Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, April 12, 2021

Badiraguato, Sinaloa: The Mexican Navy Combs Through Rafael Caro Quintero Birthplace

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

A contingent of members of the Mexican Navy this morning began an operation in the mountainous area of ​​Badiraguato, Sinaloa.

Witnesses and residents told Riódoce that since Sunday morning, sailors in helicopters arrived in the communities of Guanajuato, Babunica and Bamopa, near La Noria, where Rafael Caro Quintero was born.

The town of Guanajuato is located 5 minutes from Santiago de los Caballeros, while the other two towns are passing La Noria.

Residents of Babunica and Santiago de los Caballeros confirmed the mobilization of the Armed Navy with the support of helicopters from the Air Force that were in the military base of the latter community.

Other residents point out that the operation on the ground and in the air is supported by unmanned ships.

Since the release of Caro Quintero, accused of participating in the murder of the DEA agent, Enrique Camarena, in the Sierra de Sinaloa, specifically in the towns around La Noria, Navy operations have been carried out trying to locate Rafael Caro .

The capo was released in August 2013 by a federal judge, but still claimed by the US authorities and by whom they offer a reward for his capture.

Known as the Narco de Narcos, Caro Quintero founded, together with the drug trafficker Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, the extinct Guadalajara cartel in the 1980s.

Caro Quintero was imprisoned for 28 years accused of the murder of the DEA agent, Enrique Kiki Camarena, registered on March 5, 1985, and in 2013 he was released after obtaining protection from federal justice in the absence of a formal sentence.

Sources: Ghost Deviil; Riodoce

Bar Attack Leaves 5 Dead in the Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Area

"MX" for Borderland Beat

The bar, 'La Zertuche Clamateria', is now permanently closed in this location. Two other branches remain open.
Five men killed and four seriously wounded was the ending balance left this weekend during an armed attack at a bar in Guadalupe, a municipality of the Monterrey metropolitan area in Nuevo Leon. This is the first massacre reported in this municipality in 2021.

According to witnesses, the attackers arrived at the bar in two vehicles and began shooting at the victims. They then fled to the Miguel de la Madrid Boulevard, where authorities located a gray car that was likely used as the getaway vehicle.

The bodies were found between the entrance and behind the bar. The bar was celebrating its first year of opening and there were many people in attendance.

"I was drinking at the bar when I heard loud gunfire. I ran to hide and avoid getting shot," a witness said.

After witnesses called the emergency line, municipal police officers and paramedics from the Green Cross of Guadalupe and the Red Cross arrived at the scene. Paramedics confirmed that eight people were shot and that five of them were killed. Their names were not released to the public by press time.

Brazen attacks at business establishments are an usual occurrence in Nuevo Leon, and particularly in the Monterrey metropolitean area. Attacks at bars were more common in the early 2010s, when the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas were competing for control of this urban area.

Investigators say that the attack in Guadalupe was drug-related; the bar was reportedly had a punto (drug sale spot) of a local gang. Most of the murders committed in the Monterrey metropolitan area are driven by gangs competing over street corners and businesses to sell heroin, cocaine, and meth.

Several drug cartels have been reported in the area, including various Gulf Cartel (CDG) factions, the Northeast Cartel (CDN), the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), and even remnants of the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO).

Unofficial reports say that this bar attack was between the CJNG and the CDN.


Two of the five victims that were killed

More incidents in the region
In the municipality of San Pedro Garza García, considered the richest city in Mexico, several residences and cars were vandalized and had the acronyms of "CDN" painted on them.

The paints were made with red aerosol and were marked in at least five residences and three cars in the Villas de Santa Engracia neighborhood.

According to intelligence and police sources, the BLO has had a strong presence in the municipality of San Pedro Garza Garcia for several years and has not allowed other organized crime groups to settle. The head of the cartel in this plaza is José Rodolfo Villarreal Hernández ('El Gato').

Example of the vandalism done in San Pedro Garza Garcia. 

Querétaro, Mexico: A Component for Making a Dirty Bomb Has Been Stolen

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

The federal agency reported that if the radioactive source is removed from its container, handled or there is direct contact with it for a few minutes or hours, it can cause permanent injuries.

An industrial radiography equipment, which contains a radioactive source, was stolen this Sunday morning on the road to the municipality of Teoloyucan, State of Mexico, reported the National Coordination of Civil Protection of the Government of Mexico (CNPC).

For the theft of the radioactive source, Federal Civil Protection alerted the population of the following states to, in case of finding the equipment, not open it and notify the local authority in Querétaro, State of Mexico, Mexico City, Hidalgo, Michoacán, Guerrero, Morelos, Tlaxcala and Puebla.

In a statement, the agency detailed that the aforementioned container houses inside a radioactive source of Iridium-192 with serial number TT3303, with an activity of 68.89 Curíes, which was violently stolen along with a 2016 Toyota Hilux with license plates NRU3128.

The federal agency reported that if the radioactive source is removed from its container, handled or there is direct contact with it for a few minutes or hours, it can cause permanent injuries. If you stay in direct contact with the source for hours or days, its effects can be fatal.

If the source is located, it is recommended to contact the number 911 or 800 111 3168. Do not handle the equipment, establish a security perimeter and guard with a minimum radius of 30 meters and notify the competent authorities.

Source: Diario de Queretaro

Sonora, Mexico: Mexican Leaders Say Human Trafficking Driving Disappearances Of Women And Girls

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Marchers hold a banner that says "We're the voice of the ones who are no longer here," on March 8, 2020.

Mexican officials say they believe human trafficking is driving high numbers of disappearances of women and girls in neighboring Sonora and across the country.

