Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

THE SECRETS OF "EL AZUL"

Friday, May 18, 2012 |

Posted on Borderland Beat forum by Arm Chair Intellect

by Ricardo Ravelo
Mexico, D.F., April 17-Peacemaker of Mexican Drug Lords, skilled in negotiations, has worked for years to put an end to long-standing conflicts within Mexico's underworld.  His name, Juan José Esparragoza Moreno, or El Azul, AKA the blue.  Few can claim to have survived more than four decades in drug trafficking.  Today he is the most discreet and, at the same time, the most effective in the fixing both social and financial problems in Mexico narco underbelly.

Since 1992, when he was released from the Almoloya de Juárez prison after serving a seven year sentence, he vanished.  No one knows of his whereabouts, although whispers through song sing of his adventures; claims he has been seen in Queretaro - once a stronghold - another claim is in 2003  he was seen in Morelos, under the aegis of the Government Pan headed the Governor Sergio Estrada Cajigal.

But in Mexico few speak of him and little is known, in United States the Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI) regarded him as the second  most wanted international criminal in 2005, only behind the terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Currently El Azul appears on the FBI's most wanted list and has been well known amoungst law enforcement.

On 12 February of that year, Art Werge, spokesman for the FBI in El Paso, Texas, announced that there was a reward of $ 5 million for anyone who provides information that leads to the capture of Esparragoza Moreno, who at the time was identified as one of the main leader of the Juárez cartel.
A FBI spokesman said that the capo, "Has had the ability to form well-organized structures involving officials, police and military, including important commanders of the Mexican army". 
He added that the agency, "Considers him one of the key men in the Mexican drug world by his contacts within Colombian's drug trafficking world and with logistics to transport cocaine to United States", according to the newspaper La Jornada.

The FBI say Esparragoza Moreno is very dangerous, is always armed and has a strong security team which looks after him. In Mexico, the perception of the authorities is quite different: they assume that El Azul is more prone to negotiation than other more violent narcos.

HISTORY
Juan José Esparragoza Moreno is barely younger than "El Mayo" Ismael Zambada (1948)  and older than Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman (1957).  He was born on February 3, 1949 in Chuicopa, Sinaloa, and is one of the few survivors from a generation of narcos who are now dead or imprisoned.  Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, Rafael Caro Quintero, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo (Don Neto), Emilio Quintero PayanManuel Salcido Uzeta (Cochiloco) and Pablo Acosta Villarreal, to name a few.
The next generation of drug traffickers who inherited power was also advised by Esparragoza Moreno. In this group include Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, Albino Quintero Meraz and even own Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, who were partners with El Azul in the Juarez Cartel, he is now at the service of the Sinaloa Cartel.
According to the psychological profile prepared at the end of the 1980s, during his imprisonment, Juan José Esparragoza Moreno is a person to be avoided, though he has not been known for violent confrontations and executions. He often says: "The business of drug trafficking is not with bullets".
Tarín Chávez, a protected witness in the trial of general Francisco Quiroz Hermosillo, accused him of being linked to the Juárez cartel. In a conversation with El Azul, they talked in length about the business.
 "On one occasion Juan José Esparragoza Moreno came up to me and asked me, "Can I have a moment?   I bring you a very warm greeting of general Francisco Quiroz, who is my very dear friend.  He said that the business is not compatible with the deaths of those that would be missed… '"
In 1998, José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, then owner of the specialized unit in organized crime (UEDO), developed a profile of Esparragoza Moreno and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. The second said that it was El Azul is the most seasoned of bosses. "There is no other capo like him", he told the reporter.
Azul was profiled as: "A great negotiator, perhaps patient strategist who has had a hold on drug trafficking in Mexico.  He was the only man who has been able to sit at the negotiating table for most drug traffickers.  Like few others, he likes to be in second position, because his experience has taught him becoming boss means death or jail".
A sample of his conciliation ability was the negotiation between a dozen of drug traffickers, Capos from the Gulf and Juarez cartels, ironed out blocks to stave off continued heat in late 1993, it was successful, for a short time.
The pact was called "The Peace of the North" because it put an end to a long period of killings and betrayals between both criminal organizations.

