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

Monday, January 23, 2023

Veracruz: Brother of Cartel Boss Gunned Down with His Kids and Wife on Highway

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat 

A man was gunned down with his wife and two children, alongside two others, on a highway in Veracruz. The man turns out to be the brother of El Pelón, the leader of the local cartel group Los Pelónes.

Warning: Some graphic images within this story. 

The Shooting

At around 4:00 pm in the afternoon of Sunday, January 22, 2023, a vehicle chase began on a highway in the city of Heroica Veracruz.

The chase occurred on the sections of the highway which run through the Las Bajadas and Tejería neighborhoods, located in the southwestern edge of the city.

A white SUV with cartel hitmen chased after a vehicle while shooting at the occupants. At some point in the chase the white SUV stopped and hitmen jumped out of the vehicle in order to open fire, standing  in the middle of the street. The hitmen appear to be shooting at a sedan. This moment can be seen in the footage embedded below.

Video contains no graphic content. It is footage of the shooting from afar.

Video Source: IMMX

The exact sequence of events during the chase and shooting is currently unclear. All we know is that later two different vehicles (neither one a white SUV) with victims of gunshot wounds were found on the highway. 

One of these vehicles was a black pickup truck, which had five deceased victims inside. Two of the injured victims were children. 

Video contains no graphic content. It is footage of the scene after the shooting, only damaged vehicles are seen.

Video Source: IMMX

WARNING: Video contains graphic content. It is footage of the victims lying dead inside a vehicle, including two dead children.

Video Source: César Jiménez Mtz

The other vehicle was a sedan cab, cab number #418, which had a dead male and an injured, but living, cab driver. Both men had suffered gunshot wounds.

It is unclear if the cab was uninvolved, and simply caught in the crossfire, or if hitmen targeted the cab because it picked up someone who survived the attack on the black pickup truck. 

The first video in this story, where hitmen appear to be shooting at a sedan style vehicle, suggests that the cab may have been targeted however it's impossible to really determine what the hitmen are shooting at due to the video resolution. 

Police and soldiers were called to the scene and a section of the highway was shut down while evidence was being documented by investigators. 

The Alleged Target

The likely target of the attack has been identified by newspaper La Silla Rota, which wrote that “Fernando Perez Vega, aliases ‘El Pino’ and ‘El R15’, was killed in an armed attack along with his family.” 

This quote suggests that the woman and two children who were killed in the attack were his wife and children. 

On the surface, El Pino was just an aspiring politician, having run to become mayor of Coxquihui, a town in northwestern Veracruz in 2021. He ultimately lost this race. 

But if you look a little deeper you’ll find that El Pino was an important figure with the group Los Pelones, which has been identified as a cartel group by Army (SEDENA) intelligence. See, El Pino was the brother of Reveriano Pérez Vega, alias “El Pelón”, the founder of Los Pelones. 

His brother Reveriano had actually been elected as mayor of Coxquihui twice, serving as mayor between 2008 - 2010 and 2014 - 2016.

The Mayor & The Wedding

On March 8, 2014, a man named Crescencio Dorantes Cruz showed up at the local state Attorney General’s Office (FGE) and told investigators that he had just heard that the man who had killed his brother was currently at a wedding in Sábanas de Xalostoc. 

The FGE already had a warrant out for Lorenzo Vega Vega, the killer of Crescencio’s brother, José Dorantes Vega, but they had been unable to locate him. Lorenzo was a local cartel thug connected with Los Pelones who knew how to hide in the remote region of Coxquihui, a mountainous municipality, sometimes called the “the corner of impunity”. 

The FGE sent 4 agents and Crescencio to the church in Sábanas de Xalostoc so that they could carry out their arrest warrant. 

The group arrived at about 1:00 pm and the agents asked Crescencio to point out which man was Lorenzo Vega Vega. 

After scanning the crowd, Crescencio spotted him and pointed, saying "That's the guy.”

The agents approached the man and asked him if he was Lorenzo Vega. He replied that he was and he was immediately arrested. As the agents were taking Lorenzo back to their vehicle, a man stepped out of the crowd of party goers and demanded they stop. 

The man was Mayor Reveriano Perez and he  yelled at the agents “You are not going to take away anyone. So long as I am mayor, you are not doing this. Let him go. I don’t give a fuck. I do what I want and I am the boss of Coxquihui.”

