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

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

La Plaza Leaders Exposed in a Narco Banner in Sonora

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat 

Narco banners exposing the faces and names of top La Plaza leadership appeared in Guaymas and Empalme, Sonora. 

The Banners

On the morning of October 05, 2022, a number of identical narco banners were discovered hanging in public spaces, such as bridges in the municipalities of Guaymas, Empalme, and Santa Clara in the state of Sonora. These banners named the men they allege are currently leading the Caborca Cartel subgroup La Plaza. 

La Plaza’s primary rival in the area is believed to be the Chapitos side of the Sinaloa Cartel (Cartel de Sinaloa, CDS). In southwestern regions like Guaymas and Emplame, it is primarily the CDS subgroup Los Salazars, who stronghold nearby Navajoa, fighting against La Plaza, so suspect Los Salazars were involved in the creation and placement of these banners. 

The banners read as follows: 

Mr. Governor of Sonora, 

Mr. Alfonso Durazo Montaño and federal authorities, 

Within our Guaymas and Empalme, there have been many raids, most of which rescue people who were kidnapped. 

All these incidents [kidnappings] were perpetrated by Cártel de La Plaza. 

What more evidence do you need to realize that they are the ones responsible for the violence?

Don't continue to allow these traitors and criminals to operate. 

Jose Gil Caro Quintero

Juan Pablo Quintero Navidad

Roy Antionio Soto Quintero 

Antonio Castro Valenzuela

Francisco Javier Espinoza Camacho

What Kidnappings Do They Mean? 

When the banner references “raids, most of which rescue people who were kidnapped” they likely mean incidents like September 7, when a kidnapping victim, who was being held for ransom at a safehouse in Guaymas, grabbed the firearm and began trying to shoot his way out of captivity which lead to the rescue of five kidnapping victims, one of which had been nailed to a tree. For the full details on this story see this previous article. Strangely, despite initial news reports that two kidnappers had been arrested, no arrests were ever officially made. 

The next day, another property was raided and three more kidnapping victims were rescued. This time, at least, one kidnapper was arrested. For the full details on this story see this other previous article.

Then, on September 24, a young norteño musician was taken from his home, along with his car, and found dead less than a day later. Six suspects who were allegedly involved in the abduction were arrested and on their property the musician’s car was found, stripped of basic parts. (Full story linked here.)

In all of these cases, authorities did not give any indication about if the kidnappers were believed to be operating independently or cartel affiliated. 

Within Mexico, kidnapping groups sometimes work independently and simply pay a fee to the cartel group in control of the area (in this case La Plaza) for permission to operate within their territory. Other times, a cartel group might be directly involved in organizing and carrying out kidnapping operations.

This banner appears to be claiming that La Plaza was directly involved in these kidnapping incidents. 

Previous Banner 

If any of this feels familiar, that's because a banner naming many of the same people appeared in this same region in December 2021, in a story covered in full here

This previous banner said they were exposing “the individuals in charge of heating up the towns of Guaymas, Empalme, and El Valle.” Of note, the formatting and layout of the previous banner appears similar, albeit quite generic. It is possible that the group which created the previous banner is behind the most recent one as well. 

So who is featured on both banners? Who is newly added and who didn’t make the cut this time?

Who are these guys?

POSITION: Organizes Drug Production in South America

Plaza Boss of Some Locations in Quintana Roo, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Tabasco

ALIAS: El Pelo Chino

NAME: José Gil Caro Quintero

OTHER ALIASES: El Jogil, Don José, El Chino (Source

STATUS: Active as of July 3 2021 

PROFILE: For a more in depth biography on El Pelo Chino, please see this previous story, full of archived newspaper articles with old photos of a young José Gil. 

