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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Latest DEA Rewards Poster Features New Photo of Ivan

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat 

New DEA poster lists out a number of Sinaloa cartel targets, features a new photo of Ivan Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar and highlights both El Aquiles and El Limon as targets they are evidently prioritizing.

The New Poster

Journalist and author Ioan Grillo posted on twitter at 4:23 pm on May 9, 2022, the following:

As of the writing of this story, there has been no press release from the DEA about the posters.

This being a DEA poster is of note, because the DEA’s Most Wanted Fugitive list is different from the US Narcotics Reward Program (NRP) list

Even though the DEA’s wanted fugitive profiles include details about the NRP reward being offered, the DEA targets are different from the NRP’s and, presumably, the criteria used to determine who makes the top of the list is different.

Most of these men already had posters listing out their information and the reward prior to this. But what's significant about this poster is that it lists out multiple targets and the allegation from the tweet about there being a campaign which will seek to produce, distribute and feature these posters. 

The poster fabrication seen in Grillo’s photo appears to involve a white panel with a materiality that makes it appropriate for use in exterior settings and allows for it to be affixed to metal fences.

Why were these specific targets selected for the poster? 

It is important to note that the targets on this poster are not the most wanted from the NRP - Mexican Target list, at least according to the amount of reward money being offered. 

The most wanted targets within that list are as follows, from highest to lowest: Rafael Caro Quintero ($20 million), Ismael Zambada Garcia ($15 million) and Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes ($10 million). Then fifteen different targets have a $5 million dollar reward being offered. 

As noted earlier, the DEA’s Most Wanted Fugitive list appears to use a different criteria than the NRP. So, why were these guys chosen among all others? 

All of these targets, except for one notable exception, are believed to be working for the Sinaloa Cartel (CDS), which has led many news outlets to describe this as a “Sinaloa Cartel poster campaign”. This may suggest that a similar poster campaign will be launched for other cartel organizations, such as the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion.

But it is worth noting that no text on the poster itself nor any US agency has yet to describe this as a CDS-specific poster campaign as of the writing of this story. That label is unofficial and comes only from the speculation of outside observers who are looking for a through-line that ties them all together.

Why is Rafael Caro Quintero listed on a CDS poster? 

In regards to the notable exception, the first target listed, Rafael Caro Quintero (henceforth referred to as RCQ), is not a member of CDS. He is, in fact, the leader of the Caborca Cartel who are rivals of some CDS groups.

The Caborca Cartel has a history of actively targeting and killing CDS members within Sonora, demonstrating on many different occasions that they are a distinct and separate cartel entity.

So here are two possible reasons (among many other possible reasons) that Rafael Caro Quintero was included on this poster:

1. The Mexican and US federal governments have not officially classified the Caborca Cartel as a distinct entity separate from the Sinaloa Cartel yet.  


This could be due to some highly-specific legal definition that requires certain types of verifiable evidence in order to prove that a cartel organization exists and the Caborca Cartel has simply not met this threshold of evidence due to a technicality.

There is some evidence to suggest that the Mexican federal government, at least, has not acknowledged the Caborca Cartel as an organization. 

Just recently eight hitmen who were believed to be working under Jose Gil Caro Quintero were captured in Sonora. Jose Gil is the nephew of RCQ and believed to be working for the Caborca Cartel however when a Mexican presidential press conference spoke of the hitmen’s arrest, they  were described as being members of the Sinaloa Cartel. For more details on this, please see this previous story.

2. RCQ’s involvement in Kiki Camarena's death makes him a priority target at such a level that he would be included in any poster of this kind. 


His inclusion in the poster could be the US government signaling that the safety of their Department of Justice (DOJ) personnel is a top priority which supersedes all other criteria. If this were the case, they might also choose to include RCQ on a poster campaign listing mainly Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación or Gulf Cartel targets as well. 

In the wake of the news that a US-Mexico narcotics unit collaboration has ended, RCQ’s inclusion on this list could be a pointed reminder from the US government to the Mexican government about how “deeply troubled” (as the DEA put it at the time) the US continues to be that RCQ was ever allowed to be released from prison. 

The Inclusion of Limon & Aquiles 

Two targets on the poster that stand out as important inclusions are Alfonso Limon Sanchez, alias “Poncho Limon” and Alfonso Arzate Garcia, alias “El Aquiles”. Both men have their new image featured on their fugitive profile page (Aquiles and Limon).