As he was saying this, Reveriano approached Lorenzo Vega and grabbed him by the arm, trying to lead him away from the FGE agents. 

A group of 10 to 15 armed men, many of them municipal police officers, who were acting as Mayor Reveriano’s bodyguards stepped forward, took out their firearms, and surrounded the agents who were forced to let Lorenzo Vega go. 

This incident became one of the first three criminal charges against Mayor Reveriano, which were (1) having obstructed an arrest, (2) the abuse of authority, and (3) refusal to comply with a lawful order.

Investigation into The Cartel Mayor 

At the end of his second mayoral term, in 2016, state congress began an investigation into the criminal dealings of Mayor Reveriano Pérez Vega. Recently another incident, the (4) theft of a Toyota Hilux pickup truck, had been levied against the mayor.

The investigation found evidence of wrongdoing and Reveriano was found guilty in a state congress trial in November 2017. 

Reveriano disobeyed an order to not flee the area while the trial was ongoing and at this point he became a fugitive of the law. 

In 2018, an arrest warrant for Reveriano was approved by a judge and state police offered a $1 million dollar reward for information leading to his capture. 

When the reward was announced, the governor said “The area - particularly during several months last year - had intense criminal activity. Fuel trafficking, stolen vehicles, and there were shootouts in Coxquihui, that you all remember, where several municipal police officers died.”

Reveriano Pérez Vega hid out from law enforcement in the remote town of Sábanas de Xalostoc, in Coxquihui municipality. 

Any attempts to arrest him were prevented by men from a local taxi driver union who were loyal to Los Pelones. Similar to La Cosa Nostra’s infiltration of US labor unions, organized crime is believed to engage in labor racketeering in Veracruz. 

After two years of being a fugitive, Reveriano was caught on his way to an amateur basketball game in the neighboring state of Puebla in 2019.

He was sent to Poza Rica prison while he awaited trial for the 4 aforementioned charges, however he quickly bonded out.

Just after he stepped foot outside of the prison, however, police officers arrested him again, this time on charges of intentional homicide, for the murder of a municipal officer who was killed when armed men stormed a government building in Coxquihui. 

After a few days his lawyers convinced a judge that the charge did not warrant Reveriano being held in jail and he was subsequently released. 

He did not spend any time in prison thereafter and it's unclear what became of the charges against him. Eventually Reveriano would reappear in 2021, showing support for his wife Claudia León Mejía during her mayoral campaign. 

His current location and status is unknown however in 2022, news publication 24-Horas alleged that a confidential Army intelligence report named Reveriano as one of the 17 most wanted criminals in the state. 

El Pino, As A Cartel Figure

Let's go back to Reveriano’s brother, Fernando Perez Vega, “El Pino”, who was just gunned down on the highway. 

El Pino is believed to have been involved in cartel activity since at least the year 2016, when he was arrested on charges of unlawfully carrying a firearm and the illegal possession of drugs. 

At the end of December 2022, José Luis Quinto Lorenzo, the commander of the police department in Espinal, Veracruz, was abducted by cartel hitmen. 

The commander was interrogated by hitmen on video and he confessed that worked for El Pino. He admitted that he would have his municipal officers act as lookouts for El Pino. He also had his officers transport cartel figures and hitmen in municipal patrol vehicles. 

Commander Quinto Lorenzo was later executed by the hitmen, who left his decapitated head alongside a poster which named and threatened Fernando Perez Vega in the very first line. The banner went on to claim that Fernando was charging extortion fees on local businesses and kidnapping people for ransom.

The cartel group behind the banner and video did not choose to identify themselves and its quite likely that they are the ones behind the hit on Fernando and his family. 

According to Army intelligence leaked through Guacamaya, the cartel groups that have a presence in the state of Veracruz are: 

Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG)

Sinaloa Cartel (Cártel de Sinaloa, CDS) 

Zetas Vieja Escuela (a subgroup within the Gulf Cartel) 

Fuerza Especial Grupo Sombra (FEGS)

Cártel del Noreste (CDN)


  1. Sad to see the loss of children of the damned, but thugs bring misery to their own door in the games they play and so...

  2. Nice article Hearst. Veracruz is pretty scary. Reminds me of a Michoacán but with less media coverage.

    1. It reminds me of Michoacán too.

      I haven't written about Veracruz very much but from what I have seen, it definitely reminds me of it.

