Thursday, January 4, 2018

“It took a Family to Raise and Enable a Monster”

By Agent Steve Duncan for Borderland Beat


Murder of Zeta Editor, Cardinal and inside look at the Tijuana Cartel Family


“Hi Chivis. While reading Yaqui’s article on the assault of ZETA Editor, Jesus Blancornelas, it reminded me that there is still interest in the stories of brave men and activists like Blancornelas. He was a large part of the downfall of the Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO). He, like his partners Gato Felix and Francisco Ortiz-Franco, endangered their lives to expose those evil brothers responsible for thousands of deaths. I would like to add a few things that many folks may not know.”

I received this note from Steve Duncan, The agent who wrote the foreword to Martin Corona book (see right column)who offered to send me material to create a post.  I encouraged him to write the post himself, and he graciously agreed. Inside information and photos and a very interesting post was the result.  Read below... and click on any image to enlarge

 Reflections by a  Special Federal  Agent

Agent Jack Robertson

In April 1993, a young DEA Agent, Jack Robertson, who was in "DEA Group 1", a group solely composed of DEA Agents, crossed the hallway and entered our team office. Jack would later go on to expose Lance Armstrong causing him to be stripped of his Tour D France medals. His last case before retiring from the World Anti-Doping Agency was exposing the Russian Olympic Track Team and their government sponsored doping program. His Group Supervisor, Michelle Leonhart, later would become the DEA Administrator.
Warning: Graphic photos on second page 
At the time, I was a Deputy Probation Officer with the County of San Diego. In 1992, the DEA Narcotics Task Force established Team 5, a team devoted to investigating gang member involved in significant drug distribution. Our team was represented by the San Diego Police Department, San Diego Sheriff Office, DEA and ATF. I was picked to be a member of the team based on my expertise in San Diego gangs and Jack was about to hook me into a case I would never let go.

Jack briefed me on his case. He described five brothers from the same family, the Arellano-Felix Family. Benjamin and Eduardo made the organizational decisions; Ramon was the chief enforcer; Francisco was the oldest and least violent who almost solely distributed marijuana; and Javier the youngest brother who was pulled from school in Guadalajara in 1992 after they began a full-scale war against Joaquin Guzman-Loera (“Chapo”) and the Sinaloa Cartel.

Jack told me that the many members of the Logan Heights Street Gang were being recruited as escorts and assassins with David Barron as the lead recruiter and head enforcer for the AFO. Jack said that one of the enforcers from Logan Heights had been shot several times in Logan Heights by some of the other enforcers for “talking too much about what they do for the AFO.” He asked me if I knew anyone from Logan Heights named “Cracks” that had been shot recently. He said some of the enforcers who knew the family of “Cracks” went to pay them some money for his funeral after shooting him seven times. The victim’s mother said “God Bless, He’s Still Alive!” Jack said the gunmen would finish him off unless we got to him first. Jack and I hopped in his G-Ride and went straight to the hospital.


During my career, I maintained strong ties to local law enforcement fighting gangs and they were quick to encourage me to take a close look at the Logan Heights Street Gang who was unusually quiet lately, but rumors were they had access to assault rifles and grenades. Some murders taken place in different parts of San Diego were “cartel-type” hits. The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Gang Detectives Jorge Sanchez and James Herganroether or “Hergy” were notorious crime fighters and smelled trouble in Logan Heights. “Hergy” had called me in April 1993 and told me he was guarding, Jose Cruz, aka “Cracks,” at the local hospital as he was shot numerous times near Chicano Park and was barely alive. Cruz told “Hergy” he was shot by a rival gang.


Jack and I visit Cruz in the hospital the day he escaped


As Jack and I were escorted to Cruz’s hospital room, “Hergy” was sitting in the room watching the nurse remove the tracheotomy from Cruz’s neck. Cruz was missing his right eye but his other eye lit up when he saw me because I was his camp counselor when he was serving time in a juvenile honor camp in 1988. We exchanged hellos. I introduced Jack to “Hergy” and Jack explained to “Hergy” the real reason for the assault on Cruz and that there were assassins trying to locate him to finish him off.

Jack approached Cruz and asked what happened. He explained the story he had recently told “Hergy.” Jack paused as the nurse gave Cruz some liquid medicine. When the nurse left the room Jack said, ”You are full of shit. You work for the Arelllano-Felix Brothers and your mother told some of their hit men who wanted to pay for your funeral that you are still alive. You’re lucky we beat them here.” Cruz became upset, began shaking and spit up some of the medicine. Cruz told us we had to get him out of there immediately. Jack told him he had to cooperate with the government and he would see what he could do. Cruz refused stating “you know who they are and what they will do.”

Jack and I left the hospital and Hergy remained with Cruz. Later that evening while Hergy took a quick break, Cruz unhooked all medical equipment and left the hospital. Cruz disappeared and relocated in the Santa Barbara area. In 1997, I located Cruz at the California Mens Colony in San Luis Obispo. SDPD Gang Detective Brian Szymonik and I paid him a visit. He looked much better physically, but was beaten down emotionally. He finally admitted to us that he was shot by his fellow gang members: “Pato,” “Sniper” and “Gizmo.” Cruz was serving a 10-year sentence for rape and was deported upon his release from prison.

Jack asked me if I would help him with his investigation and told me to handle the San Diego gang members who were recruited by the A-F Brothers to act as their enforcers. Jack explained about “Chapo’s attempt to ambush the Arellanos at Christine Disco in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, in November 1992. After the dust settled, Benjamin tasked Barron to establish a large security force with tough guys like him. In November 1992, Tijuana was flooded with street gang members from Logan Heights whom were paid $500.00 per week and taught to kill.

After agreeing to help Jack, I began investigating the Logan Heights Street Gang. On April 24, 1993, about 15 Logan Heights gang members, on a mission to kill Chapo, accidentally killed Catholic Cardinal Jesus Posadas-O’Campo at the Guadalajara Airport. One of the assassins, “Gori,” was detained in Guadalajara and provided a list of names to the Mexican Police. However, the “Gori” only knew the street gangsters by their street names or “placasos:”

Placaso                       Current Status
Spooky                        Dead
Puma                           Puente Grande Maximum Security Prison-Mexico
Cougar                        Out of Custody
Pato                             Out of Custody- Mexico
Zig Zag                       Deported
Gordo                          Deported
Gizmo                         Dead
Popeye                        In Custody - Mexico
Tarzan                         Out of Custody
Night Owl - Logan     In Custody - US
Big Happy                  Dead
Little Happy                In Custody - US
Big Smokey                Deported
Little Smokey             Deported
Pee Wee                      Dead
Trigger - Logan           In Custody - US                    
Sniper                          Deported
Casper                         Puenta Grande Maximum Security Prison-Mexico
Dopey                          Out of Custody
Roach                          Out of Custody
Cracks                         Deported
Boo-Boo                     Dead

Lalo Reyes                  Out of Custody -  Mexico

Lepo
Night Owl – Posole    In Custody - US        

Trigger – Posole          Out of Custody

Assassinations of Gori's father and wife

-Click to enlarge-
The Government of Mexico (GOM) issued provisional arrest warrants for then above gangsters and submitted the list of placasos to the US Government. Jack and I quickly teamed up with “Hergy” and the SDPD and put names to every placaso. Beginning in May 1993, we detained those gang members in the US and deported, expelled and extradited them to Mexico. Jack had me immersed in the case and I never looked back.



On March 7, 1997, Barron, Araujo, Quinones and their assassins murdered the father and wife of “Gori” as they were leaving their humble home to go to work. The family was is hock and terrorized as it happened in front of their community. 

With the blessing of the Mexican Government, we brought “Gori,” who was in Altiplano, and his extended family from Tijuana, to the US. I remember about 30 family members coming across the border and being housed in an extended stay hotel until the US Government could make more permanent arrangements.
Ultimately, Mexico acquitted the gang members for the murder of the Cardinal and, in 1995, they trickled back into the US. Mexico did not inform the US of their release. I started seeing them again on the streets and reported it to Jack. Jack spoke to the US Attorney and we began our own case against the Logan Heights Gang Members recruited by the AFO. In our federal kingpin case, we indicted 10 gang members for violent and drug acts in furtherance of the AFO. Barron was our kingpin. Our main overt act of the conspiracy was “The Murder of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas O’Campo.” It was this case that caused me to rethink my career and become a drug investigator. In 1996, I was hired by the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.

On February 14, 1996, Barron was married to a second wife, Karina. The reception was held at Baby Rock. In the wedding photos were: “Pato Quinones” and wife Marissa Barron; Gustavo Rivera-Martinez and wife Cruz Elena Herrera-Rosales; Arturo Paez-Martinez (“Kiti”); Arturo Granados (“Chi-Chi”); Adolfo Perez-Zambrano (“Sammy”); Raymundo Corona-Bartolomei (“Coach”) and Federico Sanchez-Valdez (“Gordo’ or “G-1”).

