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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, April 23, 2021

Gulf Cartel Boss 'R-2' Sentenced to Four Years in Prison After He Was Found Hiding in Texas

"Morogris" for Borderland Beat

“He had a fairly high level position within the cartel,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Cook Profit, who prosecuted the case.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Abiel Gonzalez Briones, who went by the nicknames “R-2” and “Tacua,” to 46 months in prison during a hearing last week.

Gonzalez-Briones was the Gulf Cartel plaza boss in Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, just across the border from Roma, Texas. The federal police arrested Gonzalez-Briones and six Gulf Cartel associates in August 2011.

What happened to Gonzalez-Briones after his arrest in Mexico remains unclear. The United States government arrested him on decade-old drug trafficking charges in January 2020.

“He was not extradited. He was found in the United States,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Cook Profit said. “And it took us that long to find him.”


The indictment against Gonzalez-Briones linked him to a long-defunct drug trafficking organization headed by another Gulf Cartel boss: Gumercindo “El Aguila” Gamez Villarreal.

Gamez-Villarreal smuggled marijuana from Diaz Ordaz to Sullivan City, Texas, where police Chief Hernan Guerra protected drug shipments. Two brothers — Jose Merced “Chacho” Arechiga and Jose Raul “Pili” Arechiga — moved the marijuana to stash houses throughout western Hidalgo County.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement started investigating the Gamez-Villarreal drug trafficking organization in February 2009.

With assistance from prosecutors, they secured indictments against 32 people, according to federal court records. Guerra and the Arechigas pleaded guilty. Agents made several attempts to arrest Gamez-Villarreal, but he always slipped away.

Gamez-Villarreal was the plaza boss of Miguel Aleman and Diaz Ordaz in 2012, but tensions within the cartel compelled him to flee to South Texas along with Miguel Angel “Compa Mike” Garcia Rodriguez.

US authorities were able to arrest Garcia-Rodriguez but not Gamez-Villarreal, who fled to Mexico after learning that US authorities were after him.

“And by the time we would get there, [he] would be gone. Because, somehow, [he] would hear of it before we would actually be out there,” said DEA Agent A. Marisol Farias, who testified during a February 2018 hearing in the case.

“We had information that paperwork was getting out there somehow. And we believe it was through law enforcement — somebody had contact with some kind of law enforcement.”

Gamez-Villarreal died in August 2016 in General Bravo, Nuevo Leon, apparently murdered during a cartel power struggle, according to information released by the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office. He was killed along with Teofilo Saul Rodriguez, a man from the faction Los Panteras. 

Gamez-Villarreal had tried to take the plaza of Ciudad Mier from Hector Javier “La Maquina” Garcia, who worked for the Reynosa plaza boss Julian “Comandante Toro” Loisa Salinas. Gamez-Villarreal's murder appears to have been committed on Toro's orders.

Gumercindo “El Aguila” Gamez Villarreal and his associate were found encajuelados – a word used to describe victims who are stuffed in the trunk (cajuela) of a vehicle.

Finding R-2

Agents got to Gonzalez-Briones by intercepting more than 2,600 phone calls during the Gamez-Villarreal investigation.

On Sept. 2, 2009, agents intercepted a call between Gonzalez-Briones and another Gulf Cartel operative. Smugglers had ditched a Ford F-250 loaded with about 1,000 pounds of marijuana in the Rio Grande near Los Ebanos, Texas, where U.S. Border Patrol agents found the truck.

“I’m fed up with Aguila, comandante, he went and threw a truck right there in front of my ranch,” Gonzalez-Briones said.

In August 2011, Borderland Beat reported that Gonzalez-Briones was arrested in Camargo, Tamaulipas, along with five other people, including his right-hand man Jorge Bryan “R-24” Aguilar Hinojosa. Authorities described Gonzalez Briones as one of the main financial operators of the Gulf Cartel as well as the regional boss for Miguel Aleman.

All the men were flown to Mexico City and turned over to the Organized Crime Division of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office, but news about Gonzalez-Briones's trial died very quickly as days went by. He was then quietly released from prison.

In January 2020, he was arrested in South Texas on old drug trafficking charges. Authorites believe he was hiding there.

His indictment remained sealed until January, when Gonzalez-Briones was arrested. He pleaded not guilty.

Faced with 10 years to life in federal prison, Gonzalez-Briones struck a deal with prosecutors. They agreed to dismiss the indictment. Gonzalez-Briones pleaded guilty to use of a communication facility in causing or facilitating the commission of felonies under the Controlled Substances Act, which is punishable by a maximum of four years in prison.

