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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top Gulf Cartel boss, "El Wicho", detained by U.S. authorities

The Monitor

U.S. authorities detained the Gulf Cartel's leader over Matamoros late last week — a third high-profile cartel arrest in recent weeks.

Court records state Jose Luis Zuniga Hernandez was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents Wednesday near Santa Maria, a town along the Rio Grande near the Cameron-Hidalgo County line.

Zuniga, also known as "Comandante Wicho," was found with a .38-caliber handgun and "freely admitted" to be a Mexican national without documents to reside in the United States, a criminal complaint states.

A source familiar with Zuniga said he turned himself in to U.S. authorities, though an exact reason remains unclear.

Zuniga's arrest comes amid fierce infighting within the Gulf Cartel at least since early September, when Samuel "Metro 3" Flores Borrego, the plaza boss for the Reynosa area, was found fatally shot.

Since then, widespread firefights have broken out across the Gulf Cartel's territory in northern Tamaulipas, with much of the bloodshed coming from rivals once loyal to the same side.

"What we're seeing on a daily basis is ... a lot of changes in the Gulf Cartel," said one U.S. law enforcement official. "We just don't know, but what I think everybody agrees on is there's some infighting that's going on and the landscape is changing a bit."

Court records do not indicate Zuniga's role within the Gulf Cartel.

Zuniga has led the Matamoros plaza of the Gulf Cartel since the death of Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén, better known by his nickname "Tony Tormenta," or "Tony the Storm." Mexican soldiers killed Cárdenas and scores of others in fiery street battles in Matamoros in November 2010.

A U.S. Magistrate Judge in Brownsville unsealed court records in Zuniga's case on Friday. His arrest marks the third Gulf Cartel capo to be detained in recent weeks by federal authorities.

Eudoxio Ramos Garcia, 34, was detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents Thursday at a house in Rio Grande City. Ramos has been identified as the former Gulf Cartel boss over operations in Miguel Alemán, across the U.S.-Mexico border from Roma.

And perhaps the highest profile arrest came in Port Isabel on Oct. 20, when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained Rafael "El Junior" Cárdenas Vela.

"El Junior" is the nephew of Osiel Cárdenas Guillen, the former Gulf Cartel kingpin extradited to the U.S. in 2006 and sentenced to 25 years in prison last year. The nephew was considered a rising leader within the cartel.

The Monitor news UPDATE: El Wicho held without Bond

Chains rattled as a man known for his ruthless approach to business shuffled into the courtroom. As he approached the microphone, the man known by many as “Comandante Wicho” glanced toward the entrance and gave a nodding smile to the few gathered there even though none of his friends or family members attended the Tuesday afternoon hearing.

U.S. Marshals stood cautiously as Jose Luis “Comandante Wicho” Zuniga Hernandez took to the microphone in order to speak before U.S. Magistrate Ronald Morgan.

During the hearing, a firm, but respectful Zuniga waived his right to a detention hearing and an examining trial, Morgan granted the motions and ordered he be held without bail.

Zuniga was arrested Friday afternoon by U.S. authorities; however details of the arrest remain unclear. Court records state that he was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents near Santa Maria, a town along the Rio Grande near the Cameron-Hidalgo County line.

However, a source outside law enforcement but with knowledge of the case said that Zuniga, his brother, a man named Juan Del Rincon and a fourth unnamed man turned themselves in to the U.S. authorities at the Los Indios International Bridge.

The source also said Del Rincon is either a current or former Tamaulipas police officer. That information couldn’t be confirmed with U.S. authorities; however court records show that at the time of the arrest, Zuniga was in possession of a .38 caliber handgun and freely admitted to being a Mexican national without documents in the U.S.

The source said Zuniga called it quits after a lot of his forces were decimated during the infighting and that he crossed to the U.S. in an effort to save himself, presumably in exchange for cooperation.

One day before Zuniga turned himself in, the two warring factions of the Gulf Cartel, more commonly referred to as the Metros and Rojos, clashed in Control Ramirez, a town near Matamoros and that is known as Wicho’s home base.


  1. So what's up? How is it these guys have eluded authorities for as long as they have, and suddenly three are arrested in a row? Do they want to be arrested for some reason? What would that reason be?

  2. A source familiar with Zuniga said he turned himself in to U.S. authorities, though an exact reason remains unclear.

    I think the reason will be not to get killed.