Calling the numbers of missing women and girls worrisome, officials with the Mexico's human rights and searching commissions said Thursday that women represent 25% of disappearances in the country. Of those nearly 60% are girls under 18.

"Sonora is one of the states with the highest number of missing women, most of whom are adolescents or young adults," said Karla Quintana, head of the National Searching Commission. "The working hypothesis for searches is human trafficking."

Most women who go missing in Sonora are young, and many share similar physical traits. But while the cases are being investigated as human trafficking, she said, the commission is still working to better understand the context.

Across Mexico, more than 85,000 people have gone missing and never been found since 2006. Sonora is among the 10 states with the highest number of disappearances, and in the top five with the most clandestine graves.

Source: Fronteras

Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas: The Cartel del Noreste Threatens Transportation Drivers

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

The Cartel del Noreste (CDN), headed by Juan Gerardo Trevino Chávez AKA El Huevo, has just released a statement online warning all shipment drivers not to drive into Nuevo Laredo outside of regular business hours. 

This narco message started circulating on social media over the weekend. 

Digital manta reads as follows:

This warning goes out to all transportation drivers. Avoid for yourselves the penalty of us having to physically hurt you by not working outside of normal work hours. If you enter Nuevo Laredo it should be between 5 in the morning to 12 at night. Beware of consequences after hours for you and your company. This is you final warning. Sincerely, The Northeast Cartel.

Source@Jabon83171034 (Twitter)

Sunday, April 11, 2021

San Fernando, Tamaulipas: Secretary of the Tamaulipas Prosecutor's Office is Killed

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

A secretary belonging to the Attorney General's Office of Tamaulipas was murdered in San Fernando and his body was found inside his home located in the north of the municipality.

Information provided by the Police Station confirmed that the deceased male responded to the name of Juan Gerardo "T" and worked within the Attached Agency of the Public Investigative Ministry.

The public servant had three stabs in the chest and others in his arms.

A cousin identified as Carlos "N" made the discovery of the body at 5:20 p.m. respectively.

The relative explained that from early on they were fixing the house and that for a few moments he left him alone. Upon returning he found him lying on the floor deceased.

For its part, the Police Station reported that so far no suspect has been arrested.

Source: Excelsior

Mayor's Brother Killed Outside a Grocery Store in Chiapas

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Lucio Flores Gómez, brother of the mayor of Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, Chiapas, José Luis Flores Gómez, was shot to death on Thursday.

The events occurred on the afternoon of April 8, when the brother of the mayor of the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party was killed by armed individuals in the vicinity of a grocery store located in the central part of the city.

According to witnesses, the subjects fired at Lucio Flores, 50, several times. He was accompanied by several people who were also attacked. The victims were taken to the Pueblo Nuevo Community Hospital, where several hours later the death of the mayor's brother was confirmed.

Policemen and prosecutors from the Public Ministry Department arrived at the scene to initiate an investigation. Subsequently, elements of the National Guard, as well as units of the State Preventive and Municipal Police, implemented an operation to search for those responsible.

So far there is no report of people detained for these events.

It should be noted that according to residents, the attack is related to the dispute between leaders of political parties in the town.


On January 21 in the same municipality, two paramilitary groups, "Los Diablos" and "Los Marianos", fought each other for a gold statuette in the shape of a donkey, a symbol for luck for some members of that indigenous community. The shooting left four people dead and five injured in the state of Chiapas.

The events were reported at Aurora Ermita, a rural community in Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacan, Chiapas. This community is predominantly Tzotzil, an indigenous Maya people of the central Chiapas highlands in southern Mexico.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, the shooting began when members of “Los Diablos” tried to snatch the golden donkey figure from the hands of one of the leaders of “Los Marianos”.

Local media reports indicate that the confronted groups were led by Enoc Díaz, leader of the Revolutionary Movement Number Seven, and José Luis Flores Gomez, the mayor of the town.

According to local residents, since 2015 armed groups have installed checkpoints throughout the region. They reportedly extort people and terrorize them during electoral season.

Sources: Noticias en la Mira; Heraldo de Mexico; Infobae

An Overview of All 44 Extraditions Under President López Obrador

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Mexico has opted for extradition as a means to keep the United States “happy” on the issue of the fight against drug trafficking. The Mexican government has turned over 44 suspected criminals, most of them from the Sinaloa Cartel.

In prison there are 61 other targets of the US justice system, some of which they have already formalized their extradition request. Among the top cartel bosses US authorities want is Rafael Caro Quintero, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, and Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes.

But these figures have not been arrested, along with 25 more fugitives the US is request from Mexico. Writs of amparo motions in Mexico generally extend the extraditable persons in Mexican soil.

For the Mexican government, one of the formulas to get along with its northern neighbor, in addition to helping contain migrants from the southern border, has been to extradite leaders and members of the most reputable criminal organizations without putting as many obstacles as there were in previous administrations. Unlike the past administrations, which have been punctilious in aspects of legality, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has been quite flexible.

Note from Borderland Beat: This picture issued by Zeta Tijuana newspaper shows José de Jesús Méndez Vargas ('El Chango') as Ramon Moreno Madrigal ('El Llavero').

López Obrador had an excellent relationship on the issue with former US President Donald Trump, but in Joe Biden's short term, he has already handed over two Mexican prisoners, one of them considered a top player in organized crime that operated in both countries: Raúl Flores Hernández "El Tío". El Tio was a criminal who skillfully carried out negotiations for both the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

In two years and three months, the Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE) and the Attorney General's Office (FGR) have delivered to the U.S. Marshall the following criminals:

* 10 members of the Sinaloa Cartel

* 6 of the CJNG

* 3 of the Arellano Felix or Tijuana Cartel (CAF)

* 3 of the Beltrán Leyva Organization

* 3 of the Juárez Cartel

* 3 leaders of Los Zetas cells

From the following criminal groups, one person was extradited: Gulf Cartel, La Familia Michoacana, Los Rojos, Los Laredo, Los Granado, and Barrio Azteca.

