By Luis Fernando Najera, translated by un vato for Borderland Beat
|Marines in Guasave|
Ariel Carbajal Gutierrez could not find a way to stop the torture that Marine troopers were inflicting on him to force him to reveal the codewords and names of his accomplices in the Guasave Cartel.
He had been stripped naked out in the woods and hung by his neck. He was beaten on the back, the chest, the abdomen, and on whatever undamaged part of his body they could find. His buttocks were purple with bruises.
After the physical torture, with could not tear a confession out of him, except for his cries of pain, came the mental torture. "We already killed the skinny guy. Now it's your turn."
He couldn't see anybody because his eyes were blindfolded. His head was hurting and he was about to urinate and defecate in his own pants.
The torturers wanted passwords, names, passwords and names. And he didn't have any of those things.
So, to stop the torture, he offered to give the marines a million dollars.
He told them he had hidden the money in his wife's house. He gave them the address: San Jose de las Delicias, known by the locals as Calabacillas.
When they heard that, the marines (he assumed) went on alert, because they stopped torturing him. Calabacillas was one of their targets, because their intelligence information said this was the home of Mario Calabazas, known as the leader of gunmen working for Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, El Chapo Isidro.
It's Saturday night, June 28, and after a few hours in the hills near the Chumares ejido, Ariel, better known as "Azul", nickname that his friends on the ranch gave him because of the color of the plastic packaging on a certain double action detergent, had a few minutes of peace. They put him on a compact pickup and he only stopped swinging back and forth during a short, "technical" stop that the marines made in Bamos to stock up on water and other basic products they needed to go back up the mountain.
They began to climb and when they got to the town, he was made to point out the house. He did that. Some time passed until a marine, furious, came back and told him he had gone too far. "El Azul" didn't know this, but the marines had mobilized their helicopters and their quick response group which had for months been hunting the leader of the Guasave Cartel, Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, El Chapo Isidro.
And in that mobilization, they broke into the home of Flora Olivia Cuevas and that of another neighbor. They asked them for the weapons and the money. They answered that they had nothing like that. They interrogated the young people, and the response was the same. They gave her a name: Ariel Carbajal Gutierrez, and she answered that he had left her and their children four years before.
That's why the marine, pissed off, had threatened El Azul with that thing about having gone too far.
That's when he figured it out; he assumed that in the mountains, he most probably would be murdered.
Time went by, and nothing. The beating stopped. He stayed awake all night. He only saw the light of day when a female doctor stripped him and searched even his butt. She certified that he was unharmed.
Next day in the afternoon, Sunday, June 29th, Ariel met with his friends Cesar Alberto Coronel Corrales and Francisco de Jesus Moya Quinonez. All of them were beat up, and now they were being held in a fresh building.
They didn't know it, but the marines reported that they had been stopped on the Los Mochis-Guasave highway, close to Las Chumares ranch. They were driving an old green Jeep. They were carrying rifles. A total of seven AK-47 rifles, grenade launchers, thousands of rounds of ammunition and dozens of magazines. They also had tactical equipment, including boots.
They went through a ministerial investigation and said nothing. They reserved their right to make a statement.
When they were in the Seventh District courtroom, testifying on Case No. 113/2014, the three laborers denied the accusations, but the marines insist on repeating their report.
Witnesses contradicted the marines' version and testified that the three young men were arrested in front of the La Mision Hotel, on Guasave's south exit, while they were getting drunk. That the only pursuit involved a motorcyclist who chased the convoy that took the three young men into the hills, among other things.
To this day, the three friends are still in prison. They are charged with carrying firearms and ammunition intended for military use exclusively, as well as criminal conspiracy.
The arrest of Ariel and his friends was never reported to the media.
The federal case is still developing the evidence.
Azul's wife never went to testify.
And in his head he still hears echoes of that million dollars that he invented to get out of being tortured. And it was that torture that brought him, four years after abandoning his wife and children, back to his motherland; Calabacillas, land of gunmen and murderers for hire, according to the official police narrative.
And the hunt for Chapo Isidro goes on.