During first incarceration El Chapo summoned DEA to "turn in" Arellano Félix
"I had nothing to do with the cardinal’s death (Posadas
Ocampo); I was the target and look where I am now and those bastards (Arellano
Félix Organization) are doing fine.”
by Anabel Hernandez
Chapo Guzmán? How does he react? How does he negotiate? How does he show his
emotions? What does he think towards his family? Who does he hate? What apprehensions
does he have?...In 1998 two DEA agents met with the capo, when he was being
held at the Jalisco Puente Grande federal prison No.2, the prison from which he
would escape in 2001.
details on Chapo’s personality, which they found as being both charismaticand manipulative.
(now) former DEA Chief of Intelligence
in Mexico, Larry Villalobos, and the former Operations Supervisor for the
agency, Joe Bond, Chapo Guzmán appeared to be impressive, intelligent,
charismatic and manipulative.
him very well because they have been witnesses to Mexico’s recent drug trafficing
history and had been studying the Sinaloa drug cartel for years. Being
interviewed in the United States, they exclusively reveal the details to
Proceso about the meeting they had with Guzmán Loera at the Puente Grande maximum
security prison in Jalisco in October 1998, which they had a kept in secret
were stationed in Mexico between 1997
and 2003. But because Villalobos only retired from the anti-drug agency in 2012
and Bond the following year, the information in their possession is relatively current.
Among his recent assignments, Villalobos was Head of EPIC Intelligence (El Paso
Intelligence Center), while Bond was agent coordinator for the International
their positions in Mexico, the agents had access to information about Guzmán
Loera’s “escape” in January of 2001, successful, according to them, thanks to
the complicity of officers in Vicente Fox’s government, in addition to the the
retired DEA agents’ experience one can get an insight into Guzmán Loera’s personality,
his hates and fears, the man considered by the United States government to be
the most powerful drug trafficker in the world and who the Mexican government says
they captured without firing a single shot.
what is widely assumed, it was Chapo who contacted the DEA while being detained
at Puente Grande. “In those days, recalls Villalobos, I was at the United
States Embassy in Mexico, working with the DEA, when someone representing Chapo
came with a message that he wanted to meet with the agency to talk about the Arellano
to turn them in”.
time, Arellano Félix brothers headed the Tijuana Cartel, and according to the
federal government version, they initiated the shootings on the 24th
of May, 1993 at the Guadalajara International Airport, and while attempting to
execute Chapo Guzmán, killed Cardinal Juan
Jesús Posadas Ocampo.
States government couldn’t get involved. We worked closely with the Mexican
government under the Ernesto Zedillo administration. We were in contact with
Mariano Herrán Salvatti and we also worked with José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos.
We told them that a guy had come saying he represented Chapo and that he wanted
to see us. We spoke to the DEA in Washington. I knew that the source was indeed
a person very close to Chapo”, ex-agent Villalobos relates.
clarified: “We represented the United States government in Mexico and we
weren’t going to harm the case; we had to confirm and coordinate everything
with the Justice Department. As we weren’t working alone, we had to collaborate
with the Mexican government”.
Arellano Félix was the prime target, Washington gave the approval for Villalobos
and Bond to meet up with Chapo. Approval from the Mexican government took a few
by, until one day the PGR gave them permission to visit the famous drug trafficker.
They said José Patiño Moreno, an agent from the Public Ministry for anti-drug prosecution,
would accompany them, Patiño was later assassinated in Baja California.
The DEA agents
entered the prison pretending to be psychologists contracted by the Mexican government
to carry out a study on high level prisoners, and to investigate if the
penitentiary was respecting human rights. Zedillo’s government provided them
with accreditation documentation.
“Chapo didn’t know when we were going to the prison. We had told his messenger,
“If the day comes that we visit Chapo, tell him that we will introduce
ourselves as “Tito”, and by that name, he will know it’s us.”
arrived, the staff led them to the prison hospital and instructed them to wait
in the large lounge.
Chapo then entered.
your first impression?” asked the reporter of Villalobos, who was then the Head
of DEA Intelligence in Mexico.
incredible, young, in good shape, slim. As if he were eating and sleeping well”
interviewees continued with their narrative.
Joe Bond introduced
himself with the code: “Good afternoon. I am Tito”. Chapo went pale. Immediately
and with clear refrain he asked: “The
three of you?”