In addition, there is a list of 25 extraditable persons who have not been apprehended by Mexican authorities, headed by Rafael Caro Quintero, the alleged perpetrator of the kidnapping and murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena in 1985.

There are 13 Sinaloa Cartel members currently pending to be arrested, as well as eight from the CJNG, two from the Beltrán Leyva, one from the old Guadalajara Cartel, and another independent or whose criminal affiliation was not expressed.

13 inmates are considered independent, including the former governor of Tamaulipas, Eugenio Hernández Flores. There is also one inmate from each of the following organizations: Los Caballeros Templarios, Barrio Azteca, Los Granados, Guerreros Unidos and the WSK gang from Los Angeles.

For the current Mexican government administration, whose criminal policy does not have the war against drug trafficking as a priority, it has been easy to resolve that the best way to give stability and governability to the country is to get rid of those priority objectives to the US.

Those Extradited

Although extraditions began slowly during the first months of the government of López Obrador, by April 2019 the extradition of Óscar Adán Rodríguez Guevara, alias “El Güero Chihuahua”, from the CAF, was record.

On July 12 of that year, Mexico delivered Jesús Navarrete Castelán, alias "El Papayo", a member of the Los Rojos criminal group.

And on the 30th of that same month, the FGR extradited the former member of the Sinaloa Cartel, Nayar Josué Beltrán Campos, alias “Ingeniero”. All of these suspects were extradited for their outstanding drug charges.

Those first months of the administration were calculating. However, the acceleration in the matter of extraditions with the US began on October 27, 2019, when Mexico delivered René Roque Martínez, an alleged sexual abuser of two minors in Oakland. Two days later, the governor of Coahuila, Jorge Juan Torres López, accused on charges of criminal association to commit money laundering, bank fraud and fraud, was extradited. On November 17, it was the turn of Luis Arellano Romero -- man close to Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán -- was extradited to Texas.

In December of that year there were seven extraditions. The first, on the 17th, was of Noel “El Flaco” Salgueiro Nevarez, operator of “El Chapo” in Chihuahua. Then six deliveries would arrive on the 24th, among those extradited was Caros Ávalos Herrera and / or Gustavo Rivera Martínez, the famous “P-1” from CAF. He was sent along with: Ismael Zambada Imperial "El Mayito Gordo", son of kingpin Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada; Mario Núñez Meza "M-10"; José María Guizar Valencia “El Z43”; José Odilón Ramírez Perales "El Kuno"; Francisco Hernández García "El Panchillo" and Juan Carlos Juárez Torres.

On January 14, 2020, eight men were extradited from the Juárez, the Gulf, Los Zetas and Los Laredo cartels: Gilberto Barragán “El Tocayo”, wanted in Washington; Benjamín Valero or Mario Hernández Cázares "El Cachitas"; Pedro Sánchez "El Sol"; Luis Carlos Vázquez Barragán "El 20"; William de Jesús Torres Solórzano and Ismael Laredo Donjuan “Don Juan”. All of them alleged drug traffickers.

Jorge “G” and Roberto “A”, independent drug distributors on US soil, were also handed over.

The same month of January, but on the 20th, the FGR extradited José Sánchez Villalobos “Señor de los Túneles”, another operator of the Sinaloa Cartel. On the 26th there were another six transfers to the other side of the border. From the same Sinaloan clan, Jorge Antonio Ceniceros Román and Mario Hidalgo Arguello “Nariz” changed jail; Jaime Granados Rendón, leader of the gang of human traffickers that bears his surname; Martín Pérez Marrufo, from the Barrio Azteca band; Ramón Moreno Madrigal “El Llavero”, cousin of the former leader of La Familia Michoacana, Nazario Moreno González, “El Chayo”; and the drug dealer Nelson Matías Renteria Villarreal.

On February 9, the national government handed over five subjects for extradition: Apolinar Dagio Huerta “El Poly”; Jesús Contreras Arceo "El Canasto"; Jesús Rosario Favela Astorga "Mayonnaise" or "Chuy"; and Peter "A". On the 21st, the FGR extradited Rubén Oseguera González “El Menchito”, son of the leader of the CJNG, “El Mencho”, in a momentous decision. On March 1, Ramón Villarreal Hernández “El Mon”, operator of the Beltrán Leyva cartel, was crossed to the American side; on the 17th, Heriberto Zazueta Godoy “El Capi Beto”, from the Sinaloa Cartel, was transferred to California; and on the 23rd of the same month, Víctor Zapién Venegas “Domingo”, from the CJNG, was extradited.

From then on, the frequency dropped a bit, but there have been extraditions. On June 14, Mexico handed over Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, alias "El Ingeniero", operator of "El Chapo" Guzmán. On November 1, they also extradited José Pineda Arzate "El Avispón", financial operator of the CJNG. On the 8th, U.S. Marshall took charge of Gerónimo Gámez García “El Primo”, from the Beltrán Leyva Organization.

On January 10, 2021, the FGR extradited Juan Padilla Vizcarra, alias “El Cherry”, a notable member of the CJNG. On February 8, Mexico extradited Raúl Flores Hernández, alias “El Tío”, wanted for his alleged relationship with the Sinaloa Cartel and the CJNG.

