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

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Old Video of Hitmen Working for Ivan's Lieutenant El Gabito Makes Rounds On Social Media

"HEARST" and "Ivan" for Borderland Beat 

Update 4/28/2022: Multiple made allegations about this story were incorrect. El Sol de Sinaloa has released a new article on the video that states: 

When questioned on the subject, the Secretary of Public Security of Sinaloa, Cristóbal Castañeda Camarillo, stated that it is an old video and also that the incident did not occur in Sinaloa.

"It (the video) is old, the uniforms are no longer of that style, there is no report that it was in that place," he commented briefly when approached by the media this morning.

Castañeda Camarillo also did not acknowledge that the event occurred in La Noria, Mazatlán, as has been said in social networks, but warned that it would be SEDENA, the institution itself, that would report the precise details of the event.

Footage of Sinaloa Cartel (Cártel de Sinaloa, CDS) hitmen holding a group of armed men at gunpoint and forcing them to hand over their equipment and uniforms has been shared on social media. The hitmen are alleged to work for one of Ivan Archivaldo Guzmán’s top lieutenants.

The Video 

A video posted online yesterday, April 26, 2022, allegedly depicts the moments right after a group of CDS hitmen forced a group of armed men to lie on the ground, with their hands flat in surrender. Update 4/28/2022: There are currently allegations that the men seen in the video are not soldiers but instead members of a rival cartel group.

Currently, social media accounts are alleging this incident took place near the small town of La Noria, Sinaloa and that the camp seen in the background of the video belonged to the the armed men. 

Some claim the CDS hitmen were coming down from an excursion on the mountain and when they spotted the armed men, they decided to rob them of their uniforms, equipment and even vehicles although there is no official confirmation of this claim. These items are highly valued by cartel hitmen because when wearing and using such items, they can impersonate a SEDENA soldier and all the authority that might afford them - in a limited capacity and only under certain conditions, that is.

Video Source: Jorge A. Medellín

The hitmen are then seen gloating at having just subdued the armed men and mugging for the camera. At one point one of the hitmen puts his foot on the back of a surrendered soldier.

During the video, one of the hitmen can be heard saying “pura gente de Gabito”, or “we are Gabito people”. He is referring to one of Ivan Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar’s top lieutenants, Óscar Martínez Larios, alias “El Gabito”, a man thought to be close and trusted within the Chapitos organization. 

There are currently no further details on the events surrounding the video as of the writing of this story.

The following is the criminal history of Óscar Martínez Larios, aliases “El Gabito” and “El 80”.

The small town of El Rosario, which lies south of the city of Mazatlán, is what Gabito considers to be his home, according to the Luis R Conriquez narcocorrido

Gabito has two brothers. One named José Luis Martínez Larios, aliases “El Monstruo” and “El 51” who died. Another brother, known as "El 81" and “El Kasco” (sometimes spelled El Casco or Kasko) is believed to control Rosario and Concordia on behalf of El Gabito.

El Kasco seems to work as Gabito’s second-in-command and right hand man. 

El Gabito used to be known for his work underneath Los Chapitos in their quest to take over the port city of Mazatlán, Sinaloa in 2016. The city had been controlled by the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO), specifically Los Mazatlecos, since their split from the Sinaloa Cartel, although truces had allowed CDS members to operate in the city.

In the early days, Gabito was believed to control the small towns in the mountains south of Mazatlan, like Escuinapan, El Rosario, Concordia, and Villa Union. During these tumultuous times for the Sinaloa Cartel, following the re-arrest of El Chapo at the very beginning of 2016, Los Chapitos sought to challenge BLO control of the area.

In February 2016, violence increased in the El Rosario area with shootings like one in Corral de Piedra which left four people dead. In June 2016, narco banners were placed throughout Mazatlán which threatened Ivan Archivaldo, El Gabito and an associate of Gabito named Saúl Ernesto Loya, aliases "El Sierra" and “El Loya”. 

In September 2016, six bodies were left in Mazatlán and Borderland Beat articles at the time noted how  Mazatlán was heating up. 

In October 2016, audio recordings of El Gabito and his men speaking with the director and deputy of the municipal police for the town of El Rosario were leaked. The three calls were posted to Youtube and many news agencies covered these calls. The content of the call is the followings, as translated by Sol Prendido.

Strangely, the Youtube channel removed the video of the first call, which notably featured an alleged photo of the elusive, almost unphotographed El Gabito. 

