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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, February 23, 2023

CDG Matamoros Part 2: A New Generation

Information and Uncertainty

Before moving forward, the level of uncertainty in the coming timeframe should be touched upon. An argument can be made that, with regards to the Cártel del Golfo (CDG, Gulf Cartel) as a whole, information being reported by major media and government sources reached a peak during the leadership of Antonio “Tony Tormenta” Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén. 

While it was not overly noticeable at the time, there was a decline in information during the leaderships of Mario “M1” Cárdenas Guillén/Jorge Eduardo “El Coss” Costilla Sánchez and Mario “Pelón” Armando Ramírez Treviño. Additionally, as the cartel landscape became increasingly complicated in Tamaulipas, the absence of reporting, combined with increasingly contradictory information being spread, led to a level of uncertainty around numerous events, to the extent that even a most wanted list created confusion.

With regards to the Matamoros faction of the CDG specifically, the September 2012 arrests of “M1” and “El Coss” led to a feeling of “mission accomplished” with authorities and, in turn, the media, resulting in a low level of reporting over the following years. For those who wrote and/or followed events at the time, it became increasingly important to consider any new piece of information, regardless of the source, as oftentimes that may be the only available clue as to what was happening.

To this day there are many questions that remain unanswered, but the information that would eventually come out, combined with the advantage of hindsight, creates the opportunity to look at past events in a new light.

“El Majadero” Revisited

There is a level of mystery with regards to the Matamoros faction of the CDG during the leadership of Homero Enrique “El Majadero” Cárdenas Guillén. Prior to taking power, his very existence hinged, for the most part, on a single Contralinea article from 2009. To this day only one alleged picture of him exists, yet it is likely to actually be a photo of his brother Mario “M1” Cárdenas Guillén.

In the immediate wake of the arrest of “M1”, the fact that “El Majadero” had become leader of the Matamoros faction was a mix of logical assumptions combined with rumors being spread on blogs and social media, with authorities apparently never acknowledging him. Major media would ignore him until after the arrest of “Mario Pelón” on August 17, 2013, when they needed to figure out who the new leader of the CDG would be, glossing over the divisions that had already taken place.

Yet the leadership of “El Majadero” in this timeframe should not be doubted despite the lack of coverage, even enemy organizations, such as Los Zetas, knew of “El Majadero” and referenced him in messages.

Los Ciclones

It was during the leadership of “El Majadero” that, arguably, the most lingering legacy of the previous conflict between Rafael “El Junior” Cárdenas Vela and individuals linked to “El Coss” came to light. Also known as “Comandante 900”, “El Junior” had created a group loyal to him known as Los Ciclónes de 900 which, over time, would become known simply as Los Ciclónes.

One of the first instances in which their existence reached the general public eye was with the arrest of Adrián "El Niño" González Martínez, code name "Ciclón 9", on September 24, 2012.

While the fact that he was a member of Los Ciclónes is not subject to debate, the information released by officials created a great level of confusion to the extent that, to this day, it remains unclear if he was aligned with the Los Metros or Matamoros faction of the CDG. Furthermore, in the absence of information, it is also uncertain if who he was working with represented just him, a portion of Los Ciclones, or Los Ciclones as a whole.

In November 2013 major shootouts broke out in Matamoros in an incident that would be attributed to a Los Metros incursion into the city that was repelled by Los Ciclones. Multiple versions of events explaining their motivation would emerge, with the most prevailing being that  “El Majadero”, who had already been rumored to be in poor health since at least August, suffered a major medical setback of some sorts and upon learning of it, Los Metros sought to take advantage of the situation.

Ciclón 7

Amidst rumors that “El Majadero” never truly recovered from the medical issues of November 2013, it is likely that the daily leadership of the Matamoros faction of the CDG shifted to Ángel Eduardo “El Orejón” Prado Rodríguez, code name “Ciclón 7”, leader of Los Ciclones and reported head of the Matamoros plaza.

Following the alleged March 2014 death of “El Majadero” from either a heart attack or a stroke, it would appear that “Ciclón 7” became the de facto leader of the Matamoros faction of the CDG for at least a year or, at the very least, the visible head of the organization. An example of this occurred the following month when “Ciclón 7”, whose full name had yet to be revealed, was the only member of the Matamoros faction to appear in a Tamaulipas most wanted list

Nevertheless, there were a handful of individuals that were active in the Matamoros faction in this timeframe that are worth noting.

Lilia Cárdenas Guillén

Despite the level of visibility that "Ciclón 7" had, it should be noted that it was never specifically alleged that he was the overall leader of the Matamoros faction. In fact, although specific names were not presented then, it was continued to be said then that leadership was held by the Cárdenas Guillén family. Because of this, it was speculated at the time that another sibling might exist that had quietly taken power. 

