugs of El Mayo
First, Alfredo Arteaga “El Aquiles” and José Soto “El Tigre” were fighting over the split of amount of drugs that Ismael Zambada had consigned to the two of them, then over the territory they used to retail drug sales in Baja California, then later, for the favor of the CAF and for the confidence that “El Mayo" had for each of them. Their internal conflict culminated with the major marijuana shipment found in México and the abduction of women with relationships with the Sinaloa and Arellano Félix cartels, which could lead to a bloody war.

ZETA investigates
The fight between criminals favored by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, detonated a wave of executions these past two weeks in Tijuana and the discovery of 134 tons of marijuana by the Municipal Police, initial investigation by the State Public Security.

The protagonists of this bloody war (which concluded with the 400 million pesos of illicit drugs belonging to the Sinaloa cartel), are Alfredo Arteaga González “Aquiles” and José Soto Gastélum “El Tigre”. The latter had the support of the cells loyal to Héctor Eduardo Guajardo Hernández “El Güicho”, in addition to killers under the orders of Juan Miguel Valle Beltrán “El Bóxer”.

The elements to test this line of investigation, complied by the intelligence services of the advisory committee for state security in Baja California was the following three events:

1.- Reports have been confirmed, during the first week of October three females of the family of “El Mayo” Zambada were abducted as they were boarding a flight at the International Airport of Tijuana “Abelardo L. Rodríguez”.

2.- Rodolfo Campos Montoya “El Fito”, captured during the marijuana bust, declared himself a member of organized crime at the service of “El Güicho” and “El Tigre”, and gave details about an internal struggle that has cost dozens of lives in the past few weeks. But he assured authorities that his group weren't the ones who kidnapped Zambada's family members.

3.-He also confessed that part of the territorial dispute that occurred on Sunday night, 17 of October also resulted in the shots fired at the Municipal Police offices, and he had been sent to bodega in the Murúa district to steal only a few tons of marijuana from “El Aquiles.”

The Kidnapping.
The authorities from the three branches of government that have tried to calm the citizens of Tijuana. They received information about 15 days ago about a kidnapping that wasn't announced publicly of three women in the immediate family of “El Mayo;" an aunt, a niece and a cousin of Zambada's had disappeared at the beginning of October after they arrived at the airport.

The impact of this event could cause a destabilization of the security situation in the state, although an investigation has yet to be initiated as of the writing of this article. The Security Advisory Committee had been gathering intelligence on organized crime and its infiltrators in their ranks.

Three versions have been drawn from that information:

One.- The kidnappers were working for Fernando Sánchez Arellano “El Ingeniero” although it is not certain whether he would have had knowledge of this plan prior to its implementation.

Two.- The groups of Soto Gastélum vía “El Güicho”, were criminals that “did not obey orders” to cease the kidnappings and many of the cells continued to sustain themselves economically by continuing these type of abductions. They are the ones who perpetrated the abduction of the females

Three.- The version that surface on October 19th from the confessions of “El Fito”, who said that “Aquiles”, a trafficker in the service of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada was the person responsible for the abductions. "Aquiles" started his criminal career in Mexicali and since 2008 and practically all of 2009, had spent his time in the coastal zone where he was sent to conduct business and eventually he established agreements with the Arellano Felix cartel to sell Sinaloa product through their networks and also move that product through the major ports of entry the CAF controls into the United States.

According to the last version, when attempting to gain a foothold in Tijuana, Arteaga González had better luck trafficking drugs than getting rid of his competition, José Soto Gastélum “El Tigre” who was the self proclaimed leader of the group that controlled major smuggling corridors that were previously owned by Teodoro García Simental "El Teo."

“Aquiles” was initially in a supporting role in Tijuana, trafficking drugs in conjunction with “El Tigre,", it was after he established contact with the CAF and they allowed him to increase his circle of influence in the area by receiving and moving major quantities of drugs, that he really began to move up the food chain, which Soto did not like at all.

The two groups began to have confrontations and these are the two versions of the conflict:

On the side of Arteaga; he justified the killings (beheadings a few weeks ago covered here on Borderland Beat) because of disobedience by “El Güicho” and to put an end to the continued problem of kidnappings that have “heated up the plaza."

From the cells of “El Tigre"; the argument for attacking "los Aquiles” was “…they were passing information to the authorities and other groups (working for El Ingeniero)." This is how he (Aquiles) increased his power and the size of his organization. This is why "El Tigre" began to kill the informants working for his competitor.

According to “los Güichos”, in this context and “in order to stay in good graces with ‘El Sillas’ (Juan Sillas Rocha), which is the same as being in the favor of ‘El Ingeniero’”, Arteaga decided to kidnap the women in the family of his principal provider “El Mayo”, with the objective of framing Soto and Hernández Guajardo "El Güicho" .

