Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Armed commandos take control of Choix mountains

Sunday, July 8, 2012 |

Rio Doce. 7-7-2012.  Confronted with fear and lack of protection from local and federal authorities who have ceded to criminals the ability to travel freely over the roads and paths of Choix mountain, tens of families are looking for a way to abandon their homes, animals, land and personal belongings. 

For the past week, the situation has become unbearable to the point that may residents are wandering all over the mountain area, afraid that they will be attacked in their homes, some of them having not eaten or bathed for three or four days. 

The complaint made via email to the news portal Noticias de Caborca describes the situation and shows the despair and lack of trust in the authorities who are supposed to protect citizens so they can live peacefully and quietly in their homes.

The note is signed by Eduardo Ortiz Leon, and here is the message received by this reporter and the request for help, just as it was received and without correcting the grammar:

"Hey, I'm writing to see if you can help me file a complaint. See, what's happening in the sierra (mountains) up there where my sister lives,  there are armed people that want, well, to hurt people, they have all the ranches surrounded and the people have left, supposedly they're the so-called "Mazatlecos"
My sister left today to Los Mochis but her husband and a lot of cousins and children stayed there at the ranch, people are wandering all over the hills, they've been without food about three days, without baths or anything, and, well, yesterday I reported this to the PGR and they sent the military but they just went to a ranch but didn't get all the way there and simply turned back.
Really, it's an injustice what these people are living through, they left everything they own because of these sons of bitches that are doing whatever they want to because there is no law to stop them.
I hope you can help me, please
I would be very grateful..
Thank you ahead of time."

When I saw this I asked him to send more informatiom, like the place and the time he's talking about, if there were descriptions of the vehicles they're using  and other details of the situation, and he sent the following:

"Around there, about where the killers (sicarios) are hanging out and if you know more or less how many [people] and how many cars there are".  "The ranch is called El Corral Quemado, Choix, Sinaloa. The military supposedly went to another ranch called La Culebra, also in the Choix municipality. I called yesterday around 14:00 hrs...What do you think we should do?"

"The sicarios are at several ranches, El Corral Quemado, San Vicente, La Judia, El Real Blanco, among others."

"In fact they've set up a roadblock in Cajon de Cancio, that's not yet in the mountains it's about 15 minutes from Choix and they're not letting anyone through, not even the mine workers, they have to transport them by air.

As for the cars we don't know anything  [about them], they're scattered all over the hills."

"Yesterday my brother in law told me that they fire shots into the air so that the people in the ranches will respond and know where they're going out to. We know there was a small airplane yesterday flying over and it didn't look like it was from the government. Tell me what else you need to know."

"My mom's talking to me because she was over there in Choix today. She says she was talking to a man who sells sandals there in Choix. [He told her] that yesterday people were coming down off the mountain and going to the town government building,  barefoot,  a lot of women with their little kids who came down on foot and, well, the businessmen are taking advantage of their situation, too. And there's nobody to help them, as if there was  no government."

In reality, this situation did not come up just today. It's known that, since the confrontation that lasted two days that left almost twenty people dead, the mountain is a hunting preserve and battleground between two groups, one side wants to keep control over the mountain communities to grow poppies and marihuana, and the new group who want to take it away from them. For that, they use threats, psychological as well as physical, and executions, carried out by one or the other group, of people they believe are collaborating with their adversaries. This situation has been developing for three of four years as a result of a dispute at the state level over control of the territory. This has resulted in hundreds of deaths on both sides.

Unofficially, it is said that one of the groups is composed of people led by the sadly famous Chapo Isidro, and the other by a Chapo Guzman lieutenant know as El Lemo or Lemon. His [real] name is  Adelmo Nunez, and just last month he suffered the assassination of his brother who was an important person in that group in the Caborca area.

As a result of that confrontation and the subsequent one in Bamoa Pueblo where the military confronted a group of sicarios, people from the ranches of Sinaloa de Leyva, Bacubirito, Badiraguato and Choix left their communities, despite the fact that the governor denied there was an exodus of people from the mountains to the valleys. 

