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

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Los Chapitos and Los Salazar form a truce with Los Garibay to enter Baja California

 "MX" for Borderland Beat

Manuel Garibay Espinoza ('Don Manuel', left) and Luis Alfredo Garibay Felix ('El Wicho', right) are the two leaders of Los Garibay. They were arrested in 2010 and 2018, respectively, but both were released.

The narco-war in Mexicali, Baja California, and the adjacent municipality of San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, has taken a deadlier shift.

At dawn on Tuesday, February 23, an armed commando broke into two homes located in the Mexicali Valley and murdered two people, wounded a 6-year-old boy, and kidnapped three siblings.

The criminals then continued their bloody endeavor in San Luis Rio Colorado, where they perpetrated another attack on a home before escaping to Sonoyta, Sonora, where the attackers are presumed to have driven from.

The attack was perpetrated by a large number of heavily armed assassins traveling in over ten armored pick-up trucks. According to local reporters, this modus operandi was atypical in the Mexicali Valley.

Investigators say the attack was carried out by Los Salazar, a Sonoran-based criminal group affiliated with Los Chapitos, the sons of infamous Sinaloa Cartel drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman. The people they targeted worked under Felipe Eduardo Barajas Lozano ('El Omega'), a local drug kingpin.

Government intelligence officials say that Los Salazars and Los Chapitos could not operate alone in the Mexicali Valley. They sought and made an alliance with the decimated group known as Los Garibay, currently led by Manuel Garibay Espinoza ('Don Manuel') and Luis Alfredo Garibay Felix ('El Wicho').

"Los Garibay are opening the doors of Baja California for [Los Salazar and Los Chapitos]," Zeta Tijuana reporters wrote. 

Since the start of 2020, there has been a large uptick in murders in Mexicali, especially in the southern part of the valley. Most of the murders are attributed to clashes with El Omega, a close collaborator of Jesús Alexander Sánchez Félix ('El Ruso'). El Omega and El Ruso work for the faction headed by Ismael 'El Mayo' Zambada.

Security forces in Mexicali, Baja California (source: Zeta Tijuana)

The Hypothesis 

Due to their lack of a strong criminal base in Mexicali, a flat area with few escape routes, Los Chapitos and Los Salazar required the support of a local cell to carry out the attack on February 23. Therefore, investigators say that they sought the support of Los Garibay.

Zeta Tijuana reporters say that Los Garibay help Los Salazar and Los Chapitos move through the Mexicali Valley via rural routes (brechas). These routes cover several municipalities and are considered difficult to navigate without local support.

Knowing that El Omega was shutting down Los Garibay's drug routes and stopping rival cartels and independent smugglers in the Mexicali Valley, Los Garibay sought for external support.

With this alliance, Los Salazar and Los Chapitos will have the capacity to hide and move between Sonora and Baja California with less issues, while Los Garibay regains some of the power they lost against El Omega's faction.

Previous Incidents in Mexicali 

In November 2020, a group of 12 sicarios recruited from a drug rehab center in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, were arrested in Mexicali for murdering two people. The attacks were conducted in eastern Mexicali, one of the most important city sectors for drug sale spots (puntos) controlled by El Omega.

A few hours before the February 23 attack, state officials arrested El Omega's associate Jose Fernando Aguirre Barrera ('El Guero') in Miguel Aleman, a rural community that connects Mexicali with Sonora. Officials say that most of the arrests in the area are against those in El Omega's faction.

Two weeks before, security forces clashed with gunmen working for El Ruso and killed two of them.

Los Salazar are responsible for the double homicide of two San Luis Colorado ex-police officers, Marco Polo and Fernando Marquez Tamayo. Both were murdered in Mexicali in May and October 2020, respectively. In one of the attacks, Marco Polo's 3-year-old son was killed.

Earlier this year, Los Salazar decapitated two men and dumped their bodies in two different locations in Mexicali. One of the victims was identified as Juan Carlos Perez Quintero, a suspected drug dealer. According to forensic experts, both victims were decapitated alive.

Police officers and military arrive at a crime scene in Mexicali to gather evidences

The Highway of Death 

The experience that entire families lived through at around 6:30 a.m. on February 23 on the San Luis Colorado - Sonoyta federal highway was traumatic.

