Monday, September 25, 2017

Lola La Chata, Grandmother of Mexican drug trafficking Part 1

Written for Borderland Beat by Otis B Fly-Wheel

Subject Matter: Maria Dolores Estevez Zuleta, Lola La Chata, Snub Nosed Lola
Recommendation: No prior subject matter knowledge required.

Born in 1906 in the La Merced Barrio of Mexico City, a hotbed of thieves, drug addicts and everything illicit, still to this day, has this activity, as if the stones that make up its buildings, roads and structure can never forget its past. Maria Dolores Estevez Zuleta, known as Lola La Chata or Snub Nosed Lola, learnt the trade from her mother, that would make her one of the most influential drug traffickers Mexico has ever known. In this article we will look at her life, influences, and the innovations she brought to drug trafficking that are still used today by cartels like Sinaloa and Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion.

Reporter: Otis B Fly-Wheel

La Merced, the den of iniquity
La Merced is one of the oldest parts of Mexico City, settled by the Mexica over 700 years ago and then known as Tempan or Teopan. The first temple to the Mexica god Huizilopochtli was erected here. The name La Merced was taken from the original Monastery located there, and from the earliest time it was associated with commerce.

The commerce in consumables was brought into the city on canals and small boats, the trade here blossomed to include almost everything that could be possibly be sold including favours from Ladies. Even today La Merced contains one of the Governments tolerated red light districts as well as burgeoning market places for all types of goods both legal and illicit.

La Merced now and then not much has changed in effect
The large commerce opportunities attracted migrants from all over Mexico as well as foreigners, which were mostly comprised of Arab, Lebanese and Jewish traders making this area a melting pot of different nationalities and customs.
It was into this melting pot that Lola La Chata was born and raised. She began working for her mother in the La Merced marketplace, where her mother had a food stall, selling pork rinds and coffee. Young Lola was witness to the events there that led to her being so effective at what she did later. The La Merced market was a hotbed of prostitution, and becoming friends with prostitutes began to teach her one thing that would later become her most potent weapon, understanding the psyche of me men and how to manipulate them.

As Lola approached her teenage years, her mother expanded her selling business into the drugs trade and started with marijuana and morphine. At 13 years old she became her mothers drug mule, running the drugs from her mothers stall at La Merced market to the customers. This allowed her to learn the layout of the city within the sphere of her mothers drug selling influence and also taught her which routes to travel which would avoid the police.

The police were not such a problem in La Merced, as the rough nature of the people there led to the police not wanting to go there unless there were many of them as halcones would send out the alarm and people would organize to see them off.

Lola and her mother were not unique in selling drugs from La Merced and it was common for the dealers to use children to carry the drugs as they drew less attention from the police in areas of the city where escape was not guaranteed by the availability of a rabbit warren of alleyways into which the children would disappear with the slightest whiff of danger.

The fact that parents used their children as drug mules in Mexico city outraged the authorities on both sides of the border as well as the church.

The harsh realities of living through her childhood during the Mexican Revolution also served to teach her important lessons.

Childhood then was very different to childhood now with child labour being an everyday reality, with next to none of the educational privileges available to children in Mexico city today.

By the time the Mexican Revolution finished in 1920, Lola was about 13 approaching 14 years old and was very mature in every aspect of what she did as in those times children had to mature very very quickly.

The desmadre of war made many people in Mexico to abandon their home towns to escape the fighting, seek what work their was or try to cross the frontier with the United States in search of a better life.

Castro Ruiz Urquizo; Ciudad Juarez
One of her childhood acquaintances from her drug mules labours was one Castro Ruiz Urquizo. Castro was a street thug and small time enforcer from the La Merced market area, who protected prostitutes plying their wares and protected drug vendor stands from people looking to rip them off.

She left Mexico city with Urquizo and went to Ciudad Juarez. No one is really sure of her motivations for leaving Mexico city at this time as the Civil War was for all intents and purposes over, and she had work as a drug dealer at the time.

Her skills as drug trafficker were soon recognized and she was taken into the service of Enrique Fernandez, who was known as the "Al Capone" of Ciudad Juarez. She was working on both sides of the border.

Police reporter Salvador Martinez Mancera describes her bosses career. "He began his career by smuggling alcohol during prohibition and counterfeit dollars, he then took up drug trafficking and eventually controlled all of City Hall and was a stepping stone for making many individuals who worked for the Government in Chihuahua very wealthy, including three Governors. He strengthened his power as a strongman of Ciudad Juarez during the term of Deputy Governor Roberto Fiero."

Fernandez was later shot and wounded and fled to Mexico city. During her time in Juarez, Lola learnt international drug trafficking and all the associated problems one faces carrying out this task. She also gave birth to two daughters fathered by Urquizo, Dolores and Maria Luisa. Her daughters followed her into the drug trade.

