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

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Encounter With Drunk Sicarios

Written by Buggs for Borderland Beat Originally published April 18, 2010

Note:  I read this post yesterday for the first time.  Buggs wrote in in 2010, I don't know how it slipped by me, but it did, and it is a gem.  I asked Buggs for permission to republish this real life story for those BB readers who, like me, , missed it the first time around.  Buggs not only wrote the article but all the photography is his work.  Jefe is not only a talented writer, but a talented photog as well.....Paz, Chivis

Many people in the U.S. are always asking me how safe it is to travel to Mexico with all the daily reports of violence. And I am very reluctant to tell them my opinion. One of the reason is because there is a legitimate risk. And the second reason is because I love to travel to Mexico, and sometimes do despite the potential danger.
My friend Everestt while descending the switchbacks of Copper Canyon last December
I am an avid dual sport motorcycle adventure rider and have done many rides in to Mexico. Last December, I and another rider from the U.S. decided to ride the "Tarahumara Sierra" of Copper Canyon. We started our journey in Creel and spent about four days in the back country of the Sierra Madre. I usually keep a journal of my travels and to help people decide as to what can happen, I have decided to post some of my entries of the journey. The following entry is day two and it starts in Batopilas.

December 25, 2009, Batopilas Chihuahua

The motel Mary is in the heart of Batopilas, right across from the main church. The sounds of children singing Christmas songs and Christmas music from a loud speaker serenaded us late into the night. We woke up in Batopilas on Christmas day.

I saw that Everest was getting ready for the day, cleaning his helmet. It is amazing how one day he is lying in the middle of the road breathing his last breath and the next day he is full of life waiting to ride out of the Copper Canyon.

We ate a quick breakfast in the motel restaurant and headed out. Today we try to make it to Urique. On our way out we stopped in the Cathedral of Satevó. I tried to get direction out of the canyon from here, but no one seemed to know.

We went south on a dirt road and when we came on a fork we were not sure which direction to go. We asked a young man in an old beat-up truck. He looked nervous looking around as if someone was watching him and seem upset that we had approached him. He pointed to the right up a huge mountain.

We could see the road winding its way up the top of the crest. As we were climbing we came to another fork and decided to go left, but after a while the road was getting really rough. We had to track back as we saw that we were going the wrong way.

The dirt road up the mountain was very good, rocky in some areas, but not bad. We continued the climb up the road, eventually we made the left turn and continued through a few small towns reaching a small town of Rodeo where we stopped for a break. Some kids came out to greet us and I bought them some candy at the small local store.

We continued on some very interesting roads and scenery. It was a nice day, it was Christmas day and we were having a blast riding in some of the more interesting roads in Tarahumara country. The accident from yesterday was still fresh in my mind and I attempted to put it out of my mind, but I still had the strange and unexplainable premonition.

It actually started to get warm and Everest wanted to stop to shed some clothing. Suddenly the road took us to a river without a bridge. It was not very deep, perhaps knee deep, but there was a lot of gravel made up of huge rocks. I thought Everest would stop to talk about how to enter the river, but he stood up and accelerated his bike to enter the river.

I don’t have to tell you what happened next. He went down right on the middle of the river. The current was strong and I was trying to still find a good place to set down my side stand on the huge rocks. Somehow Everest was able to pick up his bike and push out of the water. He was soaked. I placed my camera and clothed in a plastic bag and rode through the river at a slower pace.

We continued to ride, it was starting to get late and we were not sure how far we were from Urique. As we came around a bend and started to climb a hill, I could see a large white truck coming down the hill. I could see several indian men on the back of the truck. There was a narrow gap between some trees just enough for the truck to fit. Everest managed to cross the gap before the truck made it through. He sped up the hill and I had to wait for the truck to make it through the gap so I could get through.

But the truck stopped in the middle of the gap blocking my path.