The image of Gabito that was featured in a Riodoce article covering the calls was also taken down, likely because the newspaper was forced to comply with Mexico’s laws on not showing the faces of those suspected of crimes. Thankfully, there are archived versions of a 2016 Reforma article and multiple archived versions of Blog del Narco’s coverage of the Riodoce article which have preserved the photo of a man alleged to be El Gabito. 

Later that month, an American citizen who was living in Mazatlán named O’Neil Patrick McGean went missing. McGean had been living in Sinaloa for ten years and was known in the area for owning the restaurant Café Playa Sur, as well as managing Old Mazatlán Condos in the central part of the city. Authorities were quick to point out that McGean was not known to be involved in drugs nor any criminal activities. 

The newspaper El Sol de Mazatlán reported that after he went missing bank cards owned by McGean were used at ATMs across the city, indicating that he was likely abducted in an “express kidnapping” scheme. More than a week after he went missing, his remains were found in the Azteca neighborhood of Mazatlán. 

McGean was evidently a particularly beloved figure and regardless of which group was involved, his death caused a general outrage against the cartel scene of Mazatlán. The Borderland Beat comments on the story were peppered with stories of his kindness from people who knew him and expressing how much McGean loved Mexico.

Violence continued to increase, however, and nine were killed at a shootout on December 5, 2016 in the Francisco Villa neighborhood of Mazatlán. Over time El Gabito’s group gained territory and eventually he transitioned into being the Mazatlán plaza boss at an unspecified point in time. 

Due to the logistics of drug trafficking, the plaza bosses entrusted to control busy port cities are often well established and trusted individuals within an organization. This is because valuable shipments of chemical precursors and South American products will likely be coming in via boats, so maintaining control of the local military and law enforcement, as well as preventing rivals from gaining a foothold is key to keeping the trafficking operation running smoothly. 

Because El Gabito led Chapitos forces in Mazatlán through such a bloody and dangerous time, it is likely that he gained more trust within the organization. 

In 2020, Baja California social media was abuzz with reports that Ivan had sent El Gabito to the city of Mexicali in order to kill off the forces of the El Mayo associated group Los Rusos. This was the first prominent instance in which we might have seen El Gabito not in the role of a plaza boss, but in more of an enforcer or reactive role, with Gabito being sent to take out rival groups.

Strangely enough, Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) figure Edgar Alejandro Herrera Pardo, alias “Cabo 8” or “El Caimán” (The Alligator) was said to be involved in aiding or even joining up with El Gabito at the time. For an overview of Cabo 8’s history, please see this previous story.  

This effort was evidently not successful in his task of eliminating Los Rusos because in 2022, Rusos are known to be entirely controlling Mexicali and have in fact grown out to contest surrounding areas. They hold this in addition to their territories held within Sinaloa state. There are some that believe that El Gabito was never really tasked to take out Rusos and that he remained within Sinaloa in 2020, chalking up the allegations as simply rumors based on the belief that the Rusos dispute is primarily with El Niní. 

Currently the plaza boss of Mazatlán is believed to be a man known by the alias “El 40”, who is also associate with Los Chapitos, and El Gabito is thought to be within Sinaloa state, working closely directly for Ivan Archivaldo.

Updated 4/28/2022: Title and feature image have been changed to reflect corrections in the story. 

SEDENA Video Sources: Jorge A. Medellín, El Blog de los Gauchos, CampoMarteMX

Leaked Phone Calls Sources: Phone Call 2, Phone Call 3 

El Gabito History Sources: Soy Neutral Tijuana, Riodoce Article 1, Article 2, Article 3, Mexico News Daily Article 1, Article 2, Entreveredas, El Norte, La Jornada, Marquesina   


  1. Planting rumors heats up the plaza too, burns out police commanders and "el Gabito" would be no exception, I hope the soldiers disrespected got out of it alive but the humiliation is in with the name gabito, and "ivan" whose involvement would attract forces bigger than their enemies' and their propaganda.

  2. Hopefully they hit these mfs hard. I hate that sh@#, disrespecting the soldiers like that.

  3. This will probably come bite them in ass later on

  4. Remember El Guero Ranas. Same will a happen to El Gabito. Corrido coming soon.

  5. Que manden Fuerzas Especiales como en Tamaulipas, los hacen mierda, hasta llorando como los Tilines cuando se les aparezca el SandCat

    1. Llorando??? Yo no oyi a nadie llorar. Gritar si, llorar no. Hay gente que cuando algo exitante pasa o algo que no pueden creer se les eleva la voz. Si oyes bien, al ultimo dice todo tranquillo " Ya estubo, ya me mataron". Hablas con criticas y humillaciones porque eran CDG y tu amas a los extictos zetas... Con razon no eres de palabra y exagerador.

