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

Saturday, October 9, 2021

The Execution of El Fonfas, One of Osiel Cardena's Trusted Sauceda Gamboa Brothers

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat

Adán Sauceda Gamboa, brother of the drug lords of the Gulf Cartel, 'El Caramuela' and 'El Karis', was executed on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.

The Shooting

On the afternoon of October 6, 2021, prominent alleged Gulf Cartel member Adán Sauceda Gamboa, alias “El Fonfas” was driving in the border city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas. 

Sauceda Gamboa was driving a silver 2009 Ford Ranger pickup truck, with Tamaulipas license plates, on Leyes de Reforma Avenue in the Acuario neighborhood, which is on the southeast side of Matamoros.

According to information given exclusively to Excelsior by state authorities, at 2:30 pm, two men on a motorcycle rode up alongside Sauceda Gamboa’s pickup truck while it was stopped at a red stop sign. 

Based on the currently available photos of the crime scene, the motorcycle approached him from the lane to the left of his stopped vehicle and when they were parallel to the driver’s side, they pulled out firearms and shot Sauceda Gamboa. 

The photos show the silver pickup truck pulled off road, which may suggest that Sauceda Gamboa tried to swerve away from the gunmen on the motorcycle when they began shooting and he possibly lost control of his vehicle as he sustained serious gunshot injuries. 

Excelsior reports that Sauceda Gamboa received at least four gunshot wounds. All gunshot injuries are believed to have been from 9-millimeter-caliber bullets. One of the gunshot wounds was sustained in Sauceda Gamboa’s head and three more were sustained in his back. 

The crime occurred on October 6, 2021 and the identity of the deceased male found on scene by officers was kept under wraps. However, by just the next day of October 7, 2021, rumors of Sauceda Gamboa’s death began swirling throughout Matamoros. Excelsior pressed state authorities for confirmation of the identity of the deceased and they exclusively got confirmation that the man found dead was in fact Gulf Cartel’s Sauceda Gamboa.

Who is Adán Sauceda Gamboa? 

Adán Sauceda Gamboa, alias “El Fonfas” is an old school member of the Gulf Cartel (Cártel del Golfo, CDG). El Fonfas was the brother of high tier leader Gregorio Sauceda Gamboa, alias “El Caramuela” or “El Goyo”. El Caramuela directly reported to the CDG kingpin Osiel Cárdenas Guillén. 

El Caramuela was trusted by Cárdenas Guillén to control the Reynosa corridor on behalf of the CDG, a key point and lucrative area. Caramuela did this with assistance from his brother Héctor Manuel Sauceda Gamboa, alias “El Karis” and to a lesser extent Adán Sauceda Gamboa, “El Fonfas”. However, as written by MX, Caramuela began having differences with the Gulf Cartel's leadership due to his perceived weakness. 

El Caramuela began to have an excessive drinking problem along with an uncontrolled drug addiction. Then Caramuela’s health took a turn for the worse and he received a cancer diagnosis, making leadership doubt Caramuela’s longevity even further. 

In mid-2006 Caramuela was believed to have been replaced as plaza boss of Reynosa by Los Zetas (CDG’s armed faction at the time) member Jaime González Durán, alias “El Hummer”. This was part of a larger trend of Los Zetas trying to fill important leadership spots with their own men, over men primarily loyal to CDG. 

In January 2007, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén was extradited from Mexico to the US, which blurred the lines of command and control between the Gulf Cartel and their armed faction Los Zetas, and the Zetas campaign to displace CDG plaza bosses with their own men only worsened. 

Even after Sauceda Gamboa was deposed by El Hummer, his power continued to decline even further. Caramuela’s second-in-command Carlos Landín Martínez, alias “El Puma” began to gain favor within the inner circle as Puma was successful in generating profit for the organization. 

However before El Puma grew to overtake El Caramuela in leadership, he was arrested in McAllen, Texas in July 2007 purely due to the happenstance of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent recognizing El Puma while he was shopping in a H.E.B. grocery store. 

El Hummer escorted by authorities on November 7, 2008.

On November 7, 2008, Mexican Federal Police executed a raid targeting the current Reynosa plaza boss El Hummer. They managed to arrest El Hummer and flew him out of Reynosa but not before three vehicles full of heavily armed hitmen attacked the vehicle convoy transporting El Hummer in an unsuccessful attempt to spring him free. Then the Army (SEDENA) made the largest ever (at the time) cartel firearm seizure from a CDG Reynosa safehouse, finding 540 firearms. 

540 firearms seized in Reynosa.

Following these two major hits to the CDG’s Reynosa operation, El Caramuela, and his brothers El Karis and El Fonfas, quietly resumed their previous position of running the Reynosa plaza. Los Zetas grew suspicious of the three Sauceda Gamboa brothers, believing that they may have tipped off federal police as to El Hummer’s location and eliminated Zeta’s man in charge. 

It is believed that after the arrest of El Hummer, El Karis was the one to truly run and control the Reynosa plaza, as opposed to El Caramuela like before. Karis was famous in his own right for having worked heavily with Los Zetas in fighting against the Sinaloa Cartel forces when they tried to take over the city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.