Without a formal investigation into these conflicting versions full of obvious sentiment, the authorities have not identified those responsible for the violence, but according to unofficial information from the same authorities, they do not believe the violence was ordered by Zambada, even though he had recently approved a request by Arteaga to be his principal representative in Tijuana.

Unofficial reports say that the people of “El Mayo” kidnapped a woman in the family of Benjamín Arellano in Toluca, to exchange her for information. Sinaloa already knows who took the family members of Zambada, and that this was about an operator of the CAF, although the person responsible for this particular kidnapping did this “without permission."

The situation that was provoked by the conflict between Soto and Aquiles had already grown difficult and was further complicated by the events on Sunday October 17th when the criminal cell headed by “El Fito” was informed of the existence of a bodega of a rival group and according to the killer, he was ordered to assault it by his bosses.

Central supplies of the Narco
Those in charge of the robbery didn't know, but they had come across a critical supply depot of organized crime, located barely 100 meters from boulevard Murúa and near two stores named “Vivero San Juan” and “Taller Mecánico Delfos”.

Near the alley of the building which belonged to the mafiosos, the stash house was tucked away, hidden next to the "Taller Mecanico," a small tire store. The bodega was made to intentionally look in like it was still in the initial stages of construction, even though vehicles came and left, the storage trailers used to house the drugs and the bodega itself looked abandoned. Even the hours before the operation that led to the discovery of 134 tons of marijuana, no activity had been reported in the area.

Due to the characteristics and the state of condition that the marijuana was found, the security forces of Baja California have determined the 134 tons of drugs they discovered had been sitting at the site for about 20-30 days.

Sources say the marijuana found in Tijuana traveled there by land, air and sea. For example: the herb that had traveled by sea had a heavy grease coating on the outside of the plastic in case the packages made contact with water, it wouldn't soak the contents. Those that got there by plane had a medium to light grease so they could fit as much as possible in the fuselage, they also were fitted with extra plastic packaging in case they had to be air-dropped in the desert so they wouldn't bust open on impact. the rest had arrived by truck, through the highways that connect Sinaloa to Baja California. This was despite the best efforts by the military in Mexicali, due to leaks by corrupt officials in the state who had contact with a man named “El Macho Prieto," a representative of Sinaloa cartel for their interests in Baja California.

The inscriptions, nicknames and symbols on the packages of marijuana indicated who was the owner: an operator of the Sinaloa cartel. In addition to this, at the scene of the bust investigators found a small ledger with a list of last names and alias' of more that 30 distributors who would be given 30 to 40 packages on the average, some up to 200, according to the annotations.

The robbery ends in a bust.
The night they planned the theft of the drugs, Rodolfo Campos Montoya “El Fito”, received the go-ahead order from Eduardo Guajardo “El Güicho” to take down the bodega in Chilpancingo, where the intelligence gathered had informed them that they would find 3 to 4 tons of marijuana. They sent "El Fito" to steal it.

“El Fito”gathered a crew of 7 men who worked for him and they boarded 2 Silverado trucks and they went to the bodega with the intent of stealing the marijuana. Upon arrival they found two trucks and two large pallets of the drug and they took off with the cargo, but as soon as they left they found themselves surrounded by Municipal Police, who had spotted the convoy as it made its way to the bodega.

To begin with, “El Fito” and his cell didn't take into account tha the 5 trailers behind their target might full of drugs. These were discovered and seized by municipal agents who were accompanied by the Secretary of Public Security of Tijuana, Julián Leyzaola Pérez.

The bodega was less than 100 meters from a recreation center called “El Vergel”.

The operation results in capture
It was 22:45 hours on Sunday, When a call for help came over the Municipal Police radio. The police official in charge of that zone shouted for all units to respond because the officers of patrol 4104, two men and one woman, were under fire.

“Over the frequency we could hear sirens and gunfire”.

According to the officials who were attacked, they were approached on one side by a van and then on the other by a white Dakota pick-up that began to open fire on their vehicle.

The agent who was driving attempted to reach for his service pistol and was hit in the left foot by a bullet. the passenger and the female officer in the back quickly ducked down and attempted to return fire.
As soon as they were able to get a hold of the shift supervisor, the patrol under fire made its way to the offices of stolen vehicles for the State Prosecutor.

By then help arrived in the form of the municipal officers in Murúa lead by the Secretary of Public Security, Lieutenant Coronal Julián Leyzaola, whose help was requested by the Preventative State Police (PEP). The PEP had organized the patrols such as the one that had spotted the drug convoy to establish a zone of security.

