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

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Legacy of General Acosta Chaparro

By Chris Covert

Retired general Mario Arturo Acosta Chaparro was attacked Friday afternoon in Mexico City in the Mexico City suburb of Polanco in Anahuac colony near the intersection of calles Lago Como and Lago Trasimeno. He  was hit three times in the head by gunfire. He was rushed to receive medical attention but died at about 1820 hrs local time.
General Acosta Chaparro

Mexicans these days recognize the general as a disgraced commander who was accused of receiving money from the founder of the Juarez Cartel,  Amado Carrillo Fuentes AKA Señor de los Cielos or Lord of the Heavens, part of the charges for which Acosta Chaparro was arrested on August 30th, two months short of his retirement.  He was later sentenced for crimes against health. Those charges actually related to his time as a counterinsurgency commander in Guerrero state in the 1970s.  General Acosta Chaparro spent almost seven years in Campo Militar No. 1 military prison in Mexico City.

In the summer of 2007, an appellate court, Quinto Tribunal Colegiado, ordered the Supremo Tribunal de Justicia Militar to impose a new sentence on  Acosta Chaparro saying sufficient evidence had been found of the general's ties to drug trafficking. The new sentence was for a charge he had already been acquitted, So, in June 2007 he was released.

General Acosta Chaparro was one of several military commanders who made their bones in the 1970s and 1990s fighting Marxist guerilla movements in Mexico, a list which includes General Mario Renan Castillo Fernandez Military Zone commander during the latter phases of the Chiapas Conflict of 1994 to 1998, General Leopoldo Diaz Perez, who was Castillo Fernandez's intelligence chief during the Chiapas Conflict,  and General Juan Alfredo Oropeza Garnica commander of the 27th Military Zone in Acapulco, who effectively ended Ejercito Popular Revolucionario (EPR) combat activities in Guerrero in the late 1990s.

Acosta Chaparro was born January 19, 1942 in Mexico City and entered military school in 1959 and was graduated from Frances Hidalgo college in 1962, when he received his officer's commission as a 2nd lieutenant.

Between then and 1970 he spent time in a number of military police and rifle units before going to Fort Bragg North Carolina for paratrooper training.  He served briefly as an aide to Mexican Secretaria de Defensa Nacional (SEDENA) General Marcelino Garcia Barragan before being assigned as a staff officer in Brigada de Fusileros Paracaidistas an airborne infantry unit.

In December 1974 he was promoted by President Luis Echeverria to major and at some point had been assigned to the 27 Military Zone in Acapulco. His service record records these assignments as under the heading War Campaigns and Actions. He worked with the Guerrero governor Ruben Figueroa Figueroa during that time and with coordination with the Procuraduria General de la Republica (PGR) in the campaign against Marxist guerillas operating in Guerrero state.  Chief among those was a group headed by Lucio Cabanas, Partido de los Pobres.

While in the 27th Military Zone, it is alleged, that then major of infantry Acosta Chaparro ran the Brigada Blanca which was allegedly responsible for the forced disappearances of 143 individuals, and which operated the "death flights" which disposed of many more executed in Acapulco.

The Mexican leftist weekly, Proceso, had an article published back in the 2000s which described in chilling detail how ordinary citizens had been swept off the streets of Acapulco, interrogated then executed without trial.  The bodies were then transported to a local military airfield at night to an awaiting aircraft, which would then be flown offshore some kilometers, where the bodies would then be dumped.

The article, understandably has been redacted, but it can be found here.

How much of that story is true is uncertain, but what was certain was that General Acosta Chaparro was implicated in that grisly activity and had faced an investigation under the presidency of Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon.  An assistant attorney general of Distrito Federal Samual de Villar attempted to charge Acosta Chapparro with the murder of several individuals during Acosta Chaparro's time as head of Guerrero state's Polica Judicial del Estado, but the complaint was unable to be moved forward.

Almost as an aside, it was with the help of Acosta Chaprro that the armed leftist insurgency in Guerrero was exterminated, not to be revived until after the Chiapas Conflict went hot in 1994.

When Chiapas went hot in 1994, after literally years of SEDENA and then President Carlos Salinias de Gortari ignoring the warnings of a growing and hostile armed movement in Chiapas, now General Acosta Chaparro came up with a document based on files he had accumulated while fighting Marxist guerillas in 1970 that provided SEDENA with an insight into what Mexico was fighting with the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (EZLN).

