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

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Los Rusos Expanding In Mexicali, Killing Local Human Smugglers & Drug Dealers

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat

According to intelligence from the Security Roundtable, Los Rusos are expanding their territory in Mexicali and cracking down on any independent human smuggler or drug dealers who do not pay their fee.

In the last week the city of Mexicali in Baja California saw a disproportionate increase in murders. In less than seven days a total of 12 armed attacks were documented. These incidents were focused in the northern area of the Mexicali valley and the Lomas Altas subdivision. 

On August 22, 2021, the Director of the Municipal Police Alejandro Lora Torres told the press that the main hypothesis for this uptick in crime is a struggle between groups linked to drug dealing and alleged human smugglers. 

The Bloody Crack Down on Smugglers

Members of the Security Roundtable believe that this sudden increase in attacks is caused by an expansion of the operations of the organization “Los Rusos”, led by Jesus Alexander Sanchez Felix, alias "El Ruso".They believe he is expanding his territory of operations out into specific urban areas of Mexicali where human traffickers and drug dealers have historically been able to work as independent organizations.

The following incidents, all in urban areas of Mexicali city, are believed to be attacks on independent smugglers and drug dealers who did not pay the fee or "align" to Los Rusos. The attacks are thought to be perpetrated by sicarios of Los Rusos. 

Please keep in mind that the Lomas Altas neighborhood specifically is identified by members of State Police (GESI) as a well established haven for independent human smugglers. These smugglers "cross" clients north who are seeking to make a new life in the United States.

DATE: August 13, 2021

LOCATION: On Berreo Avenue and Isona Street, Lomas Altas neighborhood, Mexicali


DESCRIPTION: An unknown armed man entered the home of Carlos Alberto Espinoza Montana, alias "El Muñequito" and shot him to death in the bathroom of his house. The unknown man then fled the area and the gunfire went unreported.

At 2:30am, El Muñequito’s roommate Pedro Daniel arrived home. The roommate said that when he entered the home the bathroom door was open and he discovered El Muñequito lying dead in the shower with a gunshot wound in the forehead. He called police to report his roommate’s murder and investigators processed the scene. They found two 9-millimeter caliber bullet casings in the bathroom.

DATE: August 20, 2021

LOCATION: Near intersection of Ragol Street and Lieza Streets, Lomas Altas neighborhood

CASUALTIES: 1 killed 

DESCRIPTION: Residents of the Ragol street in the Lomas Altas neighborhood reported to the emergency line the sound of gunfire and the presence of an injured woman who was lying on the sidewalk. When paramedics arrived on scene they declared her dead on arrival, at 3:30am in the morning. The deceased was later identified as Norma Elizabeth Salcido Cervantes who was 27 years old.

DATE: August 20, 2021

LOCATION: Near intersection of Loja Street and Illueca Street, Lomas Altas neighborhood, Mexicali

CASUALTIES: 1 killed 

DESCRIPTION: A few hours after the Ragol street shooting, a house was set ablaze on Loja street and firefighters were called to respond to the incident. They successfully put out the fire. A completely charred body was found inside the building.  

The initial investigation into the death began as a negligent incident, but after the forensic report it was established that the cause of death was cranioencephalic traumatism and gunshot wounds. He is believed to be the 30 year old boyfriend of Norma Elizabeth Salcido Cervantes who was gunned down earlier that day and covered above.

DATE: August 22, 2021 

LOCATION: On Cadaqués Street, Valle de Puebla neighborhood

CASUALTIES: 1 killed

DESCRIPTION: An individual was attacked in the middle of the morning, on Cadaqués and Laje streets. The perpetrators drove up to him while they were aboard a cherry colored 2005 Scion vehicle with white mudguards. They shot him multiple times and then drove away quickly after. The victim was injured with a gunshot wound that punctured his skill and ultimately ended his life, and after several days his identity is unknown. Relatives went to the morgue to recognize him as Feliciano Plascencia Contreras.

DATE: August 23, 2021

LOCATION: Azteca Avenue, Lomas Altas neighborhood


DESCRIPTION: 35-year-old José Ángel Zavala was shot as he was leaving his home when he was surprised by two men on a motorcycle. The crime was perpetrated with a revolver type weapon. The victim of this attack, unlike all the prior victims, managed to survive.


In addition to the crack down on traffickers in the urban Mexicali areas, Los Rusos are believed to be involved in the following events in the larger Mexicali valley region:

On August 15, there was an armed attack with assault rifles in Los Algodones, outside a home located on Avenue A, between 7 and 8. Edgar Iván Olegues Varela, 27, and José Luis Haro Sánchez, 30, were killed. Their attackers fled aboard a white vehicle, leaving behind the bodies of both and a large number of .223 caliber casings.

