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

Saturday, December 27, 2014

“Priests Demand Protection From Violent Extortionist; Except Padre Pistolas. He Can Defend Himself”

Borderland Beat by DD 
A reader posted a comment posted on one of the stories I posted this week about the kidnapping and murder of Father Gregerio Lopez and in the comment said “Padre get ur guns”. That comment made me start thinking about a story I posted last year on the Forum that was entitled “Priests Demand Protection From Violent Extortionist; Except Padre Pistolas. He Can Defend Himself”.

The story deals with brave priests and Bishops all across Mexico and their stand against violence and the cartels and corrupt government. One of the most interesting and unusual is a priest by the name of Alfredo Gallegos Lara, better known as Pistolas Padre.  He is dealt with at length in the story and I thought new readers of Borderland Beat and some long time readers that don’t read the Forum.might enjoy reading the story. So here is the story from the Forum from Feb. of 2013.

Bishop Jose Flores Preciado, 83, died on Feb. 6, after being beaten by several assailants during a robbery at the Templo de Cristo Rey in the city of Colima. The day after the killing, Bishop Jose Luis Amezcua Melgoza revealed that of the 123 priests in the diocese of Colima, 30 had been the victims of attempted extortion, including himself.

During Sunday Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral, Guadalajara Archbishop Francisco Robles Ortega said at least three priests in Jalisco had also received threats over the phone in recent days, with some having been intimidated into making payments

Story of "Padre Pistola on next page
The Rev. Alejandro Solalinde has endured death threats after publicly denouncing drug gangs and police who rob and kidnap the mainly Central American migrants who cross Mexico seeking to reach the United States.  The Catholic priest founded the Hermanos del Camino shelter in the southern state of Oaxaca, where some 200 Central American migrants arrive each day.

Amnesty International announced it had learned that that a professional hit man had been contracted to kill Solalinde.  While state and federal prosecutors investigate the case, Solalinde, indicated that the death threats against him came from groups at the service of “influential politicians” and drug traffickers. He laid responsibility at the feet of former Oaxaca governor Ulises Ruiz for any aggression against him or any member of his team. Ruiz is well known for the extreme violence he unleashed against striking schoolteachers and their supporters six years ago in Oaxaca city.

On October 15, just before leaving the country, Solalinde held a press conference in which he said, “if anything happens to me or to our team I would blame Ulises Ruiz, but he is not the only one. That is why I demand that the authorities undertake a complete investigation of the case. Throughout his term in office I was constantly attacked.” A well-intention administration may now be in office in Oaxaca, he continued, but “the apparatus of Ulises is still intact.”

Asked if he wanted to identify the politicians behind the death threats, he said, “right now they are investigating who they are,” adding that he had learned that the price on his head was five million pesos (about $400 thousand dollars). Asked whether he thought the threats came from politicians or drug traffickers, he replied that an honest investigation (in Oaxaca) would show that there was almost no difference between the two

He held up a small notebook that contained, he told Univision’s viewers, the names of people who might want to take his life. “It’s all written down,” he said

In June 2009, the killings of a Catholic priest and two seminary students as they left a church in southern Mexico sparked outrage.

Sometimes in Juarez, violence happens because it can, because no one will think it extraordinary. Two weeks ago, the body of a sacristan -- a person charged with taking care of a church -- was found with fatal stab wounds in a church in western Juarez. No motive was apparent. Columban Father Kevin Mullins, pastor of Corpus Christi Church outside of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, points to the open field behind his church Sept. 16 where he hopes to build a youth center to prevent the young in his parish from being attracted to the lure of the cartels. Two of his former confirmation class students were stoned to death in this field

In Mexico, the sight of a priest slumped over in a car is not all that unusual. In 2005, Fr. Luis Velasquez Romero was found in his vehicle in Tijuana, handcuffed and shot six times. In 2009 a priest and two seminarians were gunned down in their car, dragged out then shot again because a relative of one of the seminarians was believed to be associated with one of the country's notorious drug cartels.