Those Pending

Among the criminals pending to be extradited, there are still people in Mexico of very high criminal caliber, either because of their leadership in criminal groups, because of their kinship with other bosses, because of the seriousness of their actions, or because of the government's inability to arrest and/or extradite them.

Those extraditable at the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1 ('Altiplano') include Mario Cárdenas Guillén, brother of the former leader of the Gulf Cartel, Osiel Cardenas Guillen. He is imprisoned in Mexico and wanted for drug charges in Texas. In addition, there is Ángel Humberto Chávez Gastélum “Don Ángel”, wanted for multiple charges in California. He is also imprisoned in Mexico.

Other inmates in Altiplano with pending extradition requests include Servando Gómez Martínez “La Tuta”, from Los Caballeros Templarios; Fernando Sánchez Arellano "The Engineer", from the CAF; Jorge Iván Gastélum Ávila “El Cholo Iván”, from the Sinaloa Cartel; Abigael González Valencia "El Cuini", from the CJNG and Los Cuinis; Carlos Arturo Quintana "El 80", from La Línea; Jaime Durán González “El Hummer”, from Los Zetas; Édgar Pineda Celis “El Chato”, from Guerreros Unidos; and the couple Antonio Laredo Donjuan and Mercedes Barrios Hernández, from Los Laredo.

In various prisons in Mexico there are other criminals who, formally or preliminarily, have already been requested by the US: Jesús Ricardo Patrón Sánchez "El H-3", brother of Juan Francisco "El H-2", splinters from the Beltrán Leyva clan; Enrique Arballo Talamantes "El Junior", from La Linea; Eugenio Hernández Flores, former governor of Tamaulipas; J. Jesús Méndez Vargas “El Chango”, from La Familia Michoacana; the brothers Martín, Héctor and Sergio, surnames Avendaño Ojeda, of the Sinaloa Cartel; and Édgar Alejandro Herrera Pardo “Cabo 8”, from the CJNG.

Among those not arrested, and among those who weigh important rewards offered by the US government, are Rafael Caro Quintero, former leader of the Guadalajara Cartel, who was released due to a judicial failure on August 9, 2013; Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel; Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes "El Mencho", head of the CJNG, in coordination with his brothers-in-law "Los Cuinis"; and the children of “El Chapo” Guzmán, Ovidio and Joaquín Guzmán López, as well as Jesús Alfredo and Archivaldo Iván Guzmán Salazar.

The three fugitives who escaped on January 29, 2020, from a Mexixco City penitentiary before being extradited to the US are Víctor Félix Beltrán “El Vic”, Luis Fernando Meza González and Yael Osuna Navarro, of the Sinaloa Cartel.

In addition, neither has Fausto Isidro Meza Flores "El Chapo Isidro", of the Los Mazatlecos group, who operate for the Beltrán Leyva in Sinaloa and Nayarit, has been arrested.

List of those extradited under President AMLO. Left column is for the criminals' names, center column is for their criminal group and/or crime, and right column is for their extradition date.

Fugitive criminals with pending extradition requests. Left column for their names, right column for their criminal group and/or crimes.

Inmates in Mexico with pending US extraditions; left column for names, right column for criminal group and/or crimes.

More inmates in Mexico with pending US extraditions; left column for names, right column for criminal group and/or crimes.

Source: Zeta Tijuana

Aguililla, Michoacán: El Mencho Sends Out a Communication

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

A supposed narco message online from Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes ('El Mencho') has gone out to the townspeople of Aguililla, Michoacán. 

In this communication the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) sends encouraging words for the citizens. Just the same a purge will soon commence against their rivals, the Carteles Unidos (CU). 

Townspeople of Aguililla, Michoacán...we have not arrived to come against the populace. We’ve arrived to give you protection against the fee collectors, the Revueltas, that we know very well have you all overburdened with their directives. 

This will now be put to an end. Our conflict has nothing to do with the citizens. This problem that we do have is against Chirrius, Cayhito, Cristian Mayelis Revuelta, Chorros Revuelta, El Chivito Revuelta; father and son, Rigo Diaz, Tena, Chicano, Canguro, and Armando. Just as well everyone who supports them, the biggest scum out of Aguililla. 

Have courage my dear citizens. We will not abandon you to fend for yourselves. Our protection is for the Michoacáno townspeople. Just as well for the city of Aguililla free of Carteles Unidos. Sincerely, your friend El Mencho

Source: Calvarie Locus

Mexican Navy Seizes 1,583 Kilos of Cocaine in Nayarit

"NealinCaborca" and "MX" for Borderland Beat

The identity of the detainees and their criminal group affiliation were unknown by press time.

Elements of the Mexican Navy seized fishing vessel "Jorge M.II" and found in its interior 80 packages containing more than 1,583.67 kilograms (3,491.39 pounds) of cocaine. Seven people were arrested during the operation.

The Mexican Navy, through the Fourth Military Naval Region based in Guaymas, Sonora, reported that the seizure was achieved in the southern part of Islas Marias, Nayarit. This action was carried out through a maritime surveillance patrol operation, in which a defender-type vessel and an interceptor were used.

When authorities intercepted the fishing vessel, they noticed several administrative anomalies and proceeded to take to vessel to secondary inspection. The vessel was inspected again at the Balleto port, where they discovered illicit cargo hidden in its compartments. Canines were able to pinpoint some of the locations where the drugs were hidden.

Later, the fishing vessel was taken to the port of San Blas, Nayarit, where personnel from the Sixth Naval Zone took the detainees into custody. The cargo was handed over to the Attorney General's Office in Nayarit to initiate a formal investigation.

Since March 2021, over 8,400 kilograms (18,518 pounds) of narcotics have been seized in Mexico.

