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

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Former PF Command, linked to García Luna, pleads Guilty in the US to Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine

"Guerrero" for Borderland Beat

This is news today, but for us that have been here for years, this is a long story.  The story begins in; 

  • 4/6/2017 post, dd
  • 12/2/2017 post, anon
  • 2/28/2018 post, anon
  • 11/9/2018 post, by Yaqui, my friend from Sonora and friend to Taramahura as well
  • 1/25/2020 by Chivas(2) articles, former poster and possibly leader of BB at that time
  • 8/25/2021 by HEARST
Today a very long story continues.  Reyes Arzate, former head to the Sensitive Investigative Unit, who worked in tandem with the DEA and the cartels appeared before the court and pleaded guilty.  Having turned himself in years ago Reyes Arzate, La Reina, the Queen, faced his fate.  Below is not hyperlinked but is the voices of those that posted above.  If you have patience and a keen interest in what has and is going on in Mexico, I would encourage you to read the entire story.  If not, you are missing out on what has been one of the most interesting stories coming out of BB in the last decade.  Special mention to former and current posters for their diligence and reporting.

Source: Milenio

Iván Reyes Arzate, The Queen, will be sentenced on January 6; It could carry a sentence of between 5 and 40 years in prison.

New York / 19.10.2021 11:27:15

At 11:05 am, La Reina entered room 8D of the United States Court for the Eastern District of New York; He was dressed in the traditional gray-green suit worn at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center where he is being held.

For his part, Reyes Arzate said he was 49 years old, finished a degree at Insurgentes University and was lucid enough to understand what was happening. He confessed to understand little English and for that reason he resorted to the services of an interpreter.

He was then shown the plea agreement in which he acknowledged his signature. Finally, and for the record, he read it in a slow voice and in a barely audible tone.

"I knew what I was doing was a crime and I understand that cocaine is harmful," he said to finish. 

From my amiga "Yaqui" in 2018

By Yaqui 11/09/2018 04:41:00 PM 
Posted by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Chicago Tribune

Before his April 2017 arrest, Reyes Arzate, 46, was the highest-ranking member of Mexico's Sensitive Investigative Unit, a part of the Mexican Federal Police that works in tandem with U.S. authorities on drug trafficking probes, according to court records. In his eight years with the unit, Reyes Arzate was involved in many high-profile cartel investigations, including those against "El Chapo" Guzman.

The meeting between top Mexican federal police officers and the head of the violent Beltran-Leyva drug cartel took place at a quiet ranch in central Mexico.

The officers, including then Commander Ivan Reyes Arzate, told the cartel leader of an informant in his operation who’d been arrested in Miami and was providing information to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, leading to the seizure of several boatloads of narcotics on the open seas, according to testimony Thursday in a federal courtroom in Chicago.

The officers then identified the informant and handed his photo to an irate Arturo Beltran-Leyva. Within days, the informant was kidnapped and murdered, authorities say.

The details of the 2008 meeting outside Mexico City came at a dramatic, daylong sentencing hearing in federal court in Chicago for Reyes Arzate, who pleaded “no contest” earlier this year to charges he leaked sensitive information to the cartels about U.S.-led drug investigations.

Seized weapons from alleged members of the Beltran-Leyva drug cartel are taken away by federal agents after a news conference in Mexico City on June 26, 2009.

Arzate’s attorney, Joseph Lopez, had asked for as little as 21 months in prison — essentially a sentence of time-served — arguing that Arzate’s actions were simply the norm for law enforcement in a country infamous for rampant corruption.

But in handing down a prison term of three years and four months, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber rejected that argument.

“That’s just clearly not true,” the judge said. “He was a top law enforcement official in a particularly sensitive job … and his work created and will continue to create problems in the apparently unending war on drugs.”

To bolster their request for up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors called to the witness stand Sergio Villarreal Barragán, a former Beltran-Leyva cartel lieutenant also known as “El Grande” who offered a fascinating crash course on how Mexican drug lords corrupted law enforcement to protect narcotics shipments, flush out informants and pursue rivals.

Dressed in a black-and-white striped prison outfit and with his ankles shackled, Barragan, who stands about 6-foot-7, testified that Arturo Beltran-Leyva was responsible for more than 1,000 murders and that he personally witnessed the cartel boss torture and kill people.

Arturo would only tell me not to get involved, that he knew what he was doing,” said Barragan, who pleaded guilty to drug charges in Texas and is serving a 10-year sentence.

Testifying with the help of a Spanish interpreter, Barragan said Reyes Arzate was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for information that helped kingpins such as Beltran-Leyva and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman keep ahead of law enforcement.

In 2010, Beltran-Leyva paid $500,000 to Reyes Arzate and other corrupt Mexican police officers to arrest Edgar Valdez Villareal, also known as “La Barbie,” a rival who was vying for control of lucrative drug routes, Barragan said. Villareal, a Texas native, was later extradited to the U.S. and sentenced to nearly 50 years in prison.