This managed to reduce the tensions that could be felt from Ciudad Juárez and Tamaulipas, and lead to a more robust border area for Mexican drug traffickers.
At the same time, according to official data, El Azul reached out and helped create the Federation.  This federation included most of the strongest and most influential Cartels to date.
El Azul did not try to complete the desire of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo  to build a monopoly of drug trafficking in Mexico.
After the death of Amado Carrillo Fuentes in July 1997, who died of a botched plastic surgery, Esparragoza Moreno didn't stay in Juarez for long, he soon left for Sinaloa after leaving jail in 1991.

Instead he spent a decade building closer ties to the Beltran Leyva brothers and Ismael El Mayo Zambada, his old acquaintances. The game changed in 2001, when Joaquin El Chapo Guzman escaped from Puente Grande penitentiary.  This was when relations broke with the Juarez cartel, Azul lost respect for the leadership of Vicente Carrillo Fuentes.
According to a letter dated in October 2004 which was received by the President, several capos met a month earlier in Monterrey, Nuevo León, to discuss how they could establish hegemonic group to handle the drug trafficking in Mexico.
Drafted by a witness of that encounter, the Charter ensures that El Azul was able to sit at the table with Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, Joaquin El Chapo Guzman and Arturo Beltran Leyva, among others.
The idea was to plan the murder of Rodolfo Carrillo Fuentes (brother of Amado, Vicente Carrillo) and blame it on to another Cartel, Los Zetas, which was challenging Carrillo Fuentes family and the empire they created.
The new members of the Sinaloa Cartel believed that they only owed loyalty to Amado Carrillo, and not to the other members of his family, after his death many left, many felt Vicente Carrillo neglected command of the cartel and lost confidence.
At the meeting of the federation, El Azul also raised the idea to get rid of Los Zetas.
Coupled with the evidence above, another point critical objective of the cartel of Sinaloa Cartel was to control the golden triangle and to kill or exterminate Los Zetas, while leveraging the power of economic staff, coupled with the support from the highest level of government.  They were to use the full weight of their corrupted federal officials against Los Zetas. 
They would take advantage of Government for the purpose and aim to conduct all activities with impunity.  Its predominant activities, specifically were those related to drug trafficking.  This being Ismael Zambada, Arturo Beltrán Leyva, Chapo Guzmán and Juan José Esparragoza Moreno, El Azul. They intended to monopolize drug trafficking and create a single cartel drug, the Sinaloa Cartel.