The order went out to detain the convoy, although at the time of initial contact,they had been investigated this activity simply as a suspicious vehicle, they had no idea that the crew of "El Fito" were carrying a large quantity of drugs .

To provide backup to the municipals, 16 groups of the PEP combed the colonias Aledañas to find the assailants. In addition to the vehicle descriptions, the agents under fire said the criminals had hidden themselves in the canal del río.

On Alejandrina street in colonia Los Álamos they found some of the suspects, Manuel Ledesma in particular admitted to firing at the officers. Simultaneously, near the offices of stolen vehicles for the State Prosecutor Jorge Avelar and José Martínezwere also detained. They were trying to file a false police report claiming the truck that had fired upon the officers had been stolen from them earlier that evening.

Among the additional vehicles and weapons seized was a late model Chevy Tahoe and an assault rifle.
The three other suspects were detained after they were found circling the block in a Silverado on a side street of Alamar road, they were headed toward the canal. The suspects had parked a vehicle by the swimming pools of “El Vergel," were they had left a broken down GMC truck full of marijuana, they were caught by surprise by state agents as they attempted to recover their stolen merchandise.

State and municipal agents followed the three men in the pick up and after the men ran from the truck on foot and hid among the reeds and trash of the drainage canals, two of them traded gunshots with the police before they were captured. The one in front of the group who confront the officers in the canal, Óscar Iván Guillén, took four bullets and the others quickly gave up. One was “El Fito” whose real name is José Francisco, same as his brother who was murdered in November of 2008.

In this operation Héctor Mendoza Lizárraga was also captured. it was 00:30 hours on Monday, October 19 2010.

Four others were detained outside the building in Chilpancingo; the two vehicles found were a white Freightliner, another in a large GMC van, both loaded with marijuana and each vehicle had a driver and passenger to navigate. Their names were: Hipólito Guerrero, Rafael Macías, Luis Zamarrón and Antonio García.

The men began to talk, they admitted they had stolen the merchandise and led the police to the bodega around four in the morning. When the state and municipal forces arrived, they spotted two suspects dressed in black who were trying to hide in the canal and upon further inspection, they could see there was a hidden passage and the perpetrators had left the door open.

In one section of the bodega they found packaging material and on the extremity of the wall which was adjacent to the supposed abandoned tractor trailers parked outside, there was a small opening that was covered by wood and other materials. When the officials exposed the opening, they realized it was a false bottom that was being used to store a very large quantity of marijuana. The results made headlines around the world.

The first order of business was to transport the 134 tons of the drugs to the offices of the Municipal Public Secretary of Tijuana in Otay. From that moment on, Captain Gustavo Huerta informed the 2nd zone military squad and the army installation commanded by General Alfonso Duarte Mújica that they should take charge of the operation in securing the illicit substance. The marijuana was transported by the 2nd Zone Military squad in colonia Morelos who were there to provide support to the PEP, and helped search a dozen houses in the area.

Most of the domiciles were vacant, “There was evidence they had left in a hurry”. Still, in a few of the houses the investigates were able to recover a certain amount of drugs.

In the house without posted numbers on Agua Prieta street, located between Guerrero Negro and Tijuana street in colonia Constitución, two growhouses were found with the doors wide open. And in house number 1275 on Pedro Ruiz in colonia Lucio Blanco, official reports confirm that from this building Juan Miguel Valle Beltrán “El Bóxer," made his escape, but they were able to recover a large amount of drugs and weapons from the property.

“El Fito”
Among the events of this year the capture of “El Bóxer” and “El Fito” had been a huge priority for the police, because they were the hands of Héctor Eduardo Guajardo Hernández “El Güicho”, who is in the service of “El Tigre”, who has turned himself into the new “Teo”.

Both the PEP and the municipality of Tijuana recognize that several of their operations have failed.
When they realized that the detained men worked for “El Güicho”, they began questioning them on the organization they belonged too. When he was initially detained, Rodolfo Campos Montoya “El Fito” gave a false name, calling himself José Francisco Sánchez Roldán he first admitted to being called “Fito”.

At the moment of capture there was resistance on Vista Alegre street in the neighborhood of Chula Vista in Rosarito. "El Fito" also admitted to committing three murders himself and using firearms to commit those crimes.

In July of 2010, with a Beretta 9mm he killed “El Juanca”, who worked forFernando Sánchez Arellano and this was known to be a personal vendetta. "El Fito" killed this man because he had information he had kidnapped and murdered his brother José Francisco.