Today this is all coming back, more so when even in Choix, a local government  center, heavily armed groups drive all over the city without fear of any law enforcement agency and in open defiance of the law. [They came] a few days ago in the middle of the Police Day celebration to where the city  mayor Juan Carlos Estrada, his wife and the chief of police were enjoying themselves and shot [the chief of police] and his bodyguards to death.  and, subsequently, just last Wednesday, two brothers were shot, one of them dying and another person wounded by bullets intended for the brothers, right in the center of Choix and just a block from city hall, where there are police guards stationed around the clock.

That's not all; the convoy of the sicarios came in through the southern entrance to the city where the public safety command post and the State Judicial Police are located, coming in on the entrance street to the Conchas neighborhood to reach the place where they shot the brothers, right in front of Chomito's butcher shop and the Cola de Cuete fruit stand, later fleeing without being stopped by any patrol vehicle.

Today, as stated in the complaint, they enjoy the luxury of setting up a roadblock and asking for papers or documentation from those who are traveling on the Camino Real towards the San Vicente mountain, denying or giving permission to travel to the town of Cajon de Cancio, to the La Judia Pass and also [for traffic] coming from the direction of San Vicente, Chihuahua, going to Choix.

This was confirmed by phone calls from town residents that told this reporter that those individuals had been blocking the road for days without the authorities doing anything to restore the free flow of traffic and the rule of law.

These are all the facts that are known, and we hope somebody or other media investigates the situation and files complaints to force the authorities to do their jobs, to protect and serve.

It's estimated that there are almost fifty heavily armed individuals who have taken over that area. The last message reads:

"Hey, I'm just getting home, I hadn't seen the message. In fact I made the complaint anonymously by phone. I'll speak with my brother in law right now and tell him what you've told me.
Thanks for everything. My sister also told me that there are about 400 armed men around by..."

"I don't remember who answered the phone..."

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37 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

I sincerely applaud your work, and with the right editing (instead of tens of family: dozens), you could garner a lot of attention of from larger news outlets etc. I would like to believe that America hasn't been more proactive is their ignorance of what is really going on. I think every politician powerful enough to actuall make a difference has chosen to ignore the situation to keep from losing votes due to outrage and panic from their constituents. It's time for the light to be shined on this tragic war.

Anonymous said...

Mexico needs to grow some balls and go deal with these scum bags! The Mexican government needs to protect its people from these domestic terrorists! If they can not do the job then they need to step down and get some people who can! I know some American Marines for hire that will stomp those scum bags like slugs!

Anonymous said...

Good article

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who unfortuantly have had some experience in the world of drugs in the past, I have to say its really hard to understand what these mexican cartel guys are thinking, what plan they follow. I dont get it. You have these cartels and they all want to kill each other, that I understand. But the common people, the people who live in the areas they use as their own personal war zone, what do they gain by attacking them? I`m just waiting for Chapo to do the only logical thing to do, support the locals. You have to be insane or a complete moron to take on not only the government but the civilian population too.
Especially in a country where the people do not trust the goverment, give them money, food and protection and you have their support. It has to be good old fashion greed, they are blinded, truly stupid, they make billions but they are not able to set up a simple base, take over the land and keep the control, they spend all their time figthing everyone. As an outsider looking in the word Idiots come to mind alot of the time, I get the impression they just love to fight and have no plan whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Arm the local people...what Mexico needs is a citizen's revolution.... a real revolution.

We can thank the Mexican government for making it so difficult in citizen's obtaining arms....also the cost to the local citizen to purchase a weapon is high.

This type of situation could never happen in America or Canada where the people have guns. The people would ban together and from a militia and shoot all the pandejos.

I feel sorry for the local people but things will never change until the people rise up and change it themselves.....why doesn't the CIA supply the people with weapons....who cares about what the Mexican government says or thinks...they are all corrupt crooks anyway.

Anonymous said...

That's because that pinche puto Chapo is up there and he doesnt have anywhere else to hide! Maybe not Chapo but somebody big. Why else would they go to such great lengths to secure an area this size? To hell with all these cartel pieces of shit for ruining this country along with the crooked politicians! And what do you stupid Americans suppose that regular everyday Mexicans do? Are you not reading these articles? Do you not watch the news? Or are you too stupid to realize that they cannot do it on their own? Maybe if there was more oil in Mexico they would help, maybe if this was their friends, families, and nieghbors they would feel differently. Dumbasses!!!!!!