Since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war against the cartels in 2006 more than 40,000 people have been killed, including 12 priests. (2011 numbers) Prior to Calderon's aggressive action, three priests had been killed in the preceding decade

The Australian priest Mullins who has ministered in Juarez for 11 years, said "Being the poorest parish in Ciudad Juarez has had its advantages," Mullins said, noting that the average collection from three Sunday Masses is $150. "We have not had any extortion attempts because we just don't have any money to give."

In addition, "We're not pounding the pulpit denouncing any one group or person despite knowing who they are; we are making blanket pleas to our parishioners to stay away from the criminal elements," Mullins said. "Prudence can keep your head on your shoulders."

What perplexes many pastors are the offers of financial support from the cartels. For decades parishes received donations of money and buildings from cartel officials with an attitude of resigned ignorance, without having to face a moral dilemma.

Eyebrows were raised but no voices of dissension were heard when a church in Hidalgo state revealed a plaque dedicated to Herberto Lazcano Lazcano, the leader of the notorious Los Zetas drug cartel, who contributed generously to the building.

"About three months ago, I had a woman associated with the Juarez cartel approach me offering an open checkbook to build our youth center," Mullins said. "Of course, I kindly declined her offer."
He turned down the offer despite wanting to build a youth center and basketball courts on a nearby debris-filled lot where two teens from a confirmation class at his parish were stoned to death a few years ago.

Mullins has had cartel members attend Mass and, much to his relief, all declined to receive Communion, so he did not have to turn them away. If someone involved in a criminal enterprise did seek to receive Communion, Mullins said, he would take a deep breath and give the person a blessing instead.

The clergy is more exposed in rural areas, where dealers rage and the state does not succeed in enforcing the law. According to Manuel Corral, secretary for public relations for the Mexican Episcopal Conference, at least a thousand of the fifteen thousand priests in Mexico have been threatened indirectly, and at least three hundred directly”.

Guadalajara Archbishop Francisco Robles Ortega “There are priests here who say they too were called on the phone in this manner, told to deposit or deliver a certain amount of money, with threats to their physical wellbeing if they do not comply with the request,” Robles said.
The archbishop advised priests and citizens in general that if they receive threatening calls they should hang up the phone and immediately report it to the police. He also demanded that the authorities provide greater security not only for members of the church, but for all Mexicans, because “everyone is equally exposed to this kind of situation.”


Probably the most unusual Catholic priest you could ever meet.

Alfredo Gallegos Lara (61) is a catholic priest on the small town of
Chucándiro, in Michoacán state. He's famed for his social work: he gathers funds to build roads, restores churches in disrepair and pressures politicians to bring healthcare services and educational facilities to his parishes.
When he pulls off his religious vestments behind the altar of the Catholic church in this town in central Mexico, he reveals his jeans, a fancy western style shirt, crocodile boots, and a shiny black pistol.
He also sings country music, and he never leaves home without his trusty Colt M1911.  He is widely known by the nickname Padre Pistolas, or 'Father Guns.'. No ordinary gunslinger, he may be Mexico's most unusual parish priest.
Mr. Gallegos is loved by his parish goers, who consider him a straight-shooting tough guy with a good heart. They love to see him packing heat, they love to see him sing his music.

Padre Pistolas was relocated by the church to Michoacán in 2004. When he arrived in Michoacán, the first thing he did was pressure local politicians into establishing a secondary school in the village. He then set his mind to building healthcare facilities in town, and currently tries to gather money to restore an old 450-year old church.

