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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Great Escapes: "El Feyo" another Public Enemy No. 1 (1 of 5)

Translated by Otis B Fly-Wheel for Borderland Beat from a Sinembargo article

[ Subject Matter: Alfredo Rios Galeana, prison escapes
Recommendation: No prior subject matter knowledge required]

Before Joaquin El Chapo Guzman Loera existed another prominent "Public Enemy no.1", ironically labelled as this by Arturo El Negro Durazo, who probably was "Public Enemy no.1" at the time he worked for Carlos Hank Gonzalez, the Patriach of the Atlacomulco group, the same group from which came Enrique Pena Nieto, who said he was proud of this heritage.

Alfredo Rios Galeana the Public Enemy no.1

Reporter: Humberto Pagett
A few days after Christmas of 1981, someone from outside of Pachuca prison, pushed a 7 metres tv antenna mast filled with concrete over the wall. The cold air was chilling the hands of the men who ran towards the fence of the yard to the agreed point. The curls of the leader waving in the air in the race to the wire.

As accomplices supported the Pole against the north wall of the prison, Alfredo Rios Galeana was already running up it with two close friends, all accused of murder, dozens of robberies, criminal conspiracy, damage to property, injuries, threats, collections of prohibited weapons, bank robberies ...

Yadira Berber Ocampo stayed behind, he was identified as an accomplice of Rio Galeana.

" Public Enemy no.1" was free again.

Rios Galeana lowered his 1.9 metres high frame flat to the floor and peered left and right, nothing, only the dry weeds undulating in the wind.

Rios Galeana gave a gun to the men who had helped him escape

There is no information on how much Galeana had to pay the two men for their allegiance, in the end he did not pay them with silver. In the documents it is unclear if at the precise moment of escape, if his accomplices were wearing prison officers uniforms.

One of the guardians reached with the revolver, the hand of the criminal grabbed the iron and levelled it at the head of the prison guard.

Bam, the first guard fell to the ground dead, before the second could make a gesture of protest, Galeana killed him too, the guard joining his fellow in the golden icy Hidalgo earth, a state that had among its deputies Jose Murillo Karam, the same lawyer who became Attorney General of the Republic, and who would deny the extradition of Joaquin Guzman Loera.

Career thieves and newly enhanced assassins, Rios Geleana and his men continued on their journey.

The Police went after a lover of "El Feyo" in Tepeji del Rio, Juana Sanchez. The woman acknowledged that the criminal had been to her house that morning, but like a storm, left almost immediately.

Not only were several prison guards in the pocket of the thief and murderer, but a singer as well, Agustin Hernandez, a Judge in the State Court of Hildalgo, received his money to not execute a warrant request by the Attorney General of Justice of the State of Mexico.

He also worked with an Agent of the Federal Judicial Police, one of the many Mexican policeman  missing, because of their collusion with drug traffickers, including El Chapo Guzman.

Rios Galeana, detained in USA and extradited to Mexico in July of 2005

Alfredo, son of Sabino Rios and Maria Damiana Galeana, was born in Arenal de Alvarez, Guerrero, on the 28th of October of 1950.

One year after Sabino died and Maria dragged her son and his absolute misery to Mexico City. The woman became a seamstress and her child grew to 1.90 metres in height, with a big nose, mouth and thick hair to the extent that only one nickname was feasible: El Feyo ( Ugly).

In 1969, under the insignias of second sergeant of the Fusiliers paratroop Brigade, Special Forces Air mobile, the for-runners of GAFES and consequently, Los Zetas, of the Mexican Army, Alfredo Rios Galeana recommended to his nephew Evaristo Galeana Godoy, El Tito, to join the Military Police.

In 1972 El Tito was highly ranked in the second battalion of Patrol Cars in the State of Mexico (Barapem), created by the then Governor Carlos Hank Gonzalez, who was disappeared a few years later for being too corrupt in an area defined by its corruption - at that time Sergeant Rios Galeana was using his uniform to steal cars.

The band was small, composed of another two or three military of low rank who drank rum and brandy in the cantinas of El Molinito, Popular de Naucalpan Colonia, State of Mexico. This place was over run by prostitutes, transvestites and drug dealers visited by the soldiers of Military Camp no.1.

In the watering holes of El Molinito, Rios Galeana, El Tito and his men planned to steal 15 cars in the Polanco Colonia, Lomas de Chapultepec and Las Aguilas, that as a reference, would be the site of the house of future president Felipe Calderon.

