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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Trial Begins of AFO Cell in San Diego, Prosecutor: Victims Kidnapped and Dissolved in Acid

by Chivis Martinez

Opening arguments opened the trial of Jose Olivera and David Valencia in San Diego yesterday.  District Attorney Mark Amador said the men were members of "Los Palillos" (The Toothpicks) was an  Arellano Felix Cartel cell group, that  trafficked meth and marijuana   through the Tijuana-San Diego route, in addition to operating a kidnapping ring that targeted drug dealers and businessmen in the U.S., who were vulnerable and who were unlikely to have their kidnappings reported to US authorities. 

The gang operated in Tijuana as a cell of AFO cartel, but splintered and became bitter enemies after AFO leadership killed Victor Rojas Lopez, the brother of Los Palillos leader Jorge Rojas Lopez. 

Victor reported to an AFO lieutenant who has ordered Victor to execute a Los Palillos member who had a dispute in a TJ bar with Jorge Briseno.  When Victor refused the order he was killed.
Jorge Rojas Lopez
 It was then the group moved to San Diego and began its flurry of crime.

Amador stunned the courtroom as he described the heinous crimes including the strangling of victims, then placing the bodies in 55 gallon barrels of simmering acid heated by propane tanks. 
When investigators were led to the San Diego ranch of horrors, owned by one of the defendants, a gruesome discovery of bones, body parts and teeth were found in vats containing a brownish gelatin explained Amador.
The practice of stewing human remains in acid is not an uncommon practice by Mexican organized crime, but almost unheard of happening in the US.  The practice was made famous by Jose Santiago Meza, aka "El Pozolero"  (stew maker)  on whose TJ ranch it was discovered 3 graves filled with body parts and teeth.  He confessed a few years ago to liquefying at least 300 bodies in acid  for lieutenants of the Arellano Felix drug.
Shown in court was photos of victims with the toothpick calling card left by Los Palillos

Amador said the chemicals use to dissolve bodies are readily available at home improvement stores such as Home Depot.  Jurors were shown photos of three boxes found in one safe house in Chula Vista, a San Diego Suburb.  Chula Vista is 7 miles from the Tijuana point of entry and has a huge Latino population, the majority are foreigners. 
Ironically, the Mexican affluent often relocate to escape Mexico’s violence and settle in Chula Vista only to find themselves living close to organized crime groups that have settled in the same city to conduct criminal operations or to relocate their families.  The Population of Chula Vista is 244K, 58% Latino and 38% foreign Latino.
The current trial is the first of three scheduled for members of Los Palillos.  There were indictments of 17 suspects on multiple charges including numerous murders and kidnappings, Amador said.  Speaking to the jury he defined the group as “a paramilitary style organization”.  3 additional suspects were executed in Tijuana before they could be brought to trial.

A  Full Sized Chart (of below) LINK HERE
Beritan is also charged with an attempted kidnapping. The victim was allegedly abducted in January 2007  by assailants wearing police uniforms but managed to escape. That victim is expected to testify.
"Disturbing news, horrifying events, graphic images, evil deeds motivated by greed and revenge," Amador said.
In his opening statement Amador gave an overview of four of the charges;
o   January 3, 2007 Olivera Beritan is accused in an attempted kidnapping at a Bonita apartment complex in which a drug trafficker was shot but managed to escape
o   March 23, 2007 Olivera Beritan is charged in the kidnapping of Ivan Lozano, whose body was found in the trunk of a car in Claremont 12 days later
o   May 3, 2007 both defendants are accused of the, abduction of a drug trafficker named Cesar Uribe and Uribe's associate, Marc Leon, whose remains were found on property where Valencia kept horses

