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Sunday, August 8, 2021

Notable Figures: Cárteles Unidos Part II - Blancos de Troya, Guardia Michoacana, Cártel del Abuelo, Los Reyes

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat 

This is a continuation of Cárteles Unidos Part I. Notable Figures articles try to focus on contemporary cartel operators that have had major relevance within the last five years. 

This story (Part II) will cover Los Blancos de Troya, Guardia Michoacana, Cartel Del Abuelo and Los Reyes. Other groups will be covered in later parts as well as the different Cartel Jalisco New Generation groups in Michoacan. 

The work in progress Carteles Unidos groups list can be seen below. Only the last three groups have been given a specific shade of green due to their history fighting against other groups within the CU and therefore there is a need to distinguish them.


1b.) SUBGROUP: Los Blancos de Troya


LOCATIONS: Some parts of Apatzingan

DESCRIPTION: Los Blancos de Troya is a subgroup group under La Familia Nueva Michoacana led by César Sepúlveda Arellano, alias “El Boto” and Alejandro Sepúlveda Álvarez, “La Fresa”. In 2015, they announced to the public that they were a new armed group that would be the “guarantor of security in Tierra Caliente". According to reports from field agents from the Center for Research and National Security (Cisen), it is possible that Los Blancos were initially financed by the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generation (CJNG) which likes to “franchise” local cartels. In 2015, Cisen estimated “could have at least about 200 members, all heavily armed, with weapons also of German manufacture”. (SourceSource) However Los Blancos, like many Carteles Unidos groups, had a falling out with the CJNG and now consider the CJNG as their primary rivals.

In December 2021, media reported that El Boto pays between 500 pesos ($25 USD) and 1,000 pesos ($50 USD) a week for each adult man and between 300 pesos ($15 USD) and 500 ($25 USD) for each child who joins Blancos de Troya in some capacity. Multiple news outlets reported that El Boto was trying to get more children involved to draw sympathy and protection for his group. The pay is reportedly more for members more actively involved in illicit activities such as constructing narco road blocks and stealing vehicles. (Source, Source) 

ALIAS: El Boto

NAME: César Sepúlveda Arellano

OTHER ALIASES: El Bótox, El Marruecos

STATUS: Unknown 

PROFILE: El Boto is the leader of Los Blancos de Troya, an armed wing of La Nueva Familia Michoacana. (Source, Source) Mexico Codigo Rojo says his second-in-command is Alejandro Sepúlveda Álvarez, alias “El Jando” or “La Fresa”. 


Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles Conejo has stated El Boto is suspected in the June 2018 murder of the interim mayor of Buenavista, Javier Ureña González. El Boto was arrested on August 28, 2018 and sent to prison on charges related to the murder of Javier Ureña González. He served a year and 8 months in “David Franco Rodríguez” (better known as Mil Cumbres) prison. (Source, Source) 


In 2020, as part of a federal initiative to reintegrate prisoners back into society which was compounded by concerns over the rapid infection potential in prisons during the COVID19 pandemic, he was released. (Source, Source 


On July 20, 2020 there were rumors that El Boto was arrested in the Cenobio Moreno community, in Apatzingán at around 8:00 am by the Army (SEDENA) and the National Guard. This caused multiple roadblocks of burning vehicles to appear in Apatzingán and Buenavista Tomatlán municipalities as cartel members attempted to hinder the authorities’ transportation of El Boto. (Source, Source) A possible new mugshot of El Boto was posted by Primera Plana and Valor Por Tamaulipas at this time. Whether he was successfully arrested or released is unclear. 


