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

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Defiant Mexican's Part 1

For Borderland Beat by Otis B Fly-Wheel

Don Alejo Garza Tamez

Don Alejo Garza , there are few who follow the narco insurgency in Mexico, who have not read the story of Don Alejo. Don was a peaceful , well respected Cattle Rancher on the Mexican-USA border. A considerate employer who looked out for people, he showed an example to all of Mexico that not everyone will suffer impunity and corruption by taking the "plata". 

I suggest anyone who doubts the will of Mexicans to resist, read the following stories carefully. Otis

Don Alejo Garza Tamez

This post from BB reporter Ovemex tells his story, with a link to a Fantastic article by Chivis.

Rest in Peace Don Alejo Garza Tamez

A Man of his word

Don Alejo Garza was a proud Norteno. He was born in Allende, Neuvo Leon in 1933. His childhood was spent in mostly wooded areas of the state.

Allende, located 50 miles south of Monterrey, is crossed by National Highway 85 that leads to Ciudad Victoria, Tampico, and Veracruz. This community is located at the base of the Sierra Madre Oriental.
Warning images of violence on followimg page

His father owned a sawmill, and he learned early in his youth, along with his older brothers, how to work, saw, and sell wood. Driven by this activity he eventually founded the timber supply store El Salto in Monterrey, taking the name from the place where they bought the product.

As a young man he had to travel constantly to Parral, Chihuahua, and El Salto, Durango, to buy wood which would then be sold in Monterrey. His family was successful in this field and opened branches in Allende, his hometown, and Montemorelos.

Don Alejo began fishing and hunting as a child. As a young man he began to collect weapons. Among his friends and associates he was known as an excellent shooter who, in the company of his friends, hunted deer, geese, and pigeons.

Don Alejo Garza Tamez was one of the founding members of the "Dr Maria Manuel Silva "Hunting, Shooting, and Fishing Club, located in Allende, Neuvo Leon.

He and his brother, Rodolfo, bought the San Jose Ranch in Tamaulipas and divided it between them. Don Alejos half bordered with the Padilla Lake and Rodolfo's with the Coronoa river.

Ovemex also reports on what the Marines found at his ranch:

When Mexican Marines arrived at the San Jose Ranch, 15 kilometres from Victoria, Tamaulipas, the scene was bleak. The austere main house was practically destroyed by grenades and heavy gunfire.

Outside the home, they found four bodies. Cautiously, and with their weapons drawn, the troops continued inspecting the exterior and found two more gunmen wounded and unconscious, but alive.

Inside the house only one body was found, riddled with bullets and with two weapons by his side. The body was identified as Don Alejo Garza Tamez, the owner of the ranch and a highly respected businessman in Nuevo Leon.

Upon further inspection of the interior, Marines found weapons and ammunition at every window and door. This allowed them to reconstruct how, just hours prior, the battle had played out.

Marines searched for more bodies inside the house, but none were to be found. It seemed hard to believe that one person, armed only with hunting rifles, had caused so many casualties on the attackers.

Dozens of spent shells and the smell of gunpowder gave proof of the tenacity of the man who fought to the end in defines, of not only his ranch, but his dignity.

In the end, it was deduced the man had created his own defense strategy to fight alone, placing weapons at every door and window.

The story began in the morning of Saturday November 13th, when a group of armed gunmen went to deliver an ultimatum to Don Alejo Garza, he had twenty four hours to leave his property and turn it over to the gunmen or suffer the consequences.

Using the diplomacy he had acquired over nearly eight decades of life, Don Alejo flatly announced that not only would he not be surrendering his property, but that he would be waiting for them.

When the men had left, Don Alejo gathered his workers and ordered them to take Sunday off, he wanted to be alone.

He dedicated the rest of that Saturday to taking stock of his weapons and ammunition and creating a military style fortress defines strategy for his home.

The night of Sat the 13th was long and restless, much like his past hunting adventures, Don Alejo woke early. Shortly after 4 am the motors of various trucks could be heard entering the property from a distance.