In June 1997, the federal government indicted David Barron and nine other enforcers he recruited from the Logan Heights Gang in Operation Snow White. The indictment was sealed until Barron was captured. Our strategy was to arrest Barron before unsealing the indictment because we feared he would kill or threaten our witnesses against him. We paid particular attention to those individuals closest to Barron. It deserves mentioning, that the agents wanted to indict all of the enforcers, but the Assistant US Attorney only wanted 10 and she got her way. Needless to say, the ones not indicted went on to kill hundreds of people in the US and Mexico. Left off the indictment was Hector Viillegas (“Lepo”), who we pleaded the AUSA to indict as he was a suspect in several San Diego murders. In 1993, Villegas was arrested with an AK-47 used in the murder of a young woman, Mimi Barraza, earlier in 1993. The AUSA’s excuse was the complications of indicting a juvenile in the federal system. Viilegas was 17 when he and his fellow gang members killed the Cardinal in Guadalajara.

Barron’s sister, Marissa Barron-Quinones or whatever she calls herself these days, was married to Marcos Quinones-Sanchez. Marissa, like all of the Barron Family, was involved with aiding and abetting David Barron’s enforcement and drug distribution responsibilities for the AFO. In 1997, Marissa was stopped at the San Ysidro Port-Of-Entry driving a vehicle registered to David Barron’s new wife. Among the documents were drug ledgers and lists of duties she was to carry out in the US for David, Quinones, Alfredo Araujo-Avila and other enforcers.


Araujo-Avila was married to “Pato Quinones’” sister, Teresa. We also saw that Marisa was in the process of becoming a naturalized US Citizen. I flipped! We reached out to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and informed them that they were processing a member of the AFO. Guess what? They did nothing and Marissa is now a US Citizen. The wife of “Pato” Quinones, the sister of David Barron and an active member of the cartel went on to commit felonies related to money laundering and drug distribution and is still a US Citizen living in the US. She is now a convicted felon. Teresa Quinones remained loyal to her fugitive husband and even landed an internship position at the San Diego District Attorneys Office. When we brought this to their attention, the quickly did an audit and let her go. Their son went on to become an enforcer with “Pato.”

Barron’s cell of the AFO was a family affair,  and we had to develop a flow chart of the families and their involvement. Barron had 6 sisters and each of their husbands or boyfriends were members of the AFO or had done illegal favors for them to include murder, money laundering and drug trafficking. At minimum, they harbored a mass-murdering monster and fugitive.

Barron killed during an assassination attempt on Zeta Magazine editor




On November 27, 1997, Barron was killed during an attempt to kill a Mexican Newspaper Editor, Jesus Blanco-Ornelas who was writing negative press about Barron.

It was Thanksgiving Day and the Barron-Corona Family and Gustavo Rivera-Martinez were waiting for David and “Pato” to join them for Thanksgiving Dinner in Barron’s Tijuana home. According to a family member present, “Pato” came to the house crying and holding his face. He had been cut by flying glass and told the families of David’s death and how they had to leave him behind. Rivera and “Pato” spoke with Benjamin Arellano and Barron’s crew were split up between Rivera and “Pato.” 

Several hundred thousand dollars in US currency at the house,  was also divvied out among the Barron Family who smuggled it into the US.

In San Diego, our team devoted to the Cardinal Case, hit the streets. The police in Tijuana had provided the license plates of the two vehicles used in the Blancornelas assault. One was stolen from a parking lot in San Diego. The other was purchased by Peter Jansen in San Diego Auto Trader. We quickly discovered the Peter Jensen was, in fact, Ronald Brill. 

Brill, an East County mechanic, had aided and abetted both Barron and Rivera in years past by providing police equipment, boats and armored vehicles used for drug distribution and enforcement. We put him in the grand jury where he lied and minimized about his relationship with Barron and Rivera. Brill had come on our radar numerous times in the AFO Investigation and, like Marissa, was never held accountable. He later purchased a boat used by Barron and Rivera to smuggle one ton of cocaine into the US.

Flawed report from Mexico Gob on the Blancornelas Assault


The Mexican Governments report on the Blancornelas’ Assault was flawed. We knew of four enforcers who were definitely present and who participated in the assault - Barron, Quinones, Michael Jarboe (“Pee-Wee”) and Ignacio Meza, aka “Wolfy,” a gang member from Oceanside, California. Melvin Gutierrez-Quiroz (“Casper”) was probably involved. Quinones’ crew later killed “Wolfy” as they believed it was a round from his assault rifle that accidentally killed Barron. Rivera personally murdered “Pee-Wee” years later for some screw-up. Others mentioned by the Mexican reports were in custody or not involved. The reports based some of their evidence on those that we had indicted or suspected might be involved.

The weekend following Barron’s death, my FBI partner, Mexican Crime Fighter Jose “Pepe” Petino, the SDPD Gang Suppression Team and I drove through San Diego County contacting Barron’s family. It had been 3 days and nobody had shown up at the morgue to claim his body in Tijuana. They were obviously aware of his death but they were fearful of the consequences. Their strength, identity and financial support were gone. To those of us who tracked him, it was “Divine Intervention.”

The US failed miserably in the US Case against the AFO.


On February 5, 1998, the indictment was unsealed. Three of the nine remaining subjects were arrested in San Diego. Facing long prison terms, they cooperated. After intense debriefings, it became clear that we needed to indict more subjects, some of whom were more culpable that these three. Martin Corona was identified as a subject who was successfully murdered many enemies on behalf of Barron and the AFO. Although the prosecutor promised to indict more, she became alienated by the investigators who wanted her to prosecute harder and to prosecute more gangsters. She refused to work with us (and me especially) any longer. This is why Corona and all those who committed murders with him are still free. And, this is why many people since have been murdered.
TO READ INDICTMENT USE THIS HYPERLINK
Later on in my career, I was summoned to the US Attorney’s Office and told they would not extradite any of the remaining defendants in the Cardinal Case including “Pato,” “Lalo Reyes,” and “Puma.” It is easy to point at the Government of Mexico and all of their shortcomings, but we here in the US failed miserably in the US Case against the AFO.


Since Barron’s death, the relationship between the Logan gang and the AFO continued with several becoming top lieutenants. May of them have suffered violent deaths, others are in custody and many have cooperated. The latest casualties from Logan and the AFO are Jose Hernandez Garcia-Martinez (“Sailor”) and Benjamin Gutierrez-Quiroz (“Kecho”). Both of their families supported their criminal careers and remain in the US.
Link to DISMISSAL OF CORONA'S INDICTMENT AFTER DEATH

I follow the Mexican Press as much as I can to keep abreast of our drug war and the escalating violence. I continue to see those violent criminals, who we could have and should have prosecuted or given life sentences, continue to kill for the drug trade. I keep a list of every gang member that has been trained to kill by Tijuana Cartel. I share this list with fellow law enforcement in the hope of educating them on the danger we are exposed to and ultimately to protect our community and save lives. There is absolutely nothing honorable about the AFO. 

Just ask the thousands of victims left in their wake including their own family members.

164 comments:

  1. Javier sentence was reduced to 23 1/2 years for cooperation with authorities during his incarceration, so not life

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    1. Yes. The slide should have been changed. Thank you.

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    2. thank you 10:36 have edited it

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    3. Steve what ever happened to Hector Villegas.

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    4. They tried cracking 'cracks' but in the end he wasn't cracked.

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    5. Hector continued his life of crime but I lost touch of his whereabouts. I do drive by his house when I go to the market.

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    6. Steve did you know that Logan got together with Spring Valley Locos to bring drugs to USA. They are not violent any more but they are really conniving.

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    7. It does not surprise me at all - Logan and SV. When your moving drugs, gang loyalty takes a back seat and its all about making money. Logan Heights isn't what it used to be. It is a lovely community but there are still gang members who commit crimes. Often times they move out of the neighborhood and form criminal contacts elsewhere. There are gang members who claim "Logan" in various parts of the US because they feel it is glamorous. One of the primary methods we used to put gang members in jail was to buy their drugs and or deport them. They will always have source fro drugs in Mexico because of familial ties and close proximity to the border.

      Most gang members move from protecting their barrios to selling drugs, stealing cars, extortion and other criminal money-making activities as they get older. They die, go to jail, become hopelessly addicted and homeless. They become a drain on their families, friends and our system.

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  2. Replies
    1. Yes. There are still those loyal to them, but they are much depleted and tend to go by the New Generation Tijuana Cartel. Some of the players in the wedding photos are still criminally active. Aldolfo Perez-Zambrano, aka "Sammy" is a cousin of Manuel Ivanovich Zambrano-Flores, aka "Jimmy" who both worked for Gustavo Rivera-Martinez until there arrests in 2009. There were both recently released from Puenta Grande and are back in business with CJNG.

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    2. They Sure are! Met one of the zambrano awhile back and also "kiti". Actually they called him Kiki. Outside their criminality, they were actually pretty cool.

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    3. Mr Steve Sir, where does Enedina Arellano stand?

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  3. Great story Steve. I sure did enjoy your appearance on The History Channel's documentary, Tijuana Drug Lords. Personally I would love to hear more about the AFO and your insight. Do you have a column,blog, twitter or book deal in the making?
    -Mica

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    1. Thank you so much for your interest! My partners who worked this case would love to share our stories but are looking for someone like David Epstein who wrote "Devils, Deals and the DEA'' to help us. There are just so many stories, great charachters, and challenges that would blow people's minds.