Almost 100 armed individuals dressed in military clothing and wearing ski-marks set up a checkpoint at Kilometer 39 heading to Sonoyta. They allowed cargo and passenger vehicles to go through, but they stripped every drive of their belongings. They took phones, money, clothes, and virtually anything they could get a hold of while holding everyone at gunpoint.

Two and a half hours later, security forces arrived at the federal highway once everything had concluded.

The Highway of Death (Carretera de la Muerte) crosses through Biosphere Reserve El Pinacate, an UNESCO-protected area. Zeta Tijuana reporters advise their readers to not access El Pinacate through the northern sector since that is a known area controlled by cartels.

Approximately 50 years ago, this area was known as the Highway of Death for its narrow roads, which caused many accidents. Due to pressure from several newspapers in Sonora and Baja California, federal authorities expanded the highway under the presidency of Felipe Calderon (2006 - 2012), and even included a road that led to Puerto Peñasco.

However, given the government's inability to stop the violence in this area, it is virtually impossible for drivers to travel through the San Luis Colorado - Sonoyta federal highway when the sun goes down. Areas such as CaborcaSonoyta, San Luis, Peñasco, El Golfo de Santa Clara, El Saric and La Nariz have been struck by violence and dangerous conditions imposed by waring drug cartels.


What happened that February 23 at Kilometer 39 of this federal highway was unprecedented.

Murder of 'El Indio' in Mexicali

Miguel Angel Beltran Munguia, alias 'El Indio', was one of the most discreet lieutenants of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexicali. Although he had been operating under Ismael “Mayo” Zambada for over 20 years, he was sort of like a ghostly figure for authorities.

That lasted until January 9, 2020, when his body was found in a vacant lot near a road leading to Islas Agrarias. Investigators suggests that he was likely assassinated by members of his own cartel due to an internal conflict derived from a stolen cocaine deal last December. Another hypothesis brought forward is that Los Salazar killed El Indio to displace the current Sinaloa Cartel faction in Mexicali.

Whichever version it may be, the murder of 'El Indio' was not a minor issue in Mexicali. Anyone bold enough to order his murder likely had the backing of a senior cartel member.

Miguel Angel Beltran Munguia, alias 'El Indio', as depicted in his Baja California driver's license (source: Zeta Tijuana)

Investigators only knew of El Indio through informants and detainees who confessed that he existed under the shadows.

Unlike 'El Omega', who was clearly identified as a Sinaloa Cartel local leader for many years and even had some narcocorridos that mentioned him, El Indio preferred to be discreet. His death suggests that the Sinaloa Cartel is going through a restructure in that municipality.

Days before his death, El Indio visited Guadalajara, Jalisco, and stayed there for several days. He then flew from Guadalajara to Mexicali and went to his house. El Indio then told his family he was meeting some people and left his house. He was found dead the next day.

El Indio had no criminal record in Baja California despite being a top Sinaloa Cartel operator for 20 years. He had several properties and vehicles under his name, as well as a driver's license published by Zeta Tijuana reporters.

Source: Zeta Tijuana (1); (2)


  1. Animo sicarios !
    "El Indio "was involved in theft of some cargo de merca. The orders from los patrones was to eliminate the target.
    He had a tattto with the words "brown suggar " which is how he was identified.

    O La Bebes O la Derramas

    1. Sicario you are spot on with the Tattoo but word was that he didn't steal the shipment it got sized on the east port of entry

    2. It was “seized” but it was really stolen lol someone knew the drugs were there and took them.

    3. Now im convinced Sic006 is like james bond vrrsion of Mexican cartel. He knows them all. God speed 006.

    4. @12:05 cuanto fue lo que tumbaron de merca?

    5. @2:35 ask ICNTF or file a search warrant return form at the courthouse

    6. 10:19 o te la pongo de lavativa

  2. Colombians are the most low profile criminals in the world..the invisibles! Much more than mexicans russians and italians!

    1. In the 80s and early 90s they definitely weren’t.....

    2. Lmao 4:22 👌. The invisibles are definitely the Greeks and Chechens. Not your Colombians etc...

    3. 3:21 Lol Nope..chechens loves to fuck around all the times, a facebook russian and i know!

