A judge of the twelfth district granted a formal injunction against the former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, "El Chapo" Guzman, for flying and landing an aircraft clandestinely in Baja California Sur in 2012. The indictment does not specify if the aerial activities were criminal in nature.
An alleged prostitute claims that Guzman commanded her to be flown to a villa in Punta Ballena, in exchange for sexual favors he paid for her to have liposuction at a hospital in Guadalajara. On at least two occasions the drug dealer was present in the same location.
In 2012 when the G-20 summit was held in Los Cabos, Joaquin Guzman Loera "El Chapo", landed in Baja California Sur. With information from the DEA from the United States of America, Federal Police carried out an operation to capture him on that occasion, but he got away.
In this case, they found only the prostitute by herself, which the capo would meet on the beaches of Baja California Sur.
Because of this operation, an investigation was launched which later led to the capture of the Sinaloan Capo in February of 2014, in June of this year, his detention was decreed with a formal arrest warrant for the crime of clandestine flights, and providing the means for an aircraft to take off and land clandestinely.
However in the First Unitary Court of the 12 Circuit, Judge Sergio Antonio Alvarez granted an amparo to the drug trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to reverse the order of detention that was processed in a Court of Law in Baja California Sur, for his alleged responsibility for the operation of clandestine flights, facts derived from the escape from Los Cabos in February 2012.
The granting of the amparo is not to release him, but to restore the judicial procedure, so that wrongful conduct is punishable. The authorities have to prove that the clandestine flights had as their objectives illicit activities, an essential element they failed to analyse before the Judge of the Unitary Court of the 26th District, and a Judge of the Second District of Baja California Sur, both resident in the city of La Paz at the time of processing the capo.
So the Baja California Sur Court must leave the Court Order and issue a new resolution, that proves or not that the reasons for the flights were for illicit purposes.
The ruling of the amparo will be notified via warrant in the next hours to Joaquin Achivaldo Guzman Loera, who for almost a year has been held at the Centre for Social Rehabilitation No.1 Altiplano, in Almoloya de Juarez, Mexico State.
The Visits of El Chapo to BCS
At midday on 15th February 2012, service personnel from the Cabo golf course, reported to the Navy of Los Cabos, a clandestine landing of small single engine plane, which was white with blue stripes.
The Aircraft landed in the area of a stream which lies parallel to the paved road that leads to the substation of the Federal Electricity Commission. The site adjoins the Canon del Tiro golf course, located at kilometre 19.5 of the transpeninsular highway, section San Jose de el Cabo, Cabo San Lucas.
Witnesses testified that the plane landed from North to South on a dirt road on the area of the stream, where were waiting two Chevrolet Suburban vehicles of white and gray color near the road. There were people moving in the vicinity of the plane and vehicles and after a few minutes the vehicles sped off toward the highway, while the plane took off towards the North.
The witnesses could not identify any of the people, make out vehicle registration numbers or if a load was transferred as the suspect were at a great distance.
After advising the authorities, a group of about 20 Navy personnel with a Naval Officer, were seen on the dirt road adjacent to the golf course. At the site were three wheel tracks of tires of the type used on planes which showed the exact landing, turning, and take off.
Authorities gathered the testimony of private security agents and their supervisor, trainers and professionals of the golf course, maintenance workers and other witnesses, of both Administratix Cabo Real, and Questro Security Group. But the identity of the passengers and crew were not identified, all that could be proved was the existence of the fact of the clandestine flight landing and take off.
To avoid future use of the clandestine landing strip, the marines destroyed it.
In the following days, and coinciding with a visit from the ex first lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton, it transpired that the event of the clandestine flight was linked to the presence of drug trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in the area of Los Cabos, specifically in the area of Punta Ballena.
The information was already in the possession of the Marina, but the office of the PGR received an anonymous call on the 21st of February 2012 of a complaint indicating that a villa in Cabo San Lucas, where suspicious movements of armed men and Surburban cars were observed, possibly it was where Guzman was hiding.
The PGR, through SEIDO ordered a deployment of Federal Agents up to the peninsula. More than a hundred Agents arrived at an ostentatious residence, where after breaking into the site the authorities arrested two men and two women. They were a driver, gardener, cook and another woman. Chapo was not there, he had left a few minutes earlier.
At the site the Agents secured, two Chevrolet Surburbans colored white and gray, one Nissan Quest vehicle, a carbine rifle in 5.56 calibre, a 40 mm grenade launcher, three grenades for the launcher, seven Blackberrys, eight Nokia cell phones, a portable computer from Sony, and a plastic bag with 100 grammes of the drug Ice.
The detainees were the pilot Angel Jorge Lopez Urias, and his co pilot Omar Hinojosa Villegas, the Sinaloan cook Maria Luisa Macias Amarillas, and a young woman named Agustina, presumably a casual partner of the narco trafficker Guzman Loera, and provisionally a man who attended to the garden. The pilot Angel Lopez had a criminal record since 2009, when he was apprehended in possession of 20,000 dollars apparently from criminal activities. The charges were not successful and the money was returned to Lopez in 2010.