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  4. Great article full of good info that I hadn’t read anywhere else

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  5. Thanks for your service Steve!

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  6. Outstanding post! Comeback, I want more. AFO was the cartel we needed more reporting on here at BB. I imagine you have a shitload of personal stories, so share whenever you want. probably one of your best audiences is here.

    Thanks man
    (and chivis too of course)

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    1. Thank you very much. I have been reading Borderland Beat since the beginnings. Although having inside information from doing the job, I have always read the online blogs and publications and have benefitted so much by them and the comments attached. I will be appearing on ABC's Nightline any day now with one of our former crooks, the AFO Hitman MArtin Corona, who just wrote a book "Confessions of a Cartel Hitman. Thanks again.

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  7. crazy how that sinaloa brothers made a empire , has a Gringo i ask my self why tho the biggest baddest capos come from that poor small state of sinaloa the bravery of those man its insane big fan of amado carrillo if only they used their brain instead of the Huevos rancheros they could of become a great contribution to society crazy crazy

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    1. cuidado gabacho the cjng lambe oyitos de hombre will get their blood boiling thanks to your comment lmao

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    2. No need to fight whose bigger sinaloa or cjng. Theyre both pawns owned by the mexican government just different politicians that used to work together nothinf more. Sinaloenses were always ambitious with drugs but ot was untill the late 70s that the Policia Federal decided to employ them instead of stopping their drug money. The main heads of the federal were based in guadalajara hence guadalajara cartel. Now you know why it was made of sinaloenses hiding in jalisco. The same people have owned all the narcos for decades, it used to be one group that protected caro, arellanos,carillo,mayo,chapo,beltranes,coronel,mencho. But it has progresively broken in several crews over the years. El PRI owned jalisco since the 80s and they own it now with CJNG. Figure the rest out its a great story.

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    3. 3:45 I agree with almost 100% you write, but first I want to explain that I believe the Mexican or USA gob is slowing access to read this articul. From near Cosala it took a long time to bring the articul to read as comparing to the other articluls on BB. I have not ever experience what I believe is deliberate interrupción since I began reading BB in 2008 or 2009 but it is happening today in Mexico.

      I agree with 3:45 above but I believe the gob and the biggest of business have an understanding that when there is unnecessary and too much violence that are not for narco business purpose the gob much find a new "pawn" as 3:45 says. I also believe that the gob de Mexico does not want cartels to bother big business owners or even the common people with crimes, drug distribución or the kidnapping because this can is a risk to political power that is unacceptable. Especially now that PRI is not the only power in Mexico. Los Arellano Felix, especially Ramon in a short time became very crazy and began to order unnecessary violence and believe this is why the gob does not protect the plaza for them and that the Arellano Felix family does not control business as they had.
      To gain and to maintain the big drug business you must have the the correct support and this involves rules and a lot of payment. Now what people call AFO, zetas and other groups a cartel are really only bandits pay for local politcos or maybe intimidate for local political support but they are not truly cartels. To be a cartel requires following not violating the people in a public manner and keeping a non-stop river of money flowing from the US to DF. AFO became both too greedy and they did not properly manage excess violence.

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    4. Bienvenido a Mexico Carretera. Teme que su avión golpee el océano. ¿Pero estás en Cosala o en Europa Carretera?

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    5. Por supuesto Blastoise estoy aquí donde terminan los senderos y los pinos crecen.

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  8. No authored books by Duncan?

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  9. Yes totally agree Otis!

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  10. Steve is Enedina still active?

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    1. Most of what is reported about Enedina is false. She is just one of the sisters. She is not the mother of Fernando Sanchez-Arellano, Norma Alicia is. The women in the family never played a role, but chose not to do the right thing. But many of those family members of those who choose this path are prisoners in their own homes because the narcos will not let them do anything or go anywhere without reporting in, getting approval and being escorted by one of the narcos.

      I know that Ruth Serrano-Corona, Benjamin's second wife, was very actively conducting business for Benjamin while he was in Altiplano. She would meet with those he told her to meet with and would use Enedina's name. If Enedina's name is being thrown around as a narco, its because of Ruth. She is not a player as far as those who workled this case know.

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    2. Really interesting Steve and thank you for the article.

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    3. Thank you, Steve! All this time, I'm sure 99% of us thought Enedina was a major player.

      -El Arrepentido de la Sierra

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    4. Isn’t enedina under US indictment and under us sanctions from the kingpin act?

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  11. Great pictures great story we need more like this u all keep up the great work!!

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  12. Very interesting article!

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  13. Thank you so much for telling your own story for us and our readership at BB.
    Fabulous Contribution which also shows your dedication Agent Steve !
    Will be watching for you on Nightline.
    Stay safe and thank you for your service.

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  14. LOL what pathetic nicknames those roaches have/had. Too bad many are still alive they should have been put down like rabid animals.

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  15. Props and kudos. GREAT READ, very informative!!!!

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  16. on a separate note, do you know how MM author wally fay ( tony rafael) died?

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    1. He was a smoker. He died from cancer.

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    2. His blog, "In the Hat", was awesome. Lots of great info about the Mexican Mafia.

      -El Arrepentido de la Sierra

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    3. @6:15 is there any other similar site or blog?

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    4. When I was a sworn officer, I had access to two law enforcement publications that we benefitted greatly from the were the Articles of Interest in the Mexican Press and the KNR Reports. If you are law enforcement and care about our border culture, thats the place to go. But I always went to Borderland Beat too to compare notes. I love the comments the best. Our Law Enforcement Publications did not have a place for comments.

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    5. @3:06 There was a blog with tons of info on the Mexican mafia called "In the Hat Blog". It's still out there but the info is several years old now. The author died. Tons of info and better info from some of the comments from posters.

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  17. Wow, blown away by this article, what a fascinating read coupled with amazing photos. Thanks for writing and sharing.

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    1. 2:04 I agree, it is a pity things only get out after almost everybody has escaped and gotten away with murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, and other high crimes and misdemeanors...

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  18. Great read & this crowd isn't easy . and thank you chivas for suggesting to Duncan he write the post , you knew first person would be the golden ticket .

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  19. Great read from Mr Duncan,it must be so frustrating seeing these rats living in the US,killing 100s of fellow Mexicans down south then blithely going north(sometimes to kill)to live with their ill gotten money,its a pity they cant deport the lot of them to face some kind of justice from family member's of their victims,they deserve some kind of justice be it violent ends or serious jail time.
    Stay safe Mr Duncan we should laud people like you not these rats

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  20. Mimi Barraza's death is currently listed as a cold case. Sad.

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    1. Its crazy cause Mimis Father was from Logan.She used to be with Lonely from Lomita,then that rat from Paradise Hills,Indio,Harvey Acosta,then she was with an older dude from ST before moving unto EddieBoy,who ended up rolling over on his boys.I must say,Mimi was a beautiful young girl when she died,the intended target was Red (David Prado) from Shell Town,she was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

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  21. What was the source of the AFO drugs. Some articles say they dealt with Peruvian Intelligence Chief Montesinos on a private island off the coast.

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    1. They had Colombian contacts with the Narcos as well as the FARC. Initially they moved Colombian Cocaine for the Colombians through Mexico and back to them throughout the US. Eventually they bought it outright from them (circa 1995) and took over distribution in the US from them. Most relationships with cocaine sources were unique to each member of the AFO. Manuel Aguirre Galindo, Ismael Higuera Guerrero, Arturo Paez, David Barron and Gustavo Rivera-Martinez all had specific people from Colombia as cocaine sources

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    2. Were the Arellanuses really the face of Jorge Hank Rohn?
      Jorge's father carlos hank Gonzalez could never say no to any corruption or any money.
      There is also the much denied relationship to miguel angel Felix gallardo who had time to set up the tijuanos and the arellanuses with Don chuyito Labra Avilés who was also NOT family with murdered top capo Don Pedro Avila whose death opened the way for El Padrino to become El Padrino...
      --but Immediately the chilangos from Atlacomulco split all the border turfs.

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    3. From those we have spoken with, Jorge Hank Rhon and the A-F Brothers had no special relationship. They coexisted in the same city where everyone seems to know each other. Their early contacts in Tijuana were "Chuy" Labra, Manuel Aguirre-Galindo and Juan Potenciano. Initially, they associated with "Mayo," "Chapo," "Amado," and others drug lords, but that all turned to poop when Chapo and the A-F Brothers began their war that exists to this day. It will be interesting to see if "Chapo" tries to kill the remaining A-F Brothers while in the federal prison system.

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    4. 9:13 Of course, they would not acknowledge each other,
      TAESA Airlines had nothing to do with them either, but was ready to replace El Señor de Los Cielos.
      Looks like the atlacomulcas took over the border points but the real capos kept doing their own thing on the side.

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    5. I remember the name of Juan Potenciano from corridos, who was He? Sorry to ask, but it´s not everyday we can ask this kind of question to someone with as much knowledge as you!

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    6. Juan Potenciano was a drug trafficker and methamphetamine manufacturer in the 1980's. I recall being told by a Logan Gang Member that he was a worker for Chuy Labra. David Barron and Gustavo Rivera-Martinezhad a special relationship with Potenciano and he taught them to make meth. Potenciano was murdered in the early 1990's in the Postal area of Tijuana.

