|Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa aka "Chino Antrax".|
Investigaciones ZETA.- The presence of Rodrigo Arechiga and his group of sicarios was first detected in Tijuana in the year 2000, there was a second alert on 2007 with the murder and disappearance of police officers in Mexicali; just like in the other states, the Baja California authorities never charged him with anything. In Baja California Sur, one of the main investigation lines has his as the alleged mastermind behind the assassination of Francisco Arellano Felix. With the arrest of “El Chino Antrax”, the power inside his criminal group will fall into the hands of Jesus Peña “El 20”, Luisa Torres “La Emperatriz”, “El Chavo Felix” and Eliseo Castro Imperial aka “El Cheyo Antrax”.
Member of the Sinaloa cartel since the late 90´s, identified as bodyguard for the Zambada family since the early years of the new millennium, and recognized as the lead hit men of the armed group known as “Los Antrax” since 2008, Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa is identified by authorities -unofficially- as the mastermind of tens of hits against members of the Beltran Leyva cartel and the Carrillo Fuentes (Juarez Cartel) in Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja California, at least since 2007 up to this day.
During the past 5 years, news reports take not of his activities though Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja California, but there is not a single arrest warrant or any open investigation against him; the Federal Attorney General (PGR) wasn´t officially looking for him either, never.
Recent data point to an expansion of his criminal activities to the states of Guerrero, Morelos and Estado de Mexico (home state of Enrique Peña Nieto), but this data is only included in versions of the investigation and/or intelligence areas which are filtered to the press, but almost nothing remains on criminal records, with the exception of some statements given by a few criminals claiming to “work” for “El Chino” or “Los Antrax”.
Continued on next page...
In Baja California Sur, PGR was just initiating a line of investigation which had Rodrigo Arechiga ordering the assassination of Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix aka “El Doctor”, which took place in the municipality of Los Cabos on October 18th, 2013.
His criminal activities with the Sinaloa cartel began with Vicente Zambada Niebla aka “El Vicentillo”, both on their 20´s, Jose Rodrigo Arelliga Gamboa being 2, 3 years younger than him. He got to Baja California as a bodyguard to the son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, in the late 90´s, when the fight between the Sinaloa mafia and the Arellano Felix Cartel was getting worse in Tijuana and Mexicali after the intentional broke-up inside CAF, who fought a bloody battle to maintain control of the Californian plazas.
The presence of “El Chentillo” and his people in Tijuana, remains in criminal records from the year 2000, identified as criminal bosses of a group of hit men, composed mainly from police officers and former police officers responsible, among other deaths, of the murder of the Tijuana police chief, Alfredo de la Torre.
|Alfredo de la Torre´s suburban after the Zambada attack.|
His friendship with Cenobio Flores and/or Luis Fernando Castro Villa aka “El Checo”(still at large) and Gustavo Inzunza Inzunza aka “El Macho Prieto”(presumably killed) dates back to those days, they were designated to criminally coordinate the Mexicali plaza for the Sinaloa cartel.
|Cenobio Flores aka "El Checo", CDS lieutenant in Mexicali.|
Between 2007 and 2009, official and unofficial files inside the State´s Attorney General office make mention of the presence of hit men from Sinaloa, brought to Mexicali to kill police officers and civilians working for both the Arellano Felix and Beltran Leyva cartels. In those days the Antrax had already become the armed group of the Sinaloa cartel led by the Zambadas. The Narcocorridos mentioning the relationship between Rodrigo Arechiga and the criminal leaders in Baja California soon invaded the social networks.
It was precisely in Baja California´s capital where “El Chino Antrax” created a relationship with Alfonso Arzate aka “El Aquiles”, when Arzate was helping with the drug shipments of “El Macho Prieto”.
|Alfredo Arzate aka "El Aquiles", CDS lieutenant in Tijuana.|
Arzate and Arechiga, they both escalated positions inside the criminal world practically at the same time; Arzate displacing Fernando Sanchez Arellano “El Ingeniero”, benefiting from the financial problems inside CAF, result of its internal war with Eduardo Garcia Simental aka “El Teo”, and Arechiga when his boss, Vicente Zambada was arrested in March, 2009.
Since then, it was common for him to travel from Culiacan to Los Cabos, Tijuana or Mexicali, supervising the shipments of his drugs and those of Ismael Zambada Imperial aka “El Mayito Gordo”, which consisted of tons of drugs moved through Baja California Sur and the cities of Baja California, Protected by local criminal leaders.