Marines who investigated the scene could only imagine how it was that morning, armed men, their impunity secured, confident they would soon be owners of yet another property. Nobody or almost nobody, could hold out against a group of heavily armed gunmen. Only Don Alejo.

The trucks entered the ranch and took up positions surrounding the house. The gunmen got out of their trucks, fires shots in the air, and announced they came to take possession of the ranch. They were expecting the terrified occupants to run out, begging for mercy with their hands in the air.

But things didn't go as expected. Don Alejo welcomed them with bullets, the entire army of gunmen opened fire at the same time. Don Alejo seemed to multiply, he seemed to be everywhere. The minutes would have seemed endless to those who had seen him as easy prey. Various gunmen were killed on sight. The others, in rage and frustration, intensified the attack by swapping out their assault rifles for grenades.

When everything finally fell silent, the air was left heavy with gunpowder. The holes left in the walls and windows attested to the violence of the attack. When they went in search of what they had assumed was a large contingent, the were surprised to find only one man, Don Alejo.

The surviving gunmen did not take over the ranch. Thinking the Military would arrive at any moment, they decided to run. They left behind what they thought were six corpses, but two of their gunmen had survived.

Shortly after, the Marines arrived and methodically reconstructed the events. A lone rancher, a man who worked a lifetime to be able to enjoy the fruits of his labor, such as his ranch, had defended it to his death.

In the last hunt of his life, Don Alejo surprised the group of assassins who wanted to impose the law of the jungle on him as they had on the state.

"The Marines who were present will never forget the scene: a 77 year old man, who before death, took out six gunmen, fighting the same as the best soldiers: with dignity, courage, and honor."

Maria Santos Gorrostieta

The following story describes a lady who showed that not just men can show the will to resist tyranny. Maria was attacked and injured several times, in the first attack her husband was killed, each time she became more defiant instead of being cowed. She was as tough as iron, and is well deserved of a place in this article. Otis

By Mariano Castillo and Rafael Romo from CNN

The first time an assassin's bullet tried to find her, Maria Santos Gorrostieta escaped, but her husband was killed. That was in 2009, when she was Mayor of Tiquicheo, a small town in the Mexican state of Michoacan, which has seen some of the most brutal drug-related violence.

The bullets found her in January of 2010, but again, she survived. She remained defiant, lifting her shirt at one point to show reporters her bullet wounds and scars after the second attack.

Gorrostieta finished her term as Mayor in 2011 and remarried, but forces wanted her dead prevailed, kidnapping her while she drove her daughter to school. It was a shocking end to a public servant who vowed to put her small town's interests first while she held a position that many try to influence.

"I will rise up again as many times as God allows me to, so that I can keep on seeking, fighting for, and working out plans, projects and actions for the benefit of the people, especially those most in need".

Gorrostieta, who was also a medical doctor, said after one of the unsuccessful attacks against her.

Michoacan is the scene of a turf war between rival drug cartels, and smaller organized crime groups that operate there as well. In 2009, she spoke about the importance of entrusting the Mayor's office to a woman.

"The most important thing is not to be afraid," she said then, gaining a reputation for civic mindedness.

Stories of heroes and villains constantly emerge from Mexico, where acts of bravery and savagery coexist in the midst of a plague of drug violence.

Gorrostietas story appears to fall easily within the heroic category, though a report published Tuesday in the leading newspaper El Universal is a reminder that the most accurate tales often include shades of gray.

Even though a majority of Mexico is safe from drug violence, the newspaper described Gorrostietas city of Tiquicheo as one where the local drug trade called the shots, and citing unnamed sources, may have factored into its politics.

Investigators are not ruling out any possible motives, political, personal, or criminal, in her killing, the states deputy attorney general, Marco Aguilera, told CNN

The investigation is focussing on reconstructing the 11 months of Gorrostieta life since leaving office and whether there is anything that indicates impending danger. The former Mayor did not reach out to authorities to seek protection or to report threats at any time, said Aguilera.