Chivis said...

Excellent Vato....Paz, Chivis

Anonymous said...

Looks like BL and their allied coalition are systematically taking what El Chapo cannot protect. I suspect in the next 6 months we will see much more of this. I totally disagree with the projection that PRI will support only the large cartel. They will go back to compartmentalizing Mexico with a more fair distribution across the board giving state government power. The military is reluctant to assist Chapo now because ultimately, they may be fighting the ones that will be their bosses in December. Change is coming.

Anonymous said...

it's crazy what's going on with el Chapo people why aren't they going to fight the bitch ass mazaltecos

un vato said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

mmexico needs el general francisco villa, and his frieend Emilio Zapata. dont know why thhe peoople are waiting for.

Anonymous said...

One well trained sniper will put an end to road blocks.

Anonymous said...

If the farmers were not cultivating opium and marijuana the cartels would not find it necessary to control this area.
The farmers are basically working for one cartel or the other, so they are now reaping the violence and destruction that they have sown!

Anonymous said...

Attencion sicarios de Chihuahua, Sonora, Sinaloa Durango y otros estados la muerte los invita y les da la bienvenida al municipio de Choix. Recuerda si eres de la contra esta lugar ya tiene dueno que cuenta con la gente que conozca estos teritorios y montanas. Entonces si no eres de aqui piensalo bien antes de meterte porque aqui ni Malverde ni la Santa Muerte te puede proteger.

Anonymous said...

The drug farmers don't care about the death and poison they are growing. That's probably why the army isn't too concerned.
Of course, they will all claim they were only growing corn.

Anonymous said...

Its time for martial law, American martial law. Deploy US armed forces to MX. You will see cartels and sicarios for what they really are. Its easy to colonize an area where the population is unarmed and unsupported by its government.

Remeber the vid where a Zeta sicario was crying and begging for his life? He was a sicario that killed people in the same fashion and scared of death! Proves that they are bitches that have 0 balls.

Anonymous said...

As violent as this particular conflict is, it is NOTHING compared to what eventually will happen once the Mexican people turn on the government and true civil war breaks out.

The government bans guns for average non elite citizens because they want to keep oppressing commoners without consequences. But now that the cartels have acquired weapons and are terrorizing the citizenry, it's only a matter of time before Mexico's commoners start arming themselves to battle against corrupt police and drug violence. It's already happening in the oppressed ethnic Indian villages where the government has essentially lost the ability to wipe out the rebelling native population with a show of force.

When the fleeing citizenry are attacked by the cartels on one side and the government on the other, the REAL Mexican civil war will begin. Nothing is more dangerous to bad governments and criminal enterprises than a desperate citizenry that rises up en masse to combat their attackers.

I look forward to the "Mexican Spring", though it'll make the Iraq war seem like a water pistol fight. It has to happen for the citizenry to survive.

Anonymous said...

Some of these people are the ones growing the drugs for the CDS so as for them I really dont feel sorry.I only feel sorry for the innocent ones.This is a after shock of what chapo did to our people in Juarez.Thank your boss.

Anonymous said...

This makes me mad there is no reason for any1 to have to live like this send in the army rangers make this punk run wend they c real soldiers not sum punk drug addicted punks they are good for nothing y don't they do that here in d u.s because our government don't play these men if u can call then men at COWARDS......

Anonymous said...

People don't understand what's going on, these zetas are making they're way in through those mountains these folks are not safe period

Anonymous said...

this is what el debate is reporting

" "Voten por el PRI", fue la consigna de los grupos de la delincuencia organizada en el Triángulo Dorado, área en que confluyen los estados de Chihuahua, Durango y Sinaloa, donde se produce alrededor del 80% de la mariguana y amapola del país.
En esa peligrosa zona se movilizaron a favor en el mismo sentido el cártel de Sinaloa, el de Juárez, la organización de los Beltrán Leyva y "Los Zetas". Y el PRI ganó.
Para conseguirlo, los narcos inhibieron la libertad de votantes y partidos: en Chihuahua llegaron al extremo de encerrar en bodegas a cientos de indígenas rarámuris y advirtieron que prenderían fuego a las casas de quienes no votaran por los candidatos del PRI. En Durango amenazaron de muerte a representantes de otros partidos. En Sinaloa, hombres encapuchados y armados instalaron retenes en las carreteras. Decían: "Sólo los del PRI y los del IFE pasan, nadie más".

im not good in translating but i heard some rumblings that all the cartels are going to share the cake there will still be fighting between rivals because there always will be but the main bosses wont do mass killings like they where doing

Anonymous said...

many of these people that are crying are POT farmers! and they want military protection? I unlike many of you live here in this state and know what goes on there. It is sad but these people bring the problem to everybody! get rid of the pot farms and the narcos will leave!