His constant presence in both regions was also protected by big payments to the state and municipal police forces. In fact, after the murder of Alfredo de la Torre (Tijuana, 2000) and of the former commander Jose Ramon Velazquez (Mexicali, 2007) there was little to no reference of his presence in Baja California. Jose Ramon Velazquez was the one who revealed the presence in Mexicali of armed groups belonging to the Sinaloa cartel, they were protected by the State Attorney´s General Office and received logistics help from the investigative agents.
LIEUTENANT IN BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR
|Chino Antrax in Los Cabos the day before the assasination of Francisco Arellano Felix.|
The presence of Arechiga in Baja California Sur was first detected on February, 2011, when the municipal police of Los Cabos arrested a street drug dealer, his cell phone had pictures of high caliber weapons, grenades, armored vehicles and a poster which was circulating among the cell phones of criminals in which they were being invited to form part of “Las Fuerzas Especiales de los Antrax” (Antrax Special Forces) in that municipality.
The street drug dealer was consigned to the Strategic Operations Center and the data obtained from his cell phone helped the investigators in detecting the presence of Noe Castro, identified as “El R1”, who at the moment served as the right hand man for Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa in Comondu, Baja California Sur.
The criminal, believed to be the brother of Christopher and Redelio Castro, this last one known as “El Pocho Antrax”, killed on May 14th, 2009 and March 7th, 2010 respectively. He had begun operations in Los Cabos and was identified by military forces as the one who recorded a message sent to the Army announcing the arrival of “Los Antrax” to that city; on their message they assured they arrived there on orders of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada to help the people from a possible arrival of “Los Zetas”.
|Redelio Castro aka "Pocho Antrax", allegedly killed himself after BLO ambushed his convoy.|
After “El R1”, according to intelligence reports from both PGR and SEDENA, there was “El Chino Antrax”, who lived for some time in Los Cabos, fleeing when he was about to be captured in 2012, when federal personnel conducted 3 raids on the luxurious neighborhood of El Pedregal de Cabo San Lucas, the man escaped and the federal forces only seized weapons and drugs.
On this June 2012 operation, only agents of PGR and members of SEDENA and the Mexican Navy participated, they were quiet, using only ground vehicles but they were detected anyway and Arechiga escaped.
Since then, there was no record of him in Los Cabos, until –according to a member of PGR- an investigation began on the possibility of him planning and ordering the execution of Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix in Los Cabos by one of his trusted hit men, identified as “El R13”, because the former member of CAF had returned to his criminal activities, although only constrained to “money laundering”, but Arechiga wanted to make clear who was the “owner” of the plaza.
Local Authorities(PGJE) confirmed that although they haven’t finished with the investigations of Arellano´s murder, they have some data and information pointing as responsible to a hit men known as “R13”, whose physical traits match those of the murderer, but they also pointed out they have another 2 suspects.
Information and official records containing the name and crimes committed by Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa are limited, the only one available comes from the US authorities, basically the sealed indictment 13-CR-4517-DMS by the San Diego Federal Attorney´s Office and the alert of the Treasury Department created this past January 8th.
“…he is responsible for the selection and elimination of Zambada Garcia´s rivals”, “he is also in charge of transportation and logistics affairs”, the federal government accused.
In Mexico, the activity of “Los Antrax” and their criminal bosses was published on several newspapers based on information provided by members of SEDENA, Public Safety Secretariat, PGR and even the forensic services of Sinaloa, Sonora, Baja California, Guerrero, Distrito Federal and Estado de Mexico.
According to these records, the authorities have fought this armed group in charge of providing protection to the offspring of “El Mayo Zambada” and killing his competitors, who, at the beginning of the Sinaloa war, where protected by “Los Zetas” who arrived to Sinaloa to protect the criminal interests of the Beltran Leyva brothers in their war against Guzman and Zambada between 2007 and 2008.
Of those who began this group of sicarios, several have been deactivated, Manuel Torres Felix aka “El Ondeado” was given by his competitors to the Navy who killed him on October 13th, 2012, on similar conditions, also fighting against Navy personnel, Gonzalo Inzunza Inzunza died on December 18th, 2013 (according to PGR at least, they haven´t given info regarding their possession of the body). “Chino Antrax” was arrested in Holland 13 days later.
The criminal cell remains active anyway; in fact, the arrest is a major contributor to the empowerment of one of its members, Jesus Peña aka “El 20”, born in Nayarit and resident of Culiacan, who holds the international links of the cartel in South America, United States and Europe. The financial area remains untouched too under the operations of Maria Luisa Torres, niece of “El Ondeado”.
