Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Missing in Piedras Negras

Saturday, March 26, 2011 |

Cuenta con nuestras oraciones amiga!! Nuestra Madre Maria Santísima, lo protege!! Ten Fe!!
(You can count on our prayers my friend, Our Blessed Mother Mary will protect him. Have Faith!!)

Mi niña, desde acá los abrazo fuertemente y estamos como siempre unidos; yo se que tu estás llena de Dios y que El nunca nos abandona, Gerardito está protejido por El y muy prontito estará con ustedes. Tu tío, tus primas y yo estamos en oración continua. Los queremos.
(My dear we embrace you strongly and we are as always united with you; I know you are full of God's spirit and He will never abandon us, Gerardito is protected by Him and will quickly be released. Your uncle, cousins and I are in continous prayer, we love you)

No nos cansaremos gerardito es de nosotros tambien seguiremos orando LOS AMAMOS
(We shall not tire, Gerardito is ours also and we will continue our prayers, WE LOVE YOU)

No nos cansaremos ,,,y somos muchos ya unidos en oración,,,y con mucha fe pronto regresará con ustedes ya lo verás...te mando un fuerte abrazo amiga...Dios los bendiga...
(We shall not tire and we are many united in prayer, and with so much faith he will return to you, you’ll see. Sending you a strong embrace and may God bless you)

estamos con ustedes , no estan solos, Dios nunca nos deja en los malos momentos, con fe todo sale adelante , estamos en oraqcion por Gerardito!!!
(We are with you, you are not alone, God never abandons us in bad times. With faith everything moves forward. We are in prayer for Gerardito)

Seguimos orando por gerardito y por ustedes para que les de fortaleza !!! Dios es grande y escucha nuestras oraciones!!! Te quiero mucho !!!
(We continue our prayers for Gerardito and for strength that you may carry on!!! God is great and listens to our prayers!!! I love you so much!!!


These, and millions like them, are the messages of support and prayer being sent to the families of Mexico whose Faith and strength are being severely tested by the disappearances of loved ones.

It is an even worse tragedy when the victims are innocent of any crime or wrongdoing, whose only mistake was, for example, being at the wrong place at the wrong time. There are no ransom demands and usually no communications from the abductors.

Sometimes the pleas for release and the Faith of friends and family of these innocent victims are answered. Often, however, there is only a permanent silence.

In this case the messages above are meant for the mother of Gerardo Heath Sanchez, an innocent 14 year old teenager that was caught up in the dozens of abductions perpetrated by groups of gunmen that occurred in northern Coahuila a week ago on the night of Friday, March 18th.

We all hope and pray that the parties responsible for the disappearance of Gerardito and the other innocent victims taken in Coahuila, and indeed throughout Mexico, show mercy and spare them, for they surely are aware that these victims pose no threat.

Particularly hard hit by this wave of violence was the border city of Piedras Negras and the town of Allende. What has been particularly horrifying about this wave of violence is that, according to local residents, this time many of the abducted appear to be completely innocent, with no connection to organized crime and this time also whole families of those who appear to be victims of a “settling of accounts” were taken.

What seems certain is that there is no longer any respect for innocent bystanders and civilians not involved in any way with organized crime. An example of this is the threat issued by Celso Martinez “el Celso”, a top Zeta in the Piedras Negras plaza, to free a relative apprehended by federal police in Piedras Negras. According to a source in Piedras, the relative was freed after “Celso” threatened grenade attacks against the homes of innocent residents of the city.

Unconfirmed reports from residents of Piedras Negras and “los cinco manantiales”, the towns of Allende, Morelos, Zaragoza, Villa Union and Nava, reveal that up to one hundred victims have been abducted including one infant.

In order to highlight their cruelty, many of the homes of the kidnapped victims were torched and destroyed on subsequent days by their abductors, presumed to be members of Los Zetas as this is on of their most closely held territories. In Allende, groups of Zetas unopposed by any authorities, were said to have prevented firemen from performing their duty.

Up to 10 homes and ranch-houses were said to have been burned to the ground in Allende. A family by the name Villanueva and said to be linked to organized crime was hit hard in Allende.

Indeed, these abductions and arson were performed under the radar of the federal police, an army unit, state and municipal police who failed in their duty to protect Piedras Negras, “los cinco manantiales” and all their residents. On Thursday of this week, Eduardo Espinoza, a 31 year veteran of the Piedras Negras police force and the current chief of operations resigned his position, citing personal reasons.