In addition to these incidents, on August 19, 2021, there was the attack against José Plácido García Martínez, "El Chepe" and Jesús Torres Díaz on the highway to Tijuana which left both men dead.

In response, members of the State Security and Investigation Guard (GESI) captured 4 Los Rusos members. They were Juan Diego Velázquez Pérez, 50, from Mexicali; Carlos Ernesto Quiñónez Benítez, 49, from Sinaloa; Efrén Aguilar Nande, 40, from Jalisco; and Armando Alonso Beltrán Peralta, 24, also from Sinaloa.

The Lieutenants Leading the Push

This offensive ordered by "El Ruso" is being personally organized and overseen by two of his lieutenants, according to sources from the Security Roundtable. They are Alfonso Peralta / Alfonso Amaya, alias "El P1" or "El Poncho de la Lima". El P1 is believed to be a trusted confidant of El Ruso who often leads armed operations on his behalf.

Alongside El P1 is an operator who has barely gained notoriety on the streets of Mexicali. He has been preliminarily identified as "El 80," who is also part of the armed wing of Los Rusos. According to GESI sources, both "P1" and "El 80" have focused on pressuring traffickers and drug dealers to pay them a fee in exchange for allowing them to work on a regular basis.

The Los Rusos fee being charged to human traffickers and drug dealers has doubled recently. They are now charging from $5,000 to $10,000 per drug crossing, which has had a strong impact on the income of these groups.

El P1 and El 80, together with El Ruso’s right hand man Felipe Eduardo Barajas Lozano alias "El Omega", have been tasked to "align" all the independent groups dedicated to human trafficking and drug dealing in urban sections of Mexicali and northern Mexicali valley. Previously these groups have managed to avoid having to pay a regular fee in order to operate but Ruso is now making it clear they must pay or face the consequences.

This is not the first time El Ruso has expanded his territory through a bloody offensive.

At the beginning of last year, Los Rusos undertook a similar type of expansion push, during which they threatened and murdered several drug dealers operating in the complex identified as "Los Pueblas", located on the east side of the city. During the push last year there were several homicides, but there were also important arrests of Los Rusos members made by GESI. 

The rate of homicides decreased in this area during the last months of 2020 and the first months of 2021, because "Los Rusos" were preoccupied with a confrontation with cells of "Los Garibay" and "Los Salazar" who were trying to extend their operations to this municipality.

Money Launderer For The Sinaloa Cartel And CJNG Arrested In Colombia

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat

A horse and ostrich breeder who has been accused of money laundering for both the Sinaloa Cartel and the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generation (CJNG) was arrested in Colombia. 

Colombian Police officers captured Néstor Tarazona Enciso, the head of a  money laundering network on August 28, 2021. The arrest reportedly took place in the city of Pereira, capital of  the municipality of Risaralda. 

Under the Sinaloa Cartel 

He has previously been investigated for setting up a financial company in order to launder money for drug lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera, alias “El Chapo”, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel at the time of the company's founding. 

He has been on the radar of US law enforcement since the days of the Clinton administration. Colombian police released a statement saying “This person was convicted on two occasions for drug trafficking offenses in the United States and returned to the country [of Colombia] in 1995 to set up two companies for the purpose of carrying out fictitious maneuvers to launder assets.”

The statement is referencing the two companies he owned called Agropecuaria La Cruz S. A. and Criadero Las Cabañas Ltda. Both companies, and Néstor himself, were pointed to by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as part of the Sinaloa cartel's organizational chart and accused of providing material support to the cartel. 

Nestor can be seen on the right hand side of this 2009 US OFAC chart.

Agropecuaria La Cruz S. A. was  involved in distribution of agricultural products as well as horse and ostrich breeding. The Prosecutor's Office commented that they were struck by the fact that these companies dedicated to livestock and poultry farming were somehow operating solely out of apartments. 

Another of his companies, Criadero Las Cabañas Ltda., there were 23 walking equines (trot and gallop), 6 walking equines (trot and gallop), 24 walking equines (pure Colombian trot), 2 walking equines (Colombian Paso Fino), when the Prosecutor's Office considers that he did not have the income to buy those animals. This company, between the years 2001-2011, would have hidden over 1,328 million pesos from the Colombian government. 

Nestor with one of his horses.

The prosecutor pointed out that the company Agropecuaria La Cruz S. A. was liquidated in 2013, "that is to say that, for 15 years, Tarazona Enciso provided material support to the Sinaloa cartel through this front company". 

