Thursday, March 12, 2020

Baja California fugitives: 18 high-ranking cartel members wanted

"MX" for Borderland Beat
Los 18 Impunes (The 18 Unpunished)

Since 2015, the state of Baja California has been a major battleground between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), the Sinaloa Cartel and the Tijuana Cartel (CAF). The local leaders of these groups are still free and some have been active for close to a decade. 

Last week, Borderland Beat published a report identifying the two-most wanted men in Baja California. But as Mexican journalists pressed authorities for answers, more high-ranking fugitives were uncovered. Below is a list of 18 high-ranking cartel members who are at large in Baja California. This list was compiled by the Tijuana-based and award-winning news magazine Zeta.

Background
According to figures provided by the State Attorney General's Office (FGE), these past five years between 1 January 2015 and 4 March 2020 have resulted in 10,774 homicides. Investigators say at least 80% of these deaths (approximately 8,600) are drug-related. Of that death toll, 845 murders have been committed in the first 125 days of the current administration of Governor Jaime Bonilla Valdez.

These numbers are well above the 5,700 murders recorded between 2007 and 2014, when the CAF suffered an internal war. This was previously regarded as one of the most-violent eras in Baja California.

In July 2017, the then Secretary of the Interior, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, published the list of the top fugitives in Baja California and spoke of about the government's efforts to arrest them. But nothing happened. With the new governor, this old list - now refined - was once again forwarded to federal authorities with intelligence information from local authorities. The list below includes short bios, well-known images, names and nicknames of the fugitives.

Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG)

1. José Antonio Soto Gastélum ("El Tigre") - Soto is 52 years old and was born in Navolato, Sinaloa. He coordinates an international marijuana, cocaine and heroin ring from Tijuana to the U.S. for the CJNG. In addition, he is involved in extortion and homicides. Prior to his involvement with the CJNG, he was member of the Sinaloa Cartel and the Tijuana Cartel. He worked with former kingpin Teodoro García Simental ("El Teo") in Tijuana in 2008.

He was active in Mexicali and Tecate under the Sinaloa Cartel. Several of his relatives are involved with that criminal group. His attorney is Alejandro Estrada Bañuelos ("The Devil's Lawyer"), who also represents other CJNG members.

2. Jesús Alfonso Trapero Ibarra ("El Trapos" or "El Profe") - Trapero is 46 years old and was born in Navolato, Sinaloa. He was a Tijuana Municipal Police officer and owned houses in Villas del Sol and Villa Fontana. He also lived in Tecate. 

In 2009 and 2014 he was involved in vehicle theft. Authorities say he is a high-ranking CJNG member. Trapero was one of the few from his faction to survive over the years. Several of his business partners were killed, like Arturo Giovanni Gomez Herrera ("El Gross") in November 2016 and Juan José Pérez Vargas in May 2019. Héctor Manuel Morales Guzmán ("El Gallero"), who also worked with Trapero, was kidnapped in April 2019 and remains disappeared.

3. Israel Alejandro Vázquez Vázquez ("El Goofy" or "Cabo 50") - Vázquez was born in Tijuana, Baja California, and is 34 years old. He started in the Sinaloa Cartel and later joined the CJNG in 2015 under "El Gross". He heads the CJNG's homicide squad in Otay (Tijuana borough) and has been seen in Sánchez Taboada (Tijuana borough). His criminal record includes a history of armed vehicle robbery in 2003, 2010 and 2012. 

4. William Alejandro López López ("Cabo 18") - López was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, and is 43 years old. He lives in Sánchez Taboada (Tijuana borough). He was part of Vázquez's network. In 2017, he was arrested twice for drug possession but was released without a conviction.

Sinaloa Cartel

5. René Arzate García ("La Rana") - Arzate was born in Tijuana, Baja California, and is 35 years old. He currently lives in Sinaloa but operates in Baja California. His criminal history dates back to 2007, when he shot his ex-wife and was accused of attempted homicide. 

Despite being a high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel member, Arzate is not wanted in Mexico. In the U.S. he has an outstanding arrest warrant since 13 September 2012 (indictment case #: 14CR0722-DMS) for his involvement in drug trafficking. In the federal-led investigation known as Operation Narcopolo (2011), he was accused of importing 652 kg (1,427 lbs) of heroin, 5,500 pills of oxycodone, and making more than US$14.1 million in drug proceeds. 

6. Alfonso Arzate García ("El Aquiles") - Unlike his brother René, Alfonso was born in Sinaloa but grew up in Tijuana. He is 45 years old. Alfonso joined the drug trade in 2008 by assisting Fernando Sánchez Arellano ("El Ingeniero") up until 2010. After Sánchez's arrest, he became a high-ranking drug trafficker.

In Mexico, he has an outstanding arrest warrant for his capture after he was charged with kidnapping in Baja California. In the U.S., he is wanted under the same indictment mentioned above.