As reported by Borderland Beat, ports and coastal regions are where most drugs are seized in Mexican territory. Between December 2018 and February 2020, approximately 97 percent of the drugs seizures in Mexico occurred in port towns and cities.

These sea ports are strategic corridors for drugs owned by the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), two major drug trafficking organizations.

Sources: Valor por Tamaulipas; Milenio; Infobae; Borderland Beat archives

'El Bori', CJNG Fentanyl Distributor Based in Massachusetts, Arrested

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Assault rifle and five handguns seized from defendant’s residence

A Holyoke, Massachusetts, man believed to be associated with the CJNG (“Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion”) drug cartel was arrested yesterday on charges of trafficking in fentanyl.

Josue Rivera Rodriguez, a/k/a “Bori,” 44, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl; two counts of distribution of 40 grams or more of fentanyl; and one count of distribution of 400 grams or more of fentanyl.

According to court records, agents recorded a meeting where Rodriguez delivered $35,000 to a cooperating witness using a code designed to ensure that the money was delivered to the CJNG cartel. Thereafter, on three occasions in 2020 and 2021, Rodriquez was recorded distributing over 750 grams of fentanyl to the cooperating witness.

At the time of his arrest on April 8, 2021, approximately 300 grams of suspected fentanyl; an AR-15 assault rifle; five semi-automatic pistols, including handguns capable of carrying large-caliber ammunition and fitted with a laser sight; a bullet-proof vest; a police hat with insignia; packaging materials; cellphones; a money counter; and $1,900 cash was seized from his residence.

The charges of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and distribution of 400 grams or more of fentanyl provide for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million.

The charge of distribution of 40 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years of supervised release and a fine of up to $5 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

What is it?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin.

Because of its powerful opioid properties, Fentanyl is also diverted for abuse. Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency, or be disguised as highly potent heroin. Many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths.

As reported by Borderland Beat, fentanyl seizure are at an all-time high in Mexico this year. Fentanyl seizures at the U.S.-Mexico border are up 361 percent so far in 2021 when compared to 2020, according to data provided by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The fentanyl seizures so far this year are already higher than the 2020 annual totals.

These fentanyl shipments are mostly from two Mexican criminal groups: the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and the Sinaloa Cartel (CDS).

Sources: USDOJ; Borderland Beat archives

Saturday, April 10, 2021

After Search Warrant, Authorities Seize 5 Tons of Marijuana and 7 Vehicles in Tijuana

"El Wachito" for Borderland Beat

In a property situated in Murua Campestre, a neighborhood in Tijuana, Baja California, after a search warrant was conducted elements of the Attorney General's Office (FGR) secured 5 tons of marijuana and several vehicles.

Since last Thursday, the Mexican Army (SEDENA) and members of the municipal police secured a property located in Choix St and Camino Viejo Murua, after several packets of drugs were seen.

After soliciting a search warrant, elements of the Ministerial Police in coordination with the SEDENA, National Guard, State Security Guard secured approximately 798 packets that contained 5 tons and 327 kilos of marihuana. The drugs were located inside a mobile home, in addition 7 vehicles were also secured.

The narcotics and the vehicles were secured by the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), who continues to coordinate the investigation in order to find the group that is responsible of this illegal act. 

Sources: Zeta Tijuana

Catholic Priest Sentenced to 27 Years in High-Profile Mexico City Murder Case

"MX" for Borderland Beat

The victim, Leonardo Avedaño (left), was a deacon in the church of his convicted killer, the Rev. Francisco Javier Bautista (right). Avedaño's brother said that Leonardo respected and admired the clergyman.

A criminal court has sentenced Catholic priest Francisco Javier Bautista Ávalos to 27 years and six months in prison for the murder of Leonardo Avendaño, whose body was found in the Tlalpan borough of Mexico City on June 12, 2019.

The prison sentence will be served without options for early release. The court also ordered a fine of more than 400,000 pesos (US$19,850). The former parish priest was found guilty of murder on Tuesday. The family had asked for the maximum sentence of 50 years.

Avendaño was reported missing on June 11, 2019, a day before his body was found in the back of a pickup truck in Tlalpan. The body showed signs of torture and asphyxiation.

Bautista was detained a week later after having conducted the victim’s funeral service and expressing hope that the murderer would be caught.

But after interviewing Bautista, police noted inconsistencies in his testimony. After reviewing messages on Avendaño’s cellphone, they discovered that the two had met the night Avendaño went missing. A judge subsequently ordered the priest to stand trial on murder charges and remanded him in custody.

Video footage showed that he met with the 29-year-old deacon the night of his murder. Shortly after Avendaño’s death, his family said he was murdered to prevent him from going public with unspecified accusations against Bautista.

Initially, many parishioners supported Bautista. An online petition gathered more than 6,000 signatures in his support. Some early reports suggested that the murder may have been an accident in the course of a sex game. Josué Avendaño, the victim’s brother, emphatically rejected those claims.

“My brother was tortured. [His injuries] weren’t from a game or anything like that. It was something that was planned in advance. My brother was tortured, and then, after that, the cause [of death] was asphyxiation,” he said.

He added that the body was badly bruised with a broken nose and some missing teeth. After the sentencing, the victim’s brother said he was satisfied with outcome.

“I would have liked the maximum penalty but having justice served is more than enough.”

The priest was very close to his family and visited his brother at home on several occasions. He also said that his brother “loved, respected and admired” Bautista.

“Unfortunately someone so close [to him] ended his life. It’s a great disappointment that someone who dedicated himself to preaching the word of God became a murderer,” Avendaño said.

“… He premeditated it and took the time to torture him [before] killing him. … It wasn’t a murder with a gunshot but rather with his own hands.”