    2. 5:14 tamaulipas "fuerzas especiales" are a bunch of corrupt cuicos and unrepentant criminals, worse than cartels because of their open impunity with airs of "authority" like their fucking corrupt narco-gobernador Panocho cabeza de cagadas de vacas

    3. @MyHumbleOpinion
      Tienes razon no se escucho a nadie llorar, no en las grabaciones, pero pues las lenguas de las personas que saben dicen mucho mas que unos cuantos segundos de audio. Ahora los extintos zetas? Cuales? Los Trevinos del CDN o los que quedan del los ZVE? Yo digo que todos son lacras igual que los de Jalisco y Sinaloa, aqui lo unico que se puede admirar son las fuerzas armadas que combaten al crimen pero ni ellos quedan exemtos ala corrupcion, y pues no ser de palabra, no se a que te refieres yo simplemente comento lo que veo, igual no tengo el interes en discutir y si esa es tu opinion la respeto.

    4. 1:12 I don't respect opinions,
      I respect FACTS, fact based opinions, do your research and don't be affraid to argue and disrespect "opinions".

    5. EZcorpion, estoy de acuerdo contigo en todo menos en lo de los Zetas. Simon, esta el ZVE y CDN, y talvez cada vez en cuando CDN se dicen zetas, pero la realidad es que se dividieron y empezaron otro cartel los dos. Por eso cargan otro nombre. Es como si el CJNG se diciera que son todavia CDS o del Mileno, o los Caballeros Templarios todavia fuera FM. Cuando un cartel se devide de la organización que pertenece y se autonombra algo mas es porque ya no son lo que eran. Especialmente CDN, ahora son norestes. El nombre la dice todo, "*Cartel*" Del Noreste. Si fueran Cartel De los Zetas Norestes, talvez pudieras tratar de decir que son Zetas, pero ni asi. Y los ZVE muchos de ellos practicamente son CDG. Y acuerdate, los Zetas antes eran CDG. Cuando se separaron, todavia eran CDG. No...Lo de Los Tilines, no he oido y ni sabia que habia mas audio. Si me pudieras decir donde lo pudiera oir o le puedes preguntar a "Los que dicen", porque ami no me gusta irme por lo que dice la gente. Especialmente cuando es lo contrario de lo que yo escuche. Desgraciadamente hayucha gente que les gusta inventar de todo. Y no te estoy tirando piedradas y espero que no lo tomes asi, si no me refiero en general. Pero todo bien, aqui no hay problema, todos estenen su derecho tener su opinion. Hay que disfrute su dia. Y me despido con mucho respeto y le deseó suerte y fortuna

  6. Real quick, BB you guys might want to take this story down. It turns out that it's an old video and those guys are not soldiers. Supposedly they're CJNG and it's from last year or so. Supposedly it wasn't in sinaloa. Also if you pay attention to their boots and clothing, that's not what the military wears. Especially the camp. The army stays in the barracks if they're not doing patrols or some kind of operation. Not in no camp. They got us. This was spreading.

    1. Damn. I made a mistake with this. This is my bad, guys.

      I don't want to entirely take the story down because even if this is an old video and even if they weren't SEDENA, the criminal history of El Gabito that I wrote still stands. I'll take any opportunity I can get to research and write about a cartel figure that hasn't been covered on BB before.

      I'd rather just post an update/redaction at the top of the story. Can you send me the link to a source that says they aren't soldiers but cartel members, please, so I can cite it in the update?

    2. Don't worry about the fack ups, as long as corrections are added as needed,
      thanks for trying

    3. So if they were cjng, did they end up dead?

    4. Ay Hearst, it might be good to edit the part where they're referred to as soldiers and refer to them as something else. I'm sure real Mexican soldiers might take offense to that. We should have noticed that they weren't soldiers by their uniforms, their boots, their belts and especially their camp. You would never find a Mexican soldier in a camp like that. I ain't going to lie. I ate it up. I was bothered (to put it mildly) just by the thought so much that I didn't pay attention, which I usually do. It happens to all of us though. As long as it's corrected.

  7. Yes 12:36 don't worry about the fuck ups, go change Obradors depends diapers.

    1. 6:41 I'll gladly change AMLO's pampers;
      then serve them cold to you.

  8. For those still curious about if they were or were not SEDENA soldiers:

  9. The irony is that they claim to not “mess” with innocent citizens


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