'We love him, because he speaks the truth and cares about us', local churchgoer Carlos Vargas says, 'He's a good priest.'
"Four of my friends have been killed, and three of my trucks have been stolen," he said, explaining that his ministry to drug addicts and the sick takes him through the back roads of central Mexico, where it is wise, he said, to be armed. The youngest of 10 children in a wealthy family with a long history of military service and fine marksmanship, Gallegos boasts 'I can shoot five Pepsi cans from a wall in a few seconds, from 25 meters. I can't do it anymore, though. The bishop says it's bad for the image of the church. But what am I supposed to do? I can't help it people come to look me up, in stead of the bishop...'
Ever since he entered the seminary at age 14, his handling of guns has been drawing popular attention as well as criticism from his church superiors.

"I have been fighting with the bishop. He is so angry with me. He doesn't like my gun," Gallegos said.

He said Archbishop Alberto Suarez Inda is also uncomfortable with his high-profile fund-raising and construction projects. Gallegos has built 40 miles of roads, as well as basketball courts, schools, churches, and bridges in and around Jaral del Refugio in the neighboring state of Guanajuato, where he was the parish priest for 24 years. He said he raised millions of dollars for the projects. He makes frequent fund-raising trips to Illinois, North Carolina, and California, and migrants there have encouraged him to create a Padre Pistolas website, key chains, compact discs, and posters.

He doesn't shy away from severely criticizing the catholic church in Mexico, politicians in general and those Michoacán in particular. 'Mexican bishops are mediocre, all of them. The church has forgotten what it's there for: to care for the weak.

Padre Pistolas was relocated by the church to Michoacán in 2004. When he arrived in Michoacán, the first thing he did was pressure local politicians into establishing a secondary school in the village. He then set his mind to building healthcare facilities in town, and currently tries to gather money to restore an old 450-year old church.

'Mexican politics make me sick. It's all corrupt. Politicians are the problem in this country. They asked me a few times to run for mayor. Of course I didn't do it, I'm an honest man!'

Gallegos's guns and his super-sized persona have gotten him into hot water with the local bishop, who wants him to leave building roads and hospitals to the government and televised musical performances to entertainers. "He wants me to stick to baptizing children and saying Mass," Gallegos said.

Gallegos said he loves the Church but its leaders need to worry less about his guns and more about the church's bigger problems, such as pedophilia scandals in the United States.

Suarez, the bishop, declined to be interviewed. "Oh, God," moaned the person answering the phone in his office in Morelia, when asked for a comment about Padre Pistolas. "Don't pay too much attention to him."

'I don't give a damn what people say about me, I'm not afraid of anyone.'

If I lived in Chucándiro, Michoacán, I might convert from being a retired Methodist to Catholicism

End of Forum Story.
DD note;  I searched about 10 pages of Google search results and several local newspapers in Michoacan to get an update on Father Pistolas and could find nothing with a date after my Feb 2013 story.   I don’t know if the bad guys got him, or if the Bishop finally silenced him or at least made him take a lower profile, or if he his still totting his guns and tending his flock.  If any of you readers have any current info on him, please post it in a comment or send it to me at Borderland Beat


  1. What a great man! My only slightly criticism of this good priest is that he wear his roman collar 24/7. At the very least it demonstrates that the priesthood is a vocation, not a job.The Roman collar serves as a “sign of contradiction” to a world lost in sin and rebellion against the Creator. The Roman collar makes a powerful statement: the priest as an alter Christus has accepted the Redeemer’s mandate to take the Gospel into the public square, regardless of personal cost.

  2. A local article from last month, where Padre Pistolas says the federal government has not helped with its intervention in Michoacán - warns of social unrest:

    His Facebook page, with last post dated one week ago:

  3. That dudes awesome make him pope hes like something straight off a clint Eastwood film. Speaking out against corrupt politians and police and narcos as well as pointing out the massive scandals in the Catholic Church that dudes not scared to make powerful enemies

    1. This is actually quite sad, that the wild west and Clint Eastwood are compared to a 2014 third world modern reality that some fail to understand.

    2. I know it's reality and I don't think I will ever understand the genocide in Mexico its beyond drugs and money. From the comfort of the first world on the other side of the planet its hard not to compare padre pistolas to something from Hollywood you don't see many priestsIin my local parish packing heat.