Avendaño added that there was no reaction from the priest when the guilty verdict was delivered.

“He did absolutely nothing, he didn’t react at all,” he said.

Sources: Milenio (1); (2); MDN (1); (2)

Environmentalist from Guerrero Killed and Dismembered; US Embassy Condemns Murder

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Carlos Marquez Oyarzabal is the second environmenetalist murdered in less than a month. In Oaxaca a couple of weeks ago, environmentalist Jaime Jimenez Ruiz was killed, as reported by Borderland Beat.

Carlos Márquez Oyarzabal, municipal commissioner of Las Conchitas, in the municipality of San Miguel Totolapan, Guerrero, was assassinated earlier this week. An agency reported that a criminal group kidnapped, murdered, and dismembered Marquez Oyarzabal, who worked as an ecologist, forest defender, and municipal commissioner.

The incident occurred when he was travelling in his ATV accompanied by his two children. They detailed that around 7:00 p.m., at the point known as "Agua Escondida", they were intercepted and taken to La Ciénega Ejidal Police Station in Puerto Alegre.

Immediately, the ecologist was beaten. His abductors made him call up his relatives demanding money and cars so that they could be released. The alleged members of the criminal group then murdered and dismembered Marquez Oyarzabal. His remains were scattered in the community of Puerto Alegre.

"His limbs were left in the facilities of the Cienega Police Station in Puerto Alegre, and his head was left in another location", investigators said.

After the incident, the Observatory for the Peace and Development of the Sierra (​Observatorio por la Paz y el Desarrollo de la Sierra — OPDS) demanded justice and a quick resolution to the case from Governor Héctor Astudillo Flores and from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Likewise, the OPDS requested the permanent presence of the State Police, National Guard, and Army in that area of ​​the Tierra Caliente de Guerrero, as they warned that more murders of this type could be committed.

According to the OPDS, Márquez Oyorzabal had been defending timber resources for 20 years and formed a Community Police to prevent their looting by criminal groups.

US Reaction

The United States Embassy in Mexico sent their condolences to the family of Márquez Oyarzabal a few days after the incident. The embassy condemned the murder and assured that it is waiting for the corresponding Mexican authorities to carry out a comprehensive investigation to find those responsible.

"Our deepest condolences to the family of Carlos Márquez Oyarzabal, the defender of forests and environment who was murdered on Sunday in Guerrero. We condemn his murder and we hope a comprehensive investigation will find those responsible," the Embassy posted on Twitter.

Sources: Milenio (1); (2); Noticias en la Mira

Acatic, Jalisco: A Chronology of the Villaseñor Family Kidnapping

 "Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Video translation is as follows:

Paola Becerra: The following is the chronology of the disappearance of the Villaseñor Romo family.

Juan Carlos Marcelin: There are still many doubts. The Villaseñor Romo family disappeared on March 24. On that day in their last communication they asked their relatives to go to a nearby parking lot near the airport to receive a package. The family went but no one showed up.

Julio, his wife Jimena, and little Julia Isabel were accompanied by Virginia, Julio's sister and her 9 year old son Íker Fabricio Escoto Villaseñor. They left Mexico City through Querétaro and crossed through the state of Guanajuato to later enter Jalisco.

The following day, March 2, the complaint was filed. Relatives went to Acatic, the municipality where they received their last known location, and the kidnappers had left behind messages. They contacted the media and posted everything on social media. The case went viral. On Monday, April 5, it was reported that 7 Acatic police officers, including the general commissioner, were in custody.

They had a direct participation in the disappearance. The second in command, the chief commissioner escaped. A security camera in the toll booth captured the moment the family passed by. Being escorted by the Municipal Police.

Two of these 7 detained elements already had an arrest warrant for the same crime of forced disappearance. The municipal authorities have maintained total secrecy despite there being direct accusations to their elements.

On the same Monday, the State Prosecutor indicated that both Julio and his sister Virginia were closely related to an armed attack against a man. That occurred on March 19 in the streets of the Ciudad del Sol neighborhood in Zapopan.

Apparently Julio was a partner in some of the businesses of the man who was shot. It hasn’t been clarified just what participation he had on the day of the events. In Acatic they implemented operations with hundreds of investigative elements.

On Thursday, April 8, little Julia, one and a half years old, was found in the municipality of La Barca. At dawn on April 9, the captors released the rest of the family in the town of La Laja, a municipality of Zapotlanejo. Between Acatic and La Barca there are 105 kilometers of distance. Acatic and La Laja are separated by 37 kilometers.

Salamanca, Guanajuato: 4 Men Tortured and Killed

"MX" for Borderland Beat

The victims were killed and then piled together

The bodies of 4 men were located on Wednesday afternoon in the community of El Nacimiento in Salamanca, Guanajuato, very close to a military installation.

The victims were brutally tortured and had several firearm wounds. Security elements immediately cordoned off the area, diverting the passage of vehicles onto another nearby road since the bodies were still on the side of a road that connected to Tierra Fria, a community in Celaya Municipality.

Residents of El Nacimiento informed the police that the bodies were abandoned by cartel members in the morning and had been there for several hours. Assisstance from the Red Cross ambulance was requestedll however, the paramedics arrived only to confirm that the four victims no longer showed vital signs. All four men had the coup de grace wound on their skulls.

The four bodies were retrieved up by forensic personnel and taken to the nearest morgue for an official autopsy.

Last week, Borderland Beat reported the discovery of two headless bodies that were abandoned in Los Lobos, a rural community also located in Salamanca. The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) took responsibility for the attack by leaving a written message at the scene.