As for Gerardo Heath Sanchez, his only crime was of visiting the home of his friends Victor and Guillermo Cruz Saldua and their parents, Victor Cruz Requena and Brenda Saldua Dovalina.

Victor Cruz Requena and Brenda Saldua Dovalina.

The Cruz family and their guest Gerardo were abducted by gunmen during the wave of abductions that began last Friday. The home of the Cruz family was reportedly set ablaze soon after the abduction.

It was known to local residents that the father, Victor Cruz, a local businessman, had links to organized crime.

It is believed that the Cruz family was killed soon after the abduction and that the mother of Gerardo received a message saying that her son would be released within 72 hours but his whereabouts remain unknown.

One remaining son of Victor Cruz reportedly escaped the abduction and may be in hiding along with other extended Cruz and Saldua family members in Eagle Pass, Texas, across the border from Piedras Negras.

Another resident of Piedras, Edgar Avila age 37, was also reportedly an innocent bystander taken in the Friday abductions. His whereabouts remain unknown.

The identities of two other businessmen with possible links to organized crime and targeted in the abductions is known. Rafael Gonzalez is one of these men. However he escaped being abducted but his father and a brother, Don Armando and Arnulfo or Armando junior, were both taken.

Armando Castro, another of these tainted businessmen and co-owner of Lamburgueza, a popular hamburger eatery, also escaped abduction by being out of town when his home was invaded. As his thwarted abductors were leaving, however, his residence was set on fire.

The cause of these and the other abductions in northern Coahuila are unknown, but several educated guesses have been made by Piedras residents. Maybe there is a link to the recent confrontations and arrests in Saltillo and San Luis Potosi that have certainly disrupted the Los Zetas organization.

Maybe an “ajuste de cuentas” or settling of accounts with compromised Zeta associates including several local businessmen involved in money laundering, providing cover for investments and clandestine businesses, was ordered by new people in the Zeta hierarchy. People under the slightest suspicion of being informants and others involved in the smuggling of arms may have also been targeted.

It is understood that these businesspeople offer their services in return for protection by Los Zetas but once in these criminal networks their lives are completely dependent on the whims of the plaza leaders. Such was the fate of Victor Cruz and his family.

Another theory is that the abductions may be related to the defection of two important ex-Zetas from Saltillo, “el Parejas” and “el Guero Valero”, to the Gulf Cartel and the beginning of a Zeta-Gulf cartel conflict in Coahuila.

These two men, extremely knowledgeable about Zeta operations in Coahuila, reportedly defected with their cells are thought to be responsible for heating up the Saltillo plaza and other areas of the state since March 4th, the day both men and their people raided Saltillo, causing mayhem and deaths as they drove up and down the main thoroughfares of the city at precisely the hour ex-Governor Humberto Moreira was being inaugurated in Queretaro as the new national president of the PRI political party.

The current leader of the Piedras Negras plaza is reported to be Raul Lucio Hernandez Lechuga “el Lucky”, a Zeta Viejo or member of the initial corp of Zetas that defected from the Mexican Army and joined forces with the Gulf Cartel under Osiel Cardenas, now under custody in the U.S. prison system.

Lucio Hernandez is reported to be the owner of several businesses using assumed names, among them the Black City mall and Mario’s Steakhouse. Adriana Monserrat Cardenas, an associate and lover of el Lucky, is reported to manage several of his business interests in Piedras Negras, along with other members of her family.

Under Lucio Hernandez in the plaza hierarchy is Mario Alfonso “Poncho” Cuellar, also known as Coahuila’s “rey de la heroina”, an ex-officer with the now defunct Policia Federal de Caminos (federal transit police). Poncho Cuellar was initially recruited and mentored by the late Tony Tormenta and is now reported to be a close friend and associate of “El 40” Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, who is in the highest leadership circle of the Los Zetas cartel.


Poncho Cuellar is reportedly responsible for organizing and smuggling shipments of cocaine, heroin and marijuana into the U.S. He assumed his current role after the murder of Norberto “Tammy” Aleman, who was known for his wide network of corrupt municipal, state and federal authorities. It was also believed that “Tammy” had bought off important U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials in his sector of the border.

Cuellar is married to Paula Elena Barragan, a notary public and resident of Eagle Pass, Texas who also helps her husband with his business interests.