The Military men re-sold the cars in Guerrero, which had been taken over the Army, the Federal Judicial Police and the Federal Security Directorate, (DFS) in the dirty war waged against guerrillas and Communist dissidents.

The thieves had the touch of stealing the car of any family with influence and the Mexican Government decided to do something about it and show results with a presentation of the thieves.

In October of 1974, Rios Galeana was detained by the Secret Service of Federal District, one of the primary intelligence gathering agencies in Mexico, who charged him with theft, criminal association and carrying fire arms.

He was imprisoned in the old prison, Lecumberri and later transferred to Reclusorio Oriente. He obtained his liberty on 4th of December 1976 as if his criminal records had vanished from history, it was said that he had made a deal with the Secret Service, Rios Galeana was made Police Chief of Santa Ana Jilotzingo, in Mexico State.

Ensconced there, he offered his nephew the job of sub-commander. Soon they had the band of thieves back together, and had evolved to carry out bank robberies.

El Feyo changed jobs in 1978 to the second Barapem in the State of Mexico, and later commanded that unit. The force was integrated a few years before by Carlos Hank Gonzalez, Governor of Mexico State between 1969 and 1975, patriarch of the Atlacomulco Group and who successor Arturo Rojas put up a monument in the Paseo Tollocan of Toluca.

Officially, Barapem was created as a model of police unification and unofficially as political persecutors before the expansion of the Guerrillas in the 1970's.

It actually functions as a structure for control of criminals, and organises the growing crime in Mexico City. If someone steals something, it should be with the consent of the Police who would then participate in the stealing.

The scheme would reach its peak in the Federal District under the orders of Arturo Durazo Moreno, and during the regency of Hank Gonzalez, whose political legacy would be vindicated with honours by Enrique Pena Nieto.

With his position, Rios Galeana could case out Mexican banks without causing suspicion, designing their robberies and directing the jobs to thieves and Police officers, Rios Galeana became the ultimate synthesis of both.

El Feyo loved his cars and drove around in a Valiant Super Bee, he carried out at least 21 robberies mainly in the States of Hidalgo, Puebla, and Mexico. The Mexican Government decided to go hunting again.

The band grew, Julio Cervantes Sanchez, another of the partners, joined the second battalion of the military police at camp number 1. In 1974 he was sent to the heroic military school, police section. He remained there until 1983, when he was arrested in Cortazar, Guanajuato.

Cervantes, who would give important dates to El Feyo, participated with Rios Galeana under the name Luis Fernando Berber, in 32 bank robberies, outlets of the National Company of Popular Subsistence (supermarkets), particular houses, clothes shops, and Government Offices.

On the 26th of August 1979, the DFS had known confidentially that Rios Galeana was hiding in Jilotzingo, State of Mexico, in the house of the ex- Municipal President Victor Aceves Rojas. As Mayor in functions, he ordered Rios Galeana to kill two men.

Rios Galeana, ex military parachutist, ex policeman, thief, leader, bigamist and assassin, he was also a singer. He called himself "El Charro del Misterio", " the mysterious cowboy", and was said to have ( a voice that sings to the heart).

A man of the coast, Rios Galeana spoke with a northern accent and his singing stopped his usual stuttering.

His lovers were also locals and included a woman that worked in the Los Tres Caballos restaurant, close to the corner of Tlalpan and Taxquena. Some glasses with the name of the bar on, were found with various bottles of Cognac, the favourite drink of El Feyo, in the first safe house they discovered in the San Pedro de los Pinos Colonia.

The police were close to catching him and promised results, while giving out the usual sound-bites like" we will pursue him until the last" and " nobody is above the law", and "Mexico is a country of laws in which the rule of law prevails".

El Feyo was gallant and a gentleman, during a bank robbery in Ixtapaluca, East of State of Mexico, there was a pregnant woman queuing for a teller, she was frozen by shock. When Rios Galeana took the money from the vault, he took a wad of money and gave it to the woman. He warned the cashier, " if you take it back from her, I'll come back and I'll kick your ass".

In 1981, in a gesture of involuntary humor, Arturo El Negro Durazo Morena designated Rios Galeana, a species of the Mexican John Dillinger and " Public Enemy no.1" of the country.