El Aquiles is a interesting pick because although he is one of the most well known Sinaloa Cartel figure operating within the border city of Tijuana, according to the latest map from the weekly magazine Zeta Tijuana, Aquiles only has men within three of the eight delegations that make up Tijuana and furthermore, his control of these areas is contested by a rival group within each. 

That being said, the number of delegations a group is present in isn’t necessarily indicative of how much product they successfully move across the US-Mexico Tijuana border each year. It may be that the US DEA currently believes Aquiles is responsible for the largest amount smuggled across out of all the other Sinaloa Cartel leaders in Tijuana.

Meanwhile El Limon was named in a 2019 Zeta list of drug traffickers that countries such as the United States, Peru, Guatemala, Argentina and Germany are requesting Mexico arrest that were not yet in custody. In March 2017, El Limon famously escaped a Culiacan prison alongside a host of other CDS prisoners like El Azulito, Changuito Antrax, and El 20. Prior to his capture he was believed to be the main El Mayo operator in charge managing the cocaine trafficking and sales to the United States.

New Photo of Ivan

Over the years a number of photos alleged to show Ivan, both verified and unverified, have circulated online. This poster photo however appears to be one not seen before, with this reveal possibly being the first time it's been shown to the public.

Sources: Ioan Grillo, El Universal, El Sol de Mexico, Omnia


  1. The reasons these targets are being published is because they are DEA indicted targets. The NRP consists of targets indicted by DEA, FBI and HSI cases. DEA is only going to promote rewards from their agency, not others.

    1. I get that. But there are more then a total of 7 DEA indicted targets and this poster only features 7. So I was more or less trying to work through possibilities of how they narrowed it down to these 7.

    2. It is because these 7 DEA targets all appear on the NRP list (they want to promote targets with a reward, as it will generate more press and awareness, and usually those with an NRP reward are the most significant). The NRP list you showed had 8 other targets (for a total of 15) but only these 7 are part of DEA-led investigations.

    3. 3 of the 7 are not on the NRP list.
      Check it out, friend:

      Aquiles, Limon and Mayito Flaco are all not on the list.

    4. Ah my mistake. I still think my theory that that are DEA priority targets holds, however, I think then there is more credibility of your theory that they all are Sinaloa Cartel affiliated holds as well. Good work!

  2. Aquiles has survived a long time, because of his relationship woth Mayo, I would assume.

    Limon Sanchez
    Aquiles were both indicted in San Diego in 2015

    1. Them brothers survived long time because they are real gangsters and knows the game well

  3. The plaza/tiendita dynamics aren't as relevant to the US authorities, as they aren't really committing federal crimes when killing rivals for local sales.

    The crime is 952, and 960, and really 959 which is conspiracy to import narcotics into the US, I think. That's how they secure indictments on these guys, anything about using violence or killing rivals is usually just extra for the prosecutors to add on.

    1. Thank you for listing those out. It helps me better understand things.

    2. Look at the indictment against Los Cabos, from June 2021, which contains and exception, in that the killings of three Americans is noted (maybe not charged) but because it's a conspiracy to murder US national on foreign lands it could be charged in federal court.

    3. J I would disagree with you that US Authorities arent interested in the plaza dynamics and the murders of rivals. While you are correct that the primary charges are 959 and 960 there is an enhancement for murders committed in furtherance of the conspiracy that gives US authorities a lot of leverage. In order to charge the murders, prosecutors will charge 848, or the continuing criminal enterprise statute (in conjunction with the 952, 959, 960 and 963 charges) as there is a specific enhancement for causing the death of another while in furtherance of the conspiracy. This enhancement makes the statutory minimum life imprisonment (Chapo was charged with this and he received life imprisonment for the continuing criminal enterprise charge + 30 years for the possession of an automatic weapon in furtherance of a drug conspiracy).

  4. Thanks for the explanation HEARST.

  5. Puro pinchi tiatro, this culero IOAN GRILLO could do better indicting Felix Ismael Rodriguez Mendigutia for ordering the kidnapping, torture, interrogation and murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena and stop trying to suck my thing with "EL Universal" BS.

  6. Give Elon Musk the job of snatching Caro Quintero. It will get done.

    1. 6:35 RCQ could prolly have contributed to musk's tax free, 401k, and trusts since before he was born, please bring me some coffee and research that shit for me?

  7. The USA won't pay anything bunch of lies! I rather stay alive than snitch on Caro or any chapó clan


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