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

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Sinaloa Cartel Local Cell Leader Linked to Lawyer's Murder Is Arrested in Ensenada

"MX" for Borderland Beat
Arley Jesus Aguilar Salgado ("Marcos")
Baja California state authorities arrested Arley Jesus Aguilar Salgado ("Marcos"), a leader of the Ensenada-based criminal cell known as Los Venados, a subgroup of the Sinaloa Cartel. This man is under investigation for the 28 April 2020 murder of lawyer and anti-drug agent Hiram Rivera Lizarraga.

Los Venados are based in Isla de Cedros, an island off the Baja California coast in Ensenada Municipality. Los Venados are responsible for drug sales and drug trafficking, the smuggling of endemic flora, and for fighting a rival gang known as Los Querrerques as well as the Tijuana (CAF) and Jalisco New Generation Cartels (CJNG).

Aguilar-Salgado used the alias "Marcos" to avoid detection from the police. Investigators said that the detainee went to great measures to hide his identity and repeatedly changed his name. The police were able to identify him after he was issued a driver's license with his alias "Marcos". He had been using this alias since 23 August 2019.

The wave of violence in Ensenada has left at least five government agents killed in 2020. The first one killed was the municipal agent Juan Francisco Chávez Ibarra on March 9; followed by firefighter Héctor Murillo Dávila on April 13; the commander in the Valle de Guadalupe, Víctor Manuel Ruiz Ponce, on May 2; Rivera Lizárraga was killed on April 28; and Manuel Avendaño Rojas on May 22.

Murders in Ensenada are also in a record-high, as reported by Borderland Beat. According to National Guard figures, after Tijuana, Ensenada has the highest homicide rate in Baja California with 130 murders; 52 more than those presented in the same period in 2019. Borderland Beat reported earlier this year that port cities like Ensenada are major battlegrounds in Mexico's ongoing drug war.

Murder of Hiram Rivera Lizarraga
Those who knew Rivera Lizárraga remember him as an honest, humble and hard-working drug investigator. "He was a clean, dedicated and relentless", some of his colleagues told Zeta magazine reporters.
Lawyer and anti-drug agent Hiram Rivera Lizarraga
He was killed in front of his family on 28 April 2020, a few days after Ensenada lawyer Ruben Arenivar Garza was murdered, as reported by Borderland Beat. Gunmen pulled up next to Rivera Lizarraga's vehicle while he was parked outside his home. Seven shots were fired from close range.

In February 2020, state authorities told Zeta news magazine that Rivera Lizárraga and his family had received death threats from Los Venados. The clan is composed of three brothers:  Germán, Jesús and César Ulises Villavicencio.

Both Los Venados and the CJNG wanted Rivera Lizárraga dead after he seized several properties they owned in the area. The death threats were considered serious, and Rivera Lizárraga was forced to leave Isla de Cerdos with other agents who were working with him on the case.

Rivera Lizárraga seized a drug house on 13 April 2020 in Ensenada and arrested drug dealers María de la Cruz Rosales Valdez (aged 69) and Luis Alberto Estrada Fuentes (aged 19) with 100 grams of marijuana and 97 grams of crystal meth. "There are unconfirmed rumors that someone in the State Prosecutor's Office – who was not Rivera Lizárraga – collected MXN$500 to release the detainees and reopen [drug house]," one state agent said.
Sequence of Rivera Lizárraga's murder, as captured by a surveillance camera
Rivera Lizárraga left to Nayarit with his family for two weeks but then returned to Ensenada and was killed. Rivera Lizárraga's colleagues later told Zeta reporters that he did not receive protection from the government despite these threats. "Let's see if [this murder] ... is an act of corruption by municipal police authorities", one investigator said.

SourcesZeta Tijuana and Borderland Beat archives


  1. Mx or chivis you guys have to do a report on that couple that went missing three years ago in the Coachella valley because of some kilos of cocaine that had gotten lost. They recently broke the case and they are doing a news report on it today at 5 or 6 Kesq the police aren’t leaking out information about the case and everyone who is everyone wants to know how and what and why people know the true story... just needs to come out

  2. These guys live on that little ass island? They move weight thru there or what?? Looks like theres 10 houses there

  3. era cuestion de tiempo como con los damasos

  4. That definitely looks like a wig.

  5. No comments?? Wow el azabache esta vivo y ya es gente del 09

    1. No he’s not. Bro just cus you probably saw an old vid don’t mean he’s with chapitos


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