At that meeting it was also agreed that they would penetrate the plaza of Nuevo Laredo. The man responsible for that operation was a U.S. born, Edgar Valdez Villarreal, La Barbie.   Arturo Beltrán, who was his boss died at the end of year 2009 in Cuernavaca, Morelos, during a shootout with members of the Marina.
Esparragoza Moreno seems to have been on the move; proven when the DEA confirmed that the Sinaloa cartel and the Gulf - deadly rivals for decades - came to an agreement and consolidated both cartels in most parts of the country. 
In response, Los Zetas broke relations with the the Gulf cartel, and allied themselves with the Juarez and Tijuana cartels.
Corrupter Of Power
In addition to his negotiating capacity between traffickers, Juan José Esparragoza Moreno has also managed to corrupt governors, senior police and military officers.  An example of this is in the State of Morelos, where in 2004 he brought under his influence the then Governor Sergio Estrada Cajigal.
The power of El Azul in Morelos had no limits: had police agencies are for his personal use and for the protection of his partners and family members. According to research conducted by a crew in Morelos, Nadia Esparragoza Gastélum, daughter of El Azul, was romantically linked with the Governor Estrada Cajigal.
Esparragoza also enjoyed protection from Agustín Montiel and Raul Cortez, heads of the ministerial police of Morelos, Cuernavaca airport.  They used to bring down planes loaded with drugs that were then later transported in trucks protected by  police patrols, according to the PGR.
The relationship between El Azul military isn't a secret. He has had a long standing relationship with the generals Francisco Quiroz Hermosillo and Jorge Maldonado Vega. In a recording you can clearly hear Esparragoza Moreno talking with Maldonado Vega, in the early 1980s when he was still in Juarez.
Javier Barba Hernández, a member of the cartel of Guadalajara, who attended the University of Guadalajara and subsequently was sent to work for the major drug traffickers.  Maldonado Vega had the order to burn six tons of marijuana by the army in Guadalajara, but beard Hernández asked an interview to the military to negotiate the drug to be handed over to the Judicial Police of the State. At that meeting, which was attended by El Azul and Hernández,  they offered up to 5 million dollars. "All you have to do is deliver the shipment to the Judicial Police," He was told. But Maldonado Vega refused to negotiate in his ministerial testimony.
The drug is not negotiable: I'm going to burn and I demand respect for my work. If any of you gets close, I'm going to arrest on the spot - said the general energetically.
These are güevos, my general, allow me to you kiss the hand - El Azul commented ironically. He then rose from his seat and turned to him. He took the hand and gave him a kiss as a sign of recognition of his authority. The next day the drugs were burned in Tequila, Jalisco.
This portrays the capo as a character, which is humorous, and likes partying, yet another feature in his personality, as was confirmed among people who knew him.   Esparragoza Moreno likes to walk all  "blinged  up with shiny hair" in the style out of the 1970s.  He likes alcohol, and playing cards, one of his favorite pastimes while imprisoned along with Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and Amado Carrillo.  He is fond of the dark glasses of the Ray Ban brand, sportswear and enjoys exercising.
There are few photographs of Esparragoza Moreno, but during the searches made by the PGR they found some. In one El Azul appears in the hallway of his home in the northern style cloths and mustache and cropped hair. In another picture, published in the Edition 1098 issues of process, he is accompanied by Boxer Julio César Chávez and the then-head of the Juarez Cartel, Amado Carrillo Fuentes.
"Why El Azul has survived so many years in the business?", asked a man who requested anonymity.
He is a very skillful capo. He is liked by all. He murders but does not by murder senselessly. He dislikes violence.  He only kills for the money.  He is a kingmaker of drug traffickers, to be respected.
Translated from the Spanish language article in El Orbe ( a reprint from Proceso)

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59 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Mi respetos para un señoron. No las chingaderas de hoy como lazcano y trevino

Anonymous said...

Why would the zetas be mentioned to be taken out if they were just hit men at the time?. The cartel was and is CDG. At that time the La Federacion was in conflict with El Golfo, zetas were the hit squad for Oziel Cardenas Guillen.

Anonymous said...

No mamen, next youll say he is Muslim.

Anonymous said...

Drug dealers, killers and cartel members do not deserve respect. I respect the honest working man.

Anonymous said...

Drug dealers, killers and cartel members do not deserve respect. I respect the honest working man.

Anonymous said...

Way to keep GLORIFYING the lifestyle!
King maker of drug traffickers?
Piece of garbage!

Anonymous said...

El Azul, the most mysterious trafficante in recent memory. If you think about it, he has outlasted several decades of rifts and shifts in the narco world in Mexico.

He has kept low key for several years while he keeps making paper. He has stuck to his old princpiples and that has been to keep his people employed and making money. You don't hear about any of his people getting involved in territorial wars at all.

Say what you say, he and EL MZ are some of the oldest kats out there. The most recent picture of him was on METROFLOG and he was at I believe a narco party. It's a classic, he has like 2 satelitte radios on, which all narcos use but he doesn't look flashy at all. So he may have learned that el no apentaya tanto no agrega atencion.
Saludos,

Anonymous said...

@ 1:08 because without the Zetas at that time, CDG would have been eaten up by CDS. Look what happened when they split. Chapo knew who the real threat was years before anyone else. Chapo & Azul are smart.

