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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, July 6, 2018

San Diego: The desperate upper class drug smugglers

San Diego/Tijuana: The desperate upper class drug smugglers

It happens every day, every hour, across Mexico, but especially in Tijuana, a transit point for millions of dollars worth of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.  Over drinks, over dinner, over a sipped beer or slammed shot, maybe the odd line of cocaine in an upscale bar, an arrangement is made. Over coffee, or lunch, in an office, or a ranch outside the city, the back of a casino, tired overworked waitresses, lingering cigarette smoke, the bleary drone of slot machines and jackpots, promotions and massive flat screens, an offer is presented.

The arrangement comes from a friend, comes from a friend of a girlfriend, a generous offer to sometimes desperate men, the desperation concealed by their job titles and upmarket houses, former glory days.  These types are targeted by brokers, by sort of a feelers, men and women who lure them into their service, for sex, money, a chance for redemption in financial prosperity.
Eduardo Sais Peinado

Take Esteban Loiaza, former professional baseball player, who made, spent, and apparently lost tens of millions of dollars, before ending up at age 46, thin, pale, and charged with trafficking 20 kilos of cocaine, from a stash house in his name, in Imperial Beach, minutes from the Tijuana border.

Loiaza is out of custody on a 180,000 bond, secured by a property owned by his former wife in Texas.  It took months for Loiaza to make bail, showcasing his financial troubles.  He was charged with federal drug charges in March, the state charges dismissed to make way for the federal indictment, charging him with one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

When he is finally sentenced, it is almost certain he will tell a familiar tale of desperate financial situations and an opportunity, that he now sincerely regrets taking.  It may not sound much different from the former municipal Tijuana based judge, and lawyer, who was sentenced this week in federal court, to three years in custody.

Eduardo Sais Peinado was arrested in February, with 17 kilos of cocaine, at the San Ysidro point of entry.  During his sentencing, through his attorney, he explained the series of events that led to his arrest and guilty plea.  After 20 years as civil attorney in private practice, Peindao began working as a municipal judge, for $135 a week, he mostly oversaw matters such as parking tickets and traffic violations.

Around the same time he began seeing a woman, who had three children, one, 6 years old, had a disability, and he was financially helping to pay for her medical bills.  His longtime partner in his law firm began to accuse him of being absent from the office, and negligent to the firm, as their business slowly slipped.  Peinado for his part denied this.

Nevertheless, a large payment to the partners, of 128,000, was received, and Peindao's partner allegedly refused to pay him his half of the money.  His financial situation worsened, as he burned through his savings and claimed he could not get a loan.

But, there was an opportunity that came one day at the Pueblo Amigo Caliente Casino in Tijuana.  It wasn't a loan, but it was a chance.  A man who he had never met, named Vale, but knew of his troubles approached him with an offer.  Peindao claims two meetings later he agreed to traffic drugs across the border, concealed in his vehicle.

He made at least one preliminary trip, with nothing in the car, with another individual linked to Vale.  Then he successfully crossed with drugs concealed, dropping the car in a parking lot in Chula Vista, where he left it with a man for an hour, who assumedly removed the product from the compartment.  He then crossed the car back to Tijuana.  He was paid 3,500.

A week later he was contacted again, and drove through the line on February 10th, 2018, driving a 2007 white jeep liberty, with kilos of cocaine lining the door panels.  Customs officers, using a density scanning device, and a drug sniffing dog found the cocaine concealed in the door panels.  He was charged with importation of a controlled substance.

The case brings to mind the Tijuana architect who was arrested in 2012, Eugenio Velasquez, who eventually was sentenced to a year in custody, for smuggling 5 kilos of cocaine.  Velasquez, who through his lawyer, Jeremy Warren, told a story of deception and coercion, that resulted in his arrest and guilty plea.

Velasquez, was a successful, high end architect, who was contracted to do design work on a Tijuana ranch, in 2011.  After a few weeks working on the ranch, he noticed he was being followed by men, and became concerned about his security.  The client offered the use of his bodyguards, and Velasquez accepted.  Months later, the client claimed Velasquez owed 40,000 for the use of his men.
Esteban Loiaza upon release from San Diego MCC in May 

Velasquez didn't have the money, or wouldn't pay, and he was offered a choice. He was a SENTRI card holder, and crossed rapidly, and frequently.  The client claimed he would hurt or kill his family in Tijuana if he did not cross the 5 kilo shipment.  Velasquez was arrested at the San Ysidro border, and charged federally.

Across the socioeconomic scale, people are recruited for this work.  But, men like this piece details are especially useful, they are often well to do, and less likely to be stopped, or possess SENTRI cards and Readi Passes. They are vulnerable to the same threats of violence, but often it is the finances that lure them in.