7. Víctor Hugo Mejía López ("El Griego") - Mejía was born in Ensenada, Baja California, and is 31 years old. He works under the Arzate brothers and is responsible for heading a faction in Tijuana and Ensenada. In 2013 he was arrested for illegal possession of firearms but was shortly released.

8. Iván Leonardo Peña Peralta ("El Turbo" or "El Arcángel") - Peña was born in Tijuana, Baja California, and is 33 years old. He is an enforcer for the Arzate brothers in northern Tijuana along with Manuel Gómez Ruvalcaba ("El Aguacate"), who was arrested for drug trafficking in 2002. Gómez was released and resumed his activities under Peña.

9. Javier Olguín Hernández ("El Javo") - Olguín was born in Tijuana, Baja California, and is 37 years old. He is responsible for coordinating international drug trafficking activities in eastern Tijuana. In 2002, he was arrested for breach of trust. In 2015, he was arrested for illegal possession of firearms. However, according to prison staff, he was released.

10. Víctor Manuel Padilla Murillo ("El Chatarras") - Padilla was born in Ensenada, Baja California, and is 38 years old. He owns a junkyard in his hometown. Between 2006 and 2019, authorities investigated him for fraud, money laundering and organized crime involvement. Every time he was arrested, Padilla was released. Padilla is responsible for coordinating drug trafficking activities out of Ensenada.

11. Jesús Corrales Ríos or Canales Ríos or Ortiz Ríos ("El Viejón") - He was born in Culiacán, Sinaloa, and is 44 years old. His criminal background is extensive. In 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015, he was arrested for illegal possession of firearms and narcotics. In 2011, he was arrested for homicide. According to prison staff, he was released every time. 

12. Francisco Javier Mendoza Uriarte or Juan Ricardo Méndez Soto ("Chapito Uriarte") - He was born in Sinaloa and is 36 years old. His family and him are responsible for coordinating drug trafficking activities out of eastern Tijuana. He was arrested in 2016 under illegal possession of firearms as part of a most-wanted program, but he was released shortly thereafter.

13. José Luis Mendoza Uriarte ("El Güero Chompas") - He was born in Sinaloa and is 32 year old. Just like his brother (mentioned above), he operates out of eastern Tijuana. His criminal background is also extensive. In 2009 he was arrested for illegal possession of firearms; in 2011 and 2012, he was arrested for stealing a car; in 2014, he was arrested for homicide and organized crime involvement. Despite these arrests, he was released.

14. Luis Fernando Castro Villa/Cenobio Flores Pacheco/Sergio Campos Salcido ("El Checo") - He is 47 years old and is suspected of being involved in drug trafficking activities from Sinaloa to Mexicali. In 2007, he was investigated for personal injury and property damage. 

15. Vicente Martínez González ("El Guilo") - Martínez was born in Mexicali, Baja California, and is 51 years old. He operates out of the Mexicali plaza and is responsible for coordinating air planes that arrive there with drugs. He has an active arrest warrant for murder since 2019. Martínez is currently in a turf war with Felipe Eduardo Barajas Lozano ("El Omega"), another Sinaloa Cartel member who supports the CJNG in Mexicali.

16. Manuel Garibay Espinoza/Adolfo Espinoza Dueñas ("Meño") - He is 62 years old and has been active in drug trafficking since 1998, when he used to work for the CAF. In 2014, he was arrested for the 2004 murder of a police officer. He was imprisoned for two months and was then released. His attorneys have showed that he does not have outstanding arrest warrants, but authorities have identified him as a high-ranking cartel member.


Tijuana Cartel

17. Pablo Edwin Huerta Nuño ("El Flaquito") - Huerta was born in Tijuana, Baja California, and is 28 years old. He is responsible for heading an international drug trafficking ring. He was a close business partner of José Luis Escudero Escandón (arrested in February 2020). Huerta has done truces with the CJNG and the Arzate brothers. 

18. David López Jiménez ("Cabo 20") - López was born in Tijuana, Baja California, and is 31 years old. He was a former hitman squad leader in the CJNG but left to join the CAF after his business partner Héctor Manuel Morales Guzmán “El Gallero” was transferred to Jalisco. In the CAF, he works under "El Flaquito" in Tijuana and Ensenada. He is wanted for the January 2020 murder of police officer Marco Antonio Reyes Nahon and civilian Jesús Héctor Cabrera Mendoza.

Note: Although not mentioned in the report, Borderland Beat also identified CJNG regional leader Danny Isaac Ortiz Covarrubias ("El Moreno") as a high-ranking Baja California fugitive last week.

Source: Semanario Zeta

29 comments:

  1. Isn’t Chompas dead?

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    1. Good catch. I wonder why Zeta magazine included him. If you consult the source they say he is "free", but maybe they didn't check if he had been killed and only looked at prison documents. But apparently they got this list from state officials so the real Chompas is alive? Sources indicate he died in September 2019.

