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

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Fatal Border Town Stabbing Leads To Arrest of 6 Cartel Members in Calexico

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat

A member of a cartel-associated group stabs a woman to death in the US and flees to Mexicali, Mexico. 

The member is later arrested however her criminal group began working quietly behind the scenes to intimidate the witnesses of the stabbing into silence so their member could walk free. However this only led law enforcement to conduct five simultaneous high-risk entry raids that took down four more of the group members who were hiding out in the US.

In the early morning hours of July 4, 2021, a 28-year old Michelle Hernandez Durazo was stabbed to death in the US border town of Calexico, which lies across from Mexico’s city of Mexicali, in Baja California. 

At approximately 3:00 am, the 911 emergency phone line first received a hang-up call, where no information was spoken. Officers were dispatched to the call’s location. Then following shortly the emergency line received a second call. This call requested an ambulance be sent to the 700 block of Contreras Court, because a woman had been found seriously injured and bleeding profusely, having been stabbed in the legs by an unknown object.  

Journalist Julio Morales writes for a Calexico Chronicle article that police officers were the first to arrive on scene and they located the injured Michelle, who was being helped by two civilians at the time. The officers provided basic medical aid until paramedics arrived. 

Michelle was transported to El Centro Regional Medical Center, where she ultimately succumbed to her stab wound injuries and was officially pronounced dead. Autopsy results later showed the fatal wound to Michelle was a pierced femoral artery in her left leg. 

Then began the investigation into the perpetrator of the stabbing. A resident of property where Michelle was fatally stabbed was able to identify the woman’s attacker to police as Maria Guadalupe Palacios Perez.  

22-year old Maria Palacios Perez was witnessed fleeing the scene in a gray vehicle driven by a male subject. Maria has since been identified as a member of a transnational criminal organization (TCO) with ties to the region's dominant drug trafficking organizations. This criminal cell is alleged to be involved in human smuggling operations, as well as drug trafficking and firearms smuggling across the US-Mexico border.  

Maria Palacios Perez, now wanted for murder, fled not only the Calexico area but the US entirely, crossing over the US-Mexico border. Meanwhile a warrant for her arrest was being officially filed in the US. 

Despite being on the lam for murder, Maria would still regularly, albeit briefly, turn on her cellphone. US police had already gotten approval by a judge to trace Maria’s cell phone so every time she turned on her phone, nearby cell towers in the US recorded the location it “pinged” from. 

These pings located Maria in Mexicali city, just across the border from the US town of Calexico where the fatal stabbing took place. Maria was careful enough to only risk turning on her cellphone for periods of time short enough that authorities were unable to fully triangulate her location. 

A joint effort between US and Mexican authorities began. Calexico police were aided by the Imperial County Narcotics Task Force, the US Marshal’s Office in El Centro, the U.S. Border Patrol’s Intelligence Unit, as well as by Mexico’s Agencia Estatal de Investigación Zona Mexicali. 

The Desert Review writes that on July 15, 2021, Mexican authorities arrested Maria Palacios Perez without incident at a motel in Mexicali. She was transferred to the US and held in the Imperial County Jail, with her bail set at $1 million. 

But the cartel group Maria was a part of began trying to pull strings and work their way around justice, as they allegedly intimidated, threatened and assaulted the witnesses to the stabbing, seeking to prevent them from testifying against Maria in court. 

The US authorities were alerted to these attempted witness intimidation by the group members through unspecified means. They decided to strike back at the group involved, obtaining warrants and planning out a series of high-risk tactical raids on six separate locations. 

With the aid of multiple US agencies such as Imperial County’s Narcotics Task Force, U.S. Border Patrol Intelligence’s Bor-Tac in Yuma, Imperial County’s Homeland Security Investigations’ and San Diego Special Response Team, five tactical raids were executed on September 9, 2021. One of the six planned locations for a raid was found to be misidentified and no raid occurred at the intended location. 

Members of US security forces descended on the locations simultaneously in the early morning hours, utilizing flash bangs to apprehend suspected criminal cell members in “high-risk entry search warrants” as described by local news KYMA. Police Chief Gerardo said the raids were the equivalent to five tactical units, or what would have formerly been referred to as “SWAT teams”. 

The alleged criminal group members apprehended were: Raul Mejia, 48-years old, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, 31-years old, Jorge De La Rosa, 41 years old, Ruben Fuentes, 32-years old. The Calexico Chronicle writes that a fifth suspect in the case, Gilberto Mujica, 35, was already in custody at the time of the coordinated warrant sweep.  

Only one intended target of the raids managed to escape apprehension, Michael Derrick Jimenez, 31-years old. Police put out a $500,000 arrest warrant against him on charges of allegedly dissuading a witness or victim of a crime tied to an active homicide investigation. He was classified as “considered armed and dangerous” on a wanted poster put out for Michael that afternoon on September 9, 2021. 

By that day, which was also the same day as the raids, Michael Derrick Jimenez chose to turn himself into authorities rather than try to live as a fugitive. 

Sources: The Desert Review, Imperial Valley Press, KYMA, El Imparcial, Punto Norte, Cadena Noticias   

Calexico Chronicle Articles: July 4 Stabbing, July 15 Arrest of Suspect, Six Arrested on Assault Charges, Five Suspects Due In Court


  1. culianculito, fix your comments to something better or you also can get yo ass permanently banned like that moron lieutenant. choose wisely for your own good.

    1. Damn.. Don't piss Sol off... No second thoughts on dropping the ban hammer...
      Lieutenant Captain really get banned?

  2. Excellent 👍 work, murder in the USA serve a long time, you can't bribe a judge like in Mexico.

  3. Talk about how criminal associates protect a murder suspect. What she think, that she was in Mexico, where you can commit murder and get away with it.


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