POSITION: Second in Command, Possibly Leader  

ALIAS: La Fresa

NAME: Alejandro Sepúlveda Álvarez

OTHER ALIASES: El Jando, Comandante Fresa

STATUS: Active

PROFILE: Some outlets report La Fresa was the second-in-command in Los Blancos de Troya under El Boto. They also say that La Fresa is the first cousin of El Boto. (Source, Source

Following the July 2020 alleged arrest of El Boto, La Fresa appears to have taken over command of the group, at least for a time, as he was the one named and threatened in a September 2020 CJNG video. (Source) In a September 2020 video, an alleged rival hitman was filmed apologizing to La Fresa and then he was set on fire. (Source)


POSITION: Member (Unspecified)

ALIAS: Unknown

NAME: Luis Sepúlveda Sánchez


STATUS: Inactive, possibly killed July 2020 

PROFILE: He was alleged to be a member of Los Blancos de Troya. He was the brother of Ángel Sepúlveda Sánchez and cousin of El Boto. His brother Ángel Sepúlveda Sánchez is a professional footballer born in Apatzingán, Michoacan who has played for Monarcas Morelia, Chivas de Guadalajara, Xolos de Tijuana and Querétaro, among others. Unofficially, the State Attorney General’s Office reports that Luis Sepúlveda died in a July 2020 clash between Los Blancos de Troya and members of the Army (SEDENA) on the Apatzingán-Aguililla highway. (Source, Source, Source)


POSITION: Head of Sicarios

ALIAS: La Chopa

NAME: Unknown


STATUS: Unknown

PROFILE: La Chopa is described as the head of sicarios (hitmen) for Los Blancos de Troya. Social media users, and outlets quoting these users, claim that six presumed hitmen of Los Blancos de Troya drowned to death after they tried crossing a raging river in a vehicle that got swept away in July 2021. They also claim La Chopa was one of the six killed in this incident. (Source, Source, Source) However there are no news outlets that confirm these deaths or identities. 

Some alleged associates of La Chopa include Ernesto Guillen, alias “El Perfumado”, whose role within Los Blancos de Troya is unclear. (Source



1c.) SUBGROUP: La Guardia Michoacana


LOCATIONS: Tumbiscatio, some parts of Apatzingan

DESCRIPTION: According to Lantia Intelligence in The Security Strategy in Michoacán, they are a subgroup of La Nueva Familia Michoacana. They originated as a splinter group from Knights Templar (Caballeros Templarios, CT) whose full name used to be “Caballeros Templarios Guardia Michoacana”, from which their current name derives. (Source, Source, Source)   

La Silla Rota citing Lantia Intelligence says this group is led by former Knights Templar member Homero González Rodríguez, alias "El Gallito". Gallito’s uncle El Chayo and Servando Gómez Martínez “La Tuta” co-founded the Knight Templar together in 2010. When El Chayo died in 2014 (not to be confused with his faked death in 2010), the Knights Templar splintered with a group being led by La Tuta and another group being led by El Gallito.  In 2014, two decapitated heads and a narcomanta signed by “Guardia Michoacana” appeared in Uruapan, Michoacan however it is unclear if the full splinter between the Knights Templar and Guardia had occurred at this point. (Source)

El Gallito’s Guardia Michoacana was said to have a presence in Tumbiscatio and Apatzingan according to intelligence from the FGR in 2020. (Source) His group was said to have influence in these areas by as early as 2016. (Source


ALIAS: El Gallito 

NAME: Homero González Rodríguez


STATUS: Active, as of July 2020 (Source)  

PROFILE: Gallito is the nephew of Nazario Moreno González, alias “El Chayo”, who was a founding member of La Familia Michoacana (LFM) and the LFM splinter group the Knights Templar (Caballeros Templarios, CT). (Source) Following the death of his uncle and the splintering of the Knights Templar, Gallito began leading his own cell of the Knights Templar. In 2014, La Tuta, the leader of a rival Knights Templar cell, famously called upon the Knights Templar lieutenants to stop obeying El Gallito in a recording. (Source) 

In July 2020, the CJNG famously offered a $5 million dollar reward for information on the location of El Gallito, making clear he is still a prime rival for the CJNG. (Source)  


2. GROUP: Cártel del Abuelo

OTHER NAMES: Cartel de Tepalcatepec, Chocomiles de Tepeque (or Tepeke)

LOCATIONS: Tepalcatepec (also known as Tepeque)

DESCRIPTION: Around 2013, former Los Valencia lieutenant Juan José Farias Álvarez, alias “El Abuelo”, began to lead what was claimed to be a self-defense group within Tepalcatepec however it quickly became clear it was an organized crime group. By as early as 2014, the federal intelligence agency (PGR) was looking into claims that the criminal organization CJNG was supplying the Tepalcatepec “self-defense” group, among other Michoacán self defense groups with firearms. (Source, Source, Source) By 2017, the partnership in drug trafficking between the CJNG and Cártel del Abuelo was no longer the stuff of rumors but something that both sides now admit to. (Source) What caused the CJNG and Cártel del Abuelo to split is told differently by each side. 