o   June 8, 2007 kidnapping of a businessman, who was rescued from a Chula Vista safe house which subsequently lead to the arrests of the defendants
Amador said Uribe’s family had complied with ransom demands and two ransom drops were executed.  Uribe and Valencia operated drug trafficking together, but a dispute incurred over money which led to Uribe’s death.
FBI Swat tacker Los Palillos to this Chula Vista home and recused Eduardo Gonzales-Tostado
The families of Leon and Lozano reported not to have heard from them after their disappearances and did not hear from the kidnappers.
Amador explained that the operation was revealed in June 2007 when the family of one kidnap victim, Eduardo Gonzalez Tostado, called the FBI for help. Families of previous victims refused to contact authorities, thereby
Badges found at safe house
Gonzales-Tostado, who owned a seafood restaurant in Tijuana, was targeted by Valencia.  It was the wife of Gonzales-Tostado that contacted the FBI.  A ransom drop sting was enacted.  After the family paid nearly 200,000 USD, federal agents raided a Chula Vista home where the victim had been held for 8 days.
A woman is accused of luring Gonzales-Tostado to the kidnappers, she has been arrested and charged in the case.
Because of special circumstance, torture and multiple murders,  if convicted the defendants face life in prison without parole.  Four other suspects face the death penalty if convicted.
Prosecutors have not addressed why they are not seeking the death penalty in the Olivera and Valencia cases. Steve Walker a spokesman said “the office does not comment on specific internal discussions or decision making process when it comes to death penalty decisions, particularly in a pending case.”

(See footage of trial in video below)
The trial is expected to last 8 weeks or longer.

District Attorney's press release with overview of case see here

Video Interview about the case with Mark Armador

Read FBI's report on the Los Palillos

District Attorney Office updates to press by 7:30PM PST daily


  1. One thing Buela, is they weren't CAF, Los Pallios was a cell under CAF, until they killed Lopez Rojas brother, after a fight in Las Pulgas, then they crossed over here, and started kidnapping/killing anyone working for or with Arellano. That guy Eduardo Tostado was one of Inge's people, that seafood restaurant where Teo dropped off the acid containers was his.

    Did you see the picture of the corpse with toothoicks all over it? They dropped that in San Diego, pretty brazen.

    1. El Negro Durazo? That seafood place is awesome! I remember going there lots as a kid and my dad always told me to look at the drunks or anyone. To just mind our own business. There was always a group of ppl there just throwing money on the table with live bands playing.

  2. ....its obvious why they arent seeking the death penalty, those pieces of shit are snitching. No honor among scum like that. Good! I hope their information gets more of these dirtbags off the street.

  3. Heat up the drums....time to make more pozole out of these guys!!

  4. Hi J

    I understand that and if you read the article it clearly states as such. I thought about putting the reason for the split (lopez) but then thought perhaps it was getting to involved into details I mean shit, you could go on forever with this story. But Perhaps it is not as clear and I should add the part of the split I still have my notes. The point is not so important but I can amend.

    BTW I have 13 SD KNOWN kidnappings and 9 were that what you have? and shootings of 6 including a police officer.

    Hey J..I thought for sure you would post this story. You are our "TJ" guy! :) Paz, Chivis

  5. they should execute these fags

  6. I was too busy following the news of the trial myself, I am grateful for the coverage, it's been years since the story broke. Those numbers seem right, I'm sure there were more though. I have a really good piece on the details of the Tostado story, that I will post soon, it's not mine, but it's the most in depth article on the events I've seen. Or I will email it to you. I just wanted to throw that out there, (the splinter cell) not trying to be critical or nit picking, you get enough of that.

  7. how did they get the police uniforms ?

    this is USA not Mexico

  8. What do they mean by "foreign latino"? Is that a nice way of saying illegal alien?

  9. Fucking greedy politicians with their narcoterrorist puppets. The drug war created these fucking drug cartels, only ending it can destroy them. Legalize pot to reduce 60 percent of cartel's profits and then let us use our guns to kill 'em all.

  10. @4:02 I've never understood how you could get the uniforms and people say uniform stores, Army/Navy and Goodwill but that doesn't cut it for me

  11. J

    You were 100% correct it needed the clarification.. Thanks for the input!

    I am sure the numbers are much larger. They are not high enough for the amount of years. They were smart targeting those that would not have love ones running to the police. what cracked me up, the wife who did, saved her husbandds cheating ass..i wonder if she would have...had she known about the gal who lured him?

    Yeah, I am beginning to see why reporters
    "dissapear" jaja....paz, Chivis

  12. @4:51

    "Foreign Latino" means citizen of a foreign country of latino decent, not American of Latino decent. This does not mean and most likely is not undocumented persons. I doubt they would be standing with a nosey guy with a lap top answering some very personal questions.

