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

Saturday, March 7, 2020

House Owned by Zetas Money Launderer Up for Sale Next Week

"Morogris" for Borderland Beat (formerly "MX")

The Mexican federal government will put a house owned by a Zetas money launderer for sale next week. The property was seized by the government in January 2010 and it is located in Los Limoneros, an upscale neighborhood in Cuernavaca, Morelos.

It was owned by Carlos Sotelo Luviano, who also goes by the aliases Francisco Chaire Huerta and Jorge Lagunas Jaramillo. This man was the prime money launderer of Omar Lórmendez Pitalúa ("El Pita"), one of the founders of Los Zetas.

The house is worth MXN$9,264,400 (approximately US$474,341). It will be sold in an auction where the Mexican government sales houses confiscated from organized crime.
Cuernavaca, nicknamed the "City of the Eternal Spring", is about a two hour drive from Mexico City. It has a population of nearly 350,000, and is often cited as a popular retreat spot for rich Mexico City residents who want to get away from the metropolis. It has a charming colonial downtown and several upscale neighborhoods.

Over the years, this attracted several Mexican drug kingpins who wanted to blend in with Cuernavaca's upper class. One of them was Arturo Beltrán Leyva, who used to rent a property there close to Sotelo's home.

When Sotelo's home was taken in 2010, Mexico's Attorney General's Office (PGR) issued a report that they were raiding other properties in Cuernavaca that they suspected were bought with illegal proceeds from Los Zetas. Among them included two gas stations under Sotelo's name.

Relationship with Zetas founder
In a report published by Borderland Beat this January, Sotelo's money laundering activities were exposed. From 2004 to 2009, Sotelo laundered the money of Zetas founder Omar Lormendez Pitalua ("El Pita") and worked as his main strawperson.

Sotelo reportedly worked for Los Zetas and managed 37 bank accounts owned by Lorméndez Pitalúa. He underwent plastic surgery multiple times to hide his identity and used his two aliases to purchase assets on Lorméndez Pitalúa's behalf. Interestingly enough, one of his aliases has the surnames "Lagunas Jaramillo", which are the surnames of Zetas founder's wife Angélica Lagunas Jaramillo. Her daughter dated Zetas founder Arturo Guzmán Decena ("Z-1").
Sotelo with Zetas founder Omar Lorméndez Pitalúa
Among the assets purchased included Pemex gas stations, houses, vehicles, and multiple commercial establishments in Morelos, Guerrero and Mexico City.

Los Zetas preferred to launder money by purchasing gas stations because they viewed it as a discreet way of investing their money in the economy. Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano ("Z-3") oversaw the overall strategic initiative for Los Zetas in this market space, and used Lorméndez Pitalúa and his cousin Humberto Canales Lazcano ("Comandante Chivo") as his trusted business partners.

Some Pemex officials and third-party contractors worked in complicity with Los Zetas; others who opposed their initiatives were extorted, had family members kidnapped, or were killed by the cartel.

Sotelo was arrested in 2009 with his business partner Jaime Macedo Salgado after a judge issued an arrest warrant for their captures. Both were imprisoned at the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1 ("Altiplano"), Mexico's maximum-security facility. At the moment of his arrest, Sotelo was planning to open another gas station for Los Zetas in Guerrero.

Source(s): El Universal; LNN; AP


  1. Right there at the top of my bucket list- buying cartel property the subject of government forfeiture. Let me check my account balance.

  2. Which Zetas have been extradited? Very few, no?

    1. Off the top of my head I know Jesús Enrique Rejón Aguilar ("El Mamito") is the highest-ranking Zetas ever extradited. He's an original Zetas. Right now Jaime González Durán ("El Hummer") is close to being sent, same with Miguel Treviño Morales ("Z-40"). Many others are imprisoned in Mexico or dead. Only a few are fugitives like Omar Lorméndez Pitalua ("El Pita"), Zeferino Peña Cuéllar ("Don Zefe"), Jorge López Pérez ("El Chuta"), among others. I've posted stories about these last three in the mainboard in the past. Cheers.

  3. Won't fetch much! Too much baggage and bad karma.

  4. Many Zetas' partners were politicians and also owned gas stations, they used to sell the stolen Huachicol there instead of paying PEMEX for deliveries, with the idea of sending PEM3X to bankruptcy, same as Arcelor-Mittal acquired the greatest siderurgica in the world "Lazaro Cardenas" in Las Truchas, Michoacan, and other mining companies stole the national mining Industry nationalized by Adolfo Lopez Mateos, power generation and electrical companies, water, land, Mexicana de Aviacion, everything stolen by politicians and accomplices before discovering the zetas to blame them for it all.

  5. Have any report about El señor barrera and el guachito (sinaloa cartel) they were killed last night

  6. This is not true. The Mexican government steals houses from people who rent them to narcos. For example, if your rental agency rents your house to a narco you are screwed as narcos rent them get arrested and then the gov sees this as a chance to make money by confiscating the property as a money making opportunity. Leaving you with a load of shit on your hands that takes years to resolve. Do not invets or touch this country with a ninety foot bargepole - ever. Avoid.

    1. That's very sad because you never really know who you're renting your house to.

  7. Fascinating insight into the zetas money making machinations. I hadn’t realized the extent to which they were in bed with Pemex. Very much aware of their huachilicaros and the theft, but the corruption aspect I had merely speculated on prior to reading this.Very intelligent way to launder, flip and multiply that money with a legit biz, while pilfering the oil they’re selling at their gas stations. Making money coming and going then multiplying it. I’m going to take a long shot and bet that money motivated the Pemex execs rather than the bullet

    Thank you for the info, and for your fierce journalistic integrity


    1. Thanks, Frank. I don't know if you can read Spanish fluently but there's a really good book about Pemex and their involvement organized crime (particularly Los Zetas). The case against Sotelo is covered in there among with many others. It is called "El cártel negro: Cómo el crimen organizado se ha apoderado de Pemex" by Ana Lilia Pérez.

  8. I wouldn't want to buy one of these narco houses. I want as many degrees of separation between me and the Zetas as humanly possible.

  9. Nice starter home a young Narco getting in the business. What's funny another Narco will buy it

  10. I hope the Lagunes women that became his family wait for el Pita until he gets released, the daughter used to be concubine of Arturo Guzman Decena, z1 founding member of the Zetas

    1. El Pita was released in 2013 and is active in the Zetas Vieja Escuela. You can read his biography at the Wikipedia page or by digging through Borderland Beat archives; I wrote both pages. His wife Angélica Lagunas Jaramillo was arrested in 2003 and was sentenced to 20-years. She will be out soon or could be out already if she was released on parole.


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