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

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Five Dead, Two Injured, Santa Ana - Benjamín Hill, Sonora

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat

At 3:07 am in the morning on October 4, 2021, the Sonora Attorney General's Office was told by soldiers of the National Guard (Guardia Nacional, GN) that they had just responded to reported shooting and when they arrived at the location they discovered five dead men and two injured men. 

The two injured men had suffered gunshot injuries. The five deceased men also appeared to have suffered gunshot injuries. 

Later that same day, by 10:35 am, the Sonora Attorney General's Office sent out a press release with further details on the incident. Their press release reads as follows: 

Upon activation of Code Red, issued by the Secretariat of Public Security, corporations of the three orders of Government attended armed aggression resulting in five people dead and two more with injuries from firearm projectiles. 

The Sonora Attorney General's Office was informed at 03:07 hours, through elements of the National Guard, of the discovery of five dead bodies, two injured by firearms and a vehicle on the side of the International Highway, Benjamín Hill-Santa Ana section.

The bodies had gunshot wounds and a pick up vehicle carrying iron pieces was also found, that had been burned and calcined.

One of the bodies had a piece of cardboard with the words: ‘This is what is going to happen to all the rats that go around stealing iron and dismantling ranches.’

The two injured persons were taken by emergency services to receive medical attention. Elements of the National Guard were the first responders to the case. 

FGJE Sonora's Forensic Services personnel processed the scene to obtain clues and evidence that will lead to the clarification of the case. The facts are being investigated, as well as the identity of the deceased and injured.

The narcomanta, or narco message sign, that accompanied the bodies made mention of the “stealing of iron”. Scrap metal dealing in Mexico is an industry plagued by criminal influences, similar to the US.

The opportunity for quick and easy money very often entices ne’er-do-wells to steal and sell stolen scrap metal to their local industrial recycling yard. Cables and electric lines are especially prized by thieves as they often consist of copper, as well as copper water pipes. 

Scrap metal recyclers were especially hard hit at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic according to Recycling Today. The Mexican government announced a COVID-19 national emergency on March 30, 2020 and ordered all “nonessential” businesses to close for the month of April. 

As has happened in other countries, the definitions of “essential” and “nonessential” were unclear and, as a result, Mexico’s metal consumers and scrap yards “have spent most of this month seeking clarity and liaising with their local [or] state governments in a bid to sort out all the confusion,” writes the Bureau of International Recycling, taking a major financial hit as a result during a time when the economy overall also suffered. 

Last year in October 2020, there was an incendiary story in the US press  when it was discovered that steel beams used to build the border wall in Arizona allegedly ended up on the market in Mexico, such as the photograph below of a scrap yard in Sonoyta, Sonora. 

However it later emerged that this was not due to the wall systematically being torn down by any criminal entity, instead it was largely due to the fact that American contractors who were replacing the border wall in Arizona were dumping leftover debris on the Mexico side. Local Mexican scrap metal dealers simply scavenged the discarded steel debris, according to witnesses who spoke to local television stations KOB4 and CBS 5.

 The “dismantling of ranches” that is stated in the narcomanta found likely refers to thieves dismantling various farm equipment or farm structures on ranches in the area, stealing the metal so that it could be resold.

Although this shooting did occur close to hotspots of recent cartel battles, as Santa Ana is close to Magdalena de Kino and Nogales, it is likely not a cartel vs cartel related shooting and more of a cartel “crack down” on some local thieves who have been allegedly taking advantage of local ranches in Santa Ana. 

Sources: Official FGJE Statement, Associated Press, Sinembargo, Tribuna, Televisa Noticieros, Opinión Sonora, El Sol de Hermosillo, La Verdad 

Scrap Metal: Insider, KTSM, Recycling Today, Eye Witness.Tech 


  1. Everything costs more . . metal, labor, concrete, steel, lumber, roofing, glass, drywall, mechanical and electrical, etc. The commodities and labor are in short supply. Recycling metals has always been a union task in the the USA. Pilfering gas and metals in the Permian Basin has long been tolerated. In Mexico, the well to do, have something that is free for others to steal. Such is the way of life.

    Five people executed in Texas, would be main stream news. Not so much in Mexico. But 50,000 intentional homicides in Mexico, does not compare to 92,000 overdose deaths in the USA which has no publication. To die by the bullet or the syringe is preventable, but unstoppable.

    1. 92,000 overdose is alot. We should sue Obrador for letting the drugs come in to USA, as much as he wants the gun manufacturer to be sued.

    2. How about suing the dea. They are absolutely complicit in drugs being bought into the US. El chapo and Vincente zambada said in court they worked with the dea and dea fully new what they were doing


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