    4. The COLOMBIANS are not as strong so you DON'T hear about yhem any MORE..
      MEXICAN cartels like SINALOA and CJNG have PLAZAS on 🇨🇴 now

  3. Thanks BB and “Mx”. I wonder if el Indio had any US drug charges. Doesn’t seem like it... also it seems like everyone from all sides were ok with him being gone. No matter how long you’ve been in the game, sometimes time will kill you. Making way for the new...

  4. It is weird how el Checo has fallen completely off the radar.

  5. Question...why are Chapitos pushing into MZ's territory?

    Are there mantas announcing this civil war?

    Is MZ really sick or too old to be patron? Is that why Chapitos are making a move?

    Are Chapitos working with CJNG against MZ?


    1. First. There is not a CJNG and Chapitos alliance. Chapitos have been recruiting CJNG and CAF members but that’s it. I don’t think I’ve seen so much flipping anywhere else than in BajaCa.

      Your question about why Chapitos are going after MZ cells is interesting. Most of us were under the impression that they were just cells under Chapitos and MZ (ie Niño v Rusos). But what’s happening here is a DIRECT hand of Chapitos in the pot. MZ is old and I think Chapitos may want to get as much of the business as possible before MZ dies or fully retires.

    2. Are Colombians more powerful?

    3. 2:12 In Colombia yes of course Colombians are more powerful

    4. @4:01 Mexican cartels now have territory in Colombia with local alliances ofc.

  6. I remember back then there was another So Indio works for Beltran Leyva, I think. Got arrested with full grown hair. Is this same guy?

    1. Nah not the same. Cheek bones are different. Plus this Indio from Mexicali doesn’t have a criminal record at all... otherwise the arrest would pop up

    2. El Indio had a kid with Alicia Machado, Miss Universe 1996. She spoke out against Trump for supposedly fat shaming her. Chingao she’s still looking fine!

    3. @9:03 that's a different Indio.

  7. Chapitos going after frontera they could call there own, expanding base in Sonora..... good stuff MX

    1. Thanks for reading! 👍🏽

    2. Yes, excellent, thanks !
      I think Don Manuel May have something to do w the Cartel Del Mar as I am sure others do also.

      La Carretera de la Muerte, that has been such a hot zone on both sides of the border for 100 yrs, probably more......think bootleggers etc.

    3. 8:09 "don manuel keeps facking up, his son manuel jr murdered, i suspect he has another son murdered, he owned Promociones Garibay, in Joliet il, and was a very successful taquero, don't see him in a long time.

  8. These garibay boys just keep flipping 😆
    They were with CAF at one point I BELIEVE, then CDS then went to CJNG now back to CDS..
    F they flipped on CJNG might as well make THEIR coffin and START looking for a spot to diggg it.. The GARIBAY let CJNG in their PLAZA, I DOUBT they will kick them OUT..
    One thing is for SURE,THERE will be many MORE deaths to come in mexicali

    1. Correcto. El señor Garibay perdió/robo trabajo a Tijuana durante años y cuando Tijuana le mando la cuenta de volada corrió a refugiarse con el Mayo. Al los años después Tijuana le cobró el cheque al Manuelon en Jalisco y el Mayo simplemente vio para el otro lado. Y al papa no le quedo de otra que callarse el osico y seguir adelante bajo la cobija del Mayo si no ay esta la puerta. Acuerdos sicilianos que a tenido el Mayo con Tijuana.

    2. Lol. Este vato alucinado. Nadie vive trankilo y agusto en esta madre depues de robar tanto como dices. Este señor Garibay se le be por todos lados, de la Baja y Sonora. Tiene muchos años en esta madre

    3. I believe they all needed his plaza for what ever work or safe passage. It’s a black market for a reason and when your at that level they need you (him). Money is money and work is work. That Family has owned that plaza since the 80’s others come and go but they still there. I mean they’ve lost a couple of family members to infighting and fighting out of state pero el valle es de Los Garibay if your from there you know that family is big.

    4. These guys are MICHOACANOS and when I heard THEY sided with CJNG I thought IT would remain like THAT..
      THESE guys made a HUGE mistake letting CJNG in their PLAZA and now turning their BACK on them..


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