    3. My friend usually priest are there to read the bible and be religious brokers....not wild west cowboys. In mexico you have a failed government.

  4. Padre pistolss looks like the actor from the movie" el infierno". El cochi-loco.. "no mi benie, eso de la politica ni deja el Mero negocio esta en la religion"jajajjajajaja saludos padre Pistolas...

  5. Watch "Pelicula el infierno mexicana" on YouTube
    Pelicula el infierno mexicana:

  6. Padre Gallegos keep ur guns. I know Padres in the US in bad area have guns. I admire ur "1911" great pistol. Sorry Bishop when you work in the bad areas u need guns. God Bless Padre Gallegos, and his flock.

  7. Los Michoacanos si son de huevos. Las mujeres son mas hombres que unos de ustedes.

    1. No son guevos. Es un machismo pendejo e ignorante. Matarse por que se te quedo viendo, por envidia, mucho de este desmadre tiene que ver con pleitos de rancho....pero no todo.y si hay mujeres de guevos en Michoacan como la Broly y Juan Gabriel. Guevos todo hombre los carga, saber conectarlos a la lengua y el cerebro es otro pedo.

    2. Not to defend michoacan or the machismo or whatever. But usually it takes some one like this" michoacanos" to get something going. I realized that most of them usually in their Home state by nature are super aggressive because of their environment. Is like everything in michoacan is deadly. Example : the water is full of disease, the government is corrupted, the narcos are crazy, you fellows neighborhood are fucking crazy the while environment is fucked up. So I figured using the Darwin theory of evolution, "michoacan = Urban jungle" where only the strong and the smartest survive. So I figured machismo ,quick thinking ,luck,plenty of violence makes this fuckers, the equivalent of modern mexico Aztec savages... no disrespect. But is the sad reality. By the way usually when you think to much ,your not much of a "let's do this, or" fuck it , you got shoot" so I figured you wouldn't survive 7:57 pm ,cause talking and thinking is different from a natural reaction of survival.

    3. Watch "What is evolution? Charles Darwin's brilliant ide…" on YouTube
      What is evolution? Charles Darwin's brilliant ide…:

    4. Grito el guey que le pego la pedrada. Yo no miro a mas gente peliando contra estos putos.

    5. Well my ignorant ass friend. Take initiative go fight for mexico, I bet you live in america , you drink, eat ,shit, sleep ,work here in the USA and brag about how Mexican you are?....I served my patriotic duty in Iraq 2 times, so everyone could have freedom of speech and cheap gasoline .....what about you? ??other than talking about pedradas and guey ,like seriously your not in your rancho...

  8. With all respect to everyone here I don't believe throwing him in the spotlight is the right thing to do at this moment. Some crazy narc is out there reading this thinking to himself "So this Pistolas thinks he's invinsible and is not scared of anything? We'll see about that.."

    Maybe I'm wrong but if he's fighting a battle right now against men, don't lead the demons straight to him..

  9. Asi debian ser todos los pinchis padrecitos, borrachos, mujeriegos y peleoneros, pero no buscabullas, eso si, andar con cuanta voluntaria se les atraviese...
    Si no eres voluntario o activista social despues de la misa, no vales sheet como padre, recuerden lo que dijo jesusito, al centro y pa'dentro, hasta no verte dios mio, chingue su madre el que deje algo y si no ha tomado vino, a que chingados vino, hick! Salud...

  10. Thats crazy im from chucandiro too. I actually know padre pistolas. Hes a good friend of the family. I just didnt think he was that known.

  11. Just imagine if all the padres in mx had pistolas in each of their churches... and everytime a cartel thug went there bang.bang instant cleaning. lol

  12. It's a very small world, small. My good friend, who happens to be from Michoacan, that now resides in Siler City, N.C, has told me about this cat daddy. He's also a very good shot, from what I was told! Bang Bang!


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