The suspected CJNG plaza bosses in Salamanca are Emilio Rosas Martínez, alias 'El Manitas', and Conrado Alonso Landín Moreno, alias 'Landin' and/or 'Chelis'. As reported by Borderland Beat, they were reportedly appointed by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias 'El Mencho', in 2020 during a cartel restructuring.


Sources: El Sol de Leon; Informativo Agora; Valor por Tamaulipas

Venezuela Detains Sinaloa Cartel Members During Clash Near Colombian Border

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Description: The Venezuela state of Apure, which borders Colombia, is a key corridor for drug trafficking. About 24% of the cocaine that reaches the US goes through Venezuelan territory. 90% of it goes through Nicaragua and Honduras before it reaches the US.

Venezuelan forces detained members of the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel during clashes with armed groups near its western border with Colombia, a top Venezuelan military official said on Friday.

Venezuela's military on March 21 launched an offensive against what officials called irregular Colombian armed groups in the western state of Apure. About eight Venezuelan soldiers have died during the operations, which have caused about 5,000 people to flee across the border.

"We even captured some individuals from the Sinaloa cartel," the chief of Venezuela's strategic operational command, Remigio Ceballos, said in a telephone call broadcast on state television. Ceballos did not specify the names of the people detained, nor how many cartel members were taken into custody. He said some individuals from Brazil were also detained, and said all would be presented to the country's courts.

The fighting has occurred near the border town of La Victoria, about 628 km (390 miles) southwest of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. Venezuela's information ministry did not immediately respond to a request for further details about the arrests.

Colombia's government has said that the Sinaloa cartel is active in the South American country and has alliances with local rebel groups, including the National Liberation Army (ELN), former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who have rejected a 2016 peace deal, and the drug cartel and paramilitary group Clan del Golfo.

Venezuela, which this week created a special military unit for the border region, has not specified which groups it is fighting along the border. Critics of President Nicolas Maduro say the fighters include dissident FARC guerrillas who his government had previously accommodated.

Sources: WHBL; Multimedios; TeleDiario; Aserne Venezuela

The US Issued a Security Alert for Cartel Violence in Tijuana and the Mexicali Valley

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

All members of the embassy community were asked to avoid the Mexicali area until further notice.

The war between drug cartels caused the security alert issued by the United States Embassy in Mexico (Photo: AP)

Through a security alert, United States authorities urged their citizens to take precautions when traveling to the Mexicali Valley, due to the violence registered by the clashes of drug cartels in Tijuana.

“Travelers should exercise extra caution when traveling in and around Mexicali, the Mexicali Valley and the western part of the state of Sonora due to the possibility of increased violence between rival cartel factions. Members of the embassy community have been warned to avoid the Mexicali area until further notice, ”the US embassy said.

The aforementioned area is in dispute by forces of the Sinaloa Cartel and the Cartel Jalisco Nueva (CJNG). This last group issued a message in early April with threats to intensify the violent wave in Baja California, in open dispute against federal and local authorities.

Workers at the US Embassy in Mexico should not leave until further notice (Photo: Twitter / GHOSTDEVIIL)

The official statement announced that the actions to be taken are the following:

- Remain alert during daylight hours and avoid traveling at night.

- Monitor local news for updates, follow instructions from local officials, and in an emergency, call 911.

- Keep friends and loved ones informed about your whereabouts (by phone, text messages and social networks) and let them know that it is safe, when possible.

- If you are a US citizen traveling or residing in Mexico, you need to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive safety messages and other travel information.

CJNG hitmen threatened Jaime Bonilla and his security cabinet for their possible links with the Sinaloa Cartel and the Arellano Félix (Video: AVillatv)

It should be remembered that during the first hours of April 1, a video made by the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación began to circulate on social networks, in which they challenged Jaime Bonilla Valdez, governor of Baja California, and the members of his cabinet of safety.

In the footage recorded of almost five minutes, at least 14 hit men are observed, wearing balaclavas, bulletproof vests with the letters "CJNG" on their chests and various long weapons.

“This statement is to inform the general population of the state of Baja California that the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación is present in their state and wants to let them know that the deaths that are occurring are due to internal corruption within the police corporations of the three levels of government. Being the federal, state and municipal, PGR, FGR, FGE, Baja California State Security and Investigation Guard, Municipal Public Security Secretariat ”, the speech began.

The following day, April 2, the CJNG set fire to an official vehicle of the Baja California State Attorney General's Office in response to a major police intervention in which several arrests have been recorded.

The CJNG has launched a wave of retaliation against the authorities in the first week of April (Photo: Twitter @ Jalisciense1c)

The events occurred in the Zona Centro neighborhood of the Tecate municipality, where the fire was reported of a white Toyota Tacoma truck, license plates AN99525, owned by the government of Baja California (northwest of Mexico). Elements of the Fire Brigade and Municipal Police arrived at the scene, who reported that only the engine area, the tires and the hood were burned.

On April 8, a new attack was registered against the local authorities, because according to local press reports, at least two white pickup trucks were burned with Molotov cocktails, which are attached to the FGR. The events occurred during the night of this April 7 in Tijuana, capital of the entity governed by the Morenista politician Jaime Bonilla.

Two narcomantas were found in the vicinity. The first was very close to the incident, and was aimed at three citizens, who were required to “stop hiding.

The second was found on the so-called Pemex Bridge on the road that runs from Tijuana to Rosarito in the La Gloria neighborhood.

“Daniel Espinoza Alcántara, David Martínez Ortiz, José Isabel Ponce. Don’t be cowards, stop hiding and come to work, just like when you would come out to steal. You sons of fucking bitches! Just look at how we left your patrol units for you. Come out to the fucking confrontation. Sincerely, CJNG”.