I could see two men inside the cab of the truck. Suddenly the driver got out and I could see he was wearing a military jacket with blue pants. He was carrying an assault rifle, AR-15.

I did not like this a bit.

I tried to back up to turn around fast, but he was moving too fast toward me. I then saw that the passenger had also exited his truck and he also was armed with an assault rifle. I became afraid of what they might do and thought for a second of ditching the bike and running as fast as I could, but I knew I didn’t have time to do anything.
I could see that Everest was reaching the top of the hill kicking dust in the distance.
The driver reached me first but he was laughing and that made me relax a bit. One thing you never want to do in these kinds of situations is show fear. He stopped right in front of my bike and asked where I was going. I told him Urique and he asked where I was from. I said the U.S.
I told him we were just doing a motorcycle ride to see the country. I notice he had two beer cans of Tecate in his hands. He reached out and tried to give me one saying “here cabron have a beer.” I said no thanks and I could see in his facial expression that he did not like my response.
He stood there looking at me and I could tell he was intoxicated as he swayed in his stance. His friend pointed at me with his weapon, “did this cabron just say no?”

“Listen guys, I would be happy to join you for a beer, but it is getting late and we are trying to reach Urique before it gets dark. Otherwise, I would be honored to join you for a drink.” I pointed up the hill.

“You see up there?”

Everest had reached the top of the hill and had stopped far up the distance.

“That is my friend up there and he is waiting for me, so I need to go,” I said trying to sound unalarmed, but my heart was beating a hundred miles an hour.

They both looked up and they could see a tiny figure of Everest waiting for me to come up. The driver came around the bike and looked at me real closely. He could not really tell who I was, as I was wearing my helmet and sunglasses.

He seem to relax a bit and was smiling at me, "do you want some perico?'

"No thank you," I responded while playing with the buttons of my GPS. He got even closer to get a better look at my GPS that looked like some form of communication device.

“Are the gringos in the bicycles up ahead your friends?”

He kept playing with his rifle and I could see that he had two more magazines sticking out of his jacket pocket.

“No,” I responded.

He started to laugh real loud.

“Well we scared the shit out of them, not sure where they went,” he said while both he and his friend laughed out loud.

They both turned around still laughing and went inside their truck. They both were having a hard time keeping their balance and I could tell both were very intoxicated. I could hear the gear grinding as he shifted to first and drove past me, even the men in the back of the truck were laughing.

I started to ride up the hill and met Everest mid way, he was coming down to see what was the holdup. I was glad he did not make it down any time sooner. I motioned him to keep going.

We travelled another hour or so and we came to a “T.” We decided to turn left to reach a small town down the hill called Tubares. In the small town of Tubares I saw a small church that was falling down. I parked my bike to take some pictures. As I was taking pictures I could detect movement underneath a pile of wood inside the dark shadows of the church.

I called out to Everest and I saw two blond men come out of the shadow with their eyes wide open. They were bicyclists from California and they told us they were hiding from two drunken armed Mexicans that were making them drink beer. They said that the two armed men had been shooting down toward their feet and they were very scared.

They asked me if I thought it was safe to stay here for the night. I did not think it was a good idea. On my way in I saw several houses with a bunch of pickup trucks and SUV’s parked in the front. I could also see a bunch of men drinking beer outside. This is narco territory and I myself would not feel safe staying here. I told them they should ride out and find a secluded hidden area to sleep for the night.

It was getting dark and we still had many miles to reach Urique. Everest and I decided that we would ride to Urique even if it took us all night. I watched as the bicyclist rode out and we mounted our motorcycles to try to reach Urique in the dark of night. I could hear gunshots in the distance, echoing in the walls of the far away canyons.

I asked Buggs if he had any other material about this trip, he directed me to THIS LINK


  1. ok, wheres the rest of the story?