Another high ranking member of the plaza hierarchy in Piedras Negras is the previously mentioned Celso Martinez, another close friend and associate of “el 40” Trevino Morales.

The Piedras Negras border area is just one of several areas in Coahuila that are heating up since the powerful ex-Governor left the state and appointed a caretaker Governor pending elections later this year.

Further south, in the Monclova area, the city hall of the municipality of Santa Buenaventura was attacked by gunmen on Wednesday, March 23. The number of casualties, if any, was unreported.

In the state capitol of Saltillo the Mexican army reported a clash Thursday, March 24, in the Satelite Norte neighborhood that resulted in the deaths of two gunmen and the capture of two others and various weapons. Also in Saltillo in the predawn hours of this past Sunday, a raid by Marine forces that included the use of armed helicopters resulted in various armed clashes within the city and the deaths of three gunmen.

Also on Thursday, an ambush of federal police was reported in the mountainous municipality of Arteaga, located on federal highway 57 that runs from the U.S.-Mexico border to San Luis Potosi. One gunman was reported killed and three captured in that clash.

This past Sunday, a raid by army troops on a safehouse in the municipality of Viesca, located in southern Coahuila, resulted in the deaths of five gunmen and the detention of three others, and the seizure of 18 rifles, 11 sidearms, 9 grenades, 6 vehicles and an undetermined amount of crack cocaine and marijuana.


Sources:

Residents of Piedras Negras

Balacera en Saltillo deja 3 muertos
http://www.elsiglodedurango.com.mx/noticia/306033.balacera-en-saltillo-deja-tres-muertos-asesin.html

http://www.sedena.gob.mx/index.php/sala-de-prensa/comunicados-de-prensa-de-los-mandos-territoriales/6202-24-de-marzo-de-2011-saltillo-coah

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150175518778689

emboscada a policias federales
http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/754206.html

La conecion Saltillo-Monterrey
http://www.reporteindigo.com/indigoupdate/articulo/la-conexion-saltillo-mty

levantan a comerciante y familia….
http://thenarcotimes.blogspot.com/2011/03/levantan-comerciante-y-familia-en.html

Fotos de una narcofiesta…..
http://www.mundonarco.com/2010/06/fotos-de-una-narcofiesta-en-piedras.html

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26 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Best source of information. Great Job !!!!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone can give me the statistics on the number of Americans killed in mexico as a result of the drug wars since 2006? I came across the figure in an article here just can't find it. Thanks.

--BorderlandSnitches

Anonymous said...

Cuellar is the main reason for alot of disappearences throughout eagle pass and piedras in the past weeks, including the kidnapping of his wife. Cuellar stole 8 million dollars from going into piedras and is rumored that he switched over to the CDG. Celso ordered the kidnapping of his family and also extended family or anybody that may know where the money is.

Buela said...

This morning on hwy 57 (saltillo-Monclova) Mx army spotted a surburban "acting suspiciously" which they attempted to stop. The occupants responded with gunfire..the end result was the 3 occupants of the surburban were killed.

2 bad guys but unfortunately the third was their kidnap victim who was bounded inside the vehicle

as for how many US killed in Mx since 2006...pick a number 250-300. one would think we could have a solid number. Majority are in Juarez which I have in the 125+ range, most media has it at around 200 thru 2009 for all Mx
anyone else have numbers and source I would like to see that as well.

Anonymous said...

"An example of this is the threat issued by Celso Martinez “el Celso”, a top Zeta in the Piedras Negras plaza, to free a relative apprehended by federal police in Piedras Negras. According to a source in Piedras, the relative was freed after “Celso” threatened grenade attacks against the homes of innocent residents of the city."
----------------------------------------------

So to get released all they have to do is make threats? What type of messed up laws are those? never in a million years would that happen in the U.S. NEVER... In the U.S. you make all the threats even kill innocent people and that person would not be released from jail... Mexico has got to stop playing games with these monsters and they need to KILL THEM ON SIGHT! And keep killing them and do not stop until every last one of them is dead! No matter what it takes or how many lives are lost all the narcos in Mexico have got to be exterminated!