According to CJNG associates, Alfonso Fernández Magallán alias “Poncho la Quiringa”, who was overseeing a one ton shipment of cocaine on behalf of the CJNG, lied that the shipment had never arrived and had secretly stolen it for himself. When the CJNG found out about the deception, they demanded El Abuelo hand over Poncho la Quiringa, who was under Abuelo’s protection, so that Poncho could be punished for his betrayal of the CJNG. They say El Abuelo refused to turn him over and some tellings say Abuelo himself then had the stolen shipment of cocaine sold for his own profit. 

According to El Abuelo’s telling of the split, Abuelo’s friend Eraclio (sometimes spelled Heraclio) alias “El Cochiloco” was picked up and was going to be killed for some unknown transgression by CJNG members. El Abuelo alleges he sent CJNG’s leader El Mencho a message on behalf of Poncho, asking that Eraclio be spared. Abuelo implies Mencho took this request as an affront and in response he demanded Abuelo and Poncho hand over control of Los Reyes municipality to the CJNG. Los Reyes allegedly contained a key route the CJNG needed as a part of their larger campaign to take control of Uruapan and Morelia municipalities. Abuelo said he sent another message to Mencho saying he did not want a “silly war with them” and Mencho’s response was that he would not bother them if left Poncho to fend for himself when the CJNG came for him. Abuelo alleges he refused to abandon Poncho and so the split began. 

El Universal alleges the split between the two groups was due to an assassination attempt on Miguel Ángel Gallegos Godoy, alias “El Migueladas”.

Regardless of which telling of the split you believe, it is undisputed that the split between the CJNG and Cartel del Abuelo occurred. In August 2019, the CJNG declared war on El Abuelo in one of their more well known videos, saying that their fight was with El Abuelo for supporting Poncho from “Los Reyes”. (Source)


ALIAS: El Abuelo (The Grandfather)

NAME: Juan José Farias Álvarez

OTHER ALIASES: El Abuelo Valencia

STATUS: Active

PROFILE: El Abuelo is one of the most well known leaders operating within the Carteles Unidos alliance. He is the leader of the Cártel del Abuelo. 

El Abuelo is a former lieutenant of Los Valencia (also known as the Milenio Cartel). Los Valencia is, notably, the organization that spawned and still partially finances his “arch nemesis”, rival organization the Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG). In 2006, Mexico’s Attorney General and the Secretariat of National Defense considered El Abuelo to be the main person in charge of the executions carried out in the state of Michoacán. (Source, Source

El Abuelo is the brother of the former mayor of Tepalcatepec, Uriel Farías Álvarez, nicknamed 'El Paisa'. Uriel held office between 2001 and 2008. In May 2009, during the famous federal operation known as "El Michoacanazo", Uriel was arrested for his ties with organized crime along with 37 more officials. (Source, Source, Source)

In 2009, El Abuelo was designated by the government as an operator of Los Valencia in Michoacán and the surrounding entities. Their intelligence detailed him as being head of the plaza in Tepalcatepec, Sahuayo, Jiquilpan and Aguililla. El Abuelo was arrested in Buenavista and he was sentenced to over three years in prison however he had already served the time while on remand and his conviction was later quashed on appeal. (Source, Source)

Starting around 2014, El Abuelo tried to shed his public image as a cartel leader in favor of presenting himself as a leader of a self-defense group based in Tepalcatepec. In 2014, Michoacán’s Security Commissioner Alfredo Castillo Cervantes was photographed meeting El Abuelo, which caused considerable controversy due to El Abuelo’s heavy organized crime ties. (Source