The deputy attorney general said that her first husband, Jose Sanchez, had been the target of a failed assassination attempt before the first attack against his wife, in which Sanchez died. Between them the couple were targeted a total of four times, and a motive for the attacks was never established, Aguilera said.

Jesus Blancornelas

Blancornelas was an exceptional man, he was driven by the intense frustration that he felt at the impunity with which the CAF operated in Tijuana. Despite death threats, and multiple assassination attempts, he carried on regardless, as did his staff at Zeta magazine. He died of natural causes in hospital.  Otis

The following article was written by Hector Tobar of the LA Times.

Mexico City - Jesus Blancornelas, the pioneering border journalist who braved assassination attempts and death threats to expose the inner workings of the Tijuana's murderous drug cartels, died Thursday of natural causes, he was 70.

Suffering for months from the effects of stomach cancer, Blancornelas died in a hospital in Tijuana, the city where his ZETA magazine, founded in 1980, had earned him fame as the spiritual godfather of modern Mexican journalism.

in 1997, after daring to first publish the photograph of drug lord Ramon Arellano Felix, Blancornelas escaped an assassination attempt by cartel hit men that left four bullets in him, his bodyguard was killed.

He never sold out, and he always stayed relevant, said Francisco Bazan Penaloza, President of a Tijuana Lawyers association. With his work, he raised up Mexico in the eyes of the world.

Blancornelas wrote about the drug cartels for decades, even as the mafias intensified their war on muckraking journalists who dared to report on their activities.

Today there are cities where journalists work as if walking through a minefield, Blancornelas said in a speech last may accepting his second national journalism prize, Mexico's highest journalism honor. Other companions work every day watchful of tragedy, we should show our solidarity with them. They are going through hard times

Born in the central Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, Blancornelas began his career as a sports writer in the mid 1950's. He moved to Tijuana in the 1960's.

His stories on the corruption of border officials forced him out of three newspapers before he co-founded the weekly ABC in 1977. His exposes riled Baja state officials so much that they sent police to take over ABC's office in 1979 on the pretext of intervening in a labor dispute.

Blancornelas fled to San Diego and unsuccessfully applied for political asylum in the United States. In San Diego, he co-founded Zeta with colleague Hector Felix Miranda in 1980. They distributed the magazine across the border and eventually returned to Tijuana.

In 1985, a Zeta cover story on a warehouse filled with Marijuana and guarded by local police broke the story of the arrival of the Arellano Felix brothers, who would become the leaders of the Tijuana drug cartel.

Blancornelas would say later he did not realise the significance of the story until plainclothes police officers bought all 20,000 copies of the magazine in a clumsy effort to stifle the news. Zeta republished the issue, with the headline "Censored" blaring on the cover.

Zeta exposed the collusion of local officials with the increasingly powerful cartel and showed how local police protected the drug mafias.

Zeta co-founder Miranda was murdered while on his way to work in 1988. Two security guards at Tijuana's Caliente racetrack were later convicted of the killings and sentenced to twenty years in prison.

Since Miranda's killing, Zeta has published a full-page ad in every edition asking the guard's employer, racetrack owner Jorge Hank Rhon, why Miranda was killed. Hank Rhon, a frequent target in Miranda's columns and now the city Mayor, has denied any involvement in the killings.

Hank Rhon told Tijuana reporters he would not mourn Blancornelas' death. The City would hold no official ceremony to mark his passing, he said.

In 1994, Zeta's investigation of the assassination of presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in Tijuana arrived at a conclusion almost as controversial as the magazine's expose of the cartels: Despite a swirl of conspiracy rumours surrounding the case, Zeta found that the assassin, troubled factory worked Mario Aburto, had acted alone.

In the late 1990's, cartel hits of police and prosecutors in the city became so common that Zeta would occasionally publish lists of the dead with titles such as " the Organogram of Death".

Undeterred by the killing of more journalists, Blancornelas and Zeta continued to publish stories, including one that detailed links between the Tijuana Cartel and the Mexican Mafia, a California based prison gang.

In November 1997, Blancornelas himself became a victim, when gunmen opened fire on his car in a busy Tijuana street. His bodyguard Luis Valero was killed.