Anonymous said...

This article never mentions that Azul is a former Mexican Federal Judicial Police (PJF) officer.

Anonymous said...

I RESPECT HOW HE HAS SURVIVE DA GAME BUT NOT HIM AS A PERSON

Anonymous said...

back in the days when Ramon Arellano Felix from El CAF lived and was proubly the most fear men in Mexico! he would humiliate el azul he would go around telling every body in the buisness of traffiking and the columbians that his uncle gallardo felix cut el azul testicals and that was the reason why so many females were getting kill in juarez because el azul was not able to be intimate with a female...the men is proubly dead already never had any kids of his own..

Anonymous said...

"Drug dealers, killers and cartel members do not deserve respect. I respect the honest working man"
Bro,when your right,your right.A true man works 9 to 5 every day to take care of his family and commitments.No bullshit whining,he just gets on with it,especially if he has children.That is my definition of a real man.Works every day,to have the finer things in life.That is a man.

Anonymous said...

tambien deven de in cluir al chapo y el mayo en chingaderas

Anonymous said...

some drug dealers do deserve respect. like honest working men. also honest working men are the corupt and do murdwers to so be quiet and think wat you say!!!!

Anonymous said...

I second that..I respect the hard working honest man.

Anonymous said...

Eran los tiempos en que los tratos se cerraban con un apreton de manos y la palabra se respetaba por que la palabra dada era ley. Había un código de conducta y honor que se respetaba. No el mugrero que hoy existe, se traicionan entre ellos mismos y no respetan ni a su madre, mucho menos a las personas civiles inocentes, incluyendo niños.

Anonymous said...

Well said

Anonymous said...

Its just been reported that cdg has killed heriberto lazcano z40, in matamoros this friday after 2:00. It is said zetas tried to invade matamoros and killed lazcano in the fighting. But still no oficial reports

Anonymous said...

The Zetas are mentioned bc El Azul, who does not like violence, thought that it was useless to have an armed wing that brought brutal methods of doing business. Los Zetas had been killing innocent people since before they even became CDG's armed wing. This is part of the reason the alliance of El Cartel de Sinaloa and CDG, took so long.
CDG,despite warnings from El Azul and other capos, had to learn on there own that bringing terror to the population was not going to give you order just more grief.
El Azul is also one of the most patient man you will ever meet

Anonymous said...

When everyone was working in the federation . The head of the herreras was killed in juarez. Poncho herrera worked with juarez and azul. Anyone has any answers to what happen

Anonymous said...

131...well said!!

Anonymous said...

Theres an error on the history part he is not older then el mayo like it saids nor is he younger then el chapo its the other way he's older then el chapo and younger then el mayo zambada all in all anyone who last more then 30 years in the drug game should be respected and given props when props are due is not every day powerful druglords make it back 50 years of age i mean seriously theres people in there late 40's that die of natural causes these old school traffickers are pushing it to the limit like how the scarface soundtrack goes

Anonymous said...

But in Mexico few speak of him and little in known
But in Mexico few speak of him and little 'IS' known.
.

Good write up, must have been very time consuming. keep up the excellent 'coverage' guys.

. said...

El Azul is Chapo's Diplomat with the Zetas. He works with Everybody behind the scenes. The majoity of these Clowns can be tracked, monitored and followed with GPS,the size of a piece of Rice.

Anonymous said...

Yea these guys are scumbags!!!! Stop glamorizing these fucktards!!!!! They kill women and children!!!! And that's if their lucky. Fuck Mexico wake up!!!