Abuelo was allegedly shot alongside his nephew in 2016. (Source) In 2018 the Attorney General's Office tried to arrest El Abuelo on charges of drug trafficking and carrying weapons and cartridges for the exclusive use of the Army but residents of Tepalcatepec came to his defense, blocking roads. Days after his arrest, El Abuelo was released due to alleged “irregularities during his detention” by the Secretary of the Navy. (Source) Some allege El Abuelo has been arrested then released in an irregular way on up to five separate occasions. He currently fiercely fights the CJNG. His son is alleged to be involved in the business of Cartel del Abuelo, although no new publications have verified that.

POSITION: Second in Command, Leader of Sicarios 

ALIAS: El Kamoni

NAME: Edgar Valeriano Orozco Cabadas

OTHER ALIASES: El 50, El Camoni, El Camone, El Kamone

STATUS: Active

PROFILE: El Kamoni is said to be the right hand man and leader of hitmen on behalf of El Abuelo for Cartel Del Abuelo. Prior to joining Cartel de Abuelo, Kamoni allegedly served as plaza boss of La Ruana (Felipe Carrillo Puerto) municipality for Cartel H-3. He was said to be a trusted confidant of the leader of Cartel H-3, Luis Alberto Torres González “El Americano”. He was also closely associated with César Ochoa Mendoza "El Morisqueto" during his time in Cartel H-3. (Source, Source

On October 1 2016, Kamoni allegedly kidnapped and murdered four young evangelists of the Catholic movement "Arcoiris", whose bodies were found days later with severe torture in a lemon orchard. Later in 2016, soldiers arrested "El Kamoni" in the municipality of Buenavista Tomatlán, finding him aboard an armored truck along with three of his hitmen. (Source, Source)  

Contamuro reported in 2020 that it is presumed that El Abuelo intervened on Kamoni's behalf and had him released without charges, alongside El Abuelo’s nephew El Papalis who was allegedly involved in the homicides. 

They say that currently El Kamoni works on behalf of El Abuelo. Noventa Grados alleges Kamoni killed “El Puchas”, a nephew of El Morisqueto in January 2021 near the Jalisco/Michoacan border. Female cartel operator La Morena is said to be a part of Cartel del Abuelo and reports to El Kamoni. (Source)

POSITION: Confidant of Leader

ALIAS: El Kiro

NAME: Miguel Ángel Gutiérrez


STATUS: Active

PROFILE: El Kiro is believed to be a part of Cartel del Abuelo. He is reportedly a close confidant of its leader El Abuelo. According to La Opinion, El Kiro is considered to be one of the three founders of the supposed “self-defense” movement in the Michoacán, along with his friend Juan Farias Alvarez, alias "El Abuelo" and Hipolito Mora Chavez from La Ruana. (Source

El Kiro", was allegedly kidnapped on Sunday, July 11, 2021. In response to El Kiro's disappearance, leaders of the Carteles Unidos threatened to take over Buenavista in order to free him. They also blamed the disappearance on Santiago Quintero Magallón, alias "El Maguey", the alleged head of the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG) group that is operating in Buenavista. Some online have claimed that his kidnapping was a hoax intended only to garner the support of the military for an incursion to take back Buenavista after El Maguey had taken over. Regardless of the veracity of his kidnapping, by July 14 2021 El Kiro ceased to be considered kidnapped and is still active in Michoacan. (Source


2a.) SUBGROUP: Cártel de Los Reyes

OTHER NAMES: Gente del Chaparrito (Chaparrito is another alias for Alfonso Fernández Magallan)


DESCRIPTION: Lantia Intelligence describes Cartel de Los Reyes as an armed wing under and at the service of Cartel del Abuelo, as described in The Security Strategy in Michoacán. However, confusingly some publications allege that the two leaders of Los Reyes, R5 and Poncho, report to Iván García Salgado, alias “El Raton”, who is more closely associated with Cartel de la Virgen figures such as Ricardo Madrigal Avalos, alias “El Señor de la Virgen”. Although they are more commonly referred to with the shorthand “Los Reyes” to prevent confusion with the municipality of Los Reyes, the group will be called “Cartel de Los Reyes” in Notable Figures. 