David Barron shot caller for Logan Heights

In the picture is David Barron, a shot caller from the Logan Heights gang who worked for the Arellano Felix brothers as a hit man, died in the attack on Blancornelas when a pellet from one of his shotgun blasts, rebounded and hit him above the eye killing him instantly.Otis

"Thanks to God, my faithful friend Luis Valero, and the marvels of medical science, I am alive", Blancornelas wrote in a column from his hospital bed. Rather than allow the attack to silence him, Blancornelas began a history of the Tijuana cartel that ran in installments.

"Everyone, even the narcotics traffickers, were waiting to see what I would do", Blancornelas told the Times in a 2002 interview. " If I retired, I was afraid the narcotics traffickers would feel free to do the same thing to my colleagues".

In the years that followed, Blancornelas travelled in Tijuana with a security detail worthy of a head of state. Having become a symbol of journalistic tenacity and courage, he received numerous international awards, including Colombia University's Maria Moors Cabot Prize and awards from the Inter American Press Association and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The attacks against Zeta's staff continued. Co-editor Francisco Ortiz Franco was killed in 2004 while driving a car with his two young children.

In April, weakened by illness, Blancornelas retired from the magazine he had founded.

He is survived by his wife, Genoveva Villalon de Blanco, and three sons.

Carlos Gutierrez

Carlos too has a remarkable story of courage over adversity. For not paying extortion criminals cut off his lower legs. While not choosing to go out like Don Alejo, he showed remarkable fortitude to raise awareness of the on-going situation in Mexico with organised crime violence, and people seeking sanctuary in USA to escape the violence.

Borderland Beat reporter Chivis posted Carlos' Story on BB , original story by Angela Kocherga.

A cyclist on a 701 mile bike ride across Texas is Pedalling for Justice to raise awareness about Mexican Citizens who - like him - are fleeing violence and seek a safe haven in the US.

"We had to go through something very cruel, difficult. We are not here because we chose to leave," said Carlos Gutierrez, 35.

Two years ago, Gutierrez owned a successful food and beverage company in Chihuahua city. But when he could no longer pay the thousands of dollars in extortion money, criminal cut off the lower part of his legs.

"I was tortured.... mutilated," Gutierrez said.

He survived the attack and fled across the border to El Paso, where he is now among a growing number of Mexican citizens seeking asylum. Some have formed a group Mexicanos en Exilio ( Mexicans in exile), which offers legal assistance in the US while seeking justice for victims back in Mexico.

Most asylum cases involving Mexican citizens are denied. While waiting for a decision about his case in El Paso, a chance meeting changed Gutierrez's life.

It was thanksgiving 2001 and Eddie Zepeda, a certified prosthetist, was at an outlet mall with his wife and children when he spotted Gutierrez.

"When I saw this young man in that powered wheelchair without his legs, I just couldn't help myself," Zepeda recalled.

Zepeda approached Gutierrez and said, "I just want to make sure you know that you can walk again."

He helped Gutierrez get his first set of prosthetic legs, and helped design the lighter pair that he is using on the 701 mile bike trip from El Paso to Austin.
"Eddie is my angel," Gutierrez said. The two men have become close friends.

"It doesn't matter how you fall; it's how you get back up again."

"And that came from him," said Zepeda, who has a prosthetic practise in Las Cruces, New Mexico. "I think I'm going to frame that."

Gutierrez left from El Paso on Monday as a crowd of well-wishers chanted "justicia", (justice).

He and a small team of riders will travel across West Texas to Central Texas, making stops in Marfa, Del Rio, and San Antonio before reaching Austin, their final destination. A rally is planned in Austin on November 9th, the day Gutierrez is expected to arrive.

Gutierrez hopes his story of survival will inspire others.

"Im still standing and I want to keep fighting," said Gutierrez, who once feared he would never walk again.