  3. Why is Veracruz so dark

    1. Right!? Something about it feels like a failed state / dystopia. Probably the fact that it is poor, feels abandoned, less urban and more forest, gives it an end of world vibe. Reminds me of Avatar but dark.

    2. As in, why was it so dark outside in the photos? Just a cloudy day, amigo

    3. 12:16 Talking about the terrible things that happen there but thanks HEARST

    4. 12:16 Also I was thinking of this story in particular when I thought of ‘dark things’ there:

      The hyperviolence there seems extreme like in Michoacán. These criminal subcultures mixed with the occultism of the southern part of the state. Brujeria

  4. Looks like the woman was trying to climb over the seat cos of a child-lock, or else she wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Veracruz is so complicated. Brilliant article.

  5. It was said that tanque from CJNG gave the order dor the hitt

    1. Interesting. I write a little about Tanque in this story:

      Always looking to find out more about Tanque and Tornado though. They are really interesting and not a lot is known about them.

  6. Damned family members also got killed.
    Wait until the brother retaliates, all hell will come down, they took will shoot family members too

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

  8. Another busy day in paradise.

  9. You couldnt make this shit up,running for mayor in mexico,the local cartel boss ?

    1. And then even after he goes to jail... his brother and his wife both run for office. Wild.

  10. A los pinche jefes de plaza o algo los matan a balazos por culos que son de no arrimarse muy cerca a ellos.
    A cualquier guey de la calle y hasta morras les cortan la cabeza.
    Esto demuestra que mas que nada no tienen valor los cuates que andan en El negocio de la droga.

  11. Fucking sad. About the family not the guy targeted. Mexican cartels need to hire real sicarios that get the target not the target and their family. Then again knowing how fucked up things are in mexico wldnt be surprised they actually said killed him and his kids.

    1. They use to do that back then,
      But all those kids have grown up.
      And they know it’s a never ending circle.
      So just cut off the head of the snake before a new one tries to take its place

  12. And that manta appeared less than a month ago, so you'd think he'd have security for at least the first month, right? At minimum?

  13. "El Pino" jumped out of his truck, leaving his family, and ran into the taxi parked nearby and tried to escape. The body in the passenger seat is that coward.

    CJNG is sending mass WhatsApp messages to citizens with Veracruz Puerto #s a warning to stay off the streets past 11pm to avoid their "cleansing of the city". CJNG is claiming to cleanse all impostor CJNG members and crooked gangs from the city.....

    1. 05:47 whew! Thank you CJNG, it's about damn time! on point to bring in the Lunar New Year

      I was just thinking to myself the other day..... hmm there are so many people in Heroica Veracruz who claim to be in the gang/mafia/cartel yet don't pay taxes yet stand in the playa selling their sales to tourists, robbing people, and yadiyada yada ya

      Refrescas y diablitas
      La Limpia 2023? #wargames #teamUSA

  14. thats a damn shame, they have such good mole, chile aquiles, cammarones a la diabla veracruz, sopes, gorditas, volvones, hamburgesa, gatas frita, aqua jamaica y perros caliente güey

    i had no idea there is that many active cartels in veracruz. i remember reading something on this past year about the lack of cartel precense in Veracruz and that there was some organized crime like gasoline theft but no major players left after Los Zetas Matas wiped out everyone in the Zetas Cartel....

    So wow, CDS, CDG, CDN, CJNG,

    Zetas Vieja Escuela (a subgroup within the Gulf Cartel) & Fuerza Especial Grupo Sombra (FEGS).. who is FEGS is that Mayo Zambada?

    Is Cartel del Golfo really the same thing as Zetas Vieja Escuela? Are they frenemies with CJNG? Where do CD activity take place in Veracruz?

    Is Cancun in the same predicament? Is all of Mexico turning into a hellhole war zone?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can educate me some. Thank you.

    1. It is an odd situation in Veracruz and also Q. Roo (Cancun areas). Most of the groups arent home grown, but often you will see criminals arrested in other states and they originate from Veracruz.

      Yes, tons of activity. But its crews trying to protect and arrange shipments around the ports (ie Cancun and Acapulco chaos as well). Total chaos and who is actually in charge nobody knows.

      The drugs are labeled NEW VERACRUZ. If you are caught with perico, crystal, o mota without that are in trouble.

      But again nobody has a clear answer on if that is the local groups are stamping their inventory from CJNG or if it is actually what CJNG is identifying themselves as to buck the name Jalisco for local support. (Cartel de Veracruz Nuevo Generacion ect).