From Pilot to errand boy
Omar Hinojosa said that the firearms and grenades discovered in the house, in a bedroom, must belong to "El Chapo" and that he was unaware of their existence. A professional Pilot, Hinojosa said he was Co-Pilot to Angel Lopez, he stated that their roles were carrying of food and running errands for the owner of the house, a property that was commissioned by El Chapo.
The witness said that in December 2011 a lease had been signed with an option to buy for 350,000 dollars. With plans for its final acquisition in the amount of 1 million dollars, the arrested would take a commission when the sale of the residence was concluded.
Hinojosa said that his friend Lopez Urias asked him to get a place to land in Los Cabos, so he agreed, and located the ideal place between San Jose Del Cabo, and Cabo San Lucas, a kilometre towards the hill where the Hilton Hotel is located on the transpeninsular highway. He said that when they received their passenger on the plane for take off, a Cessna 206, he realized that the passenger was the drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera together with a bodyguard.
Hinojosa Villegas made the airstrip towards the rented house. He says the capo and his bodyguard stayed for a week and a half then flew back in the same aircraft. He added that for making the landing strip he received 50,000 pesos, when his guests returned two weeks later he received another bonus of 50,000 pesos.
Joaquin Archivaldo and his secretary always carried three cases, without knowing the contents, the Pilot presumed that they kept the firearms and grenades in them. About the cook that was detained with him, it turned out that she had been hired two days earlier from the Plaza Puerto Paraiso in Cabo San Lucas and her only function there was to prepare food.
The detainee said that he had picked her up at the airport of San Jose Del Cabo on the instructions of his Pilot friend and took her to the house, where she stayed for approximately one week and was apparently she was the girlfriend of El Chapo Guzman. About the gardener, he added that he had always worked at the house, and was paid a salary of 2,500 pesos a month. His job entailed cleaning the garden, and to fumigate the house inside and outside.
In addition to the 100,000 pesos which the Co-Pilot received as a reward, they gave him 5-10,000 pesos in cash to purchase food and supply gasoline for the two surburban vans. One white and one gold colored, models 2007 or 2008. He noted that the white van was only used to move El Chapo Guzman and the other for running errands.
The payment of a liposuction
The villa at Punta Ballena consists of two levels, with an eye catching façade in salmon color, with a black door and perimeter garden. It has a red tile roof and a carport for two vehicles. At the bottom of the construction can be seen a dome with a sort of bell tower, highlighting the exterior formed from rustic style stone.
There are four bedrooms, the main is on the second floor, where Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera stayed. The other three were on the ground floor. Guzman's bedroom had exercise equipment bought from El Sams club. Any guests were confined to their rooms when staying at the house, except Guzman and the woman who was collected from the airport, Guzman's bodyguard stayed on the ground floor. The witness was required to stay at the house occasionally and did so on the ground floor, where the person spent their time internet surfing and checking email.
Agustina the mysterious woman with the amorous connection with the Sinaloan narco trafficker, said that in January of 2012, she met a boy when she was with some friends in "Kuwa" nightclub located on the La Isla, Culiacan, and she told him of her intention to have liposuction to reshape her body. The boy said that he lived with someone who would pay for the operation.
The next day the surgery was quoted at 50,000 pesos, and was performed on the 24th January in a luxurious hospital in Guadalajara, where Augustina spent several days recovering from the operation. Agustina added that all the time she was in contact with an intermediary of the operation, and who advised her that in February she would be pay back her mystery benefactor.
The man she met at the bar, took her to a runway in Mazatlan, where she boarded a private plane and was blindfolded until they reached their destination which was Cabo San Lucas. They took her to a house where she stayed for a week waiting to meet her mystery benefactor, when he did arrive at midnight, he entered her bedroom, took off her blindfold and kissed her.
Agustina now knew that the benefactor was "El Chapo", he asked about her health since the operation, she answered that she was well, Guzman asked her if she was ready to have sex, she replied yes, but after a while of chatting, Guzman said that he would meet her again in a few days. The witness said he could hear them touching, but that the man left and Agustina went to sleep, and slept until midday the next day.
He went to the ground floor for breakfast, then the Federal Agents stormed the property and arrested everyone there, but Guzman was not present he had escaped.
The Crime of clandestine flights and landings
The penalties for criminal activities using or allowing the use of an Aerodrome, Airports, Heliports, Runways or any other facility for air transit that are owned or under the responsibility of their care. Sentence shall be imprisonment of two to six years, fines, and confiscation of any equipment, objects or products of criminal activity. If the facility is clandestine the penalty shall increase by 50%.
The same penalties will be applied to those who make clandestine flights, or provide the means to facilitate the landing or take off of aircraft, or those who refuel or maintain the aircraft used in the above mentioned activities. If the criminal activities mentioned above are related to offenses against health, Jail and fines will be doubled.
Those that build, condition or put into operation buildings and facilities referred to above, without having the observed award, notice, or permission notice contained in the respective legislation, shall be sentenced to three to eight years in prison, and fines.
The sanctions provided for in this article shall be imposed without prejudice to the measures required by general law of means of communication and of the penalties that apply, where appropriate for other crimes.
Original Article in Spanish at Zetatijuana