      His wife carried on his business and got the family involved. In the late 1990's, Juan Potenciano JR blew himself up in a meth lab explosion and lost his limbs. The Potenciano Family was the hub of lots of criminality in Tijuana.

      Delete
    7. Steve, any thoughts on singer Chalino's death? Is it true that Adalberto Valdemar Escobar Barraza killed him?

      Delete
    8. Mr Duncan,Barron learned how to cook meth from a guy from Vista you should be familiar with.Rica Camarena.He was with us in FCI Phoenix.As a matter of fact,when Barron was released and crossed the border back into San Diego in 89 he was pushing meth more than pcp.

      Delete
    9. Mr. Duncan why was Juvenal Gomez murdered? Did you know Juvenal's lover was murdered in Tijuana and his friend Michelle Navarrete?

      Delete
  22. Not only the US government drop the ball they also aided the Arellano Family. Several Arellano family members were granted relief. One day at the Otay Mesa Crossing around 2010 they were process humanitarian visas to enter the country. They were process by PET (port enforcement team). They were all well dress in the area to process removal cases at the end they hand shake the officer and thank him. He later confirmed they were given a free pass from DEA.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Nice story Guest reporter!

    Thanks for sharing this truthful insight of how this legal process is not so perfect. A frustrating process with errors which you clearly illustrated.
    A continuous reminder that justice is not perfect but necessary.

    Question?
    What conclusion can you give your readers from all the years of work?
    A philosophical view that is?

    E42




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. What an awesome, open-ended question. As a probation officer working in juvenile hall, rehab facilities and on the streets, I learned quickly that our youth need structure, support and love. when provided that, they do well. However, there is a small percentage that are truly evil. They need to be caged for our safety. This small percentage is what we really need to focus our attention on in law enforcement and corrections. We call them one-percenters.

      I was given opportunities to work with all of the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in task force settings where we pooled our resources to target the worst criminals. I truly believe this is the only way for law enforcement to be successful in putting the truly bad where they belong. If you can't get them for murder, get them for other crimes and take them off the streets. The charismatic one-percenters, when out on the streets, create a desire in other peripheral crooks to follow along. When you take out the leaders the wannabes and peripherals settle down and the streets are much safer. We had a list of these one-percenters and proactively sought to take them off the streets. It works so well when you have the right folks on the task force.

      The biggest challenges for us sometimes are our own agencies. They move us around to the point where one cannot focus on a particular case. My agency CALDOJ, was a servant to the governor and AG. Sometimes we did important work like targeting violent gang members or drug trafficking organizations and the next day you investigating recycling fraud. Thanks Jerry! I was entrenched in the case against the AFO, but my agency kept pulling me out of the task force and lost momentum and control of my investigations. I believe if someone is good at what they do and is making the agency look good, leave them alone to do their magic. This is the area that caused me the mot frustration in my carreer. Being moved around like a pawn by apathetic and ignorant management.

      When given the support of our leaders and, when under the direction of strong leadership, we did our best work. We saved countless lives by pooling our resources to take the one-percenters off the streets. However, when the rug is pulled out from under your feet so many times, you cannot focus and people die because of it.

      The best part of these investigations are the victims, witnesses, family members and even some of the criminals you meet along the way. Once we enter their lives, they almost always come to respect and like us. I have several of them instructing on their experiences and have a blast teaching alongside them. There stories are so interesting and some of them have overcome so much misfortune. Helping in turning someone around and providing some of the support to do so is the best part of the job.
      My family often times ribs me for my circle of criminals and cassualties I use for training and who are a part of my life. However, they are the same. My spouse is a teacher and my 3 children are public servants like their mom and dad. They all excel at their jobs and are very compassionate and professional.

      In summary, we have not won the war on drugs, but we have saved countless lives by taking the one-percenters off the streets. However, our agencies and leadership have got to allow us to do our job and not disrupt our focus. We need more prosecutors who "get it." If you can take a one-percenter off the streets, take a chance at prosecution even though your case may not be airtight. If you choose not to then people die.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your compassion towards the young ones. Moreover, your dedication to make a better future to society and those youths.

      There is a dire need for many like yourself in many communities. A heartbreaking moment in America where misguidance leads to misfortune.
      Where possibilities are hindered by lack of judgment.

      Thank you!
      Even one child makes a difference.

      E42

      Delete
  24. Is Logan still in cahoots with afo who is running afo or ctng

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melvin Gutierrez-Quiroz, aka "Tocayo" was the top AFO guy from Logan Heights when he was arrested a few years back. He is in Puenta Grande. His workers, Loga gang members Benjamin Gutierrez, aka "Kecho" (brother) and "Viejon" (Jose Hernandez-Garcia) were killed by the Sinaloa guys in Tijuana. Ignacio Zazueta-Hernandez, aka "Pete," may have walked away from house arrest in DF a few years ago. He is also very powerful and loyal to the AFO. His baby's mother was a corrections officer at RJ Donovan in Oyay. She was a dirty California cop.

      Delete
    2. Logan younger members bring lots of crystal meth to Spring Valley and all over San Diego. Then they go north to LA , Las Vegas and few other places. They use young people for those things. Nowadays the make sure those people they use have licenses lol.

      Delete
    3. grove street took over the meth business

      Delete
    4. Steve D. San Diego has more dirty cops nowadays. As far as I know there guys have some friends in SDPD and Sheriffs in Spring Valley. I don’t know how far the friendship goes but they sure share info.

      Delete
  25. Finally an honest report about law enforcement on the US-side. Sure the Mexican side is fucked up by plata-o-plomo, but the US is not much better. I mean the same fucking drugs traversing Mex also traverses the US so we are no better at stemming the flow of drugs then they are.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Great article! Very good read. What ever happened to the sister Arellano? Story went she was a money launderer, she seemed to disappear off the face of the earth. Witness protection maybe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. None of the Arellano sisters were involved in the AFO business other than to shield and protect their monstrous brothers. The one who normally get help in situations like this one are the wives and children of the trafficker. The direct family members are often left on their own. I know many family members whose lives were dictated by the actions of their involved family members and, once those involved are arrested or killed, the family is left to their own wits. I have had long conversations with these family members and some were never educated or learned a trade because they were taken care of and not allowed to lead a free life. Benjamin's second wife, Ruth, was the only women we knew that was actively involved in the family business .

      Delete
  27. I heard that from those involved in Cardinal's death, Puma and Spooky surrendered to authorities, because David Barron asked them to do this (on behalf on Benjamin Arellano). Spooky was later murdered in jail ( any details ?). Is that true that Benjamin Arellano gave 300k to family of Puma and family of Spookie ? Is Puma still serving sentence for cardinal's death, or for other crimes ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "puma" and "spook" did turn themselves in after "Pato" met with them at a cemetery adjacent to Logan Heights. He asked for 2 volunteers to turn themselves in and their families would be taken care od forever. "Spook" and "Puma" raised their hands and were taken to "La Ocha" in Tijuana. They were both taken to Mexico City where they gave a "canned statement" as Benjamin and and the Mexico AG negotiated to make the incident go away. "Puma was murdered in his cell and "Puma" remains in custody. Last I heard it was Puenta Grande. He is not rehabilitated of course and is highly regarded by all cartel players. As for theirt families, the were never paid much and remained extremely dysfunctional and criminal. They are not good people.

      Whats amazing is that "Spooks" brother "Spanky" later joined Barron and "Pato" and was indicted by us for the attempted kidnap of Sirak Baloyan and other criminal acts in furtherance of the AFO. He received more time than the A-F Brothers.

      Delete
    2. I knew Spooky’s little brother he was stupid then. The funny thing is that this young people were brainwashed.

      Delete
  28. Eduardo was sentenced to 18 years as on the slide, or to 15 years ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 18 is what I understand. What a tremendous story behing his capture. Everything these guys touched turned to poop.

      Delete
  29. Don't take you're eyes off the ball fellas, go read "Devils, Deals and the DEA'' for similar content. Thank you for your service Mr. Duncan

    ReplyDelete
  30. Steve . You been out there fighting on the front lines .Like to know your opinion on some things. Got a couple questions for you . Your opinion on legalization ? And please explain why your opinion is what it is . Would it reduce the violent activities of these kind of people you refer to in this article ? Caro Quintero ? Will the USA ever get him ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A great and often-asked question that I take it personally. I grew up fatherless with a mother who worked full-time. My two brothers and two sisters got involved with drugs and the dregs of society that go with drugs. They brought these varmints into our home and I spent my childhood in the midst of drug use, sex, smoke, theft, overdoses and violence. I left my family as soon as I was old enough and moved 3000 miles away. But I still carry the scars and lost one brother to heroin. I do not like drugs and detest those who condone and use them. As a cop, I have seen too many children who were abandoned by their parents who were more devoted to drugs than anything. As a probation officer, drug abuse and addiction are a common factor in a family's dysfunction and a child's entry into the juvenile justice system. I tell students this because I'm always asked this question by them.

      In some states marijuana is now legal with certain restrictions and many of us are jumping on board to invest because we know its popularity. But it is a gateway drug (sorry for the cliche) and it will lead to more deaths on our roads. Also, organized crime groups do fund and/or operate some of the dispensaries.