  3. Someone put a "spell" on the gulf cartel. Looks like they are on the verge of collapsing and no one else to blame but themselves. Maybe the split from the zetas wasnt such a good idea. They were responsible for demonizing them, so too late for a truce... The zetas could have complete control of Tamps. pretty soon, dont look good! I think Coss will be arrested without a shot fired before turkey day. Then what? Cano and Blunt are running out of idols and material. Lets just call it the chapo effect.... :)

  4. Good work GREAT, these retards reflect on the entire latino community they need to be removed. BRAVO!

  5. Ya andan joteando, ahora quieren entregarse aca para que en la pinta americana les den todo gratis. No que eran bien nalgas!!!!!!! jajajajaja

  6. This BOY needs Lead to the head treatment to help solve his life of crime forever!!
    Its a simple effective treatment that cures all who get it. They will never, ever commit another crime. Its really does work very well!!

  7. Gave himself up?Go figure?If he a Metro,would any of you want R1 on your arse,he a mean motherfucker.Definitely house cleaning goin on,who knows,maybe CDG,were nearly splittin apart anyway,and Tres was gettin to call his own shots.Take Tres out,and then deal with his crew?But maybe its not that simple.

  8. I think the CDG is done as a player... I think the Rojos are getting wiped out and the metros will either become their own, small faction or they will allign back with Z. We shall see hat happens but just oes to show how fast these major cartels can be destroyed from within!

  9. I may be off base but I am getting the feel that Coz has become a DEA puppet. For no explained reason, Osiel Cardenas Guillen is moved from general population where he had the ability to orchestrate cartel activity to a supermax where he cannot. The Tony Tormente is sold out. Next, the Cardenas family takes a hit with the nephew getting busted on this side. Half of CDG is going down fast and there is no other explanation than Coz wants total control and He seems to be doing it through the help of law enforcement from both sides. This could spell trouble for all the CDG distributors across the US. It absolutely makes Z a much more powerful force in that region. This makes me wonder if Coz is doing this to rebuild an old alliance that went bad?

  10. Sooner or later everybody snitches.

  11. looks like R1 is taking over the CDG by force. The Metros are running scared. Comm. Wicho lost all his men due to being wiped out by R1 so he had no other recourse by to flee fro his wrath. Seems R-1 is killing a lot of commandants and their sicarios.

  12. I heard a few commandantes have been killed by R1 and not reported in the news such as El Amarilla and Negro, Nectar and Guerra going down made Wicho just give up to authorities to escape from R1. This is what you call a hostile takeover of the CDG by R1. El Coss is no match for this mans wrath.

  13. It's either one or the other, in my opinion, either the Metro faction or the R1 faction, half the posters are saying Metros are being wiped out, the other half the opposite. Which capos were aligned with what outfit? I'd say the ones being captured are the ones on the losing side.

  14. @November 1, 2011 10:22 PM
    HAHAHAHA Cano and Blunt are running out of material and idols.

  15. metro 3 was running his own no one wanted to follow costilla no more so he orders a hit on (3)

  16. The Gulf Cartel has been a "Two Faced" Outfit for years it started after the "Fat Boy" and his Uncle lost all thier power under the "Fox"
    Administration and Fat Boy got Life in Super Max! When Osiel killed his boss, he became El Jeffe, then when he got busted it was everymen for himself just like now. The Only Honor with that outfit is who ever snitches first and holds
    the cards and the Dinero!

  17. i agree; they seem to b workin both sides of the law .... maybe law enforcement allows it to a certain extreme .....they need some snitches to calm down the zetas. they act like wild animals when they murder women and children .the respect for families seem to b a thing of the past... tony montana where r u?

  18. Ey the man wicho is part of my family.. But its gud they got him .. His doin messed up s***

    1. Chingas a tu madre cabron es tu fam. Lo debes de defender.

    2. Really? Cus im related to him too apparently...

  19. For all of you people that don't know about what exactly happens on the south side of the border,here's an update.R1 fled to some part of nuevo leon,after he almost got arrested in Miguel Aleman by mexican naval agents in a big shoot out.Commander Coss also fled,just after he conspired with R1 to kill Metro 3.The metros found out about this and wanted revenge.Coss was outnumbered,wicho is just a result of this inside war,no rojos are allowed in Tamaulipas.He'd rather turn himself in than to die.

  20. please just dont make this man get out of jail he has killed many families that had cross the border. many people stop going to control because we wore afraid of his bad actions and murders. he has hurt many families and know he wants to stay in united states to save his life please dont let him out he is a very dangerous killer.i do this anonymously because iam afraid that he could do anything to my family like in the past


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