He then dropped
to the floor on all fours as he looked under the door in case there was someone
listening. “He wanted to make sure that only us would hear what he was about to tell us”, Bond supposed.
Moreno then interjected: “Do you know why we are here? To this the convict
replied: “They told me they were going to a psychologicalstudy, but I already know who you are. Are you all from the same agency?
explained; “No, only Larry and I are from Tito. Pepe is from the Mexican
government. We have complete faith in him, so you can talk freely.”
didn’t hold back. He began to say things in a perplexingbarrage, firing five years of pent up hate.
I call you Chapo or Joaquín?” Villalobos
it easy, and allow us to ask the questions and that’s how we’ll get to know
what you have to say. Alright?”
fine. Hand on my heart I am going to tell you the truth.”
The Rise of theEmpire
and with his eye on the mountain horizon out the window, Chapo said “I am not
coming back here. I’ll kill myself or they’ll kill me before I hand myself over
to the government”.
He had been
in prison for five years and he already had many of the prison officers on his
and Bond looked at him astounded. Villalobos had been studying him for years, even
before being sent to Mexico in 1997 and Bond was his best pupil. They knew, for
example, that one of Chapo’s first significant positions in crime, was as foreman
on the El Búfalo ranch, in Chihuahua, property of Capo Rafael Caro Quintero.
his apparentintegrity, Chapo protested:
leave here. I won’t see my family or my children. I don’t want them to visit or
they’ll be killed….I had nothing to do with the cardinal’s death (Posadas
Ocampo); I was the target and look where I am now and those bastards (Arellano
Félix Organization) are doing fine.”
do you want to tell us about the Arellanos? You are Chapo Guzmán. You can kill
those bastards any time you want. Why do you need the DEA to go and get them? You
can kill anyone, according to what people say, replied Villalobos.
“No, no!” “
What you don’t understand is that I don’t have that power anymore. The people
that used to work with me left and are now working for them. It’s alright
though. I can’t expect them to stay with me because they have to maintain their
families. But I don’t have people anymore. I can’t have them killed nor handed
over. I do not have that
“And El Güero?”
myself or El Güero have people.”
you want from us?”
“We can work
together” Chapo answered anxiously
States doesn’t work with drug dealers. And what’s more, why should we listen to
you? If the Mexican government hands you over tomorrow they would give you 50
to 60 years with the charges we have against you. What are we going to give you?
You complete the 25 years you have to do here and then they take you away to do
another 50, so that way there is no use in us helping you”Villalobos bluntly replied.
Chapo wanted was to negotiate a deal with the DEA, he would hand over his arch enemies, the
Arellano Félix, in exchange for not being extradited to the United States or an
offer of a five year sentence.
stated his desire that his youngest children (Joaquín, Édgar, Ovidio and Grisela),
that he had produced with Griselda López, didn’t follow down the same road of
them to be educated, I don’t want them to end up here”, he said.
painful to him. He stated that he didn’t want his children to go into the
business, as if he were about to cry”, Villalobos recalled with surprise.
the 8th of May 2008, his son Édgar Guzmán López, 22, was killed in
the parking lot of a mall in Culiacán, Sinaloa.
and Bond affirm that of all his women, El Chapo preferred Griselda. (it was at
Griselda’s Culiacán home that Chapo escape through the tunnels-2 days before
her when she went to the United States Embassy to ask for visas for herself and
her children. They describe her as being intelligent and totally devoted to her
then husband, who also gave her his complete trust.
government said that it had found clues about Chapo in Griselda López’s house,
in Culiacán, just days before arresting him.
to Villalobos, he had to cut short the capo’s sentimental outburst:
“We are not
going to talk about that. If you want to hand over the Arellano Félix to us
because you hate them, because they are bastards who kill people all over
Mexico, that’s fine. We can help you, but you will not get a deal for 5 or 6
years in the States. We can’t
continued, “We spoke for three hours. We spoke about the drug history in
Mexico, about the people he knew, the meetings with Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo
when he was still free and what they did in Toluca with several police chiefs”.