Under the CJNG 

Colombian police, as part of their official statement, said that “After the capture of ‘Chapo’ Guzmán in 2014, he suspended business with the Sinaloa cartel and offered his services to the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel, in southeastern Mexico and became a partner of Guillermo León Acevedo Giraldo, known as 'Memo Fantasma'.” 

Guillermo León Acevedo Giraldo

Guillermo León Acevedo Giraldo was a powerful drug trafficker who for decades managed to remain under the radar, evading justice while allegedly trafficking tons of cocaine to foreign countries. In June 2020, Guillermo Acevedo Giraldo was captured by authorities while he was in Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia. 

It is estimated that he illegally increased his financial assets by more than 17,000 million pesos from the year 1999 until today.

"These illicit activities allowed Néstor Tarazona and Teresa Ortega (his wife) to increase their wealth in an unjustified manner and to acquire high value real estate and personal property, which are registered in the name of third parties that are part of their family nucleus", said the Prosecutor's Office during the indictment hearing. 

Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez and President Alvaro Uribe

Following his conviction in the US, Néstor Tarazona Enciso was able to thrive and prosper without law enforcement disturbing his operation for 25 years. He reportedly has ties to family members of the former President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe and Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez. 

In addition to the Sinaloa Cartel and the CJNG, Tarazona maintained criminal ties with the Cali Cartel and the criminal group of Los Puntilleros, according to the investigations of the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office. Néstor’s late brother Óscar Iván Tarazona Enciso was one of the trusted pilots of the Cali Cartel and Óscar Iván worked under Francisco Hélmer Herrera Buitrago, alias “El Pacho”.

Francisco Hélmer Herrera Buitrago, "El Pacho"

Colombia: Lets Pretend We’re All Mexicans Here Today

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat 

A new video from the underworld has just surfaced online. For this broadcast a Colombian armed criminal cell inspired by the drug trafficking organizations from the Mexican Republic have resorted to mimicking their criminal counterparts. 

The Spanish language when spoken is unique from region to region. As well as country to country. Much in the same way English differs from New Yorkers versus Californians. There are always subtle differences there that distinguishes one from the other. 

Despite the diversity in accents these gentlemen on film. And in agreement have invoked with their tongues the power of the Mexican cartel videos for the upcoming death and destruction within their area of operations. 

Such is the power that the Mexican cartels wield over others. They have influenced outlaws to follow in their footsteps. 

Video translation is as follows:

Good afternoon everyone. This message goes out to everyone from El Banco and (unintelligible). The following directive is being made for everyone who is out there fucking up with the townspeople and innocent civilians. Here goes my little message…uh…uh…I’m going to make it clear for everyone. 

So, that you’re no longer screwing up with the community. Roger that? Good afternoon townspeople of Guachené. This dispatch is directed at the members who make up the criminal gang known as Los Guadaleños and Los Bancos. 

They have been disturbing the peace within the municipality with their armed extortions and hundreds of homicides. It is hereby declared that tranquility will be returned to the urban areas as well as its surroundings.

If you choose to do otherwise. We will in league with others fucking destroy you sons of bitches. It’s in your best interest that this directive be made clear to you asshole sons of bitches. 

We don’t want anymore deaths, much less homicides. Do you understand this? Otherwise, we will kill off every one of you. We already have each of you identified, from the Los Guadal gang to the individuals who make up Los Banco. You’ve all been warned.

MCN Noticias

Tijuana, Baja California: Sánchez Taboada And Playas, The Most Violent Areas; Santa Fe, With Fewer Murders

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat 

The five most violent districts of Tijuana are Sánchez Taboada, Playas, La Presa Rural, Centro and Natura. From January to July, the municipal police have come to answer 1,154 calls involving murders

Although most of the murders in Tijuana continue to occur in the East Zone of the city, the violence has migrated to other municipal districts that were previously considered "quiet," such as Playas, the Centro district, or La Presa Rural.

According to figures from the Secretariat of Security and Municipal Citizen Protection (SSPCM) of Tijuana, elements of the Municipal Police have gone, so far in 2021, to 1,154 reports of deaths, which occurred in the fourteen districts into which the city is divided. 

And it should be noted, that number does not represent the total number of intentional homicides that have happened, but only those where the presence of the municipal police has been required.

According to these figures, these are the statistics of the most violent areas of Tijuana:

First, Sánchez Taboada delegation.- From January to July 2021, 146 people were killed in this district. Right there, May turned out to be the most violent month, 27 intentional homicides were recorded.

Second place, Playas.- In this area, one of the quietest in past years, in the first seven months of this 2021, 127 people were killed. 

