Friday, May 1, 2015

"El Chuyin": angel and demon of Villa Ahumada

Translated by Otis B Fly-Wheel for Borderland Beat from a Proceso article and BB archives

[Subject Matter: El Chuyin, Juarez Cartel, Villa Ahumada
Recommendation: Some prior knowledge of Juarez Cartel would be useful]

Jesús Salas Aguayo “El Chuyín”
Reporter: Patricia Mayorga and especial
For families living in Villa Ahumada, Jesus Salas Aguayo "El Chuyin", leader of the Juarez Cartel apprehended this past Friday the 17th, represented Hell, but for the majority of the village he was their salvation.

He became the head of Plaza for the Juarez Cartel of the North-East corridor, in Chihuahua, Parral and other parts of the state, after the apprehension in May of 2008, of his countryman Pedro Sanchez Arras "El Tigre". (Otis: see BB reporter Un Vato in depth guide from 2012 see link)

Even though he adopted a lower profile than his predecessor Pedro Sanchez, he knew all of the village of Villa de Ahumada and they knew to what, he was dedicated. He is originally from here.

"El Chuyin" is one of the criminals most sought after by the DEA, according to their website who consider him a fugitive with the number W032681616.

Villagers remember "El Chuyin" working with Pedro Sanchez, they drove around in a black Lincoln Navigator. He was with El Guero and his friend", recalls a person close to Aguayo Salas who requested anonymity.

"They were good people (the criminal group), "El Chuyin" had an open account in his name at a Pharmacy, that all villagers could use. They could either go and get their free medicine, or one of "El Chuyin's" men would pick up the medicine and take it to the family that needed it, recalled the witness.

Among other properties, he was the owner of a ranch that the Authorities have confiscated, and a house near a road leading to Juarez across the street from a hotel he had just had built.

Pedro Sanchez was more extrovert, having frequent parties every time he came to Villa Ahumada.

Pedro Sanchez and later "El Chuyin" threw huge parties in a ballroom that belonged to them called "La Cabana". Pedro dressed in a black suit without a tie, recalls another witness who left the village in 2010.

The predecessor of "El Chuyin" spent his time between Parral or Juarez.

"When he arrived, they would have a party in the public square and sometimes in the gymnasium, that was opposite the Municipal Presidency.

"When he came to the Plaza, there was a party in the gymnasium, for example there would be a band "The Jilguerillos" who played until 7 in the morning", said one of the interviewed.

There were frequent parties in the gymnasium and they lasted until six or seven in the morning, and when it was the plaza of Pedro Sanchez they would arrive with tents and beer and everything you need, "his bodyguards were dressed normally, but they were guarding anyone who attended.

They remember that Pedro Sanchez and later "El Chuyin" sheltering near to Benito Juarez, in the Municipality of Buena Vista, specifically in Las Playitas near the ranch where Jesus Salas was arrested.

They had everything under control, entrepreneurs had to negotiate with them for their own safety, they recount (Otis: sounds like extortion to me).

After the detention of Pedro Sanchez, during a combined Chihuahua operation, the Authorities intended to support an opposing group, the Sinaloa Cartel, to take the Strategic drug trafficking plaza, but they couldn't achieve it, said one of the interviewees.

After the apprehension in Parral of Pedro Sanchez and the assassination of his bodyguard Gerardo Gallegos Rodelo, its obvious that the Federal Government tried to "clean" the plaza for the opposing group, affirmed a witness.

Also made evident is the collusion of Municipal Agents with the criminal group in this region. In March of the same year 2008, the Mexican Army apprehended five Municipal Agents for associated with organised crime.

Rigoberto Ruiz Sida, Jose Guadalupe Santan, Juan Pablo Remes Torres, Jesus Francisco Lopez Cadena and Daniel Solis Solis, were put at the disposal of the Federal Authorities and days after obtained their liberty after paying a 5000 pesos fine.

In May during the funeral of bodyguard Gilberto Gallegos, he arrived at the cemetery in Villa Ahumada in a white Escalade, with a caravan of bodyguards, record the two witnesses.

A military group broke into the cemetery, and apprehended those people who worked with Pedro Sanchez and seized drugs. the soldiers arrived in two helicopters and vehicles. "they had a man taking photographs, of Pedro's people, also they took them away, recalls a man who left the village.

On the morning of 18th of May 2008, the inhabitants of Villa Ahumada were alerted by the Municipal Authorities about the arrival of an armed commando that had instructions to "clean" the region.