Anonymous said...

These dildos have been getting away with this for years!!! Of course they do this shit because they never get punished for the last crime they committed so they just step their game up and we all just say why don't they do something?!!? Stfu. Stop asking why and start kicking some ass.

Anonymous said...

thishas nothin to do with choix but i just saw a video of three women and one man being beheaded becus they are related to el diablo,one of the men in charge of leading the fight against the zetas. its on mundonarco.com. very disturbing. I'm assuming shitds gonna hit the fan in the next couple of day between zs and commando del diablo.it just got personal if in fact they are related. i believe he is with cog and based in guerrero.

Anonymous said...

It is going to get really nasty.
Just saw a video where Z decapitates Comandante Diablos, mother and some relatives.

Anonymous said...

Im sure they would put a bullet in his head the minute he spoke out. wheres big bad chaputo in this? purros corridos compa.

Anonymous said...

Growing season is here and theryre fighting for growing areas. This is where the drug trade starts with the farmers..if there is a good grow year like this one is going to be cause chapo and benito portillo a CDS liuteant that is the regional boss have complete support of locals and military in the area..what they are fighting are remants of la linea and juarez and some beltranzzz..they are also trying to get grow areas..the sierra madre around choix is very large..and is some if the most fertile in all of mexico..Also chapo is a micromanager..dont be surprised if hes in the area..way more gunmen and roadblocks than usual..ive been told convoys of 80 trucks suvs riding through choix daily

Anonymous said...

Those of you who blame the farmers, just remember that these poor families have very few choices. They are told by the narcos to grow pot or amapola. If they refuse, they're burned out or killed. These farmers are poor, ignorant and unarmed, and cannot turn to authorities for help because they can't trust anybody. Same thing is happening in Chihuahua with the Tarahumaras, but you don't hear about it because they are even worse off than the Choix people.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with u. Its good people gone bad and money hungry.

Anonymous said...

They have a choice.

Anonymous said...

"I know some American Marines for hire that will stomp those scum bags like slugs!"...heard that before, only it was afghani's they were supposed to stomp...easier said than done

Anonymous said...

all you arm chair generals criticizing chapo's or lazca's management styles sound like straight dummies. They didn't get to the top by being incompetents...also, comments about the US military being needed to wipe these Mexicans Cartels out sound just as dumb...we can't finished off a bunch of sandal wearing, old AK 47 toting, heck of old mine using, backwards, 1800 century living Arabs in Afghanistan....i think people making comments like this really don't know shit about war, or waging it

Anonymous said...

Commandos? Sicarios? C'mon. Stop using these titles to describe these dicks! They are not even worthy of that. Spineless chickenshit losers with a weapon, maybe.fuck!

Anonymous said...

I would love to see u.s. invade mx starting with da goverment n wiping out da cartels maybe like dat my ppl could b safe......

Anonymous said...

Beltran Leyva Carillo Fuentes Zetas sending reinforcements... I think its funny how they made Lemo Nunez run now he can't even hide in Culiacan and lemo was the one with the military contacts..I think Chapo Isidro maybe has some military contacts in Lemis plaza too

Anonymous said...

The current epidemic in Mexico is a very sad state of affairs. It won't be resolved until either the Mexican government changes their constitution and allows everday citizens the right to keep and bear arms and allow them the opportunity to defend themselves. Or the U.S. decides to intervene and invade Mexico, disband the government, go after the cartels, and then help or 'try to help' them achieve true democracy. It'll only continue to get much worse before it ever gets better.

Anonymous said...

I have spent a great deal of time in Mexico. This drug/narco war breaks my heart. Iet me lead my old unit from Vietnam after thes ass wipes....just sayn

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