The document can't be found online, but from various descriptions available, the general excoriated the intelligence services for their failures in recognizing the threat from EZLN.  His files were later published in 1995 in a book entitled  Movimiento Subversivo en Mexico.

Following his posting in Guerrero,  which ended in 1977, Acosta Chaparro held a number of military police and rifle commands until his arrest in 2000.  Despite his record as a warfighter during the 1970s, he was never assigned a military zone.

Just after the general was released from prison, President Felipe Calderon brought him out of retirement for one last mission in 2008, a year after the start of Calderon's term. 
President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa

According to data supplied by Proceso writer Jorge Carrasco Araizaga, who gathered information provided by a book written by Anabel Hernandez entitled The Drug Lords, Hernandez identified a Mexican General called "General X", a military commander that Carrasco Araizaga identified as General Acosta Chaparro.

President Calderon's mission was for General Acosta Chaparro to contact the leaders for the top five drug cartels, and to negotiate with them to get them to tamp down on the violence.

In turn, Acosta Chaparro met with:
  • Jesus Mendez Vargas AKA El Chango and Nazario Moreno AKA El Pastor, top leaders of La Familia de Michoacana.
  • Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano AKA La Lanzca and Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, AKA Z40, top leaders of Los Zetas, then the enforcement wing for the Gulf Cartel.
  • A second meeting too place in Febraury, 2009 when General Acosta Chaparro asked Lazcano Lazcano why General Mauro Enrique Tello Quinones commander of 21st Military Zone had been killed just days before, to which was replied, he failed to comply.
  • Lazcano Lazcano helped the general contact Arturo Beltran Leyva, AKA El Barbas, head of the Beltran Leyva cartel.  That meeting was held at a location between Cuernavaca and Acapulco, and was attended by  Edgar Valdez Villarreal AKA La Barbie, Mario Pineda Villa AKA El Borrado and  Jesus Nava Romero AKA El Rojo.  Less than nine months later Arturo Beltran Leyva and Nava Romero would be killed in a military operation.  Valdez Villarreal allegedly dropped a dime on Beltran Leyva and escaped the kill zone.  Valdez Villarreal would himself be detained in Mexico City in 2010.
  • Next, the general met with leaders of the Juarez Cartel, probably Vicente Carillo Fuentes,  the organization with which prosecutors alleged  Acosta Chaparro had links.
  • The last meeting held was with Joaquin Loera Guzman AKA El Chapo, head of the Sinaloa cartel.
Ultimately, Acosto Chaparro's mission to convince the drug cartels to lower their violence failed.  He managed to get meeting s with all the biggest cartel chiefs, but the goal Calderon set of getting the cartels to lower the violence went unrealized.

Following his release, Acosta Chaparro was discharged from the military, a move against which he sued SEDENA in the courts and won.  The suit allowed him to recover back pay and assets lost when he went to prison  His name was eventually added to list of Mexican Army heros by concurrent SEDENA General Guillermo Galvan Galvan for his efforts in extinguishing the armed Marxist movements in the 1970s.

Although he did spend almost seven years in prison and was acquitted, it was his efforts and experience in killing Marxist guerillas in Guerrero in the 1970s that won his a politically motivated charge of a nexus with organized crime, which he was eventually cleared.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for


  1. "Valdez Villarreal would himself be killed in Guerrero in 2010"

    Valdez Villarreal "La barbie" was not killed but captured, everyone knows that, no?

  2. La Barbie wasn't killed how did u miss that

  3. @ Badanov 10:00pm
    Why does it say that Edgar "la barbie" Valdez Villareal got killed? I thought that he was in prison..

  4. @Badanov 10:00pm

  5. Isn't there more than 1 Barbie. By the way how does Ken fit into this.

  6. Corrected. I had him confused with Ignacio Coronel Villarreal.

    My apologies and thanks.

  7. You guys have to check what you post. As already indicated, Edgar "la Barbie" Valdez has not been killed. Things like that bring an otherwise interesting article crashing down.

  8. The cartels became the death squads of the CIA and Mexican gvt to extinguish Marxist elements in Mexico. There will be no communist resurgence as long as the drug cartels are allowed to operate as the execution arm of the Mexican gvt and CIA!
    Mexico is evil capitalism!