“Gente del Chaparrito” is sometimes described as a subgroup within Cartel de Los Reyes and sometimes described as just another name for the Los Reyes members working under Poncho La Quiringua. In April 2021, Cartel de Los Reyes was suspected in the burning of a gas station and vehicle depot. (Source

POSITION: Co-Leader of Los Reyes

ALIAS: Poncho La Quiringua

NAME: Alfonso Fernández Magallón

OTHER ALIASES: Poncho La Kiringua, Commandante Poncho, El Chaparrito, Poncho Kiringüas

STATUS: Active

PROFILE: Poncho is one of the leaders of Cartel de Los Reyes, alongside Luis Enrique Barragán Chávez, alias “El R-5”. Poncho is the cousin of CJNG’s Santiago Quintero Magallón alias “El Maguey”, who he now battles fiercely in Buenavista and Los Reyes areas. 

According to El Universal, El Abuelo allegedly ordered his lieutenant Poncho to start the Los Reyes supposed self defense group in Los Reyes. In a 2014 Exclesior story, Poncho claimed he joined the self defense movement in Michoacan due to the murder of two of his neices in July 2013. He said he cannot forget the image of the bodies of his nieces being hung from the access sign to the El Limón de la Luna ranch in Buenavista. In the same Excelsior interview, he also claims he will not accept anyone related to a criminal cartel in the group he leads, a promise he unequivocally has not kept according to state intelligence reports

During the time when Cartel del Abuelo and the CJNG were working together, Poncho and his group of followers worked with the CJNG as well. (Source) As detailed in the earlier Cartel de Abuelo description, Poncho was later at the center of the split between Cartel del Abuelo and the CJNG. Poncho was one of the Carteles Unidos alliance members named in a January 2021 message from the CJNG denouncing them, which suggests he is still active. (Source, Source

POSITION: Co-Leader of Los Reyes


NAME: Luis Enrique Barragán Chávez

OTHER ALIASES: Güicho de Los Reyes, Wicho

STATUS: Active

PROFILE: El R-5 is one of the leaders of Cartel de Los Reyes, alongside Alfonso Fernández Magallón alias “Poncho La Quiringua”. 

Interestingly, in October 2017 El R-5 and Poncho were both named and threatened for being traitors by La Nueva Familia Michoacana which is now a part of the larger Carteles Unidos alliance they belong to. The threats accompanied dismembered body parts. (Source 


Noventa Grados alleges there are photos in which El R-5 can be seen posing with a rifle with a built-in grenade launcher, while dressed in the uniform of the National Guard. El R-5 was one of the Carteles Unidos alliance members named in a January 2021 message from the CJNG denouncing them, which suggests he is still active. (Source, Source) El R-5 was also allegedly present at a meeting that was ambushed by the CJNG in June 2021, although there are no indications that he was killed in the ambush. (Source


POSITION: Head of Hitmen


NAME: Juan Pablo Mendoza

OTHER ALIASES: Pablito Mendoz, Pablito Terror 

STATUS: Active

PROFILE: El JP is a head of hitmen under Cartel de Los Reyes. He was rumored to have been a former CJNG member who worked under El Arabe before leaving the CJNG and joining the Cartel de Los Reyes. (Source 


El JP is also described by Noventa Grados as an operator and extortionist working for Los Reyes. He is allegedly the man depicted in a photo posed with a nine year old boy holding a machine gun. (Source)



  1. Uno De Zacatecas Los Mayos Grupo Flechas

  2. Incredible report Hearst. The amount and fidelity of the data is astonishing. Besides, this kind of format is extremely useful

    1. To receive a compliment like this from -the- Redlogarythm... Damn. That's really cool.
      Thanks, Red!

  3. That's not including all the other fights they have going in Mexico.

  4. Wonderful work! 👏 Many thanks for sharing this

  5. Putting faces to the guys putting prices on the avocados. That guacamole is so damn good I have to finance these dudes.

  6. And all these groups produce meth right?


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