Anonymous said...

response to may18, 1:31--Having the skills and knowledge for negotiations and good business deals, this man is no different than the business tycoons of the world today. The tycoons who are billionaires got this rich destroying the lives, businesses and environment of others/countries. Whats the difference? That drugs are illegal while corporations and their shady and deadly business deals are seen as legit. He works as hard as any hard-working man, and considering how other drug cartel leaders behave, he is an honest man. There is not much of a difference between the business world and the drug world. Given the deals he has done forge between rival cartels, the money he has made, and the respect other drug lords give him--he deserves to be respected on those merits alone. What he has done and how long he has lasted, despite all the bullshit that has happened in Mexico is a testament to the skills, natural talents and impressive foresight this man possesses. In any other type of business, in any period in time, he would be considered one of the top businessmen and deal-maker of all time. I'm not an admirer of drug lords or drug smuggling or gun-toting killers; just laying out some facts that are hard to ignore. Haci Sea. C/S

Anonymous said...

EL AZUL IS THE LAST DON FROM THE OLD FEDERATION....all i can say is he is the one that got NGCJ to fall.into place under the CDs JAGL GRUPO....atte: el Patrick Swayze...

Anonymous said...

That was June 17 2011 when lazcano was reported dead in matamoros..but it has since disclaimed..

Anonymous said...

5 million for six tons? I dont think so. Here in Cali we get lbs of purple for 2300. Besides thats dirt weed. Shits like 350 a #

Anonymous said...

Cant have respect for him since he ploted and wanted to blame someone else. That to me seems like you are fearing the other persons reaction. If Ramon Felix was around could you imagine? The drug war might have been short because he would have taken these fools out the game long ago. Seems like he always knew where these fucks were. He had them shitting in their pants. Had attempted hits on all these guys. And he would do the dirt himself. But fuck em all.

Anonymous said...

This guy should make a documentary on his life, i bet it'd be interesting.

Anonymous said...

They've said this before...

Anonymous said...

He was Alfonso Corral, he was killed in 1998 in Juarez, Chihuahua he was killed with a mistress, and his body guard in a restaurant He was from Herreras,Durango. At that time I believe it was said he was Amado Carrillos 2nd, till he was killed.

Anonymous said...

What is known is that Oziel hired the defected GAFE's in fear of being fun over by La Federación. Oziel gave the Zetas their excistance. They were not established prior to that.

Anonymous said...

You comment=FAIL

Chivis said...

To my faithful editors :)
thanks for the heads up. I did not translate the article but did go in and make corrections, I saw the birth order Discrepancies but elected to wait when I had time to ck and add YOB...its corrected now..thank you..Paz, Chivis

Anonymous said...

There is nothing honorable in being a capo of a drug dealing organization, these people dnt know wat honor is, they all deserve to be shot on sight!!!

Anonymous said...

@ 5.58, where was it reported about CDG killing or attacking Lazcano Lazcano? There's nothing on blogdelnarco about it, anyone hear anything about this?

Anonymous said...

Bs, lascano can't be that dumb to go down there and fight Cdg, he's no general, he's just a greedy fuck, he'll just send some guys down there to do the dirty work. That's how it works, top guys don't do the fighting anymore,they just try to enjoy the ill gotten money the got.

Anonymous said...

To the "Ramone of AFO" Fame Worshiper; what a Poor Excuse for a Human Being. I would'nt beleive a
word out of Ramone's mouth. Hae was a peice of shit just like all his bros. and Uncle Felix..!
They were the worst kind of betrayer's, they betrayed everyone including their extended families in Sinaloa. So I don't know who you are
but I'm sure you can't be saying anything positive about the AFO in their hayday..!

Anonymous said...

I told u in another post ,dnt believe everything u read or hear, theres a lot of killings being done and every cartel is blaming the other, for the bad press!!!

Anonymous said...

... may 18;8;34....He was given a gift by GOD, but chose to LICK THE EARTH INSTEAD....

....The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from outside in. The world (could) take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and they takes themselves out of the slums.The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human behavior....Ezra Taft Benson....

....Many people chose LICKING THE EARTH, and FOOLISHLY LIE TO THEMSELVES N BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE WORTHY OF HONOR...

....HONOR BELONGS TO A MAN WHO LOVES HIS FAMILY AND WORKS HARD TO PROVIDE, HONOR BELONGS TO A YOUNG MAN OR WOMAN WHO CHOSE TO WORK HARD, AND NOT RELY ON ""ILL GOTTEN GAIN"""....