    There are many wealthy Mexicans in SD and especially areas like CV, they are homeowners, business owners and in the states legally.

    1. Chivis:

      I wanted to thank you personally for the time and energy you put into your work here. I say this to everyone who contributes.

      I spread the word as often as I can to help those who are clueless have a greater understanding of the troubles we face as a people of the world. Mostly those of us who life in Mexico and the USA.

      I just believe that there are moments you (Chivis and the rest of BorderlandBeat) need to know that your actions are noble and just and for the greater good and that you need to know that you are appreciated for everything.

      You should also pay yourselves on the back and stand a little taller.

      Thank again for everything...


  13. Where this Chivis guy is getting his information? They didn't owned property, they lease the property.

  14. Heriberto lazcanos primo hermano was just caught in pachuca he was a cell leader for his cousin!!!!!!!!

  15. February 23, 2012 7:16 PM
    "Where this Chivis guy is getting his information? They didn't owned property, they lease the property"

    Obviously by your written expression perhaps your comprehension is a little compromised, therefore you should be careful what you write or risk looking like a complete fool.

    I accessed Census for 2011 and two other specialized demographic information sites. In the census there are categories one designated as “Latino Foreign” this is to help the government determine demographics of regions and cities, there are countless special categorical calculations. A reader asked if this was “undocumented” residents, I was answering TO THAT, not to members of Los Palillos.

    Now don’t you feel very, very silly?

    That said, the home of the "Bust" was 1539 Point Dume Ct CV, that has been owned since 1992 by a Mr. Dean G____ so yes it was rented. and of course I did the research to determine ownership.

    Thank you SO MUCH. I needed that. It actually moved me because you get it. It's why we all volunteer to keep this project alive and effective. Kudos to you for doing what you can.

    It is a letdown to work several hours on research and write an original post only to have a person criticize something that only existed in his mind. I told J today I always wondered why reporters come in enthusiastic and then disappear, I wonder no more. A challenge of fact is fair game, I have even changed something I posted if it is in error, I do listen to everyone, but the personal attacks and the complaints of fonts and syntax on something not authored by me is something we really don’t need but I still believe the majority of people appreciate what we do..
    Paz, Chivis

    1. Chivis ...

      I am glad my post helped in some fashion. Keep strong and there will always be hard times that will test your resolve.

      My mother taught me to take one step at a time. A step is easy to manage. It's just one step. When we look at the whole journey in front of us, we can get discouraged because of how hard and long it looks.

      So remember, just one little thing. Just what is in front of you. Don't stress stress on things that are gone in the past or on things to come.

      There are all kinds of people and the ones that tend to make the most noise are also the same people who you least want to hear from. It is kind of like the majority of people anywhere where crime seems the majority. I believe the good deeds we don't see greatly outnumber the evil deeds we do see.

      Lastly, no mater how many times we may be lied too or cheated on etc, don't every give up on humanity. Have faith (not speaking religiously) in us. We are worth fighting for.

      I have so much I wish I could say now but I am sure I will get more chances to counter the negative hate filled views later.


  16. These guys need a Snicker's bar BAD b/c they aren't going anywhere for awhile :)

  17. Chivis,he wouldn't know who or what to criticize if it wasn't for you.good work...the world needs to know what you know

  18. Chivis criminals usually don't buy property in the U.S. unless they have busyness to back up that they are making money the legal way. You said investigators were led to the San Diego ranch of horrors, owned by one of the defendants. Are you referring to the one in San Ysidro? That property was a rental.

  19. Great job on the coverage. As an officer on this case, you got it right Chivis. And please keep us informed as this case is "The Example" of what has happened due to the many years of DTO warfare and the assassins it has created.

  20. February 24, 2012 3:44 AM I'm not criticizing Chivis good work, I'm criticizing Chivis bad work. Overall I do appreciate the work she is doing here when she brings news for us to read.

  21. I assumed these were federal charges so i looked up Jorge Rojas-Lopez on the BOP.GOV Inmate locator website and it said he was released in 2007. It would seem he snitched and is being stashed away at Quantico or something like that.

