San Diego: Tijuana trafficker texted pictures of torture and murder
Juan Castro Navarro, 43, of Culiacan Sinaloa was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for methamphetamine & heroin trafficking, through Tijuana to California, Utah and Washington. Castro Navarro pled guilty to distributing over 40 pounds of methamphetamine, in January of 2015.
Prosecutors describe Castro-Navarro as a broker, who connected wholesale drug contacts in Tijuana and Sinaloa with customers in the United States, who often arranged transportation and importation of the product through the Tijuana border. Castro-Navarro recieved a sentence enhancement of 5 years, after the US Attorney successfully displayed evidence Castro-Navarro's violence, including torture and several killings. The killings took place in Tijuana to Mexican citizens, therefore the US Attorney's office in San Diego didn't charge Castro Navarro with these offenses.
However, through court docs, a Tijuana newspaper, and intercepted text messages and images they recreated the kidnapping and eventual murders of men who stole from the drug trafficking group. According to prosectors, from an Ontario, California stash house members of the trafficking group transported 10 pounds of meth to Los Angeles, where the load was ripped off by the customer, a gang member named David.
The traffickers then kidnapped associated of David in Tijuana, in order to recover the load, and punish the offenders. It was during these days when 'J' (Castro Navarro, likely his PIN name) sent images of the torture. J sent an image of a man in jeans and a blue sweatshirt tied to a chair, to his associates, and his girlfriend, whom he told he was 'working', and 'not to worry', along with instructions to delete the images. She replied 'What is this? Are you ok? Thank god. I love you with all my heart".
J sent further images detailing beating and suffocation, with a green plastic bag, and a baseball bat. As well as images of bruises all over the victims body. J allegedly told an associate he hadn't killed him yet, because he is going to bring 20 units, (pounds of meth). "Did you beat him or choke him"? Another associate asked Navarro, 'the second' he replied. The associate texting a winking emoji to end the conversation.
The body of the man was found on January 23rd in Tijuana, wearing the same clothes as the text message images. Prosectors used the messages and a news story from Tijuana to convince the judge, who called Castro-Navarro a 'monster'. HSI started investigating the Castro-Navarro group in spring of 2013, eventually applying for title III wiretap intercepts in the late months of 2013.
"I love you guys, and I'm only going to kill one more, I have never killed anyone who didn't deserve it", was another intercepted message.
Sources: NBC 7 San Diego, US Attorney's Southern District News Release