On February 17, 2009, Mexican Federal Police attacked the home where El Karis was staying in southwestern Reynosa. The attack was a prolonged gunfight and some eye witness reporters claim over 12 men were killed during the gunfight in which El Karis’s bodyguards struggled to protect their boss, 5 of the 12 being federal soldiers. 

That same day the leader of Los Zetas, Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano allegedly ordered a group of hitmen to raid Reynosa during this delicate moment of conflict, telling his gunmen to take Reynosa back under Zeta control while CDG forces were focused on freeing El Karis and to kill El Karis even if he was in federal custody. 

The shootouts between CDG gunmen and federal authorities that were paralyzing Reynosa throughout the day only worsened when a third group, Zeta gunmen, began attacking both groups.  They also erected barricades at the entrances to Reynosa and main thoroughfares, preventing reinforcements for either CDG or federal authorities from arriving. 

The bravest, most professional reporter and cameraman of all time cover the Karis shooting as it is happening. No graphic content. Reporter and cameraman were uninjured. Video Source: Cablecom News

At the end of the day, El Karis, Adan’s brother, was found dead, killed by gunfire. Whether it was Zeta gunmen or Mexican Federal Police who killed El Karis is still unclear. But regardless of who pulled the trigger, the Zetas choice to attack CDG boss El Karis played a major part in the eventual breakdown of the tenuous Gulf Cartel and Zeta alliance which finally broke in 2010. 

Not too long after the fall of his powerful brother Karis and the protection that he provided, El Caramuela was arrested. On April 24, 2009, he was arrested along with his wife and his bodyguard, Miguel Ángel Reyes Grajales in the city of Matamoros, which he and Fonfas had returned to following the events in Reynosa just two months earlier. 

Adán Sauceda Gamboa, “El Fonfas” allegedly began working at a used car dealership which specializes in cars of American origins; however, according to authorities who spoke to Excelsior, Fonfas continued to have a relationship with the Gulf Cartel up until the day he died.

Sources: Excelsior, La Tarde, Valor por Tamaulipeco, Reynosa Código Rojo, Valor por Tamaulipas 

Background Sources: Aristegui Noticias, Valor por Tamaulipec, BBC, Kikka-Roja, NBC News, Wikipedia Article written by BB Contributor MX on Héctor Manuel Sauceda Gamboa

*Unable to find photos of Adán, email me if you have any.


  1. Ndrangheta will destroy this cartels easily

    1. Ndrangheta is a powerfull criminal group or groups but in latin america them chumps wld get dispatched easily

    2. A lil simulation... godfathers Italian mafia guys vs Trevinos Zs who would win??

    3. The Brazilian OC will destroy both italians and mexicans all together

    4. Are you guys serious??? Mexican DTOs are at a whole different level now they began the armed game not even the Italians have camps set up for weapons and maneuver training. Look how the game had evolved they carry 40mike Mike launchers and belt fed open bolt weapons now.

    5. The latterday saints would beat all their asses and they would do it with only their lord as their weapons .Yall better recognize and start getting high on jesus christ ! Let me know if you beed a hook up !I know a guy !

    6. Hahahahaha Chin Blaster wins the comments for today

    7. @11:34am umm no! LeBaron family got smoked! They tried and failed.

  2. I don't know who this Ndrangheta guys are. I will look em up. But I can tell you that what Mexican cartels are doing as far as violence is concerned is pretty hard to top by anyone. It's sad. Not cheerleading in any way. Just that the ceiling that was set there by other groups, was broken by the Mexicans.

    Respect to that camera man and company.

  3. HEARST does it again. Great research on the story! Lazcano, is worth a separate read. That guy was seriously demented.

    1. 5:07 Ditto. Waste of a man + his mind as Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano Z3 was drop(ped) dead gorgeous.

      Canadian girl💋

  4. Why the kill him now for to take his business or just to be assholes. Fucking matamoros faction how far have you fallen. Nothing but treasonous snitching pussy ass gangbangers with high powered weapons is all you are.

  5. What happened to el tiburon sauceda?

  6. Very good read! I only wish that cartel people would just go by "Bob"or "Jim", something easier for me to follow. Everyone has a bazillion aliases and cartels have so many fractions. HOWEVER, You write great stuff

  7. I agree with Guerrero 100% i would have never been able to peice this all together with all the nicknames and dates and feracity of people being killed and who killed them ! Excellent work girl maybe someday you can put together the definitive guide for the border wars ! If you can nake sense of this nightmarish border chaos to my Adhd no attention span having ass you can make sense of it to anyone . And thats some real shit Right There ! Please keep it up !

  8. it was in 2009, back when Lazca knew that osiel was DEA snitch

  9. Great post Hearst! I believe your favorite states to report on are Chihuahua and Tamaulipas right?

    1. And Sonora and Baja. Which, I know, is too many states to have as favorites.

      Thanks, Chino. Stay safe.


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