Seems the General wasn't well thought of, here the headline states Durazo and Sahagun ordered the killing of Rio Tula

His capture was ordered to the Division for Investigations for the Prevention of Criminality (DIPD) the command of Colonel Francisco Sahagun Baca, torturer and member of the white brigade, a body of political dissidents. They sent his records to every police force in the country. The psychological profile by Federal Security forces described El Feyo as:

" He is reckless, he intimidates easily and is confident of achieving it. He never demonstrates fear. In assaults, at times, he does not draw his weapon. He spends a lot of time inside offices he has raided and generally returns to raid them again. He is conceited and self worshipping".

" He shows a lot of confidence in himself and his group. He feels protected by the Authorities, he is vindictive and smart, women feel his impact. He is criminal and murderous, he kills for pleasure. He has an affinity for clashes with the Authorities, during which he has killed many police officers, and it is not important to him that he is killing his colleagues. He is cold and calculating, when not provoked he is peaceful, when he is provoked he kills, destroys".

At the end of August of 1981, Sahagun Baca achieved the capture of Rios Galeana and another four members of his gang. The thieves were handed over to the Authorities of Hidalgo, another State hit by the gang and where, according to certain functionaries, he had the most police protection.

They were sent to Pachuca prison. On the 19th of December 1981, someone outside the prison put a mast over the wall, seven metres long it was a television antenna filled with cement.  Other inmates supported the pole against the north prison wall while Rios Galeana, Eduardo Rosey Lara and Leonardo Montiel Ruiz, El Leon, ran up it. They were all accused of homicide, theft, criminal conspiracy, damage to property, injuries, threats, insults, assaults, collecting prohibited weapons, bank raids and other charges.

He took refuge with Silvano Garza Davila in a Panamerican Colonial building, In the East of Federal District. He received arms, money and planned the following assaults.

Some branches, such as the Continental Bank of Tlalnepantia, State of Mexico, and Banamex in Tepeapulco, Hidalgo, were visited on three occasions. Authorities calculated the amount stolen, only from Banamex, then owned by the Government, like all Mexican banks, was beyond 50 million pesos, and his band was now 15 to 20 strong.

The sister of a police officer reported that she was hired by the DFS to attend a meeting at the ranch of an unidentified soldier near Zempoala, Hidalgo. On the site the woman recognized Rios Galeana and his band. They played poker and were betting with fists of money. The woman developed a sketch of how to get to the site.

 Again General Arturo Durazo was a few metres behind the deserter Sergeant Rios Galeana. But  news of the raid got out. Then the DFS knew that Rios Galeana lived with a cousin or sister of one of his Lieutenants, possibly El Leon or Mateo Ugalde Ruis. Neither, El Feyo was also a magician and an escape artist.

In the assault on the Banco de El Oro, in the State of Mexico, the band locked the customers and staff in the vault. One of the employees had a pocket knife and the manager managed to disarm the combination lock by disabling the input keys on the inside of the vault.

In 30 minutes all of them had been killed by asphyxiation. At the National Commission on Mining Development, a Government Office, Rios Galeana killed four policemen after getting drunk with them. All were given the coup de grace.

In 1982, Federal Security forces had the certainty that Rios Galeana operated with the protection of the Authorities in Hidalgo.

" In the assaults before 1982, Alfredo Rios Galeana was violent and bloodthirsty. He was responsible for more than 16 deaths of police and civilians. After January of 1982, Rios Galeana had totally changed his method of operation, he became more consistent and more cynical. Because of his height and build, he felt the master of any situation. He only threatens once, and doesn't draw his weapon. He is always accompanied by Leonardo Montiel Ruiz and Eduardo Rosey Lira".

"He also formed part of the group of Mateo Ugalde Ruiz, who was known to be a hit man and served as a containment wall. This subject wanted to belong to the Judicial Police of Hidalgo, but was rejected".

On the 1st of April 1982, Rios Galeana raided a bank at Tepeapulco and stole 1,440,275.00 Pesos. But the money was not their. Among the bills were a trap, notes that exploded, spread tear gas and a red ink that made the money unusable.

With faces turned into masks of tears, the robbers fled. They returned on July 8th of the same year, this time they stole 1,548,000.00 Pesos that this time did not contain a trap.

In early 1982, Rios Galeana got an appointment with the plastic surgeon Ignacio Arambura Alvarez. The thief went to his office on Tuxpan street number 46, office 204, in the Roma Colonia. In may he had surgery on his nose.