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    2. That was a fake news. He is not dead.

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    3. Dead as dirt. Very suprising for Zeta, these guys are supposed to be in the eye of the storm (TJ)...

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    4. 100% he is not dead. As I previously said, it was a fake news.
      https://zetatijuana.com/2019/09/identifican-a-ejecutados-en-mundo-divertido/
      https://tjnoticias.info/ejecutado-en-mundo-divertido-no-era-lider-del-cartel-de-sinaloa/

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    5. Thanks for the sources and for clarifying!

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  2. It looks like og members from the Caf are not looked at, what ever happened to edgardo Leyva escandon and don balas?

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    1. Edgardo Leyva Escandón. That guy is an enigma. Such an interesting figure but we hardly know anything about him. Could be one of those guys who packed his fortune and left for good. But maybe he's underground...

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    2. They say he’s an “expert” in weaponry and explosives , which is more than likely due to being ex-Military.

      My guess is he got the hell out of the Dodge, once Ingeniero went down and Teo.

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    3. CAF has some heavy hitters word is they still taxing all drugs that go up north even sinaloans pay

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    4. @ 2:30. What the hell are you talking about? CAF was almost extinct. CDS and CJNG have a bigger chunk of Tijuana than CAF. Your hopes are not facts...

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    5. El "24" ahi sigue bien protegido entre la crema y nata de la sociedad tijuanese. Viene de sangre respetada y de influencia. Por hay tambien dicen los que hablan de mas que aun tiene sus concesiones adentro del cartel de la frontera. Esta bien parado el de la vieja guardia

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    6. 10:51 no mames déjate de mamadas bro. extint será el pinche Tasmanian tiger pendejo. CDs? Cjng?? Your talking nonsense. We all know who runs the show in Tijuana. You already know who’s seating down with the politicians in Tijuana. Un saludo a los que andan “extint” controlando la plaza.

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  3. Adan “Speedy” Mares? He isn’t on the list?

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    1. Isn’t he a boxer?Why would he be on the list?You dry snitching no proof?

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    2. de boxeador a traficante¿Tiene sentido, fue un boxeador fallido / pandillero desde el principio

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    3. They’re on him already. Flacos secretary

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    4. I’ve heard something similar..an individual who once boxed turned plaza boss or something. Anyone has more info about this guy or whoever posted that comment can say anything

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    5. @10:39 why are you here if you want to attack people giving information or opinion might be might not but why call him dry snitching but you yourself want to get info out of him

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  4. I don't know if there was ever confirmation Chompas was executed in Culiacan

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  5. Guero chompas was supposedly killed when him and a bodyguard were shot in a mini van in TJ it looked like him in the picture but they never really officially said anything about it after that so?

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  6. Chompas wasn´t killed, the guy executed in Plaza Mundo Divertido in TJ just looked somewhat like him, it was debunked the same week the rumor spread around.

    Edgardo Leyva is nephew of Xico Leyva, PRI´s former BC Governor and political godfather to Bonilla(MORENA´s current BC Governor), the Leyvas are EXTREMELY well connected right now in BC, Edgardo´s relatives have some positions in the local government right now in BC. His cousin Rafael is even an aspiring leader to AMLO´s MORENA party in BC.

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    1. Seems like the CAF is the one with the strong political connections in the area. The CJNG and the CDS may have political ties too but may not be as strong or as old as theirs. Thanks for the interesting info!

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  7. CAF is still very strong in TJ, they lay low, only the people involved know what is going on

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    1. No matter how much the CAF gets battered, they are the ones who are originally from the turf, hence the deep political ties. What other factors would you say contribute to the CAF influence in the area?

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    2. @MX CAF is highly embedded into Tijuana. The brothers made sure to mix into the creme of the crop. When my Godfather became Comisario de Tijuana he would always joke around that CAF would know who was approaching their realm as soon as they passed thru la Salada reten. Now to think about I guess it wasnt a joke after all. Will CAF ever regain their high status probably not but they still have power and they love to operate in the shadows.

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  8. CAF is definitely still around, la Vieja guardia sige activa. If they weren't strong they would've identified who is running what. Flakito is hyst a visable scapegoat but X13 is definitely pulling strings and charging piso

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  9. Manuel garibay is CJNG NOT cds.. He's from michoacan and joined cjng after he was released from jail I BELIEVE.. That family has been around in the drug game for many years.. Garibay were cds but switched to CJNG just like MANY guys in the list above..
    CAF is not as strong as do bull dog claims 😆 el bulldog is what Michelle Miller is to CDS, the biggest groupie for that CARTEL 😆

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    1. Manuel Garibay jr got murdered not long ago, does anyone know why?

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