“Obviously, this is an extremely old case,” said attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez of Rio Grande City, who represented Gonzalez-Briones. “And this is something that we worked long and hard to work out for Mr. Gonzalez.”

When he appeared for sentencing last week, Gonzalez-Briones apologized. Attorney Daniel Mora III, who represented Gonzalez-Briones, asked Crane to consider a role adjustment. He argued the phone call didn’t clearly show that Gonzalez-Briones had a supervisory position within the organization. Profit disagreed with that assessment.

“He was not a minor player. He was a relatively important figure at the time that these phone calls were being intercepted. And he was an important figure within the cartel,” Profit said.

“We pled him to a phone count because of the age of the case, but the phone call clearly establishes what his role was in terms of acting as an enforcer for the cartel at that time.”

Crane declined to grant the role adjustment.

Sources: Progress Times; KRGV; Valor Tamaulipeco; Secretaria de Seguridad Publica (Pg. 29); Borderland Beat archives


  1. So much for hiding and running from the law, that's bad that Mexico police would tio him off, and get away. But at the end getting killed and put in a blanket sealed his date.

  2. out in 3 years or less on time already served. then deported back to Mexico. he will likely get killed there unless he has enough money to hide in a big city. but these plaza bosses aren't filthy rich to live off the money they made for the rest of the lives.

    1. That’s what we all hope, getting out in 3years, getting deported, getting killed Mexican meat puzzle style and videotaped.

    2. Monn, they caught him washing windshields for shur!!!
      Still wearing his safety vest, better than the bullet proof cardboard vest sicarios get with their kit in Méxicos

  3. I’m trying to read between the lines, did he flip on the two police, and that’s why he got preferred treatment?

  4. So much back stabbing going in within el golfo all that greed of each individual, thats where sinaloa is heading to as we speak

  5. MX
    Do you have the CDG Los Rojos member list?

  6. The lime-colored vest suggests hiding out as a construction worker.

    1. That’s an old photo from back in the mid 2000s. Mexican police would put these hi-vis vests or bulletproof plate carriers on detainees. This guy got off sooo easy for the world he was moving in; 4 years when most of his counterparts are getting 20+ years on trafficking charges.

  7. Far as I could tell he may have been released from Mexican prison in 2013. Saw something at BuhoLegal page which gives some glimpses of amparos and motions. I wonder how long he stayed in TX before he was arrested. And how he got detected. Lots of OGs live in Texas from what I’ve been told.

    1. Correct. You can access BuhoLegal if you register/pay. But it is a lot of heavy legal reading (even for native speakers).

  8. the question is, where is R-1? also I heard that M-3 ratted out R-2, so thaths why M-3 got killed

  9. the question is, where is R-1? also I heard that M-3 ratted out R-2, so thaths why M-3 got killed

  10. What ever happened to El R1? His name would circulate alot at the beginning of cdg vs z war.

    1. That's true, there's a post in a Spanish website from a few years ago saying he's still alive.

    2. There was a manta a while back saying he was dead. But that was the Zetas taunting the Gulf Cartel. There are rumors he left to the Sinaloa Cartel or became a "freelance" narco, pretty much moving loads with his own contacts and network, but mostly in Sinaloa plazas by paying "piso". We should probably write a piece about him... Any more info is appreciated.

    3. Esta vivo, se maneja entre Nuevo Leon y Tamaulipas, maneja la facción Metros (Primito & Co.) busca una alianza con una de las facciones de Matamoros y tiene una con Moncada, también tiene una con ZVE.

      Es todo un Capo que se mueve independiente pero muy tras bambalinas, mucha gente se adjudica su muerte pero nadie lo comprobó hasta el momento


      This was circulating before with a picture of him. Looks way different than he did before.

  11. From what I recall he had something to do with Metro 3's murder? I asked Chivis about him last time.

    1. Yes, R1 was overlooked as the Reynosa plaza boss and the position was given to M3. R1 felt he deserved it, but M3 got it because of his deep police connections in Reynosa. R1 had a lot of supplier connections in Central/South America and was likely a "better" fit for the role in his eyes. He was given La Frontera Chica instead. That is lucrative, but not as much as Reynosa, so it was a step back. He then left to the Sinaloa Cartel, last time I heard.

    2. Thank you MX! Keep up the great work man. I honestly thought we would see revenge from M3's people. He was well liked.

    3. The sinaloa cartel sounds unlikely given the times and dates.
      They were mortal enemies in those days a switch like that might've cost him his life if so. Perhaps that why we dont hear about him no more? Sounds like "he said, she said" naysay. Cdg and Z rivals capturing, killing him and then burying(or dissolving) him somewhere in some ranch.
      Sounds more believable if you ask me VS the Sinaloa theory.