A group from the Sinaloa Cartel led by "Tono Marrufo" arrived in the village in search of Juarez Cartel operatives, the resulting gun battle left nine people dead.

"The soldiers were in the village the day before, and returned just after the killings", said the two witnesses.

"They said early that the people of Tono Marrufo were going to arrive to "clean", first there were about four policeman, the witness recalls.

Around one in the morning on the 18th of May, a suburban arrived first with various armed men and hoods, they were wearing skull masks and behind them came more, remembers one of them.

The first people they came across were three Municipal Policeman who they killed and left lying outside a gas station, Jose Armando Estrada Rodriguez, Oscar Adrian Zuniga Davila and Jose Luis Quinonez.

Following were the assassinations of three civilians and the kidnapping of three others, that were later found executed in Ciudad Juarez.

In the ballroom, there were many people because they were celebrating a Quincinera. The same Sicarios closed the exits so the people inside could not leave.

The burreros ( sellers of traditional asaderos and burritos in Villa Ahumada), were hiding in the bathrooms, they could hear the Sicarios searching someone, they asked who he was. Then they opened the door to the bathrooms where they were hiding, they only said "stay here".

Luis Eduardo Escobedo Ruiz, 21 years of age died in the fracas, his body left inside a blue Dodge Ram truck. His mother and other family members, went to the location and assured that he was employed as a workhand at a ranch in Santa Monica.

They called him "El Bardito", he was the son of "El Bardo". "The boy was selling drugs, its like that here when they finish high school they go to Juarez, and those who cannot or do not want to marry, are set to meet and become easy prey of the drug dealers, said one of the witnesses.

The other murdered victims were Julio Armando Gomez Magallanes, owner of the "pollo feliz" or "happy chicken" restaurant and Mario Alberto Gonzalez Castro, employee of the offices of Omnibus of Mexico. The other three men that were kidnapped and executed in Juarez were identified as Aldo Anibal Martinez Hernandez, Arturo Flores Lopez and Hector Guadalupe Sanchez Hernandez, the last a step brother of Pedro Sanchez.

The battle was heard around four in the morning. Later silence prevailed. In a short while the vans passed in a caravan, they were heading towards Chihuahua, to a breach that goes to Benito Juarez and goes to Juarez, a drug transit route.

A few hours later, the Military arrived and installed an encampment in the gymnasium where the Quincinera was held. Months after, Jesus Salas changed into a "protector" of a large part of the village, and hell for the others.

On 15th of July of 2008, two months after the detention of Pedro Sanchez, authorities captured in Lazaro Cardenas, town of Meoqui, strong collaborators of the capo: Gonzalo Garcia Garcia, "El Chalo"; Antonio Flores, "El Tono" and Ricardo del la Rosa Haros, "El Cabe". They were accused on no less than five homicides, and were freed in January of this past year.

Gonzalo Garcia was assassinated with another five members of his criminal group, this passed 17th of March in the Town of Buenaventura. Also killed in confrontation was, De la Rosa Haro.

The Municipal Police of Villa Ahumada  was without staff from 2009 until a few months ago, because of agents being dismissed or killed. At the end of 2008 they killed a commander of the Secretariat of Public Safety.

Jesus Blanco Cano was found with a narco message on the pan America highway, between the villages of Ahumada and Samalayuca. Now the village is expectant because they don't know who has taken the place of Salas Aguayo or which group now holds the plaza.

"El Chuyin was captured this past 17th of April by the Military and elements of the Marines, during a strong operation that forced the three levels of Government to besiege the town of Ahumada, with him they captured four more alleged criminals.

On the following day "El Chuyins" people, the protected ones, fled towards the towns and common lands of the North West, mainly to Bonaventura where they threatened the villagers.

"El Chuyin" had control of Villa de Ahumada, a town localized more than a 100 kilometres from Juarez, the American Authorities accuse him of ordering the assassination of Jose Daniel Gonzalez Galeana, ex member of the criminal group who was living in El Paso, Texas, and was a protected witness of the ICE in 2009.

According to the ICE, Salas mistrusted Gonzalez Galeana and attributed to him, the detention on 13th of May 2008 of Pedro Sanchez Arras "El Tigre", who was third in charge of the cartel, a guide for Vincente Carrillo Fuentes.

Villa Ahumada is infamous because it is the land which housed the heads of the Juarez Cartel such as Rafael Munoz Talavera, Rafael Aguilar Guajardo and Armado Carrillo Fuentes.

Original article in Spanish at Proceso