  9. Carillo fuentes, lord of the skys has been dead for 10 years! How is he meeting with him circa 2009 for Calderon!

    1. Amado Carrillo Fuentes "Lord Of the skies", died in the late 90's. VICENTE Carrillo Fuentes "El Viceroy", is his brother and still alive running the cartel jackass..

  10. Lord of the skys not of the heavens

  11. Get the point. Even in the 1970s, the government was arranging death squads killing innocent people they perceive as a treat. They are doing the same thing today. And the military is directly involved as usual. A Marxist Movement treat in Mexico in 1970, give me a break. The group were out spoke political activists against the government kind of like in the US during the cold war. Who gives a shit if the author missed the arrest versus killed of La Barbie. The article had a lot of meaning about what is going on in Mexico. That is what upsets me about Colvert and his "Military Bags 8 More Bad Guys" articles bullshit. He doesn't even know who was really killed.

    @ 8:13 AM He Said Vicente Carrillo, who "is" the head of the Juarez Cartel, not Amado, who has been dead 15 years, not 10.

    Read the articles and look outside the box and see what is going on in Mexico. The point is, the general are major players.

    The most interesting point to the article was that Calderon got this guy back into government to negotiate a truce in 2008 or 2009. That was exactly when Calderon was boasting, "I Will Never Negotiate With Criminal."

    Calderon is such a SNAKE.

  12. @ April 22 7:13am
    didnt u read this mentions that the general had to ties Amado Carillo in those years, but later had the meeting "probably vith Vicente Carillo Fuentes"..thats what it says..

  13. So who killed this guy and why? BLO?

  14. Lol dam some people are true morons.First Amado Carrillo died 15 years ago not 10.Second in the part about the meeting there talking about Amados brother Vicente Carrillo Fuentes.Next time use your brain do research then maybe the ignorance will ease up a bit.


    1. every investor since Columbus,just want to fuck up Mexico and all of Latin-American,and the Chinese are trying to buy Mexico to get closer to the USA to fuck'em up in their own house.that's what the us get for christianizating the Chinese by sending them our jobs and every kind of high technology,and letting the rich offshore all the dollars in the world,making the us government print and print and print more and more worthless dollars.propounders of globalization must be the us worst enemies.

  16. Vicente Carrillo is living brother to the late Amado Carrillo.

  17. This sounds fishy. He know too much and now he's finish with 3 bullets in the head. Serves him. Maybe it was Lazca who order the hit? Who knows.

  18. El Lazca not La Lanzca by the way interesing story

  19. La barbie was the baddest texan in my book i live in Laredo and need say no more!

  20. No la barbie no esta muerto el mismo se entrego. Qreo que este senor tambien alludo a dividir el pais entre los carteles,por eso es que el presidente le pidio que ablara con ellos. Qreo que el govierno si tiene un pez grande i el tuvo algo que ver con eso.

  21. The whole thing makes no sense. Calderon aggressively goes after the cartels and then thinks if he sends a senior government official, he can request they tamp down the violence? I wonder what they would all get in return. I'll never understand this cat and mouse game. All I know from traveling to Mexico a lot and having many local friends, is that the cartels have a lot more power than we think and a very large segment of the population endorses it all.

    1. the president is the big boss,those who don't lissen,armed with their indiscipline,get it up the ass,ineffective allies,get disposed off,looks like Maffia,right?

  22. 5:01 PM i dont think so otherwise he wouldve been dead long time ago

  23. wow you guys really know alot , you make me wanna sit here and read all the action that is going on in Mexico

    keep it up maybe one day I will be an expert like you

  24. More of these people in these positions of power,need to be dealt with in a similar way.
    They need a dose of the real world,a world they don't see,because they are cocooned in a secure insulated bubble.More politicians need to feel the wrath of the people whose lives they arbitrarily fuck with.There is no way to censure these corrupt clowns,no way to make them pay for their greed and arrogance.

  25. I lived in Mexico in th 90s! basically there was no tax collection system, so no public services. The cartels moved into the security vaccum!
    Now pay or u die!

  26. The whole Government in Mexico is Corrupt; including all the
    Army Generals that work with Sedena and all the Drug Enforcement Agencies that have all the intelligence and Ratas
    As they sayin Mexico. It will never be stopped..! If the US can
    Not stop it how the fuck can Lil O'l Mexico stop it...! It's a Major
    Fiasco that cannot be stopped and won't unless humans stop
    Getting High. And thats a joke..LOL.


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