El Pelo Chino is the son of Eulogia Quintero Payan. (Source)  Early in his life, he operated in Jalisco and Morelos, mainly as a lieutenant to some major capo. (Source) El Pelo Chino was reportedly arrested in 2005 and sent to Puente Grande prison in Jalisco state. ZETA alleges Federal Police detected that he was able to direct an organized crime group from inside prison but they were unable to prove it. (Source) He was released in 2016. (Source)  In 2016, El Pelo Chino, allegedly by order of his uncle Rafael Caro Quintero, moved to South America and allied himself with a cell that is dedicated to the planting of poppies and cocaine. (Source)   


He reportedly has drug shipments shipped or flown over to Quintana Roo. According to federal investigation documents, El Pelo Chino maintains on his payroll several officials from the General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics stationed at the Chetumal airport, officials from the Quintana Roo Attorney General's Office and elements of the Quintana Roo State Police. He also reportedly manages the transportation of Caborca Cartel drug shipments to the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and parts of Tabasco. The federal report alleges El Pelo Chino’s discreetness may put him ahead of El R as a potential successor to Rafael Caro Quintero. (Source) El Pelo China was one of the Caborca leaders named in the 2021 narcomanta addressed to President AMLO. (Source)

POSITION: Coleader of Caborca Cartel in the Guaymas, Empalme Area (Source

ALIAS: Unknown

NAME: Juan Pablo Quintero Navidad

STATUS: Active

PROFILE: Juan Pablo Quintero Navidad is believed to be the leader of the Caborca Cartel operations within the municipalities of Guaymas and Empalme. He is the son of Emilio Quintero Payan. He is the brother of Emilio Sajid Quintero, alias “El Cadete”, and the cousin of Rafael Caro Quintero. El Picipi, the leader of La Plaza, reports to him and his brother Tony Navidad. (Source, Source, Source

Whether he was mistakenly reported as RCQ’s nephew and described with the alias “El Pablito” (profiled in in previous reporting here) or if this is an entirely different Juan Pablo Quintero is unclear at this time. 

(If anyone has this photo, please send it to me. I'm currently stuck pulling it from photos of the banners. My email is: )

POSITION:  Coleader of Caborca Cartel in the Guaymas, Empalme Area (Source

ALIAS: Tony Navidad

NAME: Roy Antonio Soto Quintero

STATUS: Active

PROFILE: The brother of Juan Pablo Quintero Navidad, possibly his half brother based on having one different last name. He co-leads the Caborca Cartel forces in the Guaymas Empalme Area alongside his brother Juan Pablo. Little else is known about him currently but hopefully more can be found in the future. (Source)

POSITION: Head of Sicarios  (Source

ALIAS: El Castro

NAME: Antonio Castro Valenzuela


STATUS: Active

PROFILE: He is alleged to be the head of sicarios for El Picipi’s La Plaza group. (Source) Detainees say he is paid by commission, which is to say he is paid for each person that is executed. (Source) Some social media users claim that El Castro was a Secretaría de Marina (SEMAR) soldier prior to beginning to work for La Plaza cartel. They also allege certain active duty SEMAR elements they name are directly linked to La Plaza and El Casto. (Source

El Castro was rumored to have been involved in the May 2022 execution of Juan Carlos Real Nieblas, alias “El Mocho”, who was a fellow La Plaza lieutenant. 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.” 

There are also rumors that if El Castro was involved in eliminating El Mocho, then it was likely done with the permission of El Picipi. For more details, see this previous story on El Mocho’s death. 

POSITION: Leader of La Plaza, Lieutenant of Caborca Cartel 

ALIAS: El Picipi 

NAME: Francisco Javier Espinoza Camacho


STATUS: Active

PROFILE: He reports to Juan Pablo Quintero and Tony Navidad, the leaders of the Guaymas, Empalme area for the Caborca Cartel. El Picipi is originally from San Ignacio Rio Muerto and reportedly has a presence in Guadalajara, Jalisco (Source, Source


El Picipi has been accused of organizing certain La Plaza crimes such the September 2019 arson that killed two children in Empalme, the September 2019 homicide of police Commander Gustavo Nafarrate and the murder of a Marine in an ambulance in October 2020. (Source, Source, Source, Source) In December 2020, El Picipi was accused of organizing the creation of a clandestine crematorium that was discovered in Guaymas. At the time of its discovery, it reportedly contained the charred remains of 27 people at the time. (Source