Chivis note:

Asylum is extremely difficult for Mexicans to be granted.  The strict perimeters of the law could result in a person meeting the requirements of credible fear of persecution, but because it's cartel generated persecution, and not government, that makes the action difficult, and improbable, to fall within the five grounds persecution must be tied to.
However, if one can prove that a government in effect stands by, or turns a blind eye while members of a group commits acts of persecution on a person, this could support being awarded refugee or asylum status.

In other words, if cartels commit acts of persecution, (e.g. torture/extortion) upon  a person and the authorities are disinclined or even unable to exercise security, thereby subjecting one to further and highly probable harm, that could result in asylum being granted.

Persecution means to harass, punish, injure, oppress, or cause one to suffer physical or psychological harm.

It sounds as though it would be a slam dunk for people such as the person featured in this post.  But there are only five grounds that the persecution must fall under; race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political opinion, and therein lies the legal struggle.
Original stories by

BB reporter and legend Chivis, article on Don Alejo, BB reporter Ovemex

Mariano Castillo and Rafael Romo from CNN, Maria Gorrostieta

Hector Tobar of LA Times, Jesus Blancornelas

BB reporter and legend Chivis with BB reporter DD, Carlos Gutierrez, original article by Angela Kocherga on facebook


  1. The criminals knocked on the wrong door & messed with the wrong old man. Now if this old timer can take out multiple scumbags then it shows how tough the sicarios really are. If you see the pics of his ranch home there's 50 cal. holes and RPG damage to the house . He's a Hero !!!!

  2. This guy was a true Mexicano with big balls,he knew the Zetas were coming and refused to give up his land and ranch even killing some of the Zetas until the rats got him...
    Yeah this guy was a man ...

  3. Thank you Otis B! Viva Mexico. Que Onda

  4. Journalism at its very best!

  5. Pa vivr en Mexico ay que tener huevos.

  6. I wonder if he could have contacted La Marina to set up an ambush somehow..... Or Rambo.

    1. The surviving gunmen were probably Marines themselves.

    2. Good chance hope not

    3. He knew better than to trust the Government! La Marina if he be bad ass, but they still follow orders! And this orders are not always from well intentioned officials!

  7. I am a Vietnam Vet, I have so much respect for these Mexican Heroes, My God, wake up take your country back. You are dying on your Knees. Why would you let the cartels kidnap, rape and kill your family. You are in my prayers and you have my support.
    The Mexican People are the finest people in the world.

    1. "The Mexican People are the finest people in the world"...

      Amen sir! Amen...

  8. Don Alejo Garza had some Titanium Balls

  9. Bravo to the true heros of humankind. You cowardly scum (so called men) may you meet the same fate as those you kill and maim. You are nothing without your guns. Justice will prevail, order out of chaos.

  10. Don Alejo Garza Tamez is a definition of a hero who when faced with the injustice of a criminal organization desire to impose its will, he decided to stand his ground and fight for the land that belonged to him. He didn't cut and run even if it
    meant fighting alone. Those Zeta scum that he
    killed were 4 Zetas that weren't going to hurt any
    other innocent people anymore. The same goes for Ms. Santos Gorrestieta who because of her love of her people decided to serve her community even it meant that it would cost her life. Don Alejo and Ms. Santos serve as examples of people who can't be bought or intimidated by evil.

  11. Fantastic Post!! I remember reading the
    Don Alejo Garza story here and being blown away by the Courage of one man. I think it would be a great idea to continue to post some of the "Best Of" stories. There is many interesting and fantastic stories buried in the BB archives.


  12. Ni para ti, ni para mi. Don Alejo, what brave men are made of.

  13. Now compare that to the way the leaders of these gangs face the music; on all fours and crawling away...

  14. These are real heroes!!!

  15. Don Alejo Garza Tamez , REAL MACHO MEXICAN MAN.. This is the definition of a macho in/from Mexico. I LOL every-time a skinny jean wearing, hands soft like a babies back, skinny-fat bodies dudes try to be all machistas and shit. No Senor esta es la definicion de un macho En sus modos y moda de pensar, todo lo de el macho.

