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

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Hector 'El Guero' Palma's Sister-in-Law and Niece Found Dead in Sonora

 "MX" for Borderland Beat

Maria Jimena Palma Romero (left) and Cintia Mercedes Romero Verdugo (right). The latter was once the romantic partner of Marcos Tinoco Gancedo ("Coronel"), a man linked to the Sinaloa Cartel and a ring of kidnappers.

The family history of Héctor 'El Güero' Palma is one of the most tragic in the world of drug trafficking. A few days ago, the Sonora's Attorney General's Office (FGJ) confirmed the discovery of the bodies of María Jimena Palma Romero and Cintia Mercedes Romero Verdugo, Palma's niece and sister-in-law. Both women had been missing for over a year. According to the investigations, they were abducted by four people in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, in December 2019.

In a surveillance camera video of a shopping center, the authorities were able to notice that María Jimena and Cintia Mercedes left through the main door of the business and are forced to walk at gunpoint before they were taken. Their relatives, realizing that it was 8:00 p.m. and that both of they did not return home, headed to the shopping center and found their vehicle abandoned at the parking lot.

Investigators were able to confirm their identities through fingerprints, their physical body description (tattoos), and by analyzing their personal belongings.

Previous tragedies

When Palma was head of the Sinaloa Cartel, conflict between his criminal group and the Arellano Félix brothers rose. The brothers, who were related to the former leader of the Guadalajara Cartel Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, felt that Palma displaced them under the new arrangement. His rivals dispatched a Venezuelan man named Rafael Clavel to infiltrate Palma's operations. Clavel wooed Palma's wife and ran off with her and his two children.

One day, a package arrived at Palma's house and he opened it. Inside was the severed head of his wife Guadalupe Lejia. About a week later, the tragedy worsened; Clavel sent a video to Palma where he threw his two children from a bridge in Venezuela. Jesús (aged 5) and Nataly (aged 4) were killed.

Palma erected a headstone with their faces in Jardines de Humaya cemetery in Culiacan, Sinaloa. The construction was valued at over US$420,000. In the ceiling is a painting of his wife and two children.

Far from appeasing the conflict, things would not stop there. In revenge, Palma ordered the murder of nine friends and relatives of Félix Gallardo, including his mother-in-law. These incidents marked the beginning of the change in the code of conduct among drug cartels.


In 1995, he was arrested while heading to a wedding on his private jet. While flying his jet suffered engine problems and he had to do a forced landing near the Jalisco and Nayarit state borders. His arrest confirmed what many Mexicans had long known: in Mexico, the police are for sale and drug lords are purchasing them.

When Palma was arrested, most of his entourage were active members of the Federal Judicial Police (PJF). Palma was imprisoned at the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 2 ("Puente Grande"), the infamous prison where El Chapo escaped in 2001. In Mexico, Palma won several appeals and had his charges dropped multiple times.

However, in 2007, Palma was extradited to the U.S. and sentenced for his drug trafficking involvement. He was deported back to Mexico in 2016 and was re-arrested by Mexican authorities who were waiting for him at the border crossing. He was imprisoned for his outstanding charges in Mexico.

He is currently facing trial for murder and is currently imprisoned at the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1 ("Altiplano"), a maximum-security prison in the State of Mexico.

Sources: Infobae; Silla Rota; Borderland Beat archives


  1. Palma's family tragedy was, perhaps, one of the worst but considering the unabated mayhem that has gripped parts of Mexico it seems to be the norm now.

  2. “The latter was once the romantic partner of Marcos Tinoco Gancedo ("Coronel"), a man linked to the Sinaloa Cartel and a ring of kidnappers.”

    Any word of this “Coronel” being a possible suspect?

  3. Severed head and throwing children off of a bridge.
    Now I know where the Netflix series El Chema got some of their script.

    1. 3:06 congratlations!!!
      You will get a medal for discovering black thread too...
      And don't tell anybody but the Godfather like most US gangster movies were also lifted from real life.

  4. Animo compadres y Don Palma!
    Senor Mencho and his organization offer their condolences to El Guero and his family. He was always a man of honor. If he still ran Sinaloa today he would surely be an ally of CJNG. If Rafa or Juarez was behind this atrocity, Senor Mencho will be sure to deal with them.

    Caballero de Jalisco🏴‍☠️🇲🇽

    1. Why can't it be Sinaloa that killed these women?
      Perhaps they nolonger needed them?

    2. 006 just contacted me from his Kevlar G7.3 tactical phone. He said your mom said to come out her basement your macaroni and cheese is getting cold.

    3. You be barking too much bro like you know

    4. You sound just like sicario 007 , you’re some imposter

    5. 10:21 there is plenty macaroni and cheese in his "mommy's basement", they even say it smells like fish but tastes like chicken

  5. Is the afo still going after palmas family ? Or some independent dealer in Durango, Sinaloa ?

  6. Seems about right. That’s a long time to be in captivity. Very unusual and unfortunate.

  7. For sure. Real question is why? Why for so long? Have we seen these long kidnappings before? In Colombia they are called “retenciones”, which refers to political kidnappings that held people in captivity, sometimes for years.


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