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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Video: Hitmen Set Fire to Taco Store With Employees Inside, Guanajuato

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat

Videos captured the moments when employees were held at gunpoint and forced to watch helplessly as cartel hitmen set fire to the Emilio’s Taco shop they worked at in Celaya, Guanajuato. A similar attack happened at another Emilio’s location the next day. 

Turns out this same chain of taco shops experienced a similar series of cartel attacks back in 2020 and a reputable source alleges it was due to the Cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL) vs Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) war over drug sales territory. 

Attack 1 

On February 8, 2023, two armed men entered a taco shop in Celaya, Guanajuato, with their guns raised, pointing their firearms at the employees inside. 

The shop was Taco Emilio’s, a chain of taquerias with other locations in the city of Celaya. The location target was located on Constituyentes Avenue.

A security camera inside the store captured the attack on the shop, which began at around 8:46 am in the morning. 

Video Source: Calvarie Locus

A different security camera captured the theft and arson from outside the shop. Its footage can be seen below. 

Video Source: Agora GTO

The outside camera’s footage reveals that the hitmen sat inside a black pickup truck, parked on the street in front of the taco shop, waiting for an ideal opening. 

After a white pick up truck drives out of the parking lot, the hitmen backed up their vehicle,  positioning it so that the blocked the entrance. 

A third hitman stood outside the taco shop and the hitmens’ driver appears to have been sitting inside their truck during the attack. 

Later, a passing motorist stopped to film the blaze at Emilios on footage seen below.

Source: Noticias del estado de Guanajuato

Newspaper La Silla Rota reports that there were no employees injured during the attack. 

The fire was quickly put out after it began, doused before it became a larger blaze that could cause structural damage. A bottle of gasoline, that was used by the hitmen, was later found on the premises.

After the attack, municipal police officers were sent to guard a different Emilio's Tacos location in Celaya, according to El Sol del Bajío

Attack 2

On February 9, 2023, another Taco Emilio’s was hit, this time it was the location on México Japón Avenue. This location had previously been guarded by municipal police officers, however, the hitmen struck at 8:30pm this time, long after the store had closed and the officers left.

Passing motorists called the emergency phone line and reported that one of the taco trucks was ablaze. Firefighters and police officers were dispatched to the location.

The firefighters managed to get the fire under control, containing it to just the truck and not the surrounding structures. Within 30 minutes, the fire was put out and investigators began collecting evidence at the scene. 

La Silla Rota writes that “the business owners have not spoken about the possible causes of the [two] attacks.” 

The state’s head of security, Jesús Rivera Peralta spoke to reporters, saying “We had an incident on Wednesday, which did not cause injuries or anything. The state Attorney General's Office (FGE) is already investigating it. We immediately attended the incident and did everything necessary.”

“It is a completely isolated issue. I reiterate that it is being addressed. The same happened again, yesterday, to a vehicle that belongs to the same business that we previously attended to. [...] The important thing is that there are no injured people. [...] We seized a vehicle related to the first incident that was possibly involved in the incidents.”

When asked about the possibility that the attack was done as retaliation related to extortion, Jesús Rivera demurred at the suggestion, saying that he “was unaware of the issue since it was up to the FGE to investigate.”

Previous Attacks

Celaya is a major battle for the war between the CJNG and the CSRL. It's likely that one of two groups is behind the attack. 

But here's where things get interesting in what - at first- appears to be a simple case of relation against a business for not paying a cartel extortion fee. Emilio's Tacos was actually targeted like this before, years earlier. 

On March 27, 2020, the same Emilio's shop on México Japón Ave was set fire to by hitmen who managed to get three different trucks ablaze before fleeing the area. Videos showing the size of the fire can be seen below.

Source for all three videos: Denuncia Ixtapaluca

Later that night the Constituyentes Ave location was attacked, with hitmen throwing in fragmentation grenades inside, killing two employees inside the shop.  

Possible Motives

In the aftermath of the 2020 attacks against Emilio’s, a more complicated motive than extortion was floated.

Milenio newspaper “confirmed that the lines of investigation focus on whether it was about alleged drug sales points and whether it is related to the recent coup that state authorities carried out a few days ago in Querétaro against the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel and the related multi- homicide in the Negro's Bar in Celaya on March 23.”

This quote from Milenio would seem to imply that Emilio’s Tacos was also being used as a drug sales point, likely supplied by the CSRL at the time, and had been attacked by the CJNG in an act of retaliation.

Whether the locations later switched to being supplied by the CJNG after the 2020 attacks or if they remained with the CSRL is unclear. Whether the suppliers attacked the Emilios shops for hiding certain drug sale profits or if they were hit by a rival cartel group is also, unfortunately, unclear.

Attack 1 Sources: Agora GTO, El Sol del Bajío, Ciro Gomez Leyva, Azucena Uresti, La Silla Rota

Attack 2 Sources: El Sol del Bajío, Periodico Correo, La Silla Rota, Celaya News, AM

Previous Attacks Sources: El Sol del Bajío, Milenio, La Silla Rota

Video Sources: Calvarie Locus, Agora GTO, Noticias del estado de Guanajuato, Denuncia Ixtapaluca


  1. Why does CSRDL keep attacking taco vendors?

    1. They want extortion fees.
      They even try to extort the stray dogs, that are homeless.

    2. When income from drugs is low, they extort, kidnap, steal, or so....

    3. Read again!! Drug point which means drugs sales. Not extortion fees

    4. 2:33 i did read it and it only "implies" the causes are still unknown, they dont even know who did it, shit i didnt even said CSR did it this time, all i asked was why does CDRL keep attacking taco venders, NOT THIS SPECIFIC ONE!

  2. Low thing to do. Ordinary workers are punished most when they lose their livelihood.

  3. These taco shops have something to do with that guy emilio tacos Marro threatened in the audios he released back in 2020.

    1. I'm going to look for that audio. Thanks for the tip.

    2. Found the audio for you bro,

    3. 6:09 its bra not bro

    4. 10:24 its Bra cause hearts is a gal

  4. I didn't see or read anything about CSRL attacking any taco vendors.

  5. Good article hearst

  6. The tacos always get caught up in the bullshit! It should be illegal to do crime near a taco.


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