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

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Arrest of Alleged Kingpin Seen as Blow to Sinaloa Cartel

Borderland Beat

By Richard Marosi and Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
SAN DIEGO — Alleged drug kingpin Victor Emilio Cazares, among the most wanted trafficking suspects in the United States, has been arrested in Mexico, U.S. and Mexican officials say, despite having changed his appearance through plastic surgery.
A senior U.S. law enforcement official in Mexico confirmed this week that Cazares was captured April 8 at a highway checkpoint near the western city of Guadalajara. Mexican authorities on Friday confirmed Cazares was in custody.
Mexican authorities did not make the arrest public at the time, and it has not been previously reported. Cazares, 48, is believed to be a key lieutenant of Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel. The arrest is seen as a blow to the sprawling criminal organization, the most powerful in Mexico.
Photo taken at Cazares' arrest
Cazares is charged with running a vast drug-distribution network featured in a Times series last year, "Inside the Cartel." U.S. law enforcement sources said he was nabbed by Mexican authorities with the help of U.S. federal agents. Federal prosecutors in San Diego, where Cazares was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2007, are seeking his extradition.
Mexican police had trouble identifying Cazares because he had undergone plastic surgery, the sources said. Though Cazares kept a low profile in Mexico, his photograph appeared on a widely circulated list of Mexico's most wanted drug traffickers distributed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Cazares eventually acknowledged his identity to Mexican officials who were holding him. Those officials also confirmed his identity through photos and fingerprint information from the U.S., where Cazares has two drug-trafficking convictions.
Cazares, in a photograph taken at the scene of the arrest, appears much younger than his age. His once straight hair is curly, he has a grizzled beard and is wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the word "Rockers."
"It looks like he belongs in Venice Beach, surfing," said one official familiar with the investigation.
It is not unheard-of for Mexican drug traffickers to go under the knife to obscure their identities. In the most infamous case, drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes, nicknamed "Lord of the Skies," died in 1997 after extensive surgery to alter his appearance, including liposuction. Two of the doctors involved in the operation were later tortured and killed.
The secrecy surrounding Cazares' arrest is unusual. According to U.S. sources, Mexican counterparts said they refrained from announcing the capture to comply with an electoral law in Mexico that seeks to prevent the government from influencing the outcome of an election campaign by touting its actions. With a presidential contest underway, some Mexican agencies, including the federal police, have stopped issuing news releases, though others have continued to make announcements. Mexicans will vote in July.
President Felipe Calderon, who launched what he calls an all-out fight against drug cartels in 2006, has been accused of going easy on the Sinaloa group while aggressively pursuing its rivals. Calderon's conservative National Action Party, or PAN, faces wide popular discontent over the drug violence that has killed more than 50,000 people since Calderon came to power.
Cazares is among a string of alleged Sinaloa underlings and associates arrested in recent months. A top-ranking Guzman ally, Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, was killed by army troops near Guadalajara in 2010. But the Mexican government has yet to capture Guzman, whom Forbes magazine lists among the world's wealthiest people.
Cazares is charged with running a distribution network that stretched from the state of Sinaloa in northwestern Mexico to dozens of cities across the U.S. In the Los Angeles area, about 20 distribution cells were linked to his alleged ring. He allegedly oversaw operations from a 25-acre estate outside Culiacan, the Sinaloa capital, that featured a twin-towered church and two man-made lakes.
In 1995, while living in Bell, outside Los Angeles, Cazares was arrested with a bag of cocaine and sentenced to two years in prison. He eventually returned to Mexico. U.S. authorities estimate that the group allegedly run by Cazares smuggled at least 40 tons of cocaine across the border from 2004 to 2007, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. A DEA-led 20-month investigation yielded more than 400 arrests.
Cazares eluded capture more than once. In 2007, Mexican authorities spotted him in downtown Culiacan but didn't act because he was protected by 20 heavily armed guards. A few months later, Mexican soldiers descended on his estate, but Cazares slipped away before the raid.
During his years as a fugitive, he was believed to have shuttled between hide-outs in Sinaloa and Jalisco.
In 2009, a woman believed to be his wife was killed in Sinaloa when her car was intercepted by two carloads of gunmen. In 2008, his nephew and Guzman's son were killed by .gunmen in a parking lot in Culiacan
It's unclear how authorities caught up with Cazares. In other hunts for trafficking suspects, U.S. authorities have relied on informants to provide tips. U.S. authorities had offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Cazares' arrest.
Cazares' sister, Blanca, also faces drug charges in the U.S. She is suspected of laundering drug proceeds for the Sinaloa group, in part by using tainted dollars to buy and import silk from Asia and then resell it for pesos in Mexico, U.S. federal investigators say.
In recent months, Guzman's organization has faced an increasingly deadly challenge in various parts of the country from the Zetas, a criminal gang known for beheading and dismembering its victims.
Guzman and his allies have sought to control the colonial-era city of Guadalajara and the surrounding state of Jalisco in the midst of a turf war that has intensified since Coronel was slain by Mexican soldiers in a suburb known as Zapopan.
Last week, killers dumped parts of at least 18 bodies on the road between Guadalajara and Lake Chapala, a scenic area that is home to thousands of U.S. retirees.
Read "Inside The Cartel" LINK HERE