  2. I wish Peaple would post more stories about their experiences traveling the border region and back country of mexico

  3. Used to do lots of exploring in Tarahumara country. Mostly with a colleague cataloging petroglyphs and pictographs. Had similar encounters with armed narco types. These incidents happened as far back as the early 80's. There have been smuggling and growing operations in those mountains for a long time. The further off the beaten path the more likely you will run into armed individuals. The outcome usually depends on how harmless they determine you to be unless they are drunk like these guys or you unknowingly get too close to a prohibited area. Have stayed away from the back country in this part of Mexico for over ten years now. It is a shame, it's a beautiful area.- Memo

  4. "They were bicyclists from California and they told us they were hiding from two drunken armed Mexicans that were making them drink beer. They said that the two armed men had been shooting down toward their feet and they were very scared."

    Haha! Dance, liberal, dance! Lol. That will teach those Democrats to go bicycling in Mexico during a cartel war! Hahahahahahahahaaaaa!

    1. Your social skills lack an abundance of quality. I say this but you might respond "I don't f%#€ing care!"
      Yet now your angry and wish badly you could tell me off. You might respond and just really hope I come back and read you remarks.
      Know this, you are (you and those like you) are almost always on here. Looking for stories that bring you a twisted smile on your face and people on here to provoke.

      I honestly I am wrong. I hope you end up with a life that does good in this world.

  5. Iv,e had dodgy experiences myself.Them guys didn't sound to bad,don't get me wrong,he did the right thing,alcohol is a monster,and changes people.End of the day,i can see where their coming from,here are these white boy gringos with money they won't have,they won't travel the world anywhere,and they feel a sense of fuck these clowns on their little holiday.It happens all over the world,you seen the trouble you can get in if you with a pretty girl?Shit it is a dangerous world,but i would rather travel than sit still.Don't forget people,some of these white boy gringos,are the nicest people you can meet,and would help you out.Jus sayin.

  6. damn buggs you should have took the beer and the perico you would have finshed the moutain in less than half the time but since your a cop you will never do that

  7. @ 8:28 So somehow youre telling me that republicans dont ride bikes or go on adventures? Surely you cant be so naive.

  8. Two blond guys from cali hiding in an abandoned church in the sounds like a scene from "brokeback mountain"...and how much gas is in that dirtbike that they can ride up mountains and through the night and everywhere else?

  9. Haha funny......

  10. June 23, 2012 8:28 AM
    That was to most ignorant comment i have ever read. That has nothing to do with this incredible story. I think you must have had a few beers yourself, no one in their right mind would post such nonsense!!!

  11. for comparrison i want you to know these kinds of things are happening in the US right now.
    Sheriff: Men open fire, claim they're Zetas

    June 22, 2012 10:00 PM

    ShareThis| Print Story | E-Mail Story

    Madeleine Buckley

    The Brownsville Herald

    BROWNSVILLE — Cameron County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two men Thursday who they say fired guns in the air and claimed they were Zetas after being kicked out of a birthday party.

    Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said investigators do not believe the men are actually members of the Mexican drug cartel.

    Oscar Lamas, 18, and Nicolas de Jesus Paz, 20, are charged with deadly conduct, possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance.

    Lucio said deputies arrived to a party around 5:20 a.m. Sunday on Coach Circle in Brownsville. Witnesses said the two men came to the party and began arguing with others, so the hosts asked them to leave.

    The two then returned with an AK-47 and a pistol and fired shots in the air, yelling at party-goers in Spanish that they were members of the Zetas drug cartel, witnesses told deputies.

    “They shot into the air saying in Spanish, ‘So you know we are Zetas,’” Lucio said.

    The men then left, according to witnesses.

    Deputies obtained an arrest warrant and detained the men Thursday afternoon at Lamas’ residence on North Illinois Avenue.

    Investigators found the weapons, ammunition, about 51 pounds of marijuana and 95 ounces of cocaine, Lucio said.

    A judge set bail totaling $75,000 for each man.