Anonymous said...

any one have any news on the capture of Victor Emilio Cazares?

Anonymous said...

Acaso este hombre de "honor ", no mando matar al juez que lo sentencio y hasta le sentencio una bala por cada ano que se avento encerrado?

Anonymous said...

Maybee 6million pesos

Anonymous said...

Take no bullshit,this clown is making it up.
CDG,killed El Verdugo and 40?C,mon man,that dude is wishful thinking.You think Lazcano leads his crew into battle?He's the main man now,he's been there and done it,he was a violent motherfucker but smart,so now he been killed in Mmoros?Bullllshit.

Anonymous said...

El Azul, Chapo and Mayo are the only survivors from the original Guadalajara cartel! When on to become great capos and smart business man for their cartels! there is only one road to get where they are... and is to become the biggest trader no honer in your word you become a dirty player in the game you trust no one because you feel every one is just like you, there to get things some else has and you envy...but you rise to the top of the mountain like that...money is more powerful than any capo, sicario that work for them don't do it for free or because they respect them! they no deep inside that the man that pays them is a winnie a trader the biggest pussy! i think their will never be another sicario or boss like Ramon Arellano Felix the only man that's put fear on in the eyes of El Azul Chapo and Mayo in their prime!

Anonymous said...

@5/18 10:49PM,
Dude are you kidding me? Ramon Arellano Felix was nothing special with the exception of being a psycho path! Yea, he was such a "bad ass" that he was killed during a traffic stop by a "common" police officer? That dumbass would probably be alive today (maybe in prison but alive), if he wasn't so stupid! As a capo, why the fuck would you expose yourself by personally hunting down your rivals! I agree with you that Ramon was stone cold killer but he was also rumored to have been a homosexual...no bullshit! Common sense bro, it comes down to who is still around and flourshing and who is dead! El Mayo and El Chapo are still around, while Ramon...well he's dead!

Anonymous said...

5/18 5:58PM,
Huh..Lazcano is know as "Z-3" not "Z-40." Miguel Trevino-Morales is "Z-40." And your confused..both of these assholes...unfortunately are still alive!

Anonymous said...

No, you ARE an admirer, and a fool!

Anonymous said...

All this working class hero shit is great and all...we get it. But I for one sure as hell wish more El Azul's were running around, and less psychos like the ones running the game predominantly now. If we are going to cede a multi billion dollar a year industry to criminals instead of ending the silly prohibition laws, it should be as civilized as possible. I.E better to have Lucky Luciano running the game than Anthony Casso

Anonymous said...

Mannn! Is there anything worse than a cartel kiss ass? I dont know why you half oz fucks worship these fools. You've never met them and never will . Scarface is a MOVIE.. Next thing you know u idiots will think Reyna del sur is reality tv.. Haaaaaaahaa

Anonymous said...

May 20, 2012 3:34 AM .
Bro you right,except i think the cops were in on it.Didn't he go looking to murk Mayo,and they found out about it.And just waited for him to drive into town?A lot of bullshit about they didn't know who it was?He was well known for wanting to kill people and actually be there,and as you say he was a dog and good riddance to the clown.Rollin around with a bodyguard looking to kill people,and he was much hated by many.Should get a medal for killing these dogs who kill innocents as well.

Anonymous said...

Azul lives in Chile with Chapo...

Anonymous said...

Afo was brutal, Ramon had balls of steel. Name one other capo that personally tried to kill Chapo lol...

Anonymous said...

Back when they tried to kill Chapo, he was no where near his status as today.
The CAF also tried to wack Amado who in that time frame was the king. So yes they tried hard to wack Chapo and Mayo but did not succeed. Those dudes are still very alive.

Anonymous said...

No...Fuck u

Anonymous said...

Any one with the telephone contacts of el azuls businesses.especiaslly the one dealing with real estate.How do i get to him for business???????????

Anonymous said...

Very well said

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