  1. It has been known since April 9 from contacts in Sinaloa that he was captured, this is a huge blow for el chapo,este hombre tiene linia directa con el chapo! the reason that the Mexican government gave as to why his capture was not made public is complete B.S, the real reason was because the sister Blanca Margarita Cázares "La Emperatriz" was trying to negotiate his release for a huge amount of cash obviously the negotiations were unsuccessful for an unknown reason and thus his arrest made public- el cosala

    1. What your saying sounds like a reasonable story, but it must not be to big a blow if his almighty cartel wouldn't flip the note to get him released. Hes replaceable like everyone else in his business. His crew got caught slipping thats why he was running.

  2. MZ rata /VZ traitor
    Atte: el Patrick Swayze

  3. Smells like Snitch

  4. No news about arrests,because of an election,Mexicans obeying a law, you bet,Mexicans influenced by Narcos trying to help the PRI, BINGO there you have it.

  5. Jajaja levantaron el primer borrachito que encontraron para taparle el ojo al macho pinche gobierno corrupto

  6. If they police were unable to identify him, what was he arrested for and why were they taking pics of him at the scene? Im sure the guy had paid for new identification and the plastic surgery changed his appearance pretty good.

  7. con razon no ay nada de jale por aqui.

  8. In hindsight, the plastic surgery was useless.

    He'll be spending the rest of his miserable life in a concrete closet without a mirror.

    I hope he rots.

  9. This queen was a kingpin. Man!! This just proves what we've known all along. Any pussy can be a mafioso in mexico. Tragic all that confused aggression misdirected... Just becouse they don't know if they are homo or heterosexual. These are the people you look up to? Stop playing cartel video games and get a job... Atte. A real mexican

  10. Whos this clown

  11. This is what the kingpins they sing about in the corridos look like??? I bet his a big Elton John fan.. lugarteniente de el chapo o Su piquete?.. nice shirt buddy!!!

  12. Gudalajara has always been headquarters for sinaloaa leadership. Im sure sapo in not too far

  13. I believe this is El Gringo from the Federation.

  14. u.s. Intelligence identified him

  15. um this is still pretty big news of a big time distrabutor for the Sinoloa Cartel, suprised not seeing this in mainstream media or more people commenting

  16. this is all bs!
    Att. z1

  17. con razon no ay sodita por esta area

  18. el senor de la montana sabe que estamos al 100 con echos lo eh demostrado que soy hombre de respeto, como no lo voy aser soy sinaloense asta el pecho jaaajaaaiii !!


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