      There was a video a couple years ago that I saw on BB by a Stanford Student, Mario Berlanga, that really hit home on this subject. I have incorporated it into my training on drug trafficking organizations. I think its a masterpiece. Its called "Pulling Down the Curtain."

      Caro-Quintero will probably die before he is caught. But if he takes chances like "Chapo," he just may. He has the resources and protection of the community to avert capture. If he is captured, then the US will make every attempt to get him.

      Delete
    2. Steve thanks . We very much need to get Caro Quintero at all cost . Just my opinion . I tried to ask the question as natural as possible . Didn't know any of your story but I feel the same way about drugs and legalization . Legalization isn't the answer . It will take us down the spiral even farther . Many don't agree with this but it is what I firmly believe . Been clean for 30 years after getting addicted when I was a kid . Civis . even if we don't agree I still like you anyway . I like Steve now to .

      Delete
    3. Alcohol is the real gateway drug.. Hope you feel that should be illegal to.

      Delete
  31. Kitty paez was recruiting people from logan heights. Also another person from logan that worked at nassco ship yards was recruiting people to work in tijuana until people startin to get their heads chopped off! Nassco is a breeding ground for all the ex convicts that get outta jail looking for a job because your parole officer stick you their!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great article Mr. Duncan. You and your team did a great job identifying and going after these predators. Thank you for deglamourizing these cowards and reminding us that many of them still live in our neighborhoods and cities. At the end of the day everyone of these individuals will someday pay for what they have done.

    ReplyDelete
  33. What I want to know is how do you mistake a Cardinal for a Chapo? The dude was wearing full Catholic garb. Head set y todo. What... Was the Chapo giving his monthly tithe to the Pope. You know the whole of Mexico is primarily Catholic. One time I briefly entertained a co worker whose fam was from Guadalajara, making jokes about the Pope, and the dude would have got seriously pissed if I'd kept on going. Do they have the same relationship like in Italy where the gommorah, cosa nostra, and the Pope kiss each other in the mouth? Great read by the way. Did you hear? Sessions just rolled back Obama era law and made it so the Fed prosecutor could give the okay to ban his district. In short they are just separating the people. You'll be able to smoke in Cali just not as freely as one believes it to be legal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They went for the car description not for the occupants. And is not hard to get confused when you are high on drugs. They were all drug addcts.

      Delete
    2. Damn logan cholos probably knew little about catholic cardinals etc.

      Delete
    3. Great question and one that will forever simmer with the Mexico's people. From what I was told by the gang members who were there about 15 trained assassins from Tijuana and San Diego were sent to Guadalajara because an AFO informant told the brothers Chapo would be there for a period of time. Ramon and Barron accompanied the group to Guadalajara and put htem up in two large homes. They did daily surveillance trying to locate Chapo. The brothers also had an enforcement group brought in from Los Mochis, Sinaloa who were kept separate from the Tijuana group. The groups were unsuccessful in locating Chapo and as they were returning to Tijuana from the airport they received information that Chapo was to arrive in a white Gran Marquis. Some of the tijuana group were boarding the plane and did not get the information. However, the leadership and the Los Mochis group did get the information and were set up in the Guadalajara Airport lot. They were focused on the car and not the occupants and shot it full of holes.

      Many were San Diego gang members and they all tell the same story. It was a cluster and most didn't know until they boarded the plain and Ramon told them they had killed Chapo.

      This event caused the brothers to go underground and the day to day operations were handed to an even crueler leader, Ismael Higuera-Guerrero.

      Delete
    4. Yea I heard ismael was a real mean son of a bitch

      Delete
    5. Also the guys who killed the cardinal might have been “hitmen” but by no means professional, one of the members of the hit squad was arrested at the scene passed out drunk, had no idea that a shooting even took place. Just goes to show you that the media blows things up a bit to make the stories juicer. Not saying these guys weren’t killers, they were just not elite maybe

      Delete
  34. What happened to enedina? Retirement? Witness protection?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Where's Ronald Brill these days?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to see him at the Santee Family Fitness until I moved and joined another gym. He continued to play the ignorant victim, but he knew exactly what he was doing. He is just another wannabe who was caught dirty and will not tell the truth. He should have been indicted, but again, we had a weak prosecutor.

      Delete
  36. Steve Duncan. Is it true that David Barron was a Mexican Mafia member? I knew most of this guys, I was not a gang member I just hanged out with them every now and then back in those days. I used to live on 33 and L street. As far a as I know he wasn’t. He didn’t spend enough time in jail or did enough work for the Mafia to become a member. It was said that he just did a tattoo on his stomach because he was not afraid to do so. But I have read lots of articles saying that he was a Mexican Mafia member. Also what you think of the History Channel Gangland story ? I think it was fake than anything. Guero the guy on the film was a big liar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We probably know each other. I was a part of that Gangland Story and was surprised that "Guero" contacted the producer. He lied and pumped up his stories on the show, but he was a one-percenter. He was married to "Puma's" sister his brother was prosecuted in the murder of the Cardinal.

      Barron was voted into tne Mexican Mafia in 1991. When he was 16, he shot and killed a senior citizen who confronted him for urinating on his car. He was tried as an adult but only received 6 years and the charges were reduced to manslaughter. He was active in prison with the surenos and was sent to San Quentin where he put in his work for the mafia. When he was paroled, he was selling PCP and had several crews selling his product at Memorial Park. He was always good at sending money to the homies in Pelican Bay and was highly regarded for his charisma, leadership and violence. He was arrested in 1987 for having an assault rifle and was sent to FCI-Phoenix where he met Gustavo Rivera and "Kiti" Paez's brother. Because of his reputation in the prison, they offered him a job in Tijuana upon his release. because of his association with the narcos and the work he put in in the fedeal and state prison systems, he was made a member. He and "Bat" Marquez received the "EME" tattoos on the same day.

      Delete
    2. Someone just dont get that tattooed he was buddy of bat Marquez do your reaserch buddy

      Delete
    3. Steve Duncan. Yeah we probably ran in to each other since I was around there for some time. The person I remember the most it was Patuchi a patrol men who join the Narcotics unit. He always used to tell me not to hang around those guys so I will end up the same way.

      Delete
    4. I forgot to say thanks for the info. My cousins were from Logan Heights and that’s the reason I was able to hang around those guys. But I have to say that money and power change people.

      Delete
    5. Barron was a bonified rider.He didnt fuck with lames or weaklings and he didnt like no one calling him Little Popeye.He fought Negro from Red Steps toe to toe for the rights to sell water(pcp).It was only a handful of dudes that could sell for themselves.You had to earn it with lead,like Bugsy,Pato,Charro,Sailor,Conejo,Beto (rip).Or even Cholo,Patos older brother who went super soft.They all had their kids(youngsters)selling for them in the 80s and 90s.No one could sell unless you had Barrons or Araujos blessings.To do so was your demise,like the dude from Lomas and Sherman who got taken out by the bleachers in 85.Emptied out their domes for thinking they could walk into the heart of 30 and make a few dollars.Those were the days when everyone went to Logan for their wacks and dips.Yeah,the 80s and 90s were fun,las pescadas were keeping all the fellas nutsack empty.

      Delete
  37. A very good story about time

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  38. Arellano felix cartel they are the real deal

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  39. Steve, Who is this So Called Piloto, that is leading CAF? Was his Father indeed Ramon AF? Or who the hell is he?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When el JJ faked his death only to be arrested shorty after, it was said he was Piloto.

      Delete
  40. Gordo was a US Citizen, so why is he in that list as deported. He was also the nephew of a politician who at one point was mayor of Tijuana. He killed an innocent man and his uncle released him from jail.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This "Gordo" was from Logan Heights. Barron tried to kill him in San Diego in 1994 as they feared he was passing information to the wrong people. We tried to locate and inform "Gordo," but we could only find his mother and she was not helpful. We got lucky and found the assassins in a Ford Taurus heading toward Logan Heights. After a highspeed chase down a one-way street we ( I should say the San Diego Police Department Gang Suppression Team) arrested two of the three assassins. The one who got away was killed in a shoot-out in Playas later that year where Arron Smeke and Fausto Marroquin were killed also..

      Delete
  41. Thanks Steve. You have just confirmed my suspicions that the top brass in law enforcement agencies are sometimes politically compromized.

    You guys doing your crime fighting jobs at ground level must often be frustrated at what "really" goes on in the crime worlds versus what governments actually allow you to do.

    Without citing specifics, your article just adds to my fears that America and Mexico have created a powerful,narco-monster that cannot be killed unless and until politics is removed from doing what needs to be done in neutralizing criminals "permanently."

    Finally, I found it most disturbing, (but natural) that Mexican criminals seamlessly interface and do business with USA Latino gangsters.

    Thanks for what you've done and what you do.