Her time in Juarez opened her eyes from small time dealing to the real money to be earned by the international smuggling market. Fernandez schooled her in the arts of bribery of the local authorities and who actually held power and who only had the facade of power.

Return to Mexico City
Lola returned to her old haunt of La Merced in Mexico city with her two daughters but without Urquizo and began to build her empire. It started off small in the same way as her mother had. A small market stall that sold Mexican street food as legitimate cover for her illicit drug trafficking activities.

In Juarez she has met important traffickers of all drugs, as Juarez was a it still is a major port of entry for all drugs crossing to the United States. She now had supplies of heroin available to her as well as the marijuana and morphine she had moved for her mother as a child.

During the 1920's she steadily began to amass funds, carrying out her local sales and increasing her business and the amount of mules, burros or couriers she had working for her as the demand increased for the products she was supplying which were of good quality for that time.

She mainly carried out her business low key and made sure, instead of avoiding the police to pay them off as impunity carried with it many benefits and made her operations much more efficient.

Lola's mules used to carry heroin to her customers in the hollow sides of yoyo's which contained a small packet in each marked with a religious symbol. This was brand marketing so customers could differentiate her product from other competitors, and this had not been done before for drugs in Mexico city.

By the middle of the 1930's, she had appeared on the radar of the anti drug trafficking corporations of both the USA and Mexico. Drug addiction had started to be perceived as a big problem for both countries. So much so that politically in the middle of the thirties, Mexico decided that treatment of addicts would be preferential to prosecuting them and decided to legalize drugs. It was reasoned that the huge profits would now go to the Government, and the prisons would not be filling up with addicts.

When the Government began to sell drugs at licensed outlets Lola was furious, she had spent many years addicting large amounts of people to morphine and heroin, but the Government was selling at a much cheaper rate undercutting her hugely. A short while after the Government opened its heroin dispensaries addicts stopped buying her product and her profit margin spiralled downwards.

When her offers of discounts were not taken up she resorted to threatening her customers, in desperation she would follow the junkies around telling them that she would order hits against them if the didn't buy from her but it didn't work as the capitals drug addicts had fallen into what was called Toxicomania.

Junkies strung out in Mexico city during Toxicomania days
A justification for legalization was written and published in an eloquent manner by Government advisers, based on arguments raised by Dr Leopoldo Salazar Viniegra.


Whereas experience has demonstrated that prosecution [of “drug addiction” (toxicoman铆a) and narcotics trafficking] only apprehends a small number of addicts or, in the short term, drug dealers, who, lacking financial resources, cannot buy impunity; and whereas,
The prosecution of drug addicts as called for in 1931 legislation contravenes conceptions of the justice that is denied those convicted, addiction should be understood more as an illness to be treated and cured, and less as a criminal act to be punished; and whereas
Due to a lack of state financial resources, it has to date been impossible to follow appropriate recovery protocols in the case of all addicts inasmuch as it has not been possible to establish an adequate number of hospitals for the treatment of such addicts; and whereas
The sole outcome from the enforcement of the 1931 statute has been an excessive rise in drug prices, which in turn affords enormous earnings to traffickers

6 months after legalization, the statutes were overturned and Mexico's dalliance with legalization was reversed with drugs again becoming illegal. For people like Lola this was manna from heaven, She could now once again build her empire in Mexico city.

Moving forward never looking back
Lola decided to build her empire in a manner familiar to her, through family connections and sexual connections. She married an ex-police officer called Enrique Jaramillo, who since leaving the Police had opened up a car mechanic shop in Pachuca, Hidalgo, which he used as a distribution centre.
His contacts within the law enforcement community in Mexico city would provide invaluable for information and protection, his contacts allowed her to foster relationships and alliances with Anti narcotics Police, bureaucrats and shifty politicians, many of who she paid for information and protection.

His relationship with Lola led to him also being recognised as a successful trafficker on both sides of the border with the relevant authorities. This didn't seem to affect the couple as Lola had a lot of respect from all sides of the community despite her trade, much more so than you would expect of a woman in the 30's and 40's or even today in the macho world of drug trafficking.
A lot of the respect that Lola garnered in her home district of La Merced was down to her being a non altruistic benefactor and this allowed her to grow her business right up until her death. She was Padrina to the people in her area, giving loans to people who could not go to legitimate sources to get funds to buy drugs and or illicit goods of other kinds.
In 1940 Lola divorced Jamarillo and married a secret service agent called Enrique Antonio Escudero.


Part 2 coming soon



46 comments:

  1. Beautiful insight. A history of Mexican drug trafficking I did not know. Moreover, many of us here who read BB.
    What surprises me though; is the the measures of violence to continue her reign. A footnote of history which persists to this day.
    Great story Otis!