Source: Infobae

Major Blow Against the Familia Michoacana: 'Boris' Fell, A Priority Target in Edomex

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

This subject, supposedly, was in charge of providing stolen luxury cars to the leaders of the criminal group in the entity

Iván René “N”, El Boris, was detained by agents of the State of Mexico Prosecutor's Office, as he is an alleged high-profile member of the Familia Michoacána, a group that generates violence in the state and accused of executing 13 police officers in recent weeks.

According to the authorities' report, Boris was a priority target for his probable crimes of extortion against residents of Valle de Bravo. The order against him was carried out in the municipality of Villa Victoria.

Agents of the Operational Tactical Groups arrived at that place, after obtaining a court order to secure the probable offender for the collection of illegal fees. Presumably, Iván René "N" was in charge of ordering the theft of high-end vehicles, which he handed over to leaders of the Familia Michoacána.

"The capture of this individual was made as part of an investigation initiated by the State Prosecutor's Office after receiving complaints of theft of luxury vehicles, as well as extortion of residents of Valle de Bravo and neighboring municipalities," highlighted the agency headed by Alejandro Gómez Sanchez.

After his arrest, Boris was admitted to the Valle de Bravo Penitentiary and Social Reintegration Center, where he was at the disposal of a judge who will determine his legal situation.

Last February, agents of the Security Secretariat arrested Antonio “N”, who allegedly stole a Jeep truck. According to the investigations, this subject was an operator subordinate to Boris. Since then, the criminal group has been tracked in terms of its supply of vehicles.

“The State Attorney General's Office calls on the public so that in the event that it recognizes this individual as a probable participant in some other crime, he / she be reported through the email, at the telephone number 800 7028770 ″

It is worth mentioning that with Boris there are at least 33 people arrested in the last three weeks by agents of the State of Mexico and who would be likely members of the Michoacan Family.

On April 3, a look out was apprehended that would operate for Commander Mala and Silverio Martínez Hernández, alias Fierros, one of those allegedly responsible for the massacre of the 13 officers. This subject identified as Ángel “N” followed policemen on a motorcycle to report their movements to leaders of the criminal group that operate in the municipalities of Zacualpan, Almoloya de Alquisiras, Sultepec, Coatepec Harinas, Ixtapan de la Sal, Tonatico, among others.

On March 24, for example, seven alleged kidnappers from the criminal group fell at a home in the municipality of San Mateo Atenco. The five women and the two subjects would be responsible for three kidnappings in the entity. At the time of their seizure they were in possession of 925 thousand pesos in cash, supposedly obtained from the illicit amounts.

The day before, the officers arrested 25 probable criminals who carried out various tasks of acting as look outs, drug dealing and other crimes for La Familia Michoacana.

Local authorities have deployed an operation against the cartel, after alleged members of this criminal group carried out an ambush on March 18 where they executed 13 agents in Coatepec de Harinas.

On the drug trafficking map, the Michoacan Family, which attacks with guerrilla tactics taking advantage of the rugged Mexican territory, dominates the southern part of the state under the leadership of Jhony AKA El Mojarro and José AKA La Fresa, the Hurtado Olascoaga brothers, who are leaders of the criminal group.

Sources: Infobae

Friday, April 9, 2021

US Deports Felon Involved in 1985 Murder of DEA Agent Camarena

"MX" for Borderland Beat

Members of the ERO El Paso Special Response Team escort Juan Jose Bernabe Ramirez, 62, to the U.S.-Mexico international boundary at the Paso del Norte Bridge where he was turned over to the custody of Mexican authorities.

WASHINGTON — A convicted aggravated felon involved in the 1985 kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Salazar, was removed to Mexico on Wednesday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

Juan Jose Bernabe Ramirez, 62, a Mexican citizen, was turned over to Mexican immigration officials on the international boundary at the Paso Del Norte Bridge in downtown El Paso, Texas. Bernabe is considered a threat to public safety due to his criminal convictions.

On July 20, 1989, Bernabe was admitted into the United States as a non-immigrant visitor in Los Angeles for up to six months.

On July 27, 1989, DEA agents arrested him for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Special Agent Camarena. Bernabe was convicted on July 30, 1990, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, for violent crimes in aid of racketeering aiding and abetting and accessory after the fact. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for each charge. Additionally, on the same date, he was convicted of kidnapping a federal agent aiding and abetting and sentenced to life in prison.

“Our ERO officers, especially those working closely with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, stand ready to assist our law enforcement partners 24 hours a day,” said Denice Seemiller, acting field office director for ERO Salt Lake City. “The gruesome nature of this case is extremely unsettling. Our dedicated officers diligently worked on making all the necessary arrangements to ensure Bernabe’s removal was seamless. His arrest and removal from the United States sends a clear message that we will not tolerate heinous criminals being released into our communities.”

On Jan. 13, 1992, officers with the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in Kansas City, Missouri, encountered Bernabe at the United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth in Leavenworth, Kansas, and determined him to be in violation of his non-immigrant visitor status. As a result, the officers issued an immigration detainer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

On Sept. 9, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, granted Bernabe’s motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence. On Dec. 17, the Court accepted his plea of guilty to accessory after the fact and conspiracy to commit, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and sentenced Bernabe to time served. The next day, the BOP transferred him to the custody of ERO Salt Lake City pursuant to the immigration detainer lodged on Jan. 13, 1992.

On Dec. 23, ERO Salt Lake City issued and served Bernabe a Notice of Intent to Issue Final Administrative Removal Order, and Final Administrative Removal Order because he was convicted of an aggravated felony.

Source: ICE