A year later the same doctor thinned out his lips. He continued with his treatment with ultrasound massages of his mouth at the Metropolitan Hospital. He paid 100,000 Pesos for both operations, which he rounded off with permed hair.

Then he had a photograph taken in his disco and was now called Alfredo del Rio. The "Public Enemy no.1 " didn't flee, Feyo had escaped again.

In December of 1983, El Leon, Eduardo Rosey Lira, Ismael Jacinto Davila, Alberto Juarez Montes, Lauro Rodriguez Velazquez and Francisco Vera Montiel were all detained.

Rios Galeana took a break, until his associates escaped from prison in October of 1984. Leonardo Montiel was struggling for work. He had a good plan, thought up with the eyes of a prehistoric reptile: The assault on the Bank of Mortgage Bonds.

The fugitive had been enriching his gang and added more fugitives, Gilberto Ornelas Garcia and Salvador Ornelas Rojas "El Pariente". He also added Jaime Maldonado Garcia "El Jimmy", but he wasn't a thief just a custodian who supported the fugitive.

Criminals who wish to belong to the band of Rios Galeana area thoroughly selected by him, he demands that they meet certain criteria and have the same ideology, that they represent a reckless and aggressive attitude, with prison records and a history of violence, independently being astute and intelligent. Leonardo Montiel Ruiz is the most aggressive of the group.

On the 8th of November 1984, they entered the administrative offices of the Newspaper Excelsior. They threatened the employees and had them lie on the floor. They took 35,000,000 pesos from the business and various objects of the employees, they didn't only like the money.

One week after they robbed the Electric Company Clarion. They stole 481 car stereos with a value of nine million pesos and 1.7 million pesos in cash from the safe.

Their method also was flexible.

Rios Galeana knocked on the door of the Bank of Mortgage Bonds, the site proposed by Montiel, and when the guard opened the door, he disarmed him. He asked for the keys to the vault and how to activate the alarm.

They tied the guards hands and took him to the inside offices so he could show them the security system, but they could not turn it off. Under the noise of the sirens they made a whole in the wall 20 inches by 16 inches with a grinder, hammer and chisel. Montiel Ruiz and Rios Galeana entered through the hole.

They cut through the hinges of the safe with the grinder and with an iron bar levered open the door about 10 inches and put a scissor jack into the space and opened the door. They stole 256 Million Pesos in the banks bags.

Alfredo Rios Galeana had an alias Luis Fernando Gutierrez Martinez, with a shiny new house in his photograph which credits him as a civil engineer who graduated from the Autonomous Metropolitan University.

He bought the house for 100,000 pesos at the beginning of the decade of the 1980's in Puebla. He attended part of the engineering course and used the title to justify the money he spent. His other well known pseudonym was Fernando Berber and using both names he married in the church and a registry office.

On the 18th of January 1985, the police detained El Leon again. He confessed to a series of robberies, the name of his accomplices and the location of the headquarters, in the Calle Enrique Rebsamen. There they arrested Jacinto Garza Davila, Eduardo Rosey Lira and Gustavo Alberto Juarez Montes. They admitted to having participated in various bank robberies, residences, National Railways in Pantaco, as well as the centre of development of the environment and ecology, where they killed a policeman, wounded another and injured an employee.

Rios Galeana fell shortly after. The Federal Judicial policeman Miguel Silva Knight, el Chicochangote, who years later would be involved in the murder of the Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo during a brawl between gunmen from the Arellano Felix brothers and El Chapo Guzman, participated in his capture.

El Negro Durazo did not participate in the arrest of " public enemy no.1", the former police officer and former General, by appointment of his friend Jose Lopez Portillo, was in prison also.

In 1985, El Feyo had two charges of criminal association, six for aggravated robbery, injury of agents of the Authority, damage to property, three murders, using firearms, using firearms against agents of authority, causing bodily harm, and escaping from prison.

On November 22nd 1986, Rios Galeana stepped through the dark tunnels inhabited by prostitutes and drug dealers that connect to the criminal court in those days. The defendant entered the court of a Judge of the 33rd Circuit. Across the street from the court house six men and a woman arrived.

They waited for El Feyo

When Rios Galeana appeared, El Marino threw a grenade, they loved grenades, he pulled the pin and threw the " Pineapple" against the wall. Rios Galeana compressed his considerable bulk into the floor and felt the rain of stone fragments and dust.