Sources: Sonora Informativo , Infobae

Previous CDS vs Quintero War For Sonora Stories

September 26, 2022

Dismembered Body Left in Front of the Police Headquarters

September 02, 2022

Chapitos Leave A Dead Páez Caro On Their Doorstep


  1. CDS will soon exterminate these criminals and bring peace to Sonora.
    There is a highly trained CDS "Omega" Hunter-Killer sweeper team searching for these low life targets.
    We are the absolute mob of La Chapiza!
    #jgl #lachapiza #701

    Attentamente Sicario#006

    1. Did you RSVP to the Chpaiza Pizza Party this weekend???

      I was going to fake COVID-19 so I don’t have to come but I don’t want them to cut my head off, what should I do???

    2. Let me fill your space.

  2. CDS directly snitching at it again 🤦🏽‍♂️

    1. 6:20 just like cjng latest silly video ah....wait wait last week cjng put on lots of overtime making bunch of videos n banners snitching 😂

    2. 10:00 CJNG got a lot of snitching to do to be anywhere close to CDS on the snitch card

    3. 12:27 looks like u haven't seen all those stupid videos of ur YouTube divas of cjng

    4. 2:13 no but I have noticed the 20 years of CDS snitching on they're own and rivals

    5. Anyone want to snitch on Juan Pablo Quintero Navidad by sending a photo of him to my inbox, though? :D

    6. Or hey, send me any photos of CDS guys. I'll take those too. ;)

    7. 2:13 there is just no point of comparison between any cartels snitching and CDS those guys are snitching gods, there snitching is leyendary, out of this world i might even say

    8. lmao Best snitching reply ever

    9. @HEARST thanks yo!!

    10. Thanks 6:15 CDS=snitchgods

    11. Oh man, I wish people would stop with this ''snitching'' bullshit. If you own the police, if they work for you because you pay them 10 times what the government does, and you employ them to kidnap, watch over, and kill them, at what point do you become a ''snitch''? People make it sound like a Drug Lord with a burner phone whispering in a toilet stall, betraying the entire honour system of an old school cartel.

  3. The kidnappings are a huge problem in Guaymas/Empalme/Obregon. All these stories are just from *today's* first "Policiaca" page on Radar Sonora:

    And it's like this most days. How long until all the comparatively rich Canadian and American ex-pats in San Carlos are targeted?

    1. Yes. Completely agree. There are so many kidnappings in this region right now. Sometimes there are raids that lead to people being freed, but often times there is no such justice.

      Thank you for posting those links. I appreciate it.

  4. These quinteros have pissed some people off. They’re trying to get rid of all them now.

    1. They been trying for years face it little chapos aren't all that strong outside Culiastan

  5. Lots of snitching going on. Why you think they been catching so many cds?

  6. Juan Pablo el del corrido 25 de Diciembre y El Principio del Infierno

  7. These coward rat bastards. I miss my village and the lake. I want to go fishing god damn it. Sonora is beautiful. It seemed like an oasis after knowing only the north of Chihuahua. The people try to make legit money. Like fishing tournaments and farming.Livestock. Best bass fishing in the world. Fuck the narco pussies and anyone sympathetic to them.

  8. Fucking snitching

    1. I snitch on terrorists with bombs or weapons of mass destruction and needle junkies on meth who like to commit property crimes assault and murder to maintain their street rep because everybody is from the hood and I’m from the streets too yo

      I just don’t live in the train tracks and shit under the bridge, I usually use the jail cells

  9. Habra terror en las calles
    Al nuevo año no creo que lleguen
    Pero navidad va a llegarles

  10. Is gov on payroll snitching??? asking for a friend.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. If you assume the government is on the payroll and therefore hanging these mantas is not considered snitching than that same logic can be used by the other groups right?

  11. Any info on a Rubio payan?

    1. Didn't he get killed in CLN within the last 2 years? The person I'm thinking about was driving a Jeep brand vehicle, I think it was white.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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