    4. 8:53 - I don't think it was unlikely. When the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas broke apart in early 2010, there was a supposed alliance between Gulf Cartel-La Familia-Sinaloa (known as La Federation or La Nueva Federacion). This only lasted for a short while because the criminal landscape changed fairly quickly with the rise of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) in the mid-2010s.

    5. MX también hubo "M".F.G en Jalisco y Michoacán queriendo detener a NG pero se les cayó o les tumbaron el pacto

    6. 1021
      It was actually called "carteles Unidos" and It was a very untrustworthy and loose alliance.
      I highly doubt CDS would take him in, and I dont think R1 would be that naive.

      That alliance disintegrating had nothing to do with CJNG rise? You kidding me?
      Z's were just to much for the Michoacanos/sinaloenses back then, everyone pulled out of that operation.
      Until the matazetas came into play.


    7. 10:04 - You are correct, it was also known as Carteles Unidos. And it was also known as La Federación.

      If you have more sources on R1, please share. I’m happy to write something up with you if you’re interested. Just email us to connect. I’m simply spouting what has been said in old forums about R1, but all sources indicate he fell off the radar after M3’s death. I see he’s still listed on the US wanted list but that doesn’t mean anything as the info is usually kept for archival reasons.

      I said the criminal landscape changed after the CJNG rose in prominence. Never made the claim that was the main reason why this supposed alliance fell apart. The Gulf Cartel had major upsets of its own for years to come so things changed everywhere too, simultaneously.

      If you have any sources for further reading, please share.

    8. No fue un problema de asignación se plazas.
      El asunto va de M3 ya se sentía dueño del Cartel, que ya no debía responder al Coss por que Tormenta habia caído, se le olvido al pendejo quien lo rescato aquélla vez que lo capturó un convoy Militar y que ningún Metro fue a su rescate, solo los Sierras de Coss,M3 ya se vanagloriaba de ser dueño de Tamaulipas y que al igual que Goyo (M2) no reportar ganancias totales, aparte de que corria el rumor de que el estába negociando un pacto con Lazcano por medio de Mellado (M10/Z9), mas le añadimos que nunca iban a apoyar en los topones siempre llegaban los de Matamoros o los de R1, aparte que varios Metros fueron Zetas y eso creaba un descontento general en el CDG.

      Y lo de la tregua CDG/FM/CDS fue mas bién Coss y Nacho Coronel, Metro 3 con La Tuta no hubo ni Nueva Federación, eso solo fue propagandístico para que la ciudadanía que tanto apoyó a Golfo/Zetas vieran con buenos ojos esa nueva alianza y les funciono la gente repudió tanto a los Zetas que se creyeron que todo lo malo fue por ellos y el Golfo nunca hizo nada.

      En fin al final puedo decir que R1 ganó la guerra puesto que está en libertad y sigue operando.

      CDG Capos:

      Coss: Extraditado
      Tormenta: Muerto
      Metro 3: Muerto
      R1: Libre

      Zetas Capos:
      Z40: Preso
      Lazcano: Muerto
      Z42: Preso
      Aunque reconozco que los Treviño supieron reagruparse y aunque no sean un Cartel en todo el sentido de la palabra nunca llegaron a ser una facción y siempre han sido una organización con una estructura sólida a pesar de su mal manejo.

    9. @MX
      La federacion was comprised of sinaloenses capos.

      Cdg and Z had no involvement in La Federacion.

    10. For all we know R1 ended up like JL from chihuahua, for years he was almost somewhat mythical everyone knew about him but we hardly had any news on him. Until chapos trial, were we found out mr.guzman had him killed.

    11. 12:45 - I never said the Zetas were involved with La Federación. There was apparently an alliance between Sinalo-La Familia-Golfo after the Zeta rupture happen.

      Read this source here:

      If you have additional sources, please provide them.

    12. 12:50 - I agree, he’s probably dead.

      One way to possibly find out is to file a transparency request with the Mexican government and determine if R1 is still being searched in Mexico. Other than that, we’ll have to continue guessing.

    13. 132
      That would be kinda difficult being that Mexico capos have multiple identities. For instance the powerful capo mencho I was reading a UK article were it said sr.mencho would be unidentifiable at this point-- with the government only having 3-4 old pictures of him.

  12. I googled his attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez, turns out the guy is now the Distric Attorney.

    1. 7:43 well, Kongratlations to the new DA, he must have passed The Barr,


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