    Mexico-Watcher

    ReplyDelete
  42. @ Steve D do you think if AFO was still active and with all the deported with gang ties who are in tj would de AFO win a war against CDs

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    Replies
    1. The most loyal AFO guy out there from the Logan Gang is Melvin Gutierrez-Quiroz. He was recruited by Barron and "Pato" in 1992. I knew him as a juvenile because I had his older brother on my probation caseload. Melvin was smart, funny, polite and charismatic. But he was a thug and like Barron, his family and wife supported and benefitted by his criminal activity. Apart from two years in California Prison from 1995 to 1997, Melvin worked for Barron, "Pato," Gus Rivera and ultimately led several crews himself until his arrest a few years back. He is in Puenta Grande with "Puma" and runs the show there.

      On the streets, Logan and the AFO have been depleted. Many have joined Team America, many have died or gone to jail, and even more have switched to another organization. Since the A-F Brothers death or incarceration, it is no longer a priority with them to continue any grudge held towards "Chapo" and the Sinaloa Cartel. They still have a presence in Tijuana, but had to team up with the Guadalajara guys. If anyone grows stronger than Sinaloa it will be CJNG.

      But we must remember that for every overt drug organization, there are many others who choose to stay out of the radar and quietly and calmly move their drugs to our consumers.

      Delete
  43. @Steve,
    Any thoughts on Chapitos? Also which DTO do you think has the greatest all strength now days?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My knowledge of "Chapo" comes through our investigation of the A-F Brothers. "Chapo" did occasionally provide us with information through his emissaries, but we never met with him personally. We always heard "Mayo" was getting tired and wanted his family out of the business, and others, like "Mini Lic," have just surrendered to us at the border. I thinks the drugs will continue to flow, violence in Mexico will persist and idiots like Chapo's sons will continue to seek stardom. Its hard to imagine they will ever rise to the level of their predecessors.

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  44. Who was Arturo Granados (Chi Chi)?

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    Replies
    1. Was is right. "Chi-Chi" was killed in Mexico a few years back. He was good friends with "Kiti" Paez and lived here in Chula Vista. He was a member of the AFO, but like many of their own, suffered an early death.

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    2. Los Locos Del Ritmo rockers from the 50s Mexico City went to califa and changed their name to Los Locos, even recorded 'Viva Zapata' in 'inglish', any reports of their being involved in crime?

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    3. Correction: Arturo was "Turi" and Jorge was "Chi-Chi." I was chastised by my partner "Sweety."

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    4. Jorge aka Chichi did time for the FEDs twice,once in 88 then again in 96 got a 10 yr bid for a shipment of 100 and something keys that were shipped to Chicago.He was close to Kiti and Popeye Barron who he knew from MCC from his first FED bid in 88.Am I right Mr Duncan?

      Delete
  45. Tijuana confidential is a great read about arellano cook BB readers look that up...

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    Replies
    1. You mean Fausto, "The Cook" Soto-Miller. I don't know how, but the SD Reader got ahold of his debrief report from the feds. The article is the report. Is it online?

      Delete
    2. Yes it is... https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/1997/oct/16/cover-tijuana-confidential/

      Mr Duncan, do you think there are still members of the family running things in Tijuana? or are there only remnants of people who worked for them and now use their name?

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    3. I do not believe there is any blood running things, just those who remain loyal to the old school AFO. "Mael" had some children that took after him and ended up in jail for extremely violent acts. However, "Mael" and "Gilillo" switched teams in 2004 after a disagreement with Benjamin Arellano. They joined "Chapo" and "Mayo." They were one of the first to switch sides.

      Delete
  46. A lot of San Diego and Los Angeles sureño gangs still work directly with the nephews of the Arellanos. Somethings just will never die.

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  47. Nice read, got hooked. Gonna have to check devils deals and dea.

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  48. What happend to the body off ramon arellano felix?

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    Replies
    1. Ramon was murdered in Mazatlan. One of his loyal friends claimed the body at the morgue and the family had him cremated.

      Delete
  49. Great read!!...question: what can you tell us about jorge "el cholo" briseño,did he come into the picture way after all this,and was a major player,or just tigrillos brother n law?

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    Replies
    1. Jorge Briceno-Lopez, aka “Cholo,” was the brother-in-law of Javier Arellano, aka “El Tigrillo,” who took leadership of the AFO in March 2002. Javier was married to Cynthia Briceno, “Cholo’s” sister. “Cholo” came on our radar in about 2001. He was described, at this time, as one of the new leaders along with Eduardo Simental-Garcia (“Chris) and Arturo Villarreal-Heredia (“Nalgon”). The other main lieutenants were Gustavo Rivera-Martinez (P-1), Efrain Perez-Pasuengo (“Efra”), Jorge Aureliano-Felix, (“Macumba”), Ernesto Angulo-Hernandez and Saul Montes De Oca-Morlett (“Siego”).

      “Cholo” was extremely vain, visible and violent. He definitely had Javier’s ear. In the summer of 2008, he was murdered by his own partners and boiled in acid.

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  50. Steve, is Bat Marquez still in good standing with the Mex-Mafia.

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    Replies
    1. I believe he is, but do not know why. He was a reckless, big-mouth. He brought so much heat on his brothers because of his arrogant style. But, he is in the world behing bars where he feels his prestige and his orders sent out on the streets are taken with a grain of salt by those who claim they are loyal but do not feel the same urgency that he does. Its funny, his family has a house in the same neighborhood as the Villarreal-Heredias - Two more families that hav e raised and supported monsters.

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  51. Steve, Emilio, Valdez, (cabezon) big head. What was his role with the AFO. He claimed he was a high ranking Lieutenant with the AFO when we interviewed him in MCC San Diego.

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    Replies
    1. Emilio Valdez-Maineiro was arrested in Coronado following the murder of Mexico's AG Ibarra-Santos in September 1996. He was arrested with "Lobo" Hoydoyan-Palacios. While in custody at MCC, he directed drug activity and some believe the murder of his wife or girlfriend. He was charged with the drug trafficking stuff. He apparently threatened one of the UASA's (Gonzalo Curiel) and he got a pretty steep sentence. He was definitely a big player and a close associate of Ramon Arellano. Is he still in custody?

      Delete
    2. Just like Kitty Paez,Emilio wound up drinking coffe with Team America.You must keep in mind,these guys werent brought up in juvies or Y.As like their hitmen buddies from the Heights.And even they (Logan) ended up rolling.

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  52. Really interesting, thanks.

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  53. Steve what do you think about the Beltran Leyva brothers, do they have similarities to The AF bro and were they as powerful if not more!?. Who was more brutal?

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  54. I really can't answer this one as an expert. I know there were multiple brothers and they became very powerful and expanded into the Gulf area. We believe strongly that "Chapo" snitched off "Mochomo" and "Barbas" because they were becoming too powerful. Our targets, the AFO, did not seem to have an issue with them.

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  55. Steve thanks for your insight. I hope there is a book coming out. For all of us who grew up in TJ/San Diego in the 80s everyone knew someone or some small part of the history but never the big picture. Your information helps to really understand what happened.

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  56. Steve,
    And what about Carlos Arellano-Felix? He is not wanted.
    Was he part of the cartel (in sense of participation in drug trafficking, ordering executions, money laundering ...), or was he only benefactor of AFOs money? There is information he was trained to be a surgeon. Is he active in his profession? I guess even if he was far from AFOs activities, there is still danger for him.

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  57. The Beltran brothers were doing deals behind chapo & mayo's back! & got wind of it (zetas). That was when they flipped them.

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  58. Carlos, as we knew, lived off the illegal proceeds of the family. He was said to be a pleasure-seeker, but he was not a player. He did some restaurant management, but never really concentrated on any specialized line of work

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  59. Steve on behalf of BB and or readers, thank you not only for the post, but for taking time to interact with our readers and answering questions. It has been a real treat. I have received emails from readers asking that I encourage you to visit again...

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome Chivis. I love the job you guys do to keep us informed and will always be available to help and share. Also, your followers are well-spoken and well-informed. Thanks for giving me the chance to share.

      Delete
  60. READERS:

    STEVE IS SCHEDULED TO APPEAR ON NIGHTLINE WEDNESDAY NIGHT, UNLESS BUMPED BY BREAKING NEWS....

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  61. Steve I watched the Nightline piece and found it fascinating. Thank you X 1,000
    Mica

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  62. Do u think El Mencho and the New Generation is taking over the void left by the decline of the traditional Cartels?

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  63. Mr Duncan,You forgot to mention that Melvins wife,Marina is Bugsys’ (Jose Ayalas) sister & Fabiola,Patos’ younger sister was Charros (Melvins brothers’) first wife.Its a family affair.And whatever happened to all those rats,like Juan Felix & Cricket (snitched on Bugsy) Big Mac who got a shitload of his own homeboys indicted?Them boys just fell apart.

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  64. Melvin Gutierrez and Marina Ayala is a story in itself and similar to that of the Barron and Quinones-Sanchez families family. You are absolutely right - the three families are interwoven.

    Marina claims to be Jose Ayala’s sister, but we believe she and Mrs. Ayala doctored her birth certificate to become a US Citizen. She, like the other Barron and Quinones women, aided and abetted her gangster husband who has been a US fugitive since 1997 while working for the City of San Diego.

    Jose is where he belongs for murdering two US Military men almost 30 years ago over a matter of respect and kudos to whoever snitched him off. It took a lot of guts. And it was Jose who recruited sureno gang members in prison for Barron’s killing squads. The Ayala family is also guilty of supporting monsters.