Stinky "Z40" is working with the DEA! He has been captured more than once but because he is working with the DEA they let him ot to continue getting information, just as they were doing with "La Barbie"

You just watch in a short time "Z40" will be arrested with no shots fired just as "La Barbie" and will probably be put in a cell right next to him. They are keeping the "cooperators" together in nicer living conditions! "La Barbie" has a nice little heater in his cell and a 27 inch LCD flat screen TV and designer clothes and catered food is being brought to him! One of his family members collected the reward money for giving up the location of Arturo Beltrán Leyva! This is why Barbie was all smiles in his pictures wearing the polo shirt!

Anonymous said...

The guy in the background is Oscar Cuellar, nephew who launders money through construction projects in McAllen Texas. They do millions of dollar jobs for the State of Texas.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the location of barragan soon her bodys pic will be shown here..not before I have my way with auu! La nueva federacion.

Anonymous said...

i actually banged that broad(paula) a long time ago!!
OMG no clue she was in on all this shit...

Anonymous said...

Great job. Some info is missing, but mostly complete.

Anonymous said...

is dovalina related to the attorney in del rio and how bad is it in acuna

Anonymous said...

en allende la casa de poncho cuellar .los moreno fueron quemados igualmente sus ranchos yyy garza

Anonymous said...

I was told by a family member that all the Garza families homes were burnt down...even those not involved in the crime. It is said that the Zeta leader lives in Allende, and that all the homes were torched because the Zetas are looking for someone by the name of Jose Luis Garza. He apparently with his boss and another member robbed cocaine out of a train and they are searching for them. IT is said that that is why ALL (nephews, children, mother, brothers, even just acquittance) are being murdered even small children. It's an attempt to get him out of hiding as well as the family members of the others. IT is also said that the day that these acts happened the police station was closed as if they had been forewarned to stay out of it) and that a home was burned two nights ago in front of a fire department where they couldn't put it out because the firefighters would be murdered. The people are scared because they think the police, military, government is all in on it so they have no one to call. They said that they saw people being dragged out of homes screaming and put into cars but no one could do anything but watch. This scares me because this city is but an hour for the US, shouldn't we be more focused on the war going on next to us?

ROSE said...

.... THERE AREN'T ANY UNSOLVED CRIMES WITH GOD, ESSPECIALLY when innocents babes are involded. The (murderers) will met the same fate that they imposed on their victims...
I REALIZE that's it's A hard TIME to believe in God in a time such as these EVIL DAYS, BUT GOD WON'T BE MOCKED, AND i PRAY THAT SWIFT justice will be pronounced on these characters of EVIL..
MAY THEY SOON REAP WHAT THEY SOWED!!!

Anonymous said...

Como esta Allende???? Sigue la violencia o ya se calmo la agua?

Anonymous said...

que ha pasado con la familia cruz y gerardito nuestras oraciones con ustedes favor de hacer saber

Anonymous said...

que paso con panchito villarreal

Anonymous said...

Gerardito Heath Sanchez, Edgar Avila, Don Armando Gonzalez and his two sons, Victor Cruz two other sons, and so many more innocents....ALL remain disappeard. 3 weeks so far, no word on them. God, be with them. All the time.

Kuntakinte

Anonymous said...

Is paula cuellar and fam dead?

Anonymous said...

Buela, would you please share your news sources?
Mainstream press is not useful for real reports.
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

God give peace to Gerarro Heath Family, hope he is O.K poor innocent families.Very nice family.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a list of people abducted in acuna? Found or not? 2010-2011

Anonymous said...

Poncho Cuellar toda via esta vivo junto con todo su familia, y si se robo 8 millones pero por una razon pork los viejos incullendo a el puto de celso no vale verga andan bien chingones pero cuando llega la marina ni salen los perros

Anonymous said...

pero donde se encuentran? segun escuche por ultima vez en houston... pero pues quizas es pura mentira porque tambien que en europa jajaja ahh la raza tan mentirosa

Anonymous said...

Is there any more information on the missing? I can't seem to locate them on any missing persons registry online. This is so sad, I can't imagine that nobody is doing a single thing to locate them!

Anonymous said...

No

Anonymous said...

LO UNICO QUE PUEDO DECIR DE TODO LO QUE HAN PUBLICADO ES DE QUE SI LA GENTE NO HACE ALGO VAN A SEGUIR SUCEDIENDO LOS SECUESTROS Y LA VIOLENCIA....LLEVO TIEMPO ALEJADO DE PIEDRAS PERO SE QUE TODOS SANGRAN....MUY PRONTO ME VERAN POR ALLA

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