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

Saturday, May 28, 2022

La Plaza's El Mocho Executed & El 18 Arrested

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat 

La Plaza’s El Mocho was found shot to death in Rosarito, Baja California, and El 18, another La Plaza figure, was arrested in Cajeme, Sonora. The FGE believes that El 18 organized and planned the deadly city hall attack in Guaymas which killed an innocent bystander.

El 18 Arrested

Brayan Maximiliano, aliases “El 18” and “La Monja”, was arrested by agents of the FGE’s office in Cajeme, Sonora after an arrest warrant was issued by a judge on charges related to homicide. The FGE press release gives no further details about when or how La Monja was arrested. 

The bulk of the press release is instead about how the FGE believed that El 18 is the organizer of the deadly shooting at the Guaymas City Hall steps that took place on November 25, 2021. This shooting injured and killed innocent bystanders like Marisol Cuadras, who were demonstrating for an end to violence against on the steps of city hall at the time. 

Photo from the FGE press conference where Sonora's Attorney General Claudia Indira Contreras Córdova discussed El 18's arrest and his connection to the city hall attack. 

It is believed that Caborca Cartel subgroup La Plaza was behind the attack and was trying to assassinate the Secretary of Security, Andres Humberto Cano Ahuir, who was standing outside city hall at the time. La Plaza has accused Cano Ahuir of being on the payroll of rival cartel group Los Salazars and using his government position to aid Salazars in their efforts to take over Guaymas. For more details about the city hall attack, please see this previous post

At the beginning of this month the FGE stated at a press conference that “based on the trajectories, testimonies and ballistic evidence, it was possible to establish that six aggressors participated in the events and four authorities repelled the aggression.”

They also revealed that they seized a Nissan Titan vehicle on the day of the attack which they believe was used by the city hall attackers. The FGE was able to test this vehicle for DNA evidence and develop a genetic profile for at least one of the perpetrators that used the vehicle. 

El 18 is the fourth La Plaza member that the FGE has publicly identified as someone they believe was involved in the attack. The other three were all killed before the FGE could arrest them. They are: 

  • Iván Alejandro López Bermúdez, alias "El Talibán", who was tied to the city hall attack post mortem. El Talibán was found stabbed to death in Hermosillo in January 2022 and after he was found dead, he was DNA tested and his DNA matched the genetic profile present in the Nissan Titan. 

  • Julián Alejandro Mercado Sánchez, "El Güerito", who was found shot to death in Empalme in December 2021before the FGE could locate and arrest him. 

  • Carlos Alberto Mexia Grijalva, alias "El Plebeyo", a hitman who was killed during the city hall attack itself by gunshots from the officers repelling the attack

El Mocho Killed

At approximately 8:10 pm on the evening of Friday, May 20, 2022, the dead body of Juan Carlos Real Nieblas, alias “El Mocho”, was discovered within the coastal city of Rosarito in the state of Baja California. 

He had just been shot by a group of hitmen inside a gray Mazda vehicle when he was standing near the corner of Monterrey and Poliducto streets. Residents of the area discovered him lying on the street with multiple gunshot wounds shortly after they heard the sound of gunfire and saw the gray Mazda speeding away from the scene. 

Residents reported what they had just witnessed to the emergency phone line and officers were dispatched to the scene shortly after El Mocho was pronounced dead. It is currently unknown why El Mocho was out of Sonora and in Baja California at the time. 

Who was he? 

El Mocho was believed to be the head of hitmen for La Plaza within the municipality of Guaymas, Sonora. According to social media posts, El Mocho operated primarily in the Las Golondrinas neighborhood of Guaymas. 

Juan Pablo Quintero and Tony Navidad are believed to lead the Caborca Cartel forces within the Guaymas and Empalme region. 

Reporting under them, Francisco Javier Espinoza Camacho, aliases “El Picipi” and “El Fino”, leads the group La Plaza. The deceased El Mocho was believed to be one of El Picipi’s direct reports. He had two active arrest warrants within Sonora. 

Motive of the Execution

There are two rumors about the motive of Mocho’s execution. The first rumor is that fellow La Plaza figure Antonio Castro Valenzuela, aliases "El Rábano" and “El Castro”, ordered for Mocho to be executed due to an ongoing rivalry. Both El Castro and El Mocho lead groups of hitmen and reported to El Picipi in the same general area. 

Valor writes that the two “had work differences and he saw Mocho as an adversary. He was jealous because he was well regarded by the leaders of the cartel and he was afraid that he would be replaced by him.”

The other rumor is that El Picipi himself gave the order for El Mocho to be executed, because, as Valor writes that Picipi “was the only one who knew his location.”

Update 5/29/2022: 

Jalisciense on twitter uploaded a video alleged to show El 18 right after he was arrested.

Video Source: Jalisciense

El 18 Sources: FGE Press Conference Video, FGE Press Release, El Sol de Hermosillo, Tribuna, El Universal,  Sonora Informativo, Diario del Yaqui, Critica

El Mocho Sources: Zeta Tijuana, Opinion Sonora, Valor, Denuncias San Luis Rio Colorado 

Further Reading on El Mocho: 

Caborca Cartel's La Plaza Kills 2 On City Hall Steps In Guaymas

La Plaza's El Tepo Killed in Guaymas, Sonora

Notable Figures: Caborca Cartel


  1. Is this one of the Salazars?

    1. I'm not sure. His death wasn't mentioned by Sonora Informativo who mention every major Salazar incident. But since he was shot 30 times, it seems like a suspicious death. These articles are all I could find.

  2. And another link to a different article. I really have no idea if he is part of the cartel Salazars....but the way he was hit makes me wonder.

    1. Your comment just got approved so I'm seeing now that you linked the same story. Yeah. Its a very interesting find.

  3. And one more with video:

  4. Taking work differences to another level; no HR, just a bullet.

  5. Ahhhhh great SIR is not around today,
    I have the whole room to myself.

    1. 11:57 ya llegué güey,
      bajate los calzones y ponte...

    2. 11:57 did you enjoy the whole room to yourself for one day.
      A day without sir is good
      He drives Sol crazy sometimes.
      He reminds me of the joker, played by Joquin Phoenix.

    3. 8:29 I gave sol 5 stars recently, after about ten years of trying to educate him, we are getting along very well now...
      You are so beyond help, I would give you the paddle treatment before sending your ass to a work camp for re-education.

    4. Sir is lonely, he makes it by being on BB all day. Enjoying TV dinners premade for lunch and dinner.

    5. 7:58 I am on BB all day at work, nobody gets paid more for that hobby, except maybe Sol robbing Uncle Sam as always.

    6. @ SIR

      Ah, federal misspending with good old Uncle Sam. You guys would be surprised how often that actually happens. Early on along the way everyone learns the art of malingering. Among other things…

    7. 8:29 Pinshis rateros,
      Y todavia les dan pension, chingadamadre!

  6. Mocharon al mocho


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