Just as the existence of “El Majadero” once hinged on a sole article, a sister named Lilia, who was reportedly in charge of money laundering in the CDG, had rarely been mentioned in the past. One such example took place shortly after the arrest of "M-1", where Lilia was mentioned specifically as a potential candidate to take over the CDG by La Jornada

It is quite possible that, even though it was never specifically alleged, following the death of “El Majadero”, Lilia was actually the leader of the Matamoros faction and avoided the spotlight. Furthermore, a scenario in which Lilia was a reluctant leader who wished to keep leadership in the family until a nephew could take power is worth considering. 

Kike Cárdenas 

While his existence was not readily known in this time frame, Enrique Homero “Kike” Cárdenas Salinas, a son of “El Majadero”, was almost certainly operating in the shadows. Although there is no proof, it can be logically assumed that “Kike” Cárdenas was being trained by his father to eventually take over the leadership of the Matamoros faction but circumstances never allowed him to solidify power. 

El Many

As previously stated in CDG Matamoros Part 1: From Cartel to Faction, Mario “M-1” Cárdenas Guillén was released from prison in 2007, during the leadership of his brother Antonio “Tony Tormenta” Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén, and quietly joined the Cartel del Golfo. Though the exact timing is not well documented, a son of his, Mario Alberto “El Betillo” Cárdenas Medina, joined the CDG as well, apparently under his father’s tutelage, until his arrest in June 2009. 

There was another son of “M-1”, however; Manuel “El Many” Cárdenas Medina, who was 8 years younger than his brother “El Betillo”. In the absence of information it is unclear at what point he began working in the CDG, but it is possible that he also joined during the leadership of his father “M-1” or, alternatively, under his uncle, “El Majadero”. 

Another logical scenario is that, following the death of “El Majadero”, “M-1” was regarded as the leader of the Matamoros faction, directing the cartel from prison in similar fashion to his prior direction of drug shipments from his jail cell. In this scenario “El Many” would likely have been designated by his father to carry out orders and, as such, became an increasingly prominent quasi-leader in the organization.

Osiel Jr. 

Throughout the years several children of Osiel Cárdenas Guillén have come to public knowledge, with three daughters mentioned: Yajaira “Yaya”, Marlene, and Grecia. A son named Steve has rarely been talked about and, apparently, has never been involved in cartel affairs. 

Out of all the siblings it is Osiel Cárdenas Jr. who has been in the spotlight the most, beginning with his arrest on December 31, 2014 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers while he was attempting to smuggle ammunition into Mexico. It does not appear that he was of any particular importance to the Matamoros faction prior to this and, regardless, he pled guilty on February 11, 2015 and was sentenced to 10 months in prison on May 18th of that same year.

El Cuate Martínez

It would appear, based on later rumors, that at least some of the siblings believed that Osiel Jr. had been caught while acting on behalf of his brother-in-law Carlos Fabian "El Cuate" Martínez Pérez. According to unofficial sources, “El Cuate” either married, or began dating Marlene Cárdenas by 2010 at the latest.

On June 9, 2014, just over two months after the death of “El Majadero”, a prison riot broke out in Matamoros, leaving three dead in an event that would be attributed to Los Metros and Los Ciclones fighting for control of the prison. Among the dead was the twin brother of “El Cuate”, Víctor Alfonso Martínez Pérez, who was said to have controlled the prison on behalf of the Matamoros faction of the CDG. 

In the following months “El Cuate” would increasingly be mentioned online and he would eventually proclaim to speak on behalf of his imprisoned father-in-law. It is unclear how true this claim was and, if there was any validity to it, at what point he began serving this function, especially in light of the fact that Osiel had been extradited to the United States in 2007 and was serving time in a maximum security prison. 

El Kelín

On August 30, 2014 Rogelio “El Kelín” González Pizaña, formerly a close associate of Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, was released from prison, after serving nearly 10 years. Also known as Z-2, “El Kelín” was considered one of the founding members of Los Zetas, having, in a sense, taken the place of the original Z-2, Alejandro Lucio Morales Betancourt, who was arrested in November 2001 and became a protected witness known as Geraldin.  

All evidence indicates that “El Kelín” quickly rejoined the CDG in his hometown of Matamoros although a high level of confusion and speculation would occur when, in November 2014, “El Kelín” allegedly produced a communication along with Juan Reyes “R1” Mejía González, who was thought to be dead, announcing a “New Alliance of Peace” between the Cártel del Golfo and Zetas. 

El Betillo

As previously mentioned, Mario “M-1” Cárdenas Guillén had a son, Mario Alberto “El Betillo” Cárdenas Medina, also known as “El Betito”. Though the exact timing is not well documented, “El Betillo” joined the CDG as well, apparently under his father’s tutelage. By June 2009, “El Betillo” had reportedly been placed in charge of a cocaine trafficking cell of the CDG that received drug shipments in the Playa Bagdad area of Tamaulipas, that is until he was arrested by a military patrol on the 8th of that month.

Sometime in 2014, “El Betillo” was quietly released from prison, with some sources claiming it happened in July and others placing his return to sometime in November. Strangely enough, it would quickly be claimed that Joaquín Archivaldo “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, who was  imprisoned in the same facility as “M-1”, had a hand in his release, having negotiated an alliance of sorts between the Cártel de Sinaloa and the Matamoros faction.