    E42

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    1. WOW! Great read very good job Otis and the BB team goes to show that drugs are gonna be here NO MATTER WHAT! The only thing I CAN DO is make my OWN KIDS AWARE about the dangers of drug use ESPECIALLY PHARMACEUTICALS. We Need to EDUCATE our own kids about drug use let's TELL them the RAW TRUTH about drugs No Lies or sugar coating. I've been doing this with my kids since day one. Recently my 14year old daughter broke her finger at school they took her to the hospital when I finally got there I saw she was in serious pain the doctor told me she refused the pain meds he tried giving her which was a Vicodin5 lol she tufted it out. She straight up questioned the Dr about what he was trying to give her he even wrote out a prescription of Vicodin for her. Which of course we didn't pick up. And that's the kind of sh!t I'm talking about we need to tell our kids THE TRUTH and maybe one day we will have a culture that doesn't do drugs and the drug war would be over. lol wish full thinking

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    2. vicodin for a broke finger that does not prescribe 100 pills aa week for life could be suspect, but a prescription for maybe 5 should not make you suspicious, do not be ignorant.

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    3. @ Goldcup
      That's beautiful that you educate your children about drugs. The importance of talking to your kids of matters of concern are necessary now a days.
      There are many perils in life today. The choices one undertakes can determine ones outcome in the future.
      However, not all families have such a relationship with their children. My wife and I talk on a wide variety of topics. From religion, politics, education and careers.
      I am fortunate to say that household discussions here are constructive and opinionated. Moreover, intelligent rather than childish rhetoric.
      I can truly say ones kitchen is the heart of a home. If properly attended and nourished.

      E42

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  2. You have to tip your hat to the lady.

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    1. 2:36
      LADY ? Never tip my hat to this kinda old bitch . Still I like to read . Its history even if its dark .

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    2. Majority of all history is dark. Never knew any world history that was not riddled with periods of shame!

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    3. 2:30PM

      It's not all dark but riddled as you say in your last sentence. It also has its "noon day sunshine",as Bertrand Russell once put it.

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  3. Very good article! BLB reader all the way from Florida !!

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  4. Wow.the area in the pic looks better back then actually

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    1. Try and find fotos of "La Candelaria de los Patos", a better mexican neighborhood the government tore and razed down to steal the land for better housing units.

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  5. Post Excellente , Otis .
    LUV history w B and W fotos!
    Esperamos el Parte Segundo .........

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  6. I haven't yet read far enough into the article to know if she's mentioned or not..but wasn't there another big time narca? I think she went by "la nacha"..?? Think she was the one who operated the heroin ring in and out of prison? Or maybe I'm gettin her confused with chata..

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    1. la Nacha es otra pinche vieja narca, but they were just grifa dealers back then, not the ton movers of these days, a better product cd juarez exported was Tin-Tan, that pinche pachuco mariguano went to Cuba and mexico city to be a movie star and left his brothers el loco valdez and don ramon very well established in the narco-world of televisa, see "Un Pachuco en la Habana", tintan singing while carmen guerra the cuban girlfriend of la habana mafioso from the US santito trafficante dances around tintan. carmen guerra moved to colombia after the communist takeover, i guess american mafiosos followed.

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    2. There is actually very little information available on La Nacha , Ignacia Jasso Gonzalez, but there is a lot of info on Lola, which is why I chose her for this article. La Nacho did operate before Lola, but from Tijuana/San Diego and Juarez. There is nothing I have read to confirm, but it is suspected that La Nacha used to buy heroin from Lola.

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    3. I did write about La Nacha and Lola briefly before at this article

      http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2015/07/sinaloa-cartel-corners-usa-heroin.html#more

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    4. @otis Don't forget this other BB article on La Nacha here...

      http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2014/06/before-there-were-cartels-there-was.html

      Great work as always!

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    5. al Otis le gusto mas la Chata que la Nacha, es all boys.

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    6. Tintan's heir still carry on, la.veronica castro, her brother who gave us our second hand first lady "La Pinchi Gabiota" de pe帽a nieto and "telesa" from Televisa, and her son Christian "El Loquito Valdez,

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  7. Great read! Especially the part about the Mexican government legalizing dope for six months.

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  8. Legalize it. Than dea would be out of business ja js

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  9. How interesting that drugs in Mexico were actually legalized for a time in Mexico.Didn't know that and that there was a drug problem in Mexico back then but to what extent?

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  10. the most notorious "one woman cartel" is "La Nacha" there are articles of her on bb. She was the first premier leader of a cartel, from the 20s to 50s or so. Heroin and marihuana. A brutal leader at that.

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    1. The one for this article predates la Nacha.

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  11. Wow didn't even know mexico legalized drugs in the past, their mistake was making all drugs legal, it should of just been weed. price in other harder drugs.