      It is a lot of independent contractors working with large name groups in the ports. When they get wacked, the next contractor steps up.

      The kids (15-20 year old boys) in the streets often dont know who is behind the WhatsApp message group they are in that are offering rewards for work. They are dispensable.

      Now on the contrary with the story above, they sent in the big guns to smoke a long term narco whose head got too big for his trigger finder.

  15. Another case of, "paid for the sins of your father." Ponganse pilas raza. No anden en malos pasos.

  16. Its a shame that the kids were killed, but if you think about it the world they were been raised in they most likely would of turned out like their dad and mom, so in reality what future did they had? Most likely turned into some dush bag killers, guys dont turn into drug dealing if you are raising a family cause 90% this will happen to them, not cool but it was gonna happen sooner or later

    1. @10.13- ''It's a shame these kids were killed, BUT....''? There is no ''but'' in that sentence, unless you think they should be throttled at birth.

  17. Meanwhile in my hometown pinche putos molesting 6 month old babies and here is the catch....It's mommy and daddy that molested baby.....fucking sick world

    1. 10:26 are you from North Carolina or is it West Virginia? Kentucky?

    2. 07:45 How do you know so much about the dope in Veracruz? Do you have a picture of the proper baggie to buy, so that nobody accidentally buys drugs from the wrong cartel prison street gang mafia and get their heads cut off.......
      It has to say New Veracruz? and then the police won't arrest you?

      What Cartel is New Veracruz?

    3. Probably dark web stuff

    4. As of now everything on the streets will have a stamp that says NEW VERACRUZ. If its a non stamped/stickered bag it shows it has been cut by low level dealers or you came from another city with it. Then you are in trouble.

      CJNG uses Veracruz since its a massive port. The local assumption is its stocked with local brokers/distributors with NEW VERACRUZ meaning the dope prepared for the people by CJNG. They are not personally selling it on the streets. Just leaving 10 percent here and there for local consumption. But when shit hits the fan you better not be in a bar something else in a pisser with a bunch of dudes.

      Guadalupe-Reyes is a huge time when people from all over Mexico visit and also consume drugs. Its not coincidence that they waited til this holiday season was over to do these attacks. They did not want to scare away the local tourism market.

    5. And for context I used to write for Borderlandbeat a bit and I live in Mexico.

    6. K. Mennem, please continue commenting on BB. Your insights into the area are invaluable.

      Unfortunately, none of us contributors are very familiar with Veracruz although we're interested in learning more. (Like what have you heard about El Tanque?) Email me if you'd ever like to rejoin and write. We'd love to have you.

    7. Thank you and will do. I will get in touch soon. I do not hear much about El Tanque.

      Word currently is a local CJNG cell leader going by "El Guacho" (but not the famous one) had his son (17 yr old) killed in a bar by El Pino's men. (This is over what I mentioned, the whole STAMP fights that were happening on bar drugs)

      El Pino did not meet to offer up anything so El Guacho murdered his whole family as retribute.

      It is notable that CJNG says (as they often do) they will stop extortion and kidnappings in the city (hoping for public support).

      Often rural and PORT Veracruz are two different worlds. Last weekend they collided.

    8. 03:23 @Mennem thanks for the great posts. I would love to hear more about Veracruz from you in the future and hope to see you around on the message boards.

      I just found out from another article that there is like many cartels active in Veracruz supposedly… Cartel de Sinaloa, Cartel Jalisco Nuevo Generation, Cartel del Golfo // Zetas Vieja Scuela, Cartel del Noreste, and a shadow cartel that randomly pops up from the shadows every now and then — cut up and dismember a bunch of cartel gang bangers and dump the corpses near Plaza Americas y Playa Del Oro en Puerto Veracruz…..

      So, wow lots and lots of criminals, local street gangs, mafias, cartels, military, Federales, shipping containers, and a steady flow of tourism mainly from central and South America especially Guatemala Colombia y Ecuador

    9. @K Mennen do they have fentanyl or heroin in New Veracruz or is it mainly more cristal hielo and pinche mota y cocaine occasionall

  18. Coke money gives them power

  19. 7:56 Those are not “Tourists “ they’re immigrants from South America

  20. very well deserved ! a piece of shit less in mexico .. and taxi drivers ate criminals in mexico ...


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