Regardless of the timing and details surrounding his release, it appears that “El Betillo” quickly consolidated power and was alleged to be leading the Matamoros faction in January 2015, with his brother, “El Many”, under his wing and “El Kelin” as his chief enforcer.

El Contador 

Amidst details of the close associates of “El Betillo” in January 2015 was an important detail that escaped particular notice at the time: José Alfredo “El Contador” Cárdenas Martínez was working under the command of “El Betillo” and was allegedly linked to a close associate of the mayor of Matamoros at the time, Norma Leticia “Lety” Salazar Vázquez.

“El Contador” had previously been a member of the CDG under Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, who, while imprisoned in La Palma, communicated directly with his nephew via cellphone. According to the Proceso article "Los tentáculos de Osiel" from January 2005: authorities “were able to locate as one of the principal partners of the drug trafficker José Alfredo -son of Agustín Cárdenas Guillén-, who was in charge of renting some of the residencies, transmit orders and making the deposits to different members" and thus “El Contador” was arrested the night of April 20, 2004.

While it remains unclear as to exactly when “El Contador” was released from prison, based upon the rumors and available information it appears he was released in 2014, likely after the return of “El Betillo”, considering the latter was said to have consolidated power. Looking back, one realizes it was at this point that all the pieces had been set to shape the dynamics of the Matamoros faction to this day.


  1. Excellent work Itzli. You have something to be very proud of here. A very murky group

  2. Does anyone know who is/was Metro65?

    1. O yea we all know he was a drug addict piece of shit garbage, what else do you want to know about him

    2. His real name or or other alias that he used would be nice.

    3. 4;05 o yea no nobody knows that, cause he was a nobody

    4. Metro 65 is only known to me as Nico. He was killed in a meeting Mar. 24, 2015 together with his boss Metro 17 Oziel Guadalupe Leal Flores AKA Tachas AKA Lupito, former H17, and several others by Metro 64 José Tiburcio Hernández Fuentes AKA El Gafe and Metro 42 Julian Manuel Loza Salinas AKA El Toro. I do have a picture of him, but cannot publish here.


    5. Hey Bjeff, email me if you would please.

  3. Wonderful information. Clear, specific and reliable. Congrats man!!

  4. Excellent report. I remember Bjeff mentioning that Mario Cardenas Guillen had a group called Los Marinos, hence the M1. It was not Los Metros, as some sources have incorrectly assumed. Los Marinos were a short-lived group from Matamoros apparently formed by ex-marines.

    I'm also happy you mentioned Alejandro Lucio Morales Betancourt AKA Yeraldin / Zeta 2. This guy is a shadow. Witness protection programs in Mexico are not well documented/researched so I wonder how it works and if the guy is still in Mexico.

    1. Your user pic looks familiar… old friend?

    2. Yes, formerly "MX", now "Morogris". Have you used a username too or perhaps were part of the old forum? Saludos.

    3. Old forum crew in force lol

  5. The type of detail I. These articles is what sets apart BB and makes as much as we can ever know about the day to day machinations of criminal groups so interesting. Great job as usual! Appreciate you guys!

  6. Thank you for this Article Great work 👏🏽👍🏽

  7. I wonder what kind of shit show is gonna go down when Osiel gets released. There is a chance that the Mexican government re-arrests him like they did to hector Palma. But if they don't, It's seems like Osiel has a lot of connections still in CDG

    1. Oziel will have to take over shit or get killed by the new generation like el kelin or carlos rosales. Shit his nephews kill each other now.

  8. You missed el gordo cherry and the fight he caused with other cdg matamoros leaders for trying to take the plaza by force that lasted for a while before he was killed it was at this time tht el kelin got killed and when mario treviño betrayed el coss and tried to take over the entire cdg but never cld. The matamoros cdg keeps a tight lid on shit happening but lately theres been stories on the tamaulipas crime sites that a new fight for the plaza is going on between the cardenas factions.

    1. You're perfectly right, part 2 was getting long so I decided to put that and other information in part 3.

    2. Bring part 3 on. I'll be waiting for it like a junkie waits for his fix 😳

  9. What about CDNE ? They're quiet in N.laredo.

  10. Itzli, great work as always my friend!

    - La Plata -

    1. Thanks but I owe a lot to you and others for helping sort through the mess as it was happening, especially when it comes to part 3 which I have started working on.

      Hit me up with an email, I would love to catch up with you man.

  11. Damn I miss the old forum. A treasure chest of info.

    1. Agree, even if it didn't move forward with new post, just being able to access all that information would be amazing in my opinion.

    2. Agree 💯. I would first read the comments on the forum before the stories on the "front page"

  12. Another one!!!! Great read, looking forward for part 3!!!!

  13. You should update the "To be continued," to having a link to the next article as well as have a link to the previous article for easy navigation.


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