The backs of “Los Mayitos” remain well guarded too, and the threat against their enemies remains since the “sicarios” still have leaders, mainly represented by the men who share last names with Zambada´s sons, “El Chavo Felix” and Eliseo Castro Imperial “El Cheyo Antrax”, Felix is the brother in law of “El Mayito Gordo”, Imperial his cousin.
|"Cheyo Antrax"-"Mayito Gordo"-"Chino Antrax"|
There are rumors about the death of “El Cheyo Antrax” but they were never confirmed by authorities.
Another cell leaders mentioned are: “El Traka Antrax”, Melesio “El Mele Antrax”, who arrived at the criminal group by the hand of Manuel Torres Felix, father-in-law of Serafin Zambada. Rene Velazquez remains in a prison in Culiacan, “Sargento Phoenix Antrax” or “El Gato Negro” as his is known, is in custody, but the information regarding his arrest is not available.
BACKGROUNDS AND OUTCOMES
|Vicente Zambada Niebla aka "Vicentillo".|
Before being recruited by Vicente Zambada, the only records on the public press or Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa are those of a gang member who used to do graffiti in the east region of Culiacan, at his arrival at the cartel, the composer known as Arley Perez became the spokesman for “Los Antrax” with the creation of narcocorridos sang by local groups.
Phrases and words like the following are the common denominator in their “songs”:
-“Pecheras, granadas y cuernos / Bazucas y trocas blindadas cuidando el terreno del jefe, La plaza del Mayo Zambada / El chino me apodan los plebes, comando dirijo, al equipo Los Ántrax…”
(Bullet proof vests, grenades and AK´s/Bazookas and armored trucks taking care of the boss, Mayo Zambada´s plaza/ the boys call me “El Chino”, a commando I lead, the “Los Antrax” team…)
-“Vicente ha dejado un encargo pero no pienso defraudarlo”.
(Vicente left a duty and I don´t plan of failing him)
|"Chino Antrax" and Arley Perez.|
He liked to have his criminal duties sang as heroic achievements, in 2012, Max Hernandez Jr. from the Diamante Films producer and Producciones Ola Estudios recorded a home video called “El Mundo Es Tuyo”(The World Is Yours) which was distributed over the Internet, based on a narcocorrido about “El Chino Antrax”.
|Another of Arechiga´s alleged pictures on Instagram.|
He was a big fan of exhibitionism on social media, just like the press pointed out.
Arechiga was recently identified by authorities as allegedly responsible of 2 attacks against authorities:
-July 27th, 2012: Alejandro Osuna Rios, Culiacan´s prison director was killed and two hypothesis were created, one claiming his homicide was ordered by the Beltran Leyva cartel for allowing the assassination of one of its members, Francisco Araujo Beltran aka “El Arabe”; the other believes the officer refused to cooperate or blocked the escape of the criminal leader known as “Phoenix Antrax”, in custody since 2008, when he let himself get arrested to allow the escape of “El Chino Antrax”.
-May 2nd, 2013: Carlos Alfonso Ontiveros Salas, then director of the Municipal Public Safety and Transit Department in Culiacan resigned from his job after being threatened for leading an operation against rapist narco-juniors in Isla Musala and Las Quintas in Culiacan; and who on April 16th, 2013 led an operation where Rafael “El Changuito” from “Los Antrax” was arrested, “El Changuito” was freed hours later by request of the Sinaloa´s State Police boss.
At 33 years old, Arechiga enjoyed a decade of unpunished criminal activity until December 20th, 2013, when a federal grand jury in San Diego, California, emitted a sealed indictment for multiple violations regarding drug trafficking.
11 days later, on December 31st, 2013, the government of Holland announced the capture of a Mexican citizen at his arrival at the airport of Schiphol in Amsterdam; he was in possession of drugs and was arriving aboard KLM flight 686 from Mexico, on January 3rd his identity was confirmed along with the United States petition and the Interpol arraignments.
The United States Federal Government made sure there were no mistakes or misinterpretations and issued a bulletin claiming “Today´s action would have not been possible without the help of the DEA, specifically DEA-San Diego and DEA-Phoenix, the Federal Attorney´s Office for the South District of California (San Diego) and the Mexican Government”.
The United States authorities asked for his extradition based on the charged pressed against him in the 13-CR-4517-DMS indictment, where Arechiga, along with other accomplices is charged of conspiring to distribute 500 or more grams of controlled substances, including methamphetamine and 5 or more kilograms of cocaine and 100 or more grams of marijuana. On January 8th, 2013, the Treasury Department added him to the kingpin list.