  16. The Mexican Clint Eastwood!!!! No Hollywood special effects or acting needed!!!!

  17. I would be honored to shake the hand of any person who shows this kind of intestinal fortitude. I would be equally honored to piss on the pit holding the rotting remains of the criminal scum or corrupt officials who are ruining Mexico.

  18. Somehow i feel it's more heinous that they left him without legs than killing him, is that weird? It feels so much more calculated and personal. But then again if they may have intended to finish him off but something got in the way. Despicable garbage, i can't how they can live with themselves.

    -Mike Haggar

  19. Ya no se hacen viejones como Don Alejo Garza. QEPD

  20. 7:51 the criminal mass murdering mexican government would be no problem, IF the amerikkkan government were not supplying them with the weapons that keep them and their murdering corruption in power.
    --Special Weapons And Tactics they call it, plus training on their melitary bases to ''arrest insurgency'', same way they do it in the US with the police...

  21. Actually yes I was drunk and frustrated always reading how innocent dudes get killed and nobody does anything including my self. Other than the pacifist shit or peaceful protest Wish I had the balls these old man had could buy a nuclear bomb and drive up to los pinos make sure Peña nieto is home and let that shit rip....

  22. People getting well carried away here,most here woulnt help a girl in trouble..
    I guarantee it,and many here will know that..Heroes

  23. Hey by the way now that I got your attention, your doing a great job not trying to kiss ass or whatever but you do such a good job informing, that for me personally it makes my blood boil in rage to see , this old man turn into a martyr and no body doing yes sometimes when I drink I get a bit angry & frustrated at the mexicans as a nation, I can't believe no body is doing anything.....including myself.....and that my friend is what is frustrating not being able to do shit......and atleast for me... I did write a letter to Mireles In prison and send him a picture of my baby boy wearing camo clothing holding up an ak47, and told him that eventually some one will stand up for what is right...

  24. I would request that if you want to leave remarks on my articles , that you accord everyone the respect you would want yourself.

  25. !Bullshit! It will never end the fact that this was an inside job is insane. Lazy fat fucks who live in a country and think that they can just impose what they desire is crazy. Don alejo worked his whole life to have uneducated greasy full shit and lazy bastards take his life makes me wish that i was there to defend his ideals. RIP

  26. At 748pm Well it hurts when some one tells you the reality of a if I just point something it becomes racial. ?well mexico as a nation is a about that for a reality check...

  27. At 343pm.....yes I'm mexican unfortunately , but sometimes when they asked me I prefer to say I'm from michoacan cause in reality that where I was born and raised, the good thing about all this is that my family had or has money to send my ignorant ass to the USA , so I could get a degree to become a veterinarian, and I live on both sides of the border cause , my folks have 3 pharmacies for whole sale and 2 meat markets. And in reality we are so feed up with paying cuota or extorsion payment....that is the only way to able to dress and drive a decent vehicle in parents and immediate family live on a daily basis, the bullshit of the mexican corruption , just like the old man alejo....but we pay the cuota, so there is no way around it...unless you want to end like my sister, which got kidnapped and we got extorted for solid 6 million when I'm walking around the college campus here on the USA and I see all these second and third generation mexican american, that have never visited mexico besides the typical resorts like cabo or cancun, and they usually say yeah mexico is a great place, I'm thinking to myself "yeah right " also I wanted to point out that why is there so many mexicans specially illegals, being so proud about being mexican and bashing on the USA, when , They came to it illegally??cause they are quick to play the race card "ohhh poor me, and I'm so proud of being mexican " I all got to say is that I came to study at UcLa with a student visa I drive a new lexus, i pay for my tuition, and I feel embarrassed to say I'm mexican why???because my country is a fucking joke, so I prefer to say I'm from yeah play that for a race card....

  28. Miliie, millie, millie! I'm so in love with da' man!!!
    OK, i get it mil mascaras, pocahontas, malinche...

  29. 6:58 PM
    More power to you brother,its a cruel world and no-one helps except yourself.
    Never mind the haters,you can be proud of aspects of Mexico just like anyone and you can also hate certain aspects..Saludos hermano in the US


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