El Chapo or El Mayo, for Calderon's promised gift
A general with an incorruptible reputation starts to scale the highest peaks of the mountains that form El Triangulo Dorado, or the Golden Triangle, in command of an elite Army unit, for one of the last hunts being undertaken by the government of Felipe Calderón that's seeking a trophy before the end of his failed administration in combating narcos. The capture of el Chapo or el Mayo, the two leaders of the Sinaloa cartel, and they say, the world's most wanted.
The night of July 22, a group of soldiers belonging to the Army Special Forces entered the guarded region of San Lorenzo, dominated by the Sinaloa cartel, were they faced off against a commando of hitmen at the entrance of El Melon, receivership of Quilá.
On the night of the skirmish, it was reported that two suspected gunmen were killed and another one was arrested with guns and grenades, which was later made available to the Attorney General's Office.
The elements also seized two vehicles, at least in an official manner, a black Chevrolet with TZ-04 924 plates, which had been reported as stolen, and a red Mercedes Benz, with special shielding and license plates MXD-540 from the State of Mexico.
The first unit was overturned, with the body of a gunmen still inside, while the armored car was in the middle of the road. The occupants apparently abandoned the vehicle and left through other means. Inside were two AK-47 rifles and a AR-15. The escape had been unexpected.
Later, the Attorney General of the State (PGJE) identified the bodies as Santiago Ibarra Zamudio, 42, originally from Gomez Palacio, Durango, and residing in the city of Guamuchil. The second body was that of Magdaleno Madriles Santos of 40 years, residing in La Cruz de Elota.
In the military operation was also arrested Alexander Mariscal Millán, who was remanded by the federal Public Ministry of the Fourth District Court in Culiacan.
The offenses brought against him were the violations of the Federal Firearms and Explosives, the modality of carrying firearms and military artifacts (granades) which are an exclusive use of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
He was also accused of the crime of attempted manslaughter against the Army. The PGR information indicates that the court hearing was held on the 24th of July.
Mariscal Millan and the two men killed were identified by unofficial sources of the PGR as members of a cell that commands Orso Ivan Gastelum, alias El Cholo, a trusted assassin of Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, who escaped from the prison of Aguaruto in August of 2009.
The night of the raid in El Melon, Army sources said, that Special Forces were going for Joaquin Guzman Loera, one of the leaders of the Sinaloa cartel, in an intelligence operation that seeks secrecy, until the look-outs discovered the movement and the leader began the departure from Quilá.
Neither the two Bell 412 helicopters or the twenty trucks of militia, whose numbers, according to local press, were covered up with tape to avoid being identified, where they could build networks to capture the drug lord who was present in the area.
GAFES group, according to reports from officers of the Ninth Military Region that's based in Culiacan, was addressed for an operation from Mexico City, were some of them had military detachments in the base of the town of Badiraguato.
When the story emerged that the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA), had commissioned a general with an incorruptible reputation to carry out one of the last missions for Calderon, to catch el Chapo Guzman or Ismael el Mayo Zambada by establishing a military siege on the cartels influential points, especially in the so-called Golden Triangle, which covers the mountains of Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua.
A labyrinth for a general
The version has been confirmed from within the Department of Defense. Brigadier General Antonio Gurrola Calzada, has been described by other generals of the army as a career Soldier thats clean, honest, foolproof and very smart.
He has had a meteoric career in the military. In 1997, he was promoted to colonel of infantry and was commissioned on special operations, and was also staff during the conflict in Chiapas. In 2005, he was the leader of the Military Garrison in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Until 2010, he was commander of the Fourth Military Region, based in Hermosillo, Sonora.
With experience as commander of troops in several states, in the sector of Armored Guns, whose members generally belong to the cavalry, and who are the Mexican military experts in the inspection and investigation of terrains.
Recently promoted to "Olympus" of the Brigadier Generals, for months Gurrola Calzada, aged at about 60 years, is leading a special operation in the mountainous area, as indicated by the military's high command. This operation focuses on only two objectives, Joaquin Guzman Loera and Ismael Zambada García.
According to testimony from Army commanders, Gurrola has an impeccable record of service and is assigned officially to the Third Military Region, based in Mazatlan, and is placed as second in command after Division General of State Mayor, Ruben Serrano Herrera, who reveal in December the general César Jiménez López.
Military consulting sources mentioned that Gurrola has under him a number of elements from the Special Forces and has a permanent command seat at the base in Badiraguato, equipped with weapons, vehicles, aircraft and technology.
In fact, according to officers of the Ninth Military Zone, the group of GAFES took by assault the community of El Melon which has a detachment in the town, the birthplace of drug trafficking in Mexico.
The fence that's maintain in the mountainous area, ranging from the native region of Guzman Loera to the lattice paths of Cosalá, according to the same sources. Special forces constantly monitor this stretch of land, where civilians have denounced abuse by the military forces in recent months.
