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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sinaloa Cartel Influence is Steadily Growing In Tijuana

This article explains some of the deep divisions that still exist today within the Arellano-Felix Cartel. It supports the theory that there is a instability in Tijuana that is currently being held back by a series of fragile treaties that are constantly being tested by other groups like La Familia Michoacana, and the Sinaloa Cartel

Zeta Tijuana Online

“El Fantasma”, “El Atlante” and “El Macario” are identified as the persons responsible for a majority of the homicides in Tijuana, since about early 2010. The first two are with the Sinaloa Cartel (CDS). The authorities also believe there is a connection between the local retail drug sales of Lucero González Peña “La Burro", and a string of murders involving young women. “La Burro” is a distributor for another CDS trafficker, Alfredo Arteaga “El Aquiles”. The official line of investigation: the families of female police were targeted, involving the daily operations of organized crime.

Zeta Tijuana Online Investigates
“I'm from  La Familia Michoacan (LFM), and I was sent to Tijuana, and now I'm totally fucked. This will happen to all of  los Chapulines.  ATTE El Fantasma."  was the message was found on the body of Fernando Moramon Cuevas -originally from Plaza Vieja, a municipality of Tepalcaltepec, Michoacán. This happened on February 14th in la colonia Guadalupe Victoria.

“El Fantasma” has not been positivily identified, either through description or photographs by the authorities. He also goes by the name of “Killer”.

El Tomate
Jesús Israel de la Cruz  “El Tomate” (detained this past January of 2011) was an operator and cell leader for  the CDS, he was stationed in Tijuana on behalf of Alfredo Arteaga González and/or Alonso Arzate García, “El Aquiles”, who in November of 2010 participated in in reunion in Los Mochis, Sinaloa with Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

According to the investigation, El Fantasma is the leader of one of 3 cells of assassins who are operating in Tijuana on behalf of the CDS.

Another sicario originally from the Sinaloa mafia, on the side of José Soto “El Tigre” and Eduardo Guajardo Hernández “El Güicho”, is a person who goes by the name “El Atlante”.

And last but not least, working for Juan Sillas Rocha “El Ruedas” also known as “El Sillas”, identified as originally an operator for Fernando Sánchez Arellano “El Ingeniero”, is a person called “Macario”.

Official police intelligence reports claim that after the kidnapping and subsequent rescue of “El Mayo's” niece, (which occurred last November in Tijuana), the Arellano-Felix Cártel (CAF)  washed their hands of “El Sillas." in accordance to criminal logic, the murders against the people of Arteaga committed by the criminal working for “El Ruedas” should be considered the acts of an "independent group".

Juan Francisco Sillas-Rocha, aka "El Ruedas"
In this context,  the authorities had not been able to identify the groups who were definitely loyal to the CAF, as the bodies of other organizations members who used Tijuana to traffic drugs, appeared hung from bridges and dismembered in the street. The messages that were found on the victims indicated the reference to los chapulines (the grasshoppers) is cartel slang for criminals who change loyalties and leave one group for another rival group.

“Fernando Sánchez Arellano is practically desperate. There is talk of another nephew, apparently he is the son of Benjamín, whose nickname is ‘Franky.' The problem is both him and his mother have strong family ties and loyalties with the CDS. However, it is known that he has been 'operating' here and is in coordination with the family politics of the CAF" explained an investigator who wished not to be identified.

Sinaloenses, los asesinos (Sinaloa people are murderers)
For the past 20 years, the traffickers from Michoacan have established treaties with the Arellano family to secure drug shipments into the U.S. and the right to distribute drugs in parts of Baja California.

In the wake of the internal struggle within the CAF (2007-2010), conservaron sus rutas y relaciones con Fernando Sánchez Arellano y Teodoro García Simental,(a) “El Teo." The arrests and deaths that resulted from this conflict were relatively little.

But in 2011, according to official information, The Michoacan operatives have been reacting violently to the presence of the Sinaloa cartel in the area. Two examples:

* February 12th, in colonia Francisco Villa, the Preventiva State Police (PEP) detained a group of LFM who had “permission” to cook and sell crystal, however they didn't have the right to own local tienditas (retail drug outlets) or to transport drugs into the U.S. by themselves. They had violated this rule and had dedicated themselves to breaking it.

* February 14th, the murder of Fernando Moramon, a member of LFM, included a message. The author who signed it claimed Moramon was a traitor.