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    1. the mistake was believing government can regulate and police themselves, and that most all that was needed was paying them good salaries, then allowing political contributions, exhorbitant budgets and expenses, and allowing them to give personhood to corporations in exchange for more money, somebody should cut their hands for being such big corrupt rats and send them to re-education camps where they can learn the value of tortillas with water.

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  12. I saw this story on googles like 2 years ago it's really good.

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  13. Otis just a heads up before someone elae says anything. Padrino derives from father, so a female Padrina is actually a Madrina. Not exactly sure if ita applicable in this instance. Great read though. Thanks!

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    1. It was actually on purpose, Padrina, my point being she was more man than most men of her time.

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    2. "Madrinas" means 'godmother'
      but una 'madrina' also means a beat down,
      --Madrina is also a guy that informs the police, kind of a volunteer low level snitch.
      --"Los Madrinos MC" is a biker gang that fought with The Sons of Anarchy on the alley, beautiful MC name,

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    3. @Otis was there a real mc called sons of anarchy? I'm curious not too familiar with the show.

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    4. 1:12 YES! Tu pap谩 was a prospect who didn't cut it,
      But your mom was a borrega that did cut it,
      she still is a property of the club

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  14. What successful business woman

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  15. This a Revolution

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  16. Malverde was not a drug dealer
    This lady be their Saint

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  17. La Barbies grandfather El Gitano Valdez got his big break working for her. When Gitano became known nationwide as a reliable enforcer it was Lola who gave him his 1st contract hit to take out a couple of Italian-americans from New York's little Italy neighborhood who tried to run off without paying for a few keys of heroin in Mexico City. Story goes a old-school criollo along with his Chinese wife were running a heroin business in the Southern Sierra Madres with the Armies permission. Every gangster from LA to New York could come down to get the good shit that didn't require you to break it down like asian heroin. In those days it was a free for all. So along come a group of 5 guys from NYC looking to buy heroin. They got in touch with the caudillo, liked his product, and simply robbed and walked away with it. When the criollo went to the local government head the army refused to do anything. The man went to the woman he knew held power, Lola la Chata. To make a long story short Gitano went ahead to kill the wops, retrieved the heroin, and got paid. From that day forward Lola became the go to woman to sell your heroin/heroin paste. She set up heroin shops from Tijuana to Nogales to Ciudad Juarez to Piedras Negras to Nuevo Laredo etc. People would walk from the USA into these bordertowns to get loaded, sneak in a couple of papers and walk back into the USA. If you were in the know you knew the big stuff was in Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, and Nuevo Laredo. In those days mexican heroin (before tar became established) was the best and easiest to use. It was sought after because you needed no lemon/acid to break it down and you could also sniff it or snort it. Anyways after a few years Mexicans set up shop setting up national drug distribution in LA for the whole West Coast and Detroit for the whole east coast. Forgot Chicago in those days Detroit was the place to be for the who's who of American/Mexican traffickers. That's why till this day Detroit is still used as a distribution center. All this thanks to Lola along with her 2nd husband. Lola domianted the southern sierras along Michoacan and Guerrero while the Sinaloans controlled the sierra Madre occidental and the Tamaulipecos las Sierras Madre oriental all of them growing and selling weed and heroin. Big daddy government of course got their cut and the real power brokers were the Army who would actually pick up he product and cross it themselves into the USA. A lot of old school trafficking families can trace back their illicit activities to this time. A few of them from the top of my head are the Moncadas, Betancourts, Mendiolas, Benavides, and Narvaez families all of them from Tamaulipas. They'd work out of Tamaulipas but would grow their poppies and weed in the sierras of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Zacatecas, SLP, Durango, Hidalgo, etc. People who think you can only grow stuff in Sinaloa and Michoacan/Guerrero are mistaken. Till this day cartel del Noreste, and to a smaller extent CDG, grow poppies and weed en las Sierras Madre Oriental. They bring in Chinese cookers to 1st make the heroin then to teach the process of either black tar or the good powder stuff to worker.

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    1. Wow. Nice information and writing! Please continue to contribute.

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    2. That's really fascinating. Secret history of the narco pioneers. Keep I coming.

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    3. Wops? What family were they from? At the time, the NYC families had a steady flow of heroin from Sicily and it was coming out of their ears.

      Little cliche to say they were from Little Italy..

      Smells like toro-shit to me.

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  18. I read about her a long time ago. Thanks for sharing. She died at 51. Another drug trafficker living an unhealthy life of crime.

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  19. Hello bb. What happend with latest storys? There Are gone.

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  20. I got sources that say that's menchos grandma

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    1. His greatgrandma,Chema sent me the info.

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  21. Lmao and Fred Carrasco was Trevino's grandpa.

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