When the smoke had cleared, The Mysterious Cowboy had disappeared.

He would soon return to prison. He rescued El Marino while he was being transferred. In the attack on the prison convoy new faces and new trigger men were seen. One was Juan Carlos Dias Hernandez "El Jarocho", compadre of Hecto Peralta Vazquez "El Papis", and the new trigger men were Andres Caletri and Marcos Tinoco Gancedo Colonel.

After the rescue of El Marino, the road of Rios Galeana took another turn.

In Guadalupe Lake, Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico State, Rios Galeana took Christianity into his life and changed his name to Arturo Montoya.

He returned to singing, but not now to women, but to Jesus. He lived to manage two buses. He became a preacher, talked about marital fidelity, forged congregations of Christians, he worked hard to carry the word of the Lord.

Around June of 1992, the shadow of Alfredo touched the aura of Arturo, La Prensa newspaper recalled that the bandit was out there unpunished, walking around with impunity.

He escaped to the United States.

In June of 2005, a neighbour of his spoke to the Los Angeles Police and unveiled the past of Rios Galeana. He asked for a reward, Public Enemy no.1 was back in a Mexican Prison. Luis, the eldest son of Arturo Montoya said, the man who justice pursues is already dead.

A few years later, the neighbours in Piedra Gorda Colonia, called one of their streets "Rios Galeana".

Troubled, the PRI justified what they consider a disgrace for calling this street after Rios Galeana, who had confused the name with a hero of the independence Hermenegildo Galeana instead of the old Public Enemy no.1 Rios Galeana.

Its certain that in the State of Mexico, from where El Chapo escaped, exist 65 closes, avenues and colonias called Carlos Hank Gonzalez. There exists Calle Carlos Hank Gonzalez, in Colonia Carlos Hank Gonzalez, and no one is ashamed.

Original article in Spanish at Sinembargo

Next up Great escapes, Traconi escape artist of La Tanga Rosa (2 of 5)


  1. El feyo haha. I love these names

  2. chivis,

    is it true that the extradition order for chapo has been rescinded?

    1. Not quite, amparo was granted which at least temporarily places a "stay" on the extradition

  3. Y asi corre la linea de corrupcion, impunidad, asesinatos y favores a amigos. Asi se maneja Mexico en todo nivel.

  4. The LA Times did a story about him a few years back. I knew someone who briefly knew him in Mexico and to my surprise learned that Galeana also lived close to me here around the LA area. He sang as el charro de misterio in the mid 90s in some local bars in LA county a few times. If you dig deep enough in the internet gaps in his life during his departure from Mexico are covered.

  5. That was 1 bad dude, he got busted in the City of South Gate, even his corrido is badass.

  6. El feyo derives from "alfeyo"=alfredo, not from "feo", by mexican standards, alfredo Rios galeana was/is very good looking...
    --It is good that he is together here with his employer, besides his being peniless, he knows what he did with all the money he robbed, I am sure a lot of it ended in the hands of El negro durazo and carlos hank gonzalez, and also gave us miguel angel osorio chong, hidalgo state mafia, la hermandad policiaca, helped francisco sahagun Baca run away to "la tumba vacia de Francisco Sahagun Vaca" compadre de enrique guzman, capitan de la policia metropolitana como amado carrillo juentes y rafael caro quintero, tio de la Primera Dama de Segunda Mano Mexicana, Martitha sahagun de fox...
    Y papa de la Familia Michoacana...
    --those on top get streets named after them, and presidential libraries, and those close to them are very proud of them, because nobody exposes them, like the sons of the BARAPEM...

    1. that's some heavy insight you have. please explain more

  7. Great read! Thx BB--looking forward to
    "Part 2.'


  8. Fascinating story!!

    - La Flama Blanca.

  9. Imaginative post Otis-B good one too..
    Since researched this guy(a little)to find him in corridos etc.Look to the next instalment thanks

  10. So this guy was like a mexican John dillinger?

  11. Who empowered Alfredo Rios Galeana with so much impunity? His partners...
    None other than the atracomulco mafia, in cahoots with the pachuca mafia from the lazca, osorio chong (Mr zeta) and jose murillo karam home state of hidalgo, they all made their millions under the table to get all the power in mexico, certainly, el feyo ends up in prison labeled a criminal and the other "honorable authorities" get streets named after them and "medals" from France and Spain, sheyet, even from colombia...


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