    1. Another pair of drunk dumbasses. Hope they go away for a while

  12. Few years ago I thought about visiting Sonora and Chihuahua. But after reading all the stories on Borderland Beat and Narco Blog I have changed my mind.

    Mexico is the real Wild West.

    1. I got lost with my cousin in april between sinaloa and durango. In the middle of mafia country, but people were helpfull and nice. Saludos a cosala y tamazula.

  13. damn 51pounds =25,000 dollars 95 Ounces. =95,000 dollars the criminals. are 20 and 19 they have to be zetas

  14. Thank you for this piece. With the photos you get a feel for this experience This story is such a great break from the usual serious coverage of trying times in Mexico. I love hearing stories of different areas we can't readily access and Tarahumara country is a prime example of a mysterious land. The Tarahumara have plenty of challenges. Thank you-good choice.

  15. I bet they are Zetas, or at least closely working with them, with that kind of work.

  16. Bottemless gas tank?

  17. This is an old story I read years ago.

  18. @ 5:27PM

    gee thanks for the revelation, can't you read in italics?

  19. krgv is one of the news channels to follow if you want to see some of the impact on the US border side. look for video title "Men Charged for Firing High-Powered Weapons"
    heres some meth meant for the locals.
    "2 Arrested, Charged with Possession of Meth"
    etc etc...

  20. People still visit Creel all the time. Not so many go down into Batopilas these days but a handful still due.

  21. kool story


  22. in brownsville weed is cheap and 95 ounzes is like 3 birds at 11.5 g's i say thats about 41 g's .my opinion maybe they know some zetas doubt it they are thats cdg territory and zetas are not very welcomed in t.d.c because of what they have done to the game. now federal prison the paisas are there and they are taking over the federal detentions


  23. Yeah i was wondering the same thing about the gas. What kinda dirt bike Do you have bugs?

  24. Tihs was just crazy, they went on a fun little relaxing bike ride in cartel territory in Mexico?? Some people really do ask for trouble, I have no idea why anyone would do such a thing, I guess its that fake "its safe, it wont happen to me, just everyone else" feeling people have.

  25. ... yoe, thnx for all you folks do here, hope the site is making you all some $$, (ya otta set up a paypal link for 10.- donations ...) ... so i too beg for a link or the rest of this story :}
    ... doing this in 2009 was reckless in my experience, 3 of us in a new f150 crew cab were off looking for critters one night on a dirt road near alamos son. and we had several cops w/ rifles pull us over in the wee hours of the night ... very scary, but amazingly we didnt get jacked :p ...that was sept 2004, i quit going into mx in 07 tho we were recently in cabo and that was the very typical mx. of my past. Beautiful people country & culture but the prohibition/corruption cesspool seems to be boiling over and hurting everyone ... of course the little peeples the worst : {
    The US has intervened & so f't up mx., it or better; the un probably needs to do so 1 more time and give the mexican people a real shot at a decent life.
    mx probably needs to unilaterally quit prohibition.
    keep up the gr8t reporting & i look forward to reading the rest of the ride, i ride a yamaha 200 in the back country : }

  26. @8:50

    nah he was right to turn down the beer for a few reasons but the 2 most important i would think are

    1. it shows fear

    2. you spend more time with them, so have more chance to say something they may find offensive

    ~~~el spaceio~~~

  27. Thank you ATF and Eric Holder for the much for strict Mexican gun laws.

  28. You morons. Those bikes have extra large tanks and can do 300 miles off road. Of course they could ride all night. One crash though and they are done.
    FWIW bad people are everywhere. Walk around Dallas at night and you will get mugged and knifed, maybe shot.