After that he killed an unknown man who was drunk and he fired without reason. He was unsure of the date but he said it was in front of a place called Primo Tapia. The man's alias was “El Toro” and he was his third victim. He also also stole a half pound of crystal meth from this man, and killed him in colonia Constitución.
He was also the getaway driver for “El Bóxer” and “El Naras” so that they could kill “a ministerial officail” who was leaving his offices in Rosarito. This was vengeance for not accepting a bribe release a few certain traffickers (Plata o plomo, money or lead). They murdered José Antonio Sánchez Velázquez on July 28th of this year.

“El Fito” also said that he was the lookout while Valle Beltrán hung Jonathan Sergio Ramos Pulido and Miguel Ángel Curiel from the PEMEX bridge on Rosarito and Tijuana streets on the 11th of October.
The criminal structure that unravel within the last two years explained that “El Güicho” settles his accounts with“El Tigre” and he settles with “Chapo” and “Mayo”. At the same level of Guajardo Hernández is: “El Lupe”, “El 223”, Javier Uriarte “El Chapito”. He gave quite a bit of insight of the cells of Héctor Guajardo. The operators left are “El Bóxer”, “El Músico” y “El Negro”.

Working for “El Bóxer": “El Naras”, “El Jonás”, “El Cascajo” and “El Miguelón” and a group identified as “Los Cheneques”. With “El Negro” traffickers and killers called “Chispas” and “Jordan Boy”. All are currently fugitives from the law.

Rodolfo Campos Montoya “El Fito”, was the one who led state authorities to the site of the bust, also revealed that Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada controlled parts of Tijuana all the way from Sinaloa, through Alfredo Arteaga “El Aquiles” and José Soto “El Tigre”, who were fighting over the control of "the plaza” and the confidence of Zambada, they are the ones responsible for providing the conditions for México to make the biggest drug seizure in its history: 134 tons of marijuana.

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9 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Seems like sinaloa and tijuana had come to some sort of agreement. No wonder tj has not been in a blood shed like other regions for some time.

Anonymous said...

This was very interesting. It provides a lot of insight into what is going on in TJ. I must say that some of the story appears to be forced confessions. It seems like everytime a major crime happens here. A few days later someone confesses to being a part of it and several other high profile crimes. A sign that the police are forcing confessions out of anyone else that they have enough evidence to arrest on other charges.

Capo said...

I am very surprised that el cartel de Tijuana was operating with El Mayo, considering he is the one who balked at El Commandante's(Ramon Arrellano Felix) order of paying the Tijuana cartel 5 million dollars to use routes in Tijuana. Causing Ramon to go looking to collect in Mazatlan, where he was quickly executed on El Mayo's orders. I guess business comes before brotherly love in El Ingienero's case.

Anonymous said...

If this article is true, Don Mayo Zambada will make alot of heads roll over this one...What people don't understand is from what people say Don Mayo Zambada is just as powerful as Don Chapo Guzman. He employs just as much people who are faithful to him till the death and it's not a matter of who is number one in the CDS but more of a partnership at the top...I am just saying what people actually know. Look for el Macho Prieto to start employing his folks to run a muck...Never ending saga in Mexico...A corrido could be written everyday for what happens there..Crazy stuff man...

J said...

Well, all that Arellano Felix/Mayo stuff was a decade ago, Mayo's probably one of the only standing narco's left from that era, and El Ingeiero is not a brother, he's their nephew, who knows if it's true or not, but it would be smart business if it was true. One thing about CAF is that they were never greedy, they had Tijuana, and that was is, I never heard of them going to another state, or trying to take over territory, like Sinaloa Hopefully, Mayo is al old man now, who fixes the situation by eliminating El Tigre, and leaves it at that.

Adam said...

Ramon was killed 8 years ago, Feb 10, 2002 to be exact, and El Ingeniero is a nephew, Arrellano's sister's son. El Mayo is not the only standing Jefe left from 02, el mero mero, Hijo de La Tuna, Joaquin Guzman Loera runs the show, then and now.

J said...

I think that Mayo and Chapo are equal in power and strength, and operate as partners, or independents, not as boss and employee, or boss/underboss. Either way, 8 years/ten years, not a big difference, it's ancient history, esp. in narco time. And, it was only speculated, never confirmed, to my understanding that Ramon was killed by cops on Mayo's payroll, but who knows. As far as CAF/Sinaloa, Mayo's still around, sure, but Fernando Sanchez and his people were just barely coming up around 2000-2002. My point is that it's not a stretch to say they may have let the past rest, and do some business in 2010.

jaypee said...

Good article. Even if not everything is correct, it sums up whos working in T.J.

Anonymous said...

la neta, they just have to let the narcos work.. its the same fucken roll wen alcohol was illegal too.... si o no compass??

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