There exists in Tijuana, and all over, a world of violence and killing, victims and killers, bodies with deep bruises under their eyes, ligature marks on their wrists, strangulation marks on their necks.  This world is hinted at, alluded to, as men sit in bars and coffee shops, suits and sunglasses, shirt sleeves, coffee cups in saucers, the hectic flow of the morning work rush. Or the buzzy, frantic pulse of the casino, cigarette smoke and desperation in the air of every breath.

Esteban Loiaza and Sais Peinado were arrested the same weekend in Tijuana.  There is nothing to suggest the two are linked, only in the sense that they are two of the same kind of targets that traffickers use.  Exploiting financial weaknesses, egos, greed, a very human fear of poverty, these men always have work. They always have an offer.  All you have to do is cross.

Sources: Zeta Tijuana, San Diego Union Tribune


  1. Fing liar. No way it was only his second. No way they only paid him 3500. The 135 weekly salary is correct, but those types of judges make 150 - 300 dollars per day from bribes and the cuts cops give them. Thise are facts. He obviously was working for someone good and they sent him a good lawyer

  2. Good article J explaining the 'whys' behind it.

  3. Poor little rich motherfacmers, having Sentry and fast pass cards and expensive cars and good jobs to become pinch burros or mules doing their little shit.
    Peinado can go back to being a lawyer in mexico when released,

  4. Could happen to u

  5. These guys were used as pons, what is 5 keys, when customs gets distracted with 5 you get 1000 in right behind them, a play on emotions and circumstance, its a dirty game and money is the root.Do not pass go, Do not collect $200-In my Ace Ventura voice.

  6. Amlo promise 3000 pesos a month i wont have to smuggle or work in the USA. Just stsy on the rancho and enjoy life

  7. Probesito El Loaiza,
    Eso se saca por andar ahi nomás de caliente.
    Normal people do not spend one million dollars in chingaderas

    1. W.r.o.n.g...normal people are THE ONES WHO spend one million on chingaderas.

  8. Palomar s.chula Vista, Dennys parking lot or food 4 less ja ja ja lol verdad

    1. Hush hush bringing some heat on 91911

    2. Hush up ! Old news Palomar do your math!2007

    3. Hush then little cry baby

  9. Exploitation by those savvy and cunning practices by cartels to find the gullible / desperate ones to do the unthinkable.
    A conscious decision made by many from an irrational perspective point of view. All due to economic conditions or by fear.

    Interesting article BB.
    This is clearly visible today in airports and border crossings in America. Moreover, worldwide.

    No sympathy from me here. Choices / options are always available!
    Just have to look,think and analyze.


  10. El hijo de Pepe Aguilar was involved in some human smuggling at border.

    1. Which I'm quite sure his father was not pleased with. An issue that caught international attention because of irrational behavior. Can someone with input give readers here as to why his son committed such an unlawful action?
      Was it due to financial problems?
      Or simy greed?


    2. i brought that up as human smuggling is usually done by cartel or linked to cartel. i didnt hear much after Pepes anger at media. But i am also hoping somebody with more knowledge on this case.. why this wealthy young man do this??? the facts are wierd. i didnt know humans were still smuggled laying flat in trunk. i thought it was done with fake papers riding shotgun or sometimes without papers trying to look as "American" as possible.

    3. @ Obvious Guy

      You do make an interesting point of view. From what I've seen and heard smuggling tactics are not unheard of or unimaginable.
      However, Pepe's son to have been involved with this inappropriate behavior was an eye catching situation for those who looked up to him and family.
      Rather a black eye to all fans.
      Can it be that greed and his superstar status which made him believe he was untouchable? Better yet with special preference or privilege to cross without inspection?
      I am truly leaning on that he did partake in this behavior before without getting caught. Fast and easy money!


    4. Yes and his azz is grassed.

  11. Esteban Loiaza wasn’t in financial hardship at all lol. He has properties in Playas Tijuana and business. Ese wey estaba en las pulgas y alebirje soensinf thousands every weekend. He was doing it for the ego and ended snitching, his girlfriend is still in jail because her relatives were the ones with connections.

    1. If he was not in financial hardship, then why the hell was he caught, red handed smuggling drugs to the U S???

  12. Small time wannabes. They were doomed from the start. The pros are bringing in billions worth of all manner of drugs. Does anyone believe they do so without paying off the gringos?

    1. Paying off Mexicans like you.

    2. 1:19 thank you for your understanding which deserves more explanation:
      Ant contraband is not welcome by the billionaire ton traffickers or their partners in big money laundering banking, it eats away on their bottom line...

    3. Dang, I wish. Let's just say I have inside authoritative intelligence on the matter. Everyone, Mexicans and Gringos, are getting paid.
      Not that it matters much to be, but I want to put your ignorance out there.
      My family has been in the U.S. since 1870, making my four kids fourth-generation U.S.-born American citizens.
      That said, I'm very proud to be 100 percent Mexican by blood. And I always root for Mexico over the U.S.
      But I hold that golden American passport.

  13. what was given can be taken away!


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