Also taking the stand Thursday was DEA Special Agent Matthew Sandberg, who testified the discovery that one of their trusted Mexican colleagues was living a double life as a paid cartel informant was like “getting punched in the stomach.”

In a voice choked with emotion, Sandberg said Reyes Arzate’s betrayal not only put the lives of informants and police in danger, but also had a chilling effect on the coordinated effort between U.S. and Mexico to take down some of the world’s most violent criminal organizations.

“When this happened, it really damaged everything we were working for,” Sandberg said. “It put a haze over a lot of the successes we’d had. … It set us back incredibly because all of the casework stopped, and we were focused on just damage control and safety.”

Before his April 2017 arrest, Reyes Arzate, 46, was the highest-ranking member of Mexico's Sensitive Investigative Unit, a part of the Mexican Federal Police that works in tandem with U.S. authorities on drug trafficking probes, according to court records. In his eight years with the unit, Reyes Arzate was involved in many high-profile cartel investigations, including those against "El Chapo".

Beltran-Leyva, whose cartel split from Sinaloa in a bloody fallout in 2008, was killed in a firefight with Mexican authorities in 2009 before he could be brought to Chicago to face sweeping narcotics trafficking charges.

The charges against Reyes Arzate stemmed from an investigation involving Chicago and San Diego authorities of a Beltran-Leyva-connected drug trafficking network that was allegedly importing multiple tons of narcotics from Colombia to Mexico for distribution in the U.S., according to charges filed last year.

Sandberg, the DEA agent, testified that in September 2016 he asked Reyes Arzate to assist in the surveillance of several targets of the probe in Mexico City. He said he sent Reyes Arzate a surveillance photo that had been taken in Cancun to help him identify the players and gave him the name of a restaurant where they often met.

On Nov. 1, 2016, Reyes Arzate secretly met in person with the main target of the investigation and shared the surveillance photo with him as well as other details about the probe. Authorities also intercepted text messages between that target and an associate discussing how the cartel had leverage over Reyes Arzate because his code name“La Reina,” or “the Queen” — had already surfaced in investigative files as a corrupt law enforcement officer.

“We can screw Ivan," the unidentified associate said, according to the complaint.

Sandberg testified that when Reyes Arzate was confronted at the U.S. Embassy about the leaks, he started crying. “I knew this day would come,” he said.

In a brief statement to the court before he was sentenced, Reyes Arzate said in Spanish that whatever he did was motivated “by the love I feel for the people of my country.”

Asked by Leinenweber if he illegally shared information with the cartels, Reyes Arzate let out a sigh.

“I do acknowledge that, your honor, but not under the circumstances that have been stated,” he said.

By dd 4/06/2017 11:18:00 AM 96 comments
Posted by DD from material from AP written by Mark Stevenson and from Chicago Tribune written by Jason Meisner

MEXICO CITY (AP) — In a major embarrassment for Mexican law enforcement, U.S. prosecutors said in documents made public Wednesday that the commander of a Mexican police intelligence-sharing unit was passing information on a DEA investigation to the Beltran Leyva drug cartel in exchange for millions of dollars.

Ivan Reyes Arzate, 45, was named in a U.S. district court indictment, just hours after Mexican federal police commissioner Manelich Castilla revealed that an unnamed agent had been charged with obstructing an investigation.

What Castilla did not say was that Reyes Arzate was the commander of a federal police sensitive investigative unit (siu). SIUs, were formed starting in the 1990s precisely to create more secure groups that the U.S. could feel comfortable sharing intelligence with.

Castilla said Reyes Arzate had been fired in November. He is in U.S. custody.

The Justice Department described Reyes Arzate as "the principal point of contact for information being shared between U.S. law enforcement and the Mexican Federal Police."

As a top Mexican police commander, Ivan Reyes Arzate was trusted for years with the most sensitive information surrounding U.S. investigations of dangerous cartel drug traffickers, from notorious Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the violent offshoot faction known as Beltran-Leyva.

A 42-page criminal complaint unsealed in Chicago on Wednesday alleged that Reyes had leaked crucial information to several targets of the undercover probe, including the identity of an informant who later had to be evacuated from Mexico for his own safety.

The complaint alleged that during a personal meeting with cartel leader Arturo Beltran-Leyva in 2009, Reyes revealed the identity of another DEA informant who had been "instrumental" in securing an indictment against the cartel's bosses.

On Beltran-Leyva's orders, cartel assassins later kidnapped, tortured and killed the informant, according to the complaint. Beltran-Leyva was killed in a firefight with Mexican authorities in 2009 which means Reyes had been working as a mole for the cartels for at least 8 years.

Several informants, including other corrupt Mexican police officials, told authorities that Reyes was paid at least $3 million for his betrayal, the complaint alleged.