  22. @ "Heriberto lazcanos primo hermano was just caught in pachuca he was a cell leader for his cousin!!!!!!!!"
    February 23, 2012 9:04 PM

    I am on it...I have to translate and should be up in a few hours. I got the video from the Hidalgo Police website, it is the same one Mundo narco (BDN) is claiming theirs, it is not, neither is the text it is on the website. I should have it up today sometime. Are you in Pachuca? Looks like a very nice place. I read they are coming down hard on the last letter and the bust of primo hermano was back to back with another huge Z bust of over 20 operatives.


    For the final time...I NEVER said the suspects owned slowly. It was the demographics in general. I have a very close connection to CV- I investigated the addresses in the indictment and found ownership went back to early 90s well before Palillos were on the scene.

    Thank you for all the kind words.
    and as for the reader who says he only is critical of my bad work jajaja unless it is a critical point in error that compromises crucial fact why be critical at all? Your complaints are silly, mean spirited, counterproductive, and meaningless. There was a foto I posted wrongly ID a guy, readers called me on it and I listened and dug deeper and found a video with the only picture of the guy, made a screen shot and corrected it. That was constructive. Your drivel is a waste of my time. I am a volunteer, yet I work my ass off as though I am paid. I write original pieces that requires countless hours of research, yet it is people like you that make me want to say forget this shit I do not need it. Like Smurf, and Rise and all the others that left.... put yourself in our place.

  23. UPDATE:

    Defense atty slams witnesses:

  24. Tex has the picture of the woman used to lured Eduardo Gonzalez-Tostado.

    her name is Nancy Mendoza Moreno

  25. Buela, you have a link to that indictment/complaint?

  26. Keep in mind each nameless face you are helping. Never give in to the heartless.

  27. This is a good post but a few things are kinda off, I was a good friend of Cesar Uribe and prior to his murder him and that peice of shit David were supposed to be cool there was no financial dispute it was solely for ransom money because david knew that my boy Ceez always had large sums of cash on hand because he hated dealing with banks and all these shitty business to launder his money so this whole "kidnap" stuff was really a set up thy were supposed to go handle some business stuff together and thats he got taken. David Valencia was playing both sides hustling with Cesar who was a rather successful CDS associate, and working with the pallilos so I wouldnt be surprised if hes snitching. The family gave the palillos 375,000 cash and were expeting to get Cesar back but when they got nothing they called the fbi but by this point Cesar was dead. I hope all these fuckers fry, they had no heart and some people they killed considered them friends at one point.

  28. Appreciate the information, but how can you critique someones reporting, when, the missing or incorrect information is something that is known only by people intimately involved in the situation? It doesn't make any sense, to expect someone to know those kind of details.

    On another note, Los Pallillos make my stomach turn, thinking about the way those people felt when their 'friends' kidnapped and tortured them. Hustling and working is one thing, kidnapping and betraying friends is different.

    1. Good job J.

      Fight back the over stated and under thought and highly negative people on here. I support you and the rest of gluon Borderland Beat!

      Keep up the good work!

  29. There is no honor, nor friends, least of all humanity among sociopaths. Everything is a facade in this hustle. From the lowliest halcone to chapo himself. The almighty dollar/peso and the preservation of self is always first and foremost. Names are given to individuals and groups to stroke the ego and give false pretense of unity and bonding and importance. In the end, every man walks alone.

  30. @j your right I didn't mean to come across as if these things should be common knowledge, I was just trying to offer some clarity.

  31. Hi there, of course this post is in fact good and I
    have learned lot of things from it concerning blogging. thanks.

    My blog post - a wild LA video production

  32. I was just wondering if there was an update on this? Also the status of Jorge Rojas-Lopez and David Valencia because I've read many articles that say they are serving mutiple life terms in prison but the says the were released.

  33. It's too bad the media is controlled by the politicians/government. There's always 2 sides to every story - In this case more. For having no physical dna evidence on ANY of the crime scenes for these two defendants (rojas-lopez & gonzalez-estrada) the sure managed to put together a nice little fiction story. Why don't they try catching the rest of them and see if they can match the dna first before listening to a couple of snitches that were scripted by the da to back up their interpretation and guesses of what really happened and who the real killers are.


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