In the Feb 12th case, 7 members of the Tellez Valencia,  Martínez Zamora, and Mora family were arrested. They confessed to receiving orders for drug shipments in Tijuana and crossing them over tot he U.S. without paying the CAF. For the past year, they had been making and distributing crystal among the people woking for the Arellano family. But recently, there had been problems. When the interview, the Michoacan member said this: “The recent murders aer because the  tienditas are now operating without their  jefes (bosses) and now the law of the jungle is being applied… This is why we were operating on the periphery of the city.  The fact that they were apprehended on the outer colonia of Herradura seems to support this statement.

In the case of Moramon, the investigation revealed he had no previous criminal ties to Baja California, but his family is from Los Ángeles, California are heavily involved in the sale of crystal. The family of this 'Michoacano' was not interviewed by Zeta Tijuana Online, due to their possible ties to organized crime (they may not be receptive to the idea).

What is known about this case is that on February 9th, the victim was talking to a some friends in the street, when an armed men pulled up in a caravan of vehicles and abducted him. on Feb 11th, his family received a call demanding $200,000 dollars for his return. The family was able to gather $50,000, which was given to the kidnappers at 8:00 p.m. on the night of Feb 14th. An hour and half later, the authorities found his corpse. he had been tortured and strangled. Moramon' body was identified the following day Forensic Medical Service (SEMEFO). 

The message on the body was signed by “El Fantasma”, who proceeded this with another 40 homicides.
In the first case that was mentioned (Feb 12th): “This happened to me for working with el Silla”, was on the message that was under the dismembered head of Gerardo Ramírez, which was left in a black plastic bag on Pemex bridge, along the overpass of the Rosarito-Tijuana highway, on November 18 of 2010.

On November 17th, Ramírez Cuadros was the victim of a violent act which occurred in his house located in Ciudad Jardín, Tijuana.

When the family arrived, “All the drawers and cupboards had been rummaged through. The car was gone and all the games and electronics has been stolen.” When the body was found, the police found several shells from the bullets that were used to end his life.  The ballistics showed that the same Beretta had been used in three other executions: victim in case number 280/10/201 has yet to be identified;Another unidentified victim in Villa Fontana, case number 414/10/201; and the murder of Cristian Felipe Velarde, case number 574/10/201.

“These are a few examples but there are more murders that are related to the "Sillas" cells. They happened because  ‘El Fantasma’ has been given the greenlight to take them out by ‘El Aquiles’”, said the investigator.
On the other side of this conflict, “El Atlante”, (also of Sinaloa origin) was identified as a sicario who works for “El Güicho," who is in turn, is the primary sicario working for Sillas Rocha. This information was provided by Juan Miguel Valle Beltrán “El Bóxer” (captured January of 2011) and other accomplices who were arrested with him.

“They were protected by Sinaloa, but not under the best terms. and it was due to the fact that they had a high number of kidnappings and homicides they were being sought for" said an official working for the investigation.

At the moment,  State and federal authorities have implicated "El Atlante" in 2 murders: in the case of Bulmaro López Madero, functionary of the PGR in Tijuana. There was also a ministerial agent named Fernando López en Rosarito, who was murdered in 2011 by other members of his cell, including “El Bóxer”.

The Women
The murders of women who worked in retail drug sales were related to Lucero González Peña “La Burro”, who leads a group of operators and sicarios for“El Aquiles”.

This woman was identified as having ties to organized crime, when in November of 2010, her mother (named Rosalba Peña), was murdered, along with one of her nieces in the area called the Centro de Readaptación Social de La Mesa. The pair had decided to visit own of Peña's other daughters (Guadalupe). According to the press, the motive had to do with proceeds from drug sales.

At the beginning of 2011, four women were brutally executed. on Jan 13th, a female police officer named Ema Tafolla Carrillo was gunned down in Tijuana.

The officer was taken by surprise. Her sister was the second-in-command at the police station and at the time of this was published, Zeta Tijuana Online has learned that she has been reassigned to a different department. An Internal Affairs has investigation revealed that Peña had prematurely released several local drug dealers, before they had the chance to be tried and convicted.

Peña was also involved with municipal police officer Ricardo Mondragón, whom according to ministerial sources was maintaining a personal and physical relationship with on to the daughters of the deceased Tafolla.
Tafolla previously survived an attack on Feb 2nd, when she was driving a late model truck in colonia Jardines. Her killers were traveling in cars, and despite firing a hale of bullets, only one managed to strike Tafolla in the shoulder. She drove herself to Cruz Roja hospital, were she was released later that same evening.