Reyes first drew attention last year during an investigation involving Chicago and San Diego authorities of a Beltran-Leyva-connected drug trafficking network that was allegedly importing multiple tons of narcotics from Colombia to Mexico for distribution in the U.S., according to the charges.

According to the complaint, a DEA agent in September asked Reyes to assist in surveillance of several targets in Mexico City. The agent sent Reyes a surveillance photo that had been taken in Cancun in April to help him identify the players and gave him the address of an apartment where they were believed to be living and the name of a restaurant where they often met, the charges alleged.

The next day, that same photograph was sent by someone using the screen name "Ayala" to one of the drug traffickers warning he was being targeted by the DEA, according to the complaint.

"Regarding yesterday's matter. Guess what? It's you," Ayala — who authorities later learned to be Reyes — wrote to the trafficker, according to the complaint.

Ayala also warned the trafficker to discontinue any use of cellphones and move locations if possible.

"I recommend you wait a bit, get rid of all (communication devices), and if you can move from where you are, due to the location of the phones you have now. ... Take care and we'll be in touch. No worries."

In October, authorities intercepted text messages between Dominguez, the kingpin, and an associate discussing how the cartel had leverage over Reyes because his code name — La Reina — had already surfaced in investigative files as that of a corrupt law enforcement officer.
"We can screw ivan," the unidentified associate said, according to the complaint.

In the texts, the two surmised the case against them was weak because it relied on the cooperation of one informant whom they repeatedly referred to as "the dirt bag." They also discussed various methods of getting the informant to "retract" the information he had given to the government, according to the complaint.

"If the dirt bag retracts everything, that's the only way we can make this work," Dominguez texted Oct. 26, according to the complaint. "Ivan should be there waiting for the process, that way he can come with the gueros (U.S. law enforcement) to do the work."

According to the complaint, Reyes met in person with Dominguez in Mexico City in November and discussed the leaked surveillance photograph.

Dominguez and one of the associates who dealt with Reyes have since been charged with narcotics offenses in federal court in San Diego, while a third cartel member faces similar charges in Chicago, according to the complaint. Both of those cases remain under seal, 

"Reyes, in his role as supervisor over the SIU, routinely had contact and worked collaboratively with DEA agents in Mexico City," according to the indictment.

Mike Vigil, a former chief of international operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said there had always been a problem with the special units: The top commanders refused to submit to background or polygraph checks, even though low-level agents were vetted.

"The higher echelon, the higher level of the federal police, do not want to be vetted," Vigil said. 

"So the information that goes from the vetted units to their commanders can be easily compromised."

On Feb. 2, federal prosecutors and Mexican Federal Police officials confronted Reyes at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, according to the complaint. In the interview, he denied being Ayala or "otherwise being the source of the leak of the U.S. investigation," but he did acknowledge meeting with Dominguez in November, the complaint said.

Reyes said the meeting was set up with cartel members "to discuss reducing violence" following the killing of a federal police officer a few weeks earlier.

It is not the first time that Mexico has failed to detect such deep corruption. The case against Reyes was unsealed in Chicago's federal court just a week after the sitting attorney general for the western Mexican state of Nayarit was arrested at the U.S. border in California on charges he conspired with the Beltran-Leyva cartel to smuggle cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine to the U.S.

"In both cases, the arrests were made without the participation of Mexican authorities. Confidence is not at its highest level.", said former DEA agent Mike Vigil

Reyes, who used the code name "La Reina," or "the Queen," was charged in February and turned himself in to authorities after traveling to Chicago voluntarily, according to Joseph Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.


  1. Reyes Azarte of SIU, the biggest SNITCH of leaking information to the Cartels, hope the greedy bastard, gets more than 20 years in prison.
    Now he does sing like a canary.

  2. The same old play leaking info story by liaison US-Mx Intel agents.
    Only this time it wasn't a simple reprimand.

  3. His azz is grassed big time, USA can't trust no one from Mexico.

  4. Maybe they will make a movie of Reyes Azarte the queen, played by Danny Trejo of El Machete. Sol P. Will be a consultant of criminology to the movie.
    At the ending of the movie, the biggest mole, gets sniper killed, by Steven Segull.

  5. The BIGGEST leaker of all time, and anyone care to say Chapo Snitched.

  6. The photos are not of the commander on trial, they are of commander manelich castilla craviotto, so the Lebanese mafia in Mexico property of carlos slim helu whose brother julian was a commander with the DFS which gave badges to the likes of Amado Carrillo Fuentes and don Neto and el Padrino, the slim platform keeps getting away with all its bullshit.

    1. 8:28 I regret to inform you that, is was what was given to translate. Your subscription will be refunded, sorry we did not meet your expectations. Have a nice day. Should you want to consult your lawyer, it would be feasible, to write down, the credit line given under the article.

  7. Your subscription is refunded, sorry we did not meet your expectations.


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