The most notorious acts of violence occurred in the Playas de Tijuana neighborhood, such as the case of Andrea Ibarra, 24, who was killed when she arrived home; that of the young Emilio Espinoza Criollos and Antonio Peraza, when they were aboard a vehicle, and that of the Japanese restaurant owner, Taro Yoshira.

Third place, La Presa Rural.- There were 116 homicides in the first months of 2021, in January a total of 29 violent deaths were recorded, being the bloodiest month for the inhabitants of that area.

Fourth place, Central Zone.- In total, from January to July 2021, municipal police have attended 107 murder reports. Although it hasn’t been characterized of being a quiet area, given that drug trafficking cells are reported in the northern zone of the initial account, this delegation is already one of the most violent.

Fifth place, Natura.- One of the most conflictive areas of the city reaches fourth position with 97 violent deaths, with July being the month in which the most homicides happened, with 24 in the count.

Murders are increasing.

The following positions on the board are located as follows:

Sixth.- Florido-Mariano, with 92 murders.

Seventh.- Los Pinos, with 81 cases of intentional homicides.

Eighth.- La Presa, with 70 people killed.

Ninth.- Mesa de Otay, with 64 violent acts.

Tenth.- San Antonio de los Buenos and Cerro Colorado, both districts with 61 homicides each.

Eleventh.- Centenario with 55 murders.

Twelfth.- La Mesa with 42.

Treceavo.- Santa Fe, with 35 deprivations of life.

Natura is on the rise

According to the same SSPCM, in July 2021, elements of the Municipal Police dealt with 174 reports of homicides in Tijuana and it was in the Natura district where there were more cases.

There were 24 deprivations of life in Natura, of which 9 were committed in the subdivision of the same name, 4 in the Arboledas neighborhood, and the rest in the other colonies.

The Sánchez Taboada Delegation was the second most violent with 19 cases; of which 5 occurred in the Camino Verde neighborhood, 3 in the Sánchez Taboada neighborhood, 2 in Colinas de Cortez and the rest in the other colonies.

Third place was located in the Playas de Tijuana Delegation with 17 homicides, of those 4 were reported in Punta Bandera, to which federal agents attended, and the rest were distributed in 13 colonies of that delegation.

The Centro Delegation was fourth place with 16 murders, of which four occurred in the Zona Norte, in the Castillo and Zona Centro neighborhoods two murders were committed respectively, the rest in other colonies.

In fifth place was the Centenario delegation, where they took the lives of 14 people, 2 of those people were in the Las Torres neighborhood and in 12 colonies they committed 1 respectively.

In the SSPCM they detailed that of the 174 homicides committed in July, 31 of them occurred on Thursday; 29 on Sunday; 27 on Saturday, 26 on Monday and Friday; 20 on Wednesday as well as 15 on Tuesdays.

It was also reported that most of the murders were reported to 911 around 10 p.m. and 59 percent of them were committed with a firearm.

Of the 174 homicides, 136 of the victims were men, 14 women and 24 of them their sex is still unknown due to the condition of the bodies.

Finally, it was reported that of the 174 murders that were committed in July, 96 of them were committed on a public road, 43 of them inside a home, 32 in an unpopulated area and 3 within a business.

August follows a bloody pattern

According to figures from the Attorney General's Office (FGE), the locations of the executions did not change during the month of August, until the 23rd a total of 128 homicides had been committed in Tijuana. 13 were committed in the different colonies that make up the Sánchez Taboada Delegation, making it the bloodiest so far this month.

Secondly, two delegations are tied with 12 homicides each, the first of them is the Presa Rural , as well as the delegation of the Central Zone, in the Playas Delegation of Tijuana there are 10 murders.

In an exclusive interview with ZETA, Hiram Sánchez Zamora, Central Prosecutor of the Attorney General's Office (FGE) announced that 75 percent of homicides committed in Baja California are committed because they are related to drug retailing.

"It fluctuates from City to City - the motives of murders - but we can establish that throughout the state 75 percent of the motives are drug retail and crime, 10 percent will be for personal, passionate, the personal relationships of the victims and the rest are for other crimes," said the Central Prosecutor.

Zeta Tijuana

Monday, August 30, 2021

Durango: More Than 3 Tons Of Drugs Are Incinerated In Different Entities of Durango

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat 

As well as 50,96 objects of crime, were insured in various operations implemented by the Attorney General's Office of the Republic

The Office of the Prosecutor of the Republic incinerates more than 3 tons of drugs

More than three tons of various drugs, as well as 50,96 objects of crime, all insured in various operations implemented in the different regions of the entity were incinerated by the Attorney General's Office (FGR).