Only days before; on Jan 23rd, her father Vicente Mondragón, (age 51), was executed inside his place of business, which was located in colonia 3 de Octubre. Officially, he was into the repair and sale of used cars, specializing in mufflers and radiators. In this string of deaths, only one of the brothers of the corrupt officer was previously investigated for drug offenses.

“El Mono” and “El Macario”
In relation to the criminal structure of the CAF, there are two line of investigations. This first deals with the attempted assassination on Jan 8th of this year against Luis Manuel Toscano Rodríguez, (a) “El Mono”.
This man was been implicated in a series of crimes. He is on everyone's radar: from the army and PEP and federal police. In all version of the story, it is about the man who controls all drug sales of the Northern Zone and part of the River Zone in Tijuana.

This person is 32 years old and is originally from Manzanillo, Colima. Although he has been identified, there are current no active arrest warrants against him.

in mid 2010, the state prosecutor inquired on ordering his capture.  Toscano believed this person was the mastermind who as behind the kidnapping of female U.S. citizens who were later released on July 21rst. “El Mono” was implicated as the main suspect by his accomplices Ernesto Palma and Erika Medina. "El Mono was alerted that the authorities wanted to question him and he fled the area.

Last month, Toscano and his eldest son were injured after being shot as they were out with the rest of their family. There were taken to Cruz Roja, were their condition was stabilized; instead of waiting for the killers to return and finish the job, the mother had them moved to a safer location.

“Evidently someone from the criminal organizations is trying to take his post”, explained a police official. the five homicides in January seem to support this theory Manuel Toscano always worked with the  CAF, “the paid him for the rights to the plaza, and when the internal struggles happened, he also took payment from ‘Teo’ because he didn't want any problems. Now the dust has settled and the CAF want him gone. We don't know at this time whether he is alive or dead, but it is clear that particular zone is up for grabs. This is evident from the rise in the number of homicides in that area."

In Conclusion,  “El Macario” is also under investigation. the criminal who is aligned with Sillas Rocha, who also committed several murders for Sánchez Arellano between 2007 and November of 2010. According to local police, "they are working for themselves"

“Macario” is best known for planning the rescue of Diana, the sister of Raydel López Uriarte, (a) “El Muletas”, on Feb 15th, 2010; y hasta el primero de enero de 2011.  A recent capture of 3 sicarios further support he is the main planner for executions and homicides for the "Sillas" group.

Tijuana closed 2010 with 688 homicidios, that's 55 a month, except Jan. which was 99 homicides. .
It is evident the internal struggles within the CAf persist to this very day. in an effort to hold onto territory, the exhibitions of power have gotten more gruesome with each drug related killing.

As the decapitations, kidnappings and dismemberment continue,  this only difference has been the "account settlers," the killers who are employed by the Sinaloa cartel, who have been increasingly making their presence known in the city.


  1. Thanks for doing this Smurf, you know I love the Tijuana information. I don't know what is going on their anymore, none of it tracks, none of it is consistent, and it confuses me, whereas a year or so ago I knew, for the most part where everyone stood.

    Sinaloa is there, but are split into two factions, both Sinloa and CAF have been fighting with renegade LFM cells for not paying plaza.

    Sillas is operating on his own, with a price on his head from Sinaloa, and fighting with CDS sicarios, but not CAF.

    Fernando Sanchez is desperate, but why? Sinaloa in Tijuana? gaining ground? I don't know. Benjamen's son is loyal to Sinaloa? Some of this doesn't work for me.

  2. And what do they mean the arrests/death of the Teo/Engineer conflict were little?

  3. Great post Smurf!
    I have been saying watch for Sinaloa in TJ in 2011...Its always made sense to me...

    Time will tell..

  4. Interesting read. It seems that CDS does not want LFM in TJ anymore. It seems to me that the whole theory that CDS and LFM are in the same team can be tossed out the window. Look at Jalisco, LFM is at war with CDJNG and CDS does nothing to support LFM who is getting thier men killed in that state by CDJNG. El fantasma is a man with no name and no face, no one knows who he is, the only thing known about him is that he works for CDS. Thanks for this article.

  5. What about that guy Edgardo Leyva Escandon? Hes a high ranked member at tijuana and is still a fugitive. He kills rival cartel members with a sniper rifle(Hes a well trained sniper), and one of the primary suppliers of weapons and ammunition utilized by the cartel.