    Fabiola Quinones and Jose Gutierrez, aka “Charro” were an item. You may know more than I if they were married, but it does sound right. “Charro” is also a multiple murderer for killing two men in Encinitas with an assault rifle brought over from Tijuana while he worked for Barron and the AFO.

    We arrested Juan Felix in 1995 and he received 20 years in federal prison. Juan was close to Barron and was his US distributor for weed and methamphetamine. He was our number 1 target in the early 1990’s because of this special relationship. Juan was also a deported alien in the US using the fictitious name Armando Hernandez. Juan was the biggest dealer in Logan Heights.

    Barron, Gustavo Rivera and Arturo “Kitty” Paez were bringing in tons of weed and cocaine along with the methamphetamine from Mexico in the panels of tour busses. Juan Felix had compromised the owner of Sunshine Truck and Auto Body, Robert Stang, and paid him to use the body shop to dismantle the bus panels, remove the product and then redistribute the drugs to other locations. Stang was a cocaine abuser.

    Stang was an interesting character. He had multiple felony conviction for drugs and other crimes in the States of New York, Nevada, Arizona and California. He had multiple felons working for him who sold drugs for Felix. While working this investigation, we discovered two of my future bosses at CALDOJ were friends of Stang and were customers of Stang. This is another story and a vey long one.

    The case against Juan Felix was a stepping-stone for us. Felix was living in a house previously owned by Gustavo Rivera. In November of 1993, we served a search warrant on a home in Sherman Heights where we seized 8 tons of weed, pounds of meth a bunch of guns and arrested Barron’s Uncle Charly and 5 others. While we watched the location in the weeks before, there was a white econoline van parked in the driveway of the stash house daily. On the day we hit the house, the van was gone.

    The next week, I drove by Juan Felix’s house in Chula Vista and the van was parked in the driveway. So we were able to tie Barron, Rivera and Felix together and we used this marijuana seizure along with many other events to indict Barron and other brass of the AFO in the years to come. Everyone thinks there is always a snitch behind a bust, but sometimes its good investigative skills or just getting out of your desk and driving by an address.

    The case against “Big Mac” was also a stepping-stone to our case against the Cardinal murderers. He was also able to change his criminal lifestyle and become a contributing member of society and a good husband and father. He is one person we are vey proud of.

    I respect the privacy of those who have cooperated. Even when “Logan Heights” was notorious, we had numerous cooperators who gave up their so-called friends and home boys. I have said before that “almost everyone cooperates” when looking at a crap load of time. All the cartel heads extradited to the US and gang leaders almost always cooperate to get themselves a better deal and help their families - often the same families that created and enabled these monsters.

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  65. Regarding "Chi Chi," you are right again, Mr. Anonymous! In June 1996, some sharp Illinois Trooper interdicted a 100-200 kilo shipment of cocaine. The driver, Jack Brownfield, a middle-aged Caucasion fellow was arrested. He had the cocaine secreted among a bunch of furniture he was towing in a U-Haul trailer. In a controlled delivery, the cocaine went on to New York City where Agustin Salgado, aka “Drak,” and Rafael Magana received it and were arrested. “Drak,” a distributor and enforcer for David Barron and the fiancé to his sister, Claudia, owned Parkside Auto Detail at Logan and Beardsley Avenue in Logan Heights. Parkside was another business in the US used as a redistribution location for drugs and a place to store weapons used in San Diego and Los Angeles murders.

    That was my very first trip to Chicago. I went with DEA SAs Jack Robertson and David Herrod to follow-up on the case and prepare search warrants for San Diego locations to include Parkside and “Chi Chi’s” home. I was on Rush Street celebrating with the Chicago Bull fans when they won the 1996 NBA Title.

    It was at FCI – Phoenix where Barron, Gustavo Rivera-Martinez and “Kiti’s brother met. You know your stuff and we should have coffee sometimes and swap war stories.

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  66. Regarding "Chi Chi," you are right again, Mr. Anonymous! In June 1996, some sharp Illinois Trooper interdicted a 100-200 kilo shipment of cocaine. The driver, Jack Brownfield, a middle-aged Caucasion fellow was arrested. He had the cocaine secreted among a bunch of furniture he was towing in a U-Haul trailer. In a controlled delivery, the cocaine went on to New York City where Agustin Salgado, aka “Drak,” and Rafael Magana received it and were arrested. “Drak,” a distributor and enforcer for David Barron and the fiancé to his sister, Claudia, owned Parkside Auto Detail at Logan and Beardsley Avenue in Logan Heights. Parkside was another business in the US used as a redistribution location for drugs and a place to store weapons used in San Diego and Los Angeles murders.

    That was my very first trip to Chicago. I went with DEA SAs Jack Robertson and David Herrod to follow-up on the case and prepare search warrants for San Diego locations to include Parkside and “Chi Chi’s” home. I was on Rush Street celebrating with the Chicago Bull fans when they won the 1996 NBA Title.

    It was at FCI – Phoenix where Barron, Gustavo Rivera-Martinez and “Kiti’s brother met. You know your stuff and we should have coffee sometimes and swap war stories.

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  67. Regarding PCP:
    Bugsy, Pato, Charro, Sailor, Conejo, Beto, Cholo, Barron and Juan Felix as I recall had the bottles of PCP and made “lovelies” at the Penthouse on 31st and National. Memorial Rec was the PCP center of San Diego. You do not hear much about “Sherms,” “Lovelies” and “Dips” anymore but some of the old homies like Ormiga still mess with that crap.

    In 1995, when we hit Felix’s stash house on Newton Avenue, rented by “Monstro,” who lived nextdoor, we seized about a half-gallon of liquid PCP, guns and a couple pounds of meth.

    Let’s see where their efforts led them:

    “Bugsy” – Serving multiple life terms for murder

    “Pato” – Back to selling drugs in Mexico

    “Charro” - Serving multiple life terms for murder

    “Sailor” - Murdered by Sinaloa Cartel in Tijuana

    “Conejo” - Serving life for murdering an elderly man on his way home from Sunday Dinner because he wouldn’t give him $5.

    “Beto” - Brother of “Conejo,” Alfredo Araujo and Arath Blanco who was shot in a drive-by in 1989

    “Cholo” – The rapist, murderer and drug dealer who is illegal better be in Mexico

    Barron - Dead

    Felix - Probably deported one released from the feds.


    Just say no!

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    1. I understand how the Gov protects its informants,everyone knows it was Cricket(Chris) who turned on Pepe aka Bugs.Which is funny because Cricket was one of Cholos(Javiers' kids) Its also known that Johnny,Juan Felix cut a deal with the FEDs after they mentioned life in the BOP.And yes,Juan Felix was a big money maker for Barron.Juan Felix was doing his thing right next door to A to Z towing on National...He could move anything.Other guys were mostly muscle,no brain.As for Charro,he was a nutjob,he would lose his cool over anything & use violence to solve any problem.Very charismatic with the ladies though,I will give him that.You know whats funny,Barron couldve put toghether a serious crew if he wouldnt have lost so many of his kids to the CDC over none sanctioned hits.They had serious fire power & used it for gangbanging.Besides,some had serious drug problems,couldnt stay sober & keep their mouths shut!They even took out some of their own...like Ranchero.Then you had those who werent really trusted,like Smurf,(Juan Gonzalez)Goofies' older brother who almost got stabbed in Donovans 3 yard for dry snitching on Bugsy.Spooky chased him into a building.Then there was Goofy,Juan Felix' favorite kid who just could not control drugs.Word has it he tried his luck at Russian Roullette & lost,some say it was over a piece of ass.Both reasons highly stupid.Oh,& now that you mention Armando(Juans alias).What ever happened to Armando Lopez from Red Steps?There was suspicion of him rolling on Emilio Valdez Mainero in the case he caught in MCC.Supposedly Armando was involved.He was always a shady character,got arrested with a hot weapon & never got charged for murder.Very few guys out of that crowd & time made it out.Some are dead,some are doing life,others turned snitches & cant come around.The good ol'days!All that is left is war stories!

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    2. @4:56pm There you go again with your favorite phrase "we all know". Steve D has told us in the past of his LE background which gives his knowledge of the inside working of the cartels a great deal of credence. You have not given us anything that gives all details that you post any credence.

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    3. I'll let Mr Duncan give his opinion on what I have contributed.

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    4. dd,you must think Im a dummy & I'm going to let out more than LE knows & shed light on unsolved crimes!Sorry buddy,I didnt make it out of that life style by being a dummy or a blabber mouth.Mr Duncan can attest to that what I'm sharing are cold hard facts.Nice try though!By the way...ask Mr Duncan about officers Aguirre,Felix & Santibanes!Gang & homocide detectives.

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  68. Regarding Barron and Methamphetamine. In the mid 1980’s, after Barron was released for shooting and killing a 68 year old transsexual man who had confronted Barron when he peed on the gentlemen’s car. He and others we have mentioned were selling PCP.

    In 1987, he was arrested for possession of an automatic rifle at his brother-in-law, Norman Paraiso’s home. Paraiso is another multiple felon who has worked for the city and county of San Diego while moving drugs for Barron.

