Sunday, February 11, 2018

Family contends Navy arrested a vegetable vendor after confusing him with "El Mayo Zambada"

Char for Borderland Beat republished from Cafe Negro-El Portal Politico de Sinaloa

Culiacán, Sinaloa.- The special group of the Mexican Navy that killed four assassins during a confrontation outside a party hall in La Limita de Itaje, was looking for Ismael El Mayo Zambada, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, and during the operation arrested a merchant, who was  confused with the alleged drug trafficker.

Relatives of Antonio Valenzuela Iribe, 70, who is one of the two detained by the Navy, reported that the arrest of the merchant was illegal, and that during the operation the sailors also simulated executing at least 10 young people who were in the party ordering them to say where the "M" (Mayo Zambada) was and where the weapons were hidden.

"The sailors grabbed my grandfather and put a hat on him and compared it to a photo. Then a sailor approaches me and says: what's that man's name?  I say: Antonio Valenzuela, why? And he tells me: he is not called that. And I answer again and I say: Who are you confusing with? And he says: “we're not confusing him, it's Mr. Mayo Zambada."
They said that after the confrontation outside, the sailors broke in and violently forced all the men to lie on the floor for four hours, and that they were stripped of money and jewels.

They said that during the deployment, registered between Tuesday night the 30th and the morning of January 31, Antonio Valenzuela was at his table, inside the party room, when he was arrested, and not outside when the shooting occurred.

"My family member was interrogated, and it turned out they determined that my grandfather was Mr. Mayo Zambada, which is a lie."

They contend that sailors planted an AK-47 assault rifle and an AR-15 rifle, as well as cartridges, in the vehicle that Antonio Valenzuela had parked outside the party room, and that was the pretext to stop him. They said they did the same with the other detainee, who was also inside the room and they planted a tactical vest with cartridges.

They assured that the white Hyundai vehicle of the merchant was transferred by the sailors to the facilities of the delegation of the Attorney General's Office, before the experts arrived who reviewed the units that were hit by bullets during the confrontation.

The family of Antonio Valenzuela denied knowing the four young people killed by the Navy and had no knowledge if they were escorts of any of the people who were at the party. They also denied having a relationship with El Mayo Zambada.

The official version issued by the Secretariat of Public Security of Sinaloa on the fact indicates that the elements of the Navy carried out a patrol in the area of ​​La Limita de Itaje, when they were met with gunfire, when they repelled the aggression, they killed the four alleged gunmen identified as Manuel Filiberto Tapia Arellano, José Saúl Félix, Daniel Armando Serrano, and José Alonso Angle Castañeda.

The SSP also reported the securing of six long guns and four pistols, as well as cartridges and the arrest of Héctor Román, and don Antonio, originally from Tamazula, Durango.

As for the execution simulations, the relatives said the sailors were choosing and taking the young people out for interrogation.

"I heard that they saw one and said: you, come; and they stopped him and asked him questions first, I do not know what kind of questions. And to make them afraid they fired gunshots. Doing that to terrify them, because according to them (the sailors), at the party was El Mayo and that those who were there were from his cartel.  My family has no ties to him."

They explained that Don Antonio Valenzuela was first put at the disposal of the Public Ministry accused of belonging to organized crime, but that this crime was already rejected by the federal authorities and that now he only faces charges for carrying a firearm exclusively for the Army.

Family members said that at age 70, Mr. Antonio continues to work honestly and has never had problems with any authority. 

"My grandfather is a merchant. He works hard every day from 6 am. He goes to Los Mochis, Guasave, or places here near Culiacán to buy fruit or vegetables in season; loads his  double wheeled truck and returns home,  and sells to all the nearby colonies or small towns. A job where he does not earn much but it is honest labor. That's why what happened is so painful. He is a hardworking person who has worked his ass off all his life and who is an innocent but was arrested and detained anyway."