Gurrola Calzada, refer, is a soldier that's very close to José Armando Tamayo Casillas, former Presidential Chief of Staff under President Vicente Fox, the same presidential term in which Chapo Guzman escaped.
He is also a close associate of Deputy Secretary of National Defense, Carlos Demetrio Gaytan Ochoa, and the Chief of Staff of National Defense, Gen. Luis Arturo Oliver Cen.
Both are senior experts in drug-trafficking, so it may be the reason why Gurrola Calzada has been sent to follow the footsteps of the cartel leaders, which in more than one occasion have been identified to be beneficiaries of the security policies of Mexico and the United States.
Eddy's war against El Chapo
It is not the first time the army and its generals throw their nets in search of the Sinaloa cartel leaders in their own territories.
Since January 2006 the general Rolando Eugenio Hidalgo Eddy had arrived to the Ninth Zone, were he implemented strong operations in the regions of Badiraguato and Culiacan, also in Chihuahua and Durango in search of bosses, especially el Chapo, which seems to be the PAN government obsession.
By April, the entire communities were destroyed in the frantic hunt that began the general Hidalgo Eddy, with the staff trying to recapture the capo, a native of La Tuna, as a trophy.
One of the first reactions of these operations against drug traffickers was an assault on a steep mountain headquarters in Durango, which happened on a night of early June.
A commando attacked and burned an army base near the community of Los Frailes, a town of Tamazula, apparently in retaliation for the military siege, as the government tended to drug traffickers in the area.
It all happened in 2006. On the 18th of September at 22:00 hours, the body of Enrique Parra was thrown, wrapped in black plastic bags, at the entrance of the Ninth Military Zone. "For snitching, Eddy", said the direct message to the general commander.
The arrest of Luis Albero Cano Zepeda, nephew of Chapo, in an operation in Durango, contributed to a tense climate. According to the PGR, Cano served as a pilot of an airplane that was used to transport drugs. This took place on August 22, 2006 in Bastantitas, Tamazula. He was arrested along with four associates when a Cessna type plane was landing..
A week after they threw the body for general Eddy, senior officers of the Department of Defense sent him to Moscow as a military attache.
But the general would return to the maze on June 9, 2007, with a new determination and with the same slogan.
The troops under his charge were accused of committing the same misdeeds a year earlier, and on July 28, 2007, a supposed group of farmers from Tamazula published in the newspaper of el Debate an ad pointing out the violations of human rights in the community. He knew then that this deployment was sent from Mexico City via fax.
On September 7, a commando executed the interlocutor among the Army, State Government and the media, Oscar Rivera Inzunza, and two days later, in three parts of the city, appeared canine remains in plastic bags and funeral wreaths with threats against Hidalgo Eddy.
Appearing in the eastern walls of the Military Zone, on Boulevard Gabriel Leyva Solano and next to the park Ernesto Millan Escalante. Among the threatening messages were: "Either you align or get aligned," General Eddy.
On the 30 of November he was revealed again. After the capture of Alfredo Beltran Leyva, el Mochomo. On January 21, 2008 in Culiacan, the army arrested a military prosecutor and three troops, identified as working for el Mochomo.
One of them, Lieutenant Luis longitud, had been escorting Hidalgo Eddy. It turned out that these soldiers sent timely information of the general's movements. Thus, the General proposed to be culminating his career with the trophy of El Chapo Guzman, turned out to be infiltrated by the capo, even in his most trusted inner circle.
Chapo caught in three stages: Wikileaks
In the cable of 3077, declassified by WikiLeaks, sent on October 26, 2010 from the State Department of the Embassy in Mexico and classified as "secret," said, the intelligence director Dennis Blair, met with Secretary of Defense Guillermo Galván Galván.
This meeting took place on October 19, of last year, on the eve of a meeting with President Calderón and members of the Security Cabinet.
Among the issues highlighted by Galvan was the role of the military in combating narcos, the cooperation of the U.S. government for fighting organized crime and the expansion of the cooperation agencies in Mexico.
The information sent to the U.S. embassy, that the general was interested in establishing the highest levels of cooperation with the Americans.
And to their institution (Sedena) responsible for capturing high-level targets, including two members of Los Zetas and the Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin Guzman Loera, "El Chapo," said the document leaked by Wikileaks.
The diplomat also spoke with a special operation to capture Guzman Loera in three stages:
"He said (Galvan) that the Department of Defense is implementing an operation, which consists of three stages, specifically to catch el Chapo. The first stage, they have concluded, is to establish a physical force in the area of his operations to collect intelligence. "
"He noted that they have found 10 to 15 places where he (El Chapo) moves, but El Chapo commands a wide network of support, consisting of informants and has a safety belt of up to 300 men that make it difficult to launch operations for the capture. The second phase is to move a circle of soldiers in the area where he operates, which Galván hopes to launch soon. The third stage is the capture. "