    While in federal prison, he learned a recipe for meth from Camarena which he later honed through his relationships with Gustavo Rivera and Juan Potenciano in Tijuana. We were told by numerous cooperators that Barron was mass-producing meth in Tijuana in the early 1990’s.

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    1. Norman Paraiso was riding his brothers fame,Eddie,Eddie Boy was the one who put in work in the 70s & 80s.Plus they're related to the Salcidos.Henry,Cowboy & Nono,who is serving life along with Rudy Castillo "Popo" who was married to Alice,Chicha Hernandez who is related to the Salcidos.Its just one huge family affair.Conejos first wife is Chichas sister.

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  69. The “Mimi Baraza Murder” was unfortunate, and although we strongly believe we know who the shooter was, we never had enough to prosecute the case. We have some great evidence, but we need a bit more. You mention her parents being gangsters and hanging with gangsters, this is very common with gangs. It’s a generation dynamic often times. Their parents and extended families were not good role models and exposed them to drugs, gangbanging and other crime. When you grow up in that environment, its very hard to break the cycle and our children become like their family members. Those who hang out with the wrong people, like maybe in the case of Mimi, get killed. The parents then blame everyone but themselves. It sounds like you broke the cycle and I commend you.

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  70. Mr. Anonymous, I could shoot the poop with you for days! You are absolutely right when you say the government likes to protect their cooperators. However, sometimes people suspect someone has cooperated when they really haven’t. Sometimes it is someone else who cooperates and never is discovered. People get hurt or killed when they get that label. On the other hand, we couldn’t do our jobs in the narcotics and gang world without the help from cooperators. The vast majority of people will give up some good info to get out of a bad situation or for revenge. Also, never piss off your life partner! One of the best parts of the job was relocating a cooperator, even hardcore gangsters, and watch them succeed away from the barrio. But I cannot tell you who cooperated.

    I agree David Barron had serious firepower, connections and leadership skills, but he used them in very negative ways. So many of his followers died. I have a list I call “Dead Loganeros” of all those young men who followed Barron and his family who once wallowed in his fame and fortune, are left in shambles. Too bad he didn’t have the moral character and inner strength to put his talent in a positive direction. He destroyed thousands of lives by making the choice to manufacture, import and distribute drugs. I hope that you realize this.

    Armando Lopez was a shady character and received a good chunk of federal time in the mid 1990’s and then seemed to vanish. I do know he was illegal and probably deported upon his release. In the 1990’s, there were so many gangsters who had felony convictions and were born in Mexico. INS deported hundreds of gangsters from San Diego while we worked them. Our strategy was investigate the “one percenters,” like Barron and Johnny, whose presence on the streets brought a surge in violence, drugs and crime in general. Remove the leaders and the peripherals will return to their dull lives and have no leader to follow.

    Goofy, Dopey, Happy, etc.. Dopey never seemed to get over the gangster life and he is lucky to be alive considering the demise of the other homeboys. Goofy was shot in the head while he was with some other gangster lovers. God only knows what really happened. His tattoo on his lower lip cracked me up. It was just a smudge until he expanded it like gangster like to do and it read “F___ You.”

    Its sad Mr. Anonymous. All we have are war stories and we love talking about it because it was a big part of our lives. But remember all those families and children have been left without a father. Remember all those families that gave into the criminal lifestyle and raised children who followed in their footsteps. We both have lots to offer our youth – the lessons we have learned and our experience in the gang world.

    At the end of my career and into my retirement, I have helped develop several former cartel members, gang members and victims of organized crime who tell their stories and have become successful public speakers. They tell their stories to cops around the world and sometimes get paid for it. The cops love hearing their stories and it is so refreshing to hear it from someone other than a cop. I am always looking for help if you are interested. Stay strong Brother!

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    1. Good evening Mr Duncan,you are spot on about the damage that drugs cause,but lets be totally honest.The Government depends on the drug trade to keep its prisons full,C.Os employed along with LE and its ex military personnel coming back from all the different wars.Imagine a drug free U.S of A?Where would thousands of TASK FORCE MEMBERS be?It serves a huge array of purposes,private prisons owned by ex politicians or their family members,they fund secret wars and black OPs,like Ollie in the 80s.Theres so much more behind the drug trade.This is just the tip of the iceberg and it involved curb servers.Im sure at one point in your career they stopped you from stepping on the wrong toes.Look what happened to Michael Levine.I must say though,you did your job & did it right.My utmost respect to you sir...

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  71. Felix Aguirre the ex Marine? The most famous gang investigator in SD gang history. The author of several books on gangs. He and others like him are our heroes.

    The government has gotten into bed with some bad characters, but usually the lesser of the evils they have to choose from. We were given information in our case by Chapo because we had a common enemy - The TJ Monsters.

    I still put the bulk of the blame on the parents of criminals who fill our prison system. They failed to put their children first and do not provide the structure to keep these kids out of trouble. I was a probation officer first before becoming a cop. I visited the homes of my gang probationers and read the social studies provided to the court. The vast majority lived in a world of dysfunction, broken homes, drugs, crime, sex and extreme abuse. The only way these children could make it was to make a commitment to themselves to break the cycle of dysfunction and find other role models in their teachers, coaches, friends and clergy.

    Drugs payed my bills and their was never, ever a shortage of work if you were eager. Our country, the USA, loves its drugs and our neighbor, Mexico, makes billions supplying us. and yes, many times I was pulled away from my cases against mass murderer because my agency whored ourselves out to who would ever give them grants. It was not that they were corrupt, they were apathetic, lazy and stupid.

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  72. Mr. Duncan can you please eleborate on Juvenal Gomez(JR) and his father(SR). Thank you

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  73. Both Junior and Senior were drug traffickers. In early 1993, David Barron sent enforcement crews to San Diego to locate and murder Junior. He spent a significant amount of resources on Junior because he was working for the other side. He sent enforcers and AFO Lieutenants to San Diego who new specifics on Junior . Junior owned or was involved in a Gas Lamp Club and a car business in National City. Some Logan Gang members finally located him at Crazy Guys in Chula Vista and killed him in the parking lot. The VW Jetta used in the murder was burned in East San Diego and the guns were thrown off the Coronado Bridge. The two assassins were paid 15 – 25 thousand dollars cash.

    Through several witnesses and follow-up investigation, we were able to corroborate their stories. We charged this murder in our case against Barron and his Logan enforcers who were involved in the botched murder of the Cardinal. We also mentioned it in our case against the A-F Brothers. However, our US Attorney’s Office dropped the charges as they no longer wanted to expend the effort to extradite low-level enforcers. Now guys involved like Marcos Quinones-Sanchez, Isaac Guevarra-Hernandez and Adelaido Reyes are running free in Mexico. If there is any closure for the Gomez Family, one of those involved, Big Happy, died of a heroin overdose a few years back.

    This is a classic case of cross-border violence. It’s a cartel-related crime occurring on our soil. I believe the Chula Vista PD still has the case and, although our federal prosecutors dropped the ball, maybe one day we will be able to resurrect the case on the State side.

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  74. Junior had a lover who was pregnant. The AFO located her and killed her in Tijuana. Four months later the AFO killed Junior's friend in Tijuana in Nov 92'(Michelle Navarrete). The word that I got from a former cop in Tijuana was that Michelle was murdered by "El Indio" Zatarain. Joaquin "El Indio" Zatarain was a trafficker from Sinaloa who worked for the AFO. It was said that after Michelle was murdered Junior knew that he was next. Surely enough in March of 93' the AFO murdered Junior. The AFO was very unforgiving even to their own.


    My Godmother was first cousins with Sonia Martinez de Arellano. Eduardo Arellano's wife. Sonia and Eduardo met in the late 70's. At that time Sonia used to take care of lil kids/babies. When one of those kids dad went to go pick them up from Sonia the dad was accompanied by Eduardo. Eduardo noticed Sonia and took a liking to her. That is how Eduardo and Sonia got involved together. The rest you know what took place

    It was said that Eduardo was a very paranoid individual. Always taking a taxi to go from point A to point B to lay under the radar. The Arellano's did that often. Often riding in cars no one would imagine they where in. Look at the VW that Ramon was riding in in Mazatlan when he got killed. One would never think who was in that small vehicle. Thank you for the response by the way Mr.Duncan!

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  75. I heard that Carlos Carrasco aka Bulldog from Shell Town was killed by the Logan Heights gang members, due to the cartels order or something like that.

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  76. Hello anonymous. Logan Heights and Shelltown have been turf rivals since I was in the mix. David Barron also had a war with the Marron Brothers in the early 1990's with many dying on both sides of the border. The Marron's teamed with Big Ern from the brims and were ripping off local drug dealers dressed as police. They ripped one of Barron's best friends and distributor which led to their demise. Can you give me some more background on Carrasco?

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  77. Norman Paraiso. What a fraud! He uses his brother-in-law's name and fame (Infamy) for his own identity. He continues to be supported by our city and some of our community leaders while dealing methamphetamine, cloning phones and claiming Logan Heights as his street gang. He has a tattoo on his stomach of a revolver with "LOGAN" and has a few felony convictions. He's a criminal, a convict and gang member working for the city of San Diego.

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