  6. I've heard a series of corridos that claim El Fantasma was a former special forces officer that left/was dismissed from the armed forces and was immediately hired as Chapo's personal bodyguard before taking the position as one of CDS' top sicarios.

    I will say this, out of all of them, El Fantasma seems to be the scariest MFer... His name strikes fear, and there is no doubt enemies would tremble if they knew El Fantasma was after them.

  7. El Fantasmas is such a bad MotherFer that he forgot his own name. They forgot about El Cheko, brother del El Manos Mochas and sobrino del El Cochiloco whose taking point from El Macho Prieto in Mexicali.El Cheko has kept the Mexicali Plaza Sinaloa owned since 98.

  8. el fantasma has no name "so death can't find him"!

  9. El fantasma was a special force desserter who joined the CDS under el chapo. He's from guerrero i think or a southern state. Think CDS strategy is to just keep growing and setting up more cells to suffocate the arellanos. eventually theyd b to big and with the arellanos want to react it would be to late and would become overwhelmed. There taking over the castle from the inside, instead of juarez were they had to muscle in

  10. Whats with the rumors that El Macho Prieto being killed in Sonora? I read it on Diaro del narco. A bunch of cats on there mentioning several conflicts between Don Mayo Zambadas boys and Don Chapos boys. A fued amongst themselves that supposedly the big dogs in Sinaloa are allowing them to settle. I haven't seen anything concrete on that report. But they keep saying that Chapos and Don Mayos guys two different cells in Sonora are going at it over disputes either for turf or settling accounts. The bust that happened in Sonora a week or so ago was supposedly tipped off from Chapos boys and El Macho Prieto was severly pissed off? Any insight?

  11. Isn't el Cheko Macho Prietos brother?

  12. No puedo creer que los egiptos y libyans nos ganen. They are out in the streets taking back thier countries...faced with tanks, jets, and missiles, and they don't back down. They don't have weapons, so we can't make that damn excuse that mexicans can't legally have weapons. Why don't the mexican citenzry take back their country from the cartels? Why? Because the cartels have 50 calibers? What a pathetic excuse. If the cartels only had slingshots the mexicans citenzry would still probably cowar down. Que nos ganen los libyans...que verguenze me da

  13. they say El Fantasma was once a sicario cell leader for El Peinado, now he has gotten more exposure for his assignments in Northern Mexico like Sonora and Tijuana. He apparently is making a huge name for himself for his accomplishments in these territories, won't be surprised to see him on the 5 million dollar bounty.

  14. Mayo seems to be the one who is in charge of CDS cells in Tijuana, I think Chapo is focused on Juarez. Maybe Chapo has an agreement with branches of LFM, but Mayo has his own rules for Tijuana/LFM. I guess CAF is just getting smaller and smaller, but the CDS leaders in Tijuana are scumbags and kidnappers, but leaders. We'll see. Also, the lack of loyalty, among all the cartels is driving the violence, imo, not just TJ, but everywhere.

    El Inge and his Mom may just disappear into the sunset/wanted posters after this year, give up Tijuana and 20 years of Arellano Felix. Wouldn't be a bad idea from my perspective. Why fight it out, if you are set for life anyway?

  15. El Inge is gone already. He had given up. He wasn't a true narco. He was willed the narco status. Just like some of the kids of the narcos who are posing now. They have now idea what they will be up against. Some of these girls who think that daddy will protect them are in for a huge gang-bang when daddy gets killed.

  16. Do you say that with knowledge or insight, or just opinion? I haven't heard anything besides that little quote in the Zeta, that he was was backing down or backing off. My feelings are if he could survive the Teo conflict, he's paid his dues. He has been a shadow though, as long as he's been boss, last time they were close to getting him was in October 2008 when they captured his uncle. I hread he was Tijuana last September though, at a horse race.

  17. no el cheko is not retaliated to el macho prieto...

  18. youre friend EL TB EL SENOR INGIENERO Y LA JEFA has more controll of tijuna all the way to ensenada and all all baja california in 2003 they decided to clean up the cartel for people that they felt werent loyal and decided why own so much territory there was no need for it yes sinaloa has made a deal to cross drugs through tijuana but they pay a toll like everyone else EL CARTEL is more powerful and stronger than ever think with break away groups and all cartels trying to remove LA GRAN FAMILIA there still stand strong they act week but are they really weak people still pay a toll yo soy EL TIBURON THE TIJUANA ASTA LA MUERTE CON LA GRAN FAMILIA


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