  29. Wow great post Buela of finding it, i too have similar encounters up in tarahumara country. Most of the time if you dont have anything to fight they will leave you alone as evidenced by this post. Did Buggs write more? Also i know there's a mountain bike website who kept a diary of the ride they did through that same area cant think of the name though. DURANGO1

  30. This is the first time I have read it and I really enjoyed it. Good work and excellent photography. With all its shortcomings and its current problems, Mexico still remains a place of beauty and mystery. I cannot describe the feeling of freedom I get when I travel in Mexico, the total lack--in the most positive sense-- of consumer protection b---sh-t. Like Caballo Blanco used to say, "If I get hurt or kill myself, it's my own damn fault."

  31. All you fuckers watch out for the dudes with the shooters.Its such a shame that nice boys cant travel to Mexico for their holidays.Those pesky Mexican narcos.Spoil it for everyone.

  32. I'm from this part of Mexico and yes it's true tis guys are dicks like that I have herd many stories about them messing with ppl .

  33. By the way if your wondering the cartel that is in the area is the Juarez cartel specialy the "linea"

  34. I'm sorry but I don't see anything cool about it. If you were in narco country which is most of northern mexico, you will be lucky if you DON'T have a bad experience. If you get off on putting yourself in dangerous situations you are not adventurous you are stupid and you get whatever you get. I am truly glad Buggs is here to tell the story and to give us BB.

    Buggs almost excuses the two men's behavior by his descriptions of their drunkenness. Like they are probably good guys except when they're drunk.

    El Spaceio has it right. When in the company of drunk indios don't accept any kindness and get away from them asap. The longer you are around them, the better the chance they will find something about you that offends them. If they are armed, you have a big problem.

    I was accosted by a drunk indio who insisted that he had enough money to buy me a torta and wanted to fight me if I didn't let him buy the torta. Wanted to prove he was as good as the gringos. My friend was clearly a gringo. I bought my own torta. I fought him. He lost.

  35. Looking at the fotos, WOW, I would love to decide on WHICH of Buggs fotos to use as DESKTOP fotos on my laptop. I know your fotos are of higher calidad, the originals, but for the Borderland Beat purposes the fotos have been lowered in quality AND MY QUESTION IS, ¿Where can I get a copy of Bugs's ORIGINAL FOTOS so that I can use ONE OF THEM on my laptop as high quality "DESKTOP 'background' FOTO". Bugs, your fotos INSPIRE !!, I would Larger Size Version of YOUR 'super fotos!'

    Muchas Gracias,

    bloggero -->> Sensiblero

  36. 11:04 maybe your dirtbike on your xbox runs all night without refueling..but in the real world if your riding trails and going up hills you "might" get 45 to 50 miles out of it.

  37. the zetas is will always go and be anywhere they want they have the fear of the people. and the government. most powerful dope bogus these days Somalia is chapo. and zetas is ex military

  38. I asked Buggs if he had additional info about this trip. I just posted the link to more of the story and fotos.

    As for the gas tank here is his answer:

    Sizuki DR650, dual sport bike refitted with a large 7 gallon tank that gave me a range of about 320 miles..........Paz, Chivis

  39. PS...I will ask Buggs about the photos

  40. Thx for clearing that up.

  41. To the person interested in the photos...go to this website (Buggs) see additional photos...all IMO are stunning...Paz, Chivis!i=260427916&k=jQ26a

  42. Good post. Great great great area to explore but def has its dangers.

    As for the bicyclist I wonder if you offered attempted to some how strap the bikes down and haul their asses out? I know I would have offered and attempted at least.

  43. Kind of hilarious they were forcing people to drink beer with them at gunpoint. At least they were just drunk idiots and not cartel henchmen.

    An Indo-canadian customs officer in Canada told me a story about when him and a bunch of other vacationing customs guy's went to a strip bar in Cancun. Apparently they were drunk and stupid so the local cops arrested them, drove them to the outskirts of town, and forced them at gunpoint to take off all their clothes. Then they shot in the air and told them to run back to their hotels, naked, in the middle of the night with no ID on them.

    Suffice to say they were arrested about 20mins into their jog back to the hotel and spent the next week in prison trying to figure it out with the consulate.


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