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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, March 24, 2023

CDG Matamoros Part 4: The Rise of El Contador

The Fall of Ciclón 7

With the end of the war with Los Metros and Juan Francisco “El 98” Carrizales Lara no longer at the forefront of Río Bravo, as discussed in Part 3, it would seem that Ángel Eduardo “El Orejón” Prado Rodríguez, code name “Ciclón 7”, the visible leader of the Matamoros faction, deserved credit for not only adverting this crisis, but keeping the organization intact through the leadership of Homero Enrique “El Majadero” Cárdenas Guillén and into that of Mario Alberto “El Betillo” Cárdenas Medina. 

Not only that, it would seem that “Ciclón 7” was secure in his position as head of plaza in Matamoros, as it was said that he was close to Juan Remigio Quintanilla, husband of Claudia Cárdenas, which placed him in close connection to “El Betillo”, as Claudia is his sister. Nevertheless, “Ciclón 7” was arrested on October 16, 2015, a mere four months after the conflict with Los Metros waned, with it appearing that his visibility on Tamaulipas most wanted list made him a particularly important target for the government. 

Ciclón 7

One of the earliest rumors to emerge regarding the arrest, spreading a month after, alleged that the truce between Los Metros and the Matamoros faction was reached with the help of Silvestre Haro “El Chive” Rodríguez, code name “R1”, leader of the CDG del Sur faction/Los Rojos, but Juan Manuel “El Toro” Loisa Salinas, the leader of Los Metros, and Rafael “El Rafa” Isassi Garcia, code name “El 82”, an underling of “El Chive”, passed along information to officials that was used to locate “Ciclón 7” and, prior to that, “El Chive”, who was arrested on August 14, 2015.

By the end of that year it would be alleged that Carlos Fabian "El Cuate" Martínez Pérez may have been involved, in association with others, in betraying “Ciclón 7”. Considering the fact that rumors from January 2015 stated that he would enter in a dispute with “Ciclón 7” in order to take over the plaza of Matamoros and later allegations that he was aiding Los Metros, as discussed in Part 3, there may be validity to this.

Over time blame for the arrest of “Ciclón 7” would shift to José Alfredo “El Contador” Cárdenas Martínez (see, for instance, Nidia Salas), seeing this event as one of his first major moves to gain control of the Matamoros faction of the CDG. With the benefit of hindsight this appears to be a very likely scenario but leads to a bigger question: if “El Contador” was ultimately to blame, was “El Contador” behind the rumors surrounding “El Cuate”, using this to shift blame away from him and hide his power play or was there more going on than was realized at the time?

The Succession of El Gordo Cherry 

Following the arrest of “Ciclón 7” his right hand man, Odón “El Gordo Cherry” Azúa Cruces, an individual who would sometimes be confused with a member of Los Metros, Juan Pablo “El Cherrys” Leal, due to their similar nicknames, took his place as head of the Matamoros plaza. A dramatic rise in kidnappings in Matamoros occurred immediately, with some blaming groups moving in from the State of Mexico and/or Columbian-based rings, although it would eventually be alleged that “El Gordo Cherry” was responsible, choosing to consolidate power through fear.

Conflicts soon emerged in Matamoros as a poorly documented individual known as “El Meme Pelon”, who claimed to have been assigned the plaza. Furthermore, he insisted that “El Gordo Cherry” had taken control without permission of leadership and only had the backing of some members of Los Ciclones. Regardless, “El Meme Pelon” quickly faded from view and it remains unclear if any of his claims were true.

The Death of El Kelín

As covered in Part 2, Rogelio “El Kelín” González Pizaña was released from prison August 30, 2014 and it would be claimed in January 2015 that he was the chief enforcer of the Matamoros faction under “El Betillo”, although it is unclear how long he continued in this position and it is possible that he was eventually demoted.

It would be alleged in December 2016 that “El Kelín” at some point he had began working with Carlos Fabian "El Cuate" Martínez Pérez and Enrique Homero “Kike” Cárdenas Salinas to remove “Ciclón 7” and, thereafter, “El Gordo Cherry”. In this version of events, “El Kelín” also linked up with Eduardo “El Negro” Flores Borrego, a defector from Los Metros who had been placed as head of plaza in Valle Hermoso and was given the code name “Gama 3”. 

“El Negro” was said to have sent two of his underlings, “Gama 16” and “La Hormiga”, to organize targeted kidnappings in Matamoros at the direction of “El Kelín” in an effort to finance his plot and said kidnappings were then blamed on “El Gordo Cherry in an effort to sow doubts about his leadership. However, it was further alleged that one of the kidnappers was caught and upon being interrogated, revealed the plot. 

By November 27, 2015 rumors began spreading that “El Kelín” had been kidnapped by “El Gordo Cherry” and eventually it was said that he, along with his family, were killed. While it was never officially confirmed, “El Kelín” disappeared from the cartel landscape at that point in time, reinforcing the validity of his death.

The Death of El Gordo Cherry

A major turn of events took place four months after the death of “El Kelín”. On March 22, 2016 “El Gordo Cherry” was killed and shootouts continued throughout the day and night as associates of his were allegedly targeted as well.

It was immediately reported that “El Fili” was involved in the death of “El Gordo Cherry”. In one version of events that spread in the following days, it was alleged that “El Gordo Cherry” had killed a police officer named Dany, who happened to be a close friend of “El Fili”. Thus, the murder of “El Gordo Cherry” was an act of revenge. Even if this was a factor, it appears that “El Fili” may have been just a minor piece of something much bigger.

A Hidden Alliance

When we look at the Matamoros faction landscape following the death of Homero Enrique “El Majadero” Cárdenas Guillén, as discussed in Part 2, a simple picture emerges in January 2015: “El Betillo” is leader, “El Contador” works under him, “El Kelín” is his chief enforcer, and “Ciclón 7” is head of the Matamoros plaza. 

At the same time, we see in Part 2, Part 3, and earlier in this part, that there were consistent rumors of “El Cuate” acting in association with “El Fili” against the prevailing leadership in an effort to gain power. Within the rumors surrounding “El Kelín”, another individual was added to the mix, “Kike” Cárdenas.

Yet it wasn’t until after these events that it became apparent that there was another individual involved: “El Contador”. By the end of April 2016 it was being reported that it was “El Contador” who had ordered the killing of “El Gordo Cherry”. Over time, a more detailed version of events would emerge: “El Gordo Cherry” had been called to a meeting in the town of “El Refugio” and was killed by underlings of “El Vaquero” (see, for instance, Nidia Salas).

Based upon all available information, it would seem that, following his release from prison, “El Contador” sought to gain control of the Matamoros faction and worked against “El Betillo”, mostly like in association with “El Fili”, “El Cuate” and eventually adding “El Kelín” and “Kike” Cárdenas in the conspiracy, although we must acknowledge that there are alternate scenarios in which certain individuals may not have been involved in the alliance and were merely rumored to be in an effort to divert attention from “El Contador” and his allies.

The New Leadership

Two days after the death of “El Gordo Cherry”, in a tweet that still exists at the time of this writing, major news was reported quite simply:"Alfredo Cardenas alias "el contador" new head of plaza of #Matamoros nephew of Osiel Cardenas". 

However, this was a bit of an understatement; by the end of April “El Contador” was described as the leader of the Matamoros faction and he apparently chose Sergio “Cortez” Ortegón Silva, the exiled member of Los Metros described in Part 3, to replace “El Gordo Cherry” as head of the plaza of Matamoros