The former director
of EPIC Intelligence says that before going to Puente Grande he and Bond had
agreed with their Embassy that they wouldn’t talk about corruption with El
going to discuss government issues, such as who Chapo was paying off, etc. That
wasn’t what we wanted, Villalobos explained.
wanted to and whenever he tried to steer the conversation to political matters
the DEA agents stopped him from continuing.
say to him; just talk to us about how you came into power, how this drug
federation came about. Talk to us about Amado Carrillo and all the people he
that they were all a federation. They were all a group of friends that got on
well together and that they had everything under control within the states, on
the border, with several people controlling the border areas.”
each other “Chapo explained. “ You think there is absolutely no respect, but
there is. If someone enters a plaza, he looks for who is controlling it and he
pays him. Because these people have to pay for other things. And if another person comes in and doesn’t pay
for the drugs, time and people, then that is when a settling of scores takes
same as El Güero Palma, El Chapo was important to Félix Gallardo and Caro
Quintero from the Guadalajara cartel, Villalobos commented; “Chapo was
responsible for getting all the goods to the border and introduce them into the
U.S. The Columbians called him El Rápido (fast one) because he guaranteed that
from the time of receiving goods he
would get them into the U.S. within 48 hours; what they didn’t know was that he
had a tunnel at Agua Prieta”, the retired agent pointed out.
“Güero Palma” was
in charge of the security of goods when they arrived in Mexico. They would find out when the goods were
going to arrive and when they would be taken to the U.S., who would control it
in Mexico, who would ensure the crossing and who it would be delivered to”.
“I know about
their operations, such as when they arrived outside of San Luis Potosí” Chapo mentioned to Villalobos: he was
referring to the handling of a large drug shipment.
successful, weren’t we?” bragged the drug dealer.
“You were incredible!”
the DEA Intelligence Chief acknowledged.
interview relates that after the fall of Félix Gallardo and the rise of Amado
Carrillo Fuentes, El Chapo and El Güero Palma joined with him.
shortly they joined up with Amado Carrillo, who really loved them. And they also loved Amado. They were known as the Juárez
cartel, but Amado Carrillo controlled it from Juárez to Veracruz”, Villalobos
that Chapo was highly valued within the organization for his efficiency and
even in prison he tried to knock down his rivals:
García Ábrego had just been extradited (1996), although neither Osiel (Cárdenas
Guillén) nor Los Zetas were in.Carrillo
and his people’s dispute was more with the Arellano Félix. Chapo wanted to
convince us that the problem was them. He wanted AFO to be the target. If we
got rid of Arellano, he said, there was going to be no more violence.”
all the details for us, give us something we can evaluate and let’s see what we
can do” Villalobos told Chapo Guzmán Loera after three hours of conversation.
going to see each other again?” asked the prisoner.
goodbye to each other. In agreement with Villalobos, the United States
government ordered the two agents not to meet up with Chapo again because they
were worried that any contact could affect the cases they were preparing.
It is true
that the Tijuana cartel leaders were dropping like flies since Chapo had escaped
out of Puente Grande. In February 2002, Ramón Arellano Félix was killed in
Mazatlán, Sinaloa. It is said that the order came from Ismael Mayo Zambada and
Chapo was arrested in this same port and in the same month, 12 years later.
2002, Benjamín Arellano Félix was arrested in Puebla and in August Francisco
Javier Arellano Félix by the United States marines off the coast of California.
He carried out a 15 year sentence in prison and in October 2013 a hit man
dressed as a clown killed him at a children’s party in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur.
In the last paragraph, the journalist made a mistake
confusing Francisco Javier Arellano Felix with Francisco Rafael Arellano
If you linked to the Spanish article using the hyperlink at
the bottom, you can see the error.
Per Written in original article:
“En abril de 2002 fue detenido en
Puebla Benjamín Arellano Félix; y en agosto Francisco Javier Arellano Félix por
la marina estadunidense en la costera de California. Purgó una condena de 15
años en la cárcel y en octubre de 2013 un sicario disfrazado de payaso lo
asesinó en una fiesta infantil en Los Cabos, Baja California Sur.”
Correction by Chivis: Benjamin Arellano Félix was arrested In Puebla
in March 9, 2002.He was eventually extradited
to the US and is serving a 25 year sentence after pleading guilty.
Francisco Javier Arellano Félix was arrested in
international waters by U.S. agents in 2006. He pled guilty and is serving a
Francisco Rafael Arellano Félix was arrested in 1993,
served his sentence in Mexico then extradited to the US and served two
additional years before his release in 2008.It was he who was gunned down in October, 2013 while attending a child’s
party.Sicarios dressed as clowns
executed Arellano Félix in Cabo.