Through a statement, the federal agency announced that what was burned was three tons 415 kilos 579 grams of marijuana, four grams with 520 milligrams of benzofetamine hydrochloride, 71 grams with 100 milligrams of cocaine hydrochloride.

In addition, 34 kilos 205 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride, one kilo 489 grams 300 milligrams of cocaine and seven grams 280 milligrams of methamphetamine.

At least 3 tons of drugs were incinerated by the Attorney General's Office of the Republic

Also 566 grams with 800 milligrams of poppy plants, one kilo 350 grams with 800 milligrams of marijuana plants, two grams with 700 milligrams of marijuana seeds; also, 80 units of negative substance and a total of 50,096 crime objects such as shoes, cigars, backpacks and radios, among others, were destroyed.

During the incineration process, personnel from the FGR in Durango, the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), the Federal Ministerial Police (PFM), personnel from the Coordination of Expert Services and elements of the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) were present.

The representative of the internal control body of the FGR attested to the authenticity and weight of the narcotics incinerated and destroyed objects in the facilities of the Military Field, located in the town 5 de Mayo

El Sol de Durango

Zacatecas, ZAC: A Woman And A Man Are Tortured And Executed

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat 

The experts collected the evidence to integrate it into the research portfolios. Both bodies were transferred to the Directorate of Expert Services

In different events and municipalities, the bodies of two deceased people with signs of having been tortured were found.

The first discovery was in Morelos near the community of Hacienda Nueva. Citizens who were passing by Federal Highway 45 alerted the authorities about a dead person.

Police from different corporations arrived in the area who confirmed the presence of a woman dead, the area was protected and the protocols of law were followed.

Likewise, in the municipality of Villa de Cos, a strong security device was deployed after the location of a corpse that was found entangled between blankets.

The community of Bañón was the place where security corporations mobilized, specifically Luis Donaldo Colosio Street and confirmed the presence of a body wrapped in a blanket.

It was the body of a man wrapped in plastics and blankets that also had signs of torture.

Express Zacatecas

CDG's Oscar López Sandoval "La Droga" Arrested in Tamaulipas

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat

Note: The following is a breaking story and initial reports may be inaccurate.

It is being reported that Gulf Cartel's "La Droga" has been arrested by State Police and federal forces in Tamaulipas.

Journalists Marcos Muedano and Antonio Nieto have both reported that Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo, CDG) Óscar Antonio López Sandoval, alias "Ciclón 89"or “La Droga” was arrested. Marcos Muedano reported it on twitter at 11:22am CST today on August 30, 2021 and Antonio Nieto reported it at 1:30pm CST. 

El Heraldo and Marcos Muedano  both report he was arrested in the city of Victoria, Tamaulipas. While Antonio Nieto reports he is presumed to have been arrested in the city of Matamoros. 

El Manana de Reynosa newspaper is reporting the arrest actually occurred yesterday, August 29, 2021 in the border city of Matamoros as part of a special operation which was conducted by Tamaulipas State Police, which were supported by unspecified “federal forces”. They report the clashes seen later that day in Matamoros were the reaction of CDG members, as retribution for his arrest. 

El Manana de Reynosa reports that following his Matamoros arrest, La Droga was then transferred to the Attorney General’s Office in Victoria city at 6:50am this morning. 

Óscar Antonio López Sandoval is reportedly a man close to important Gulf Cartel figures such as Alfredo Cárdenas, alias "El Contador" as well as Osiel Cárdenas Jr., alias "El Osielillo". El Heraldo reports he is believed to be involved in the recent attacks on the state police officers in Matamoros and the June 2021 murder of 19 people that occurred in Reynosa, as previously covered on Borderland Beat.

As previously reported on Borderland Beat, Oscar López Sandoval was presumed to have taken over the Los Espartanos Matamoros faction of the Gulf Cartel following the arrest of Evaristo Cruz Sanchez, alias "El Vaquero" who was arrested in Nuevo Leon in April 2021. 

El Vaquero was initially a member of the Matamoros faction Los Ciclones, but he had a falling out with the group and sided with Jose Alfredo Cardenas Martinez ('El Contador') and created another faction, Los Espartanos.

Vaquero was arrested with an individual who was a former Zetas member and was actively working for the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). El Vaquero was planning to meet with members of the CJNG in San Luis Potosi prior to his arrest.

Up until El Vaquero’s arrest, Oscar López was believed to have been acting as a lieutenant and was the “jefe de plaza” or plaza boss of Nuevo Progreso as a member of Grupo Tiburones, a faction of the Gulf Cartel in Rio Bravo Municipality. 

Sources: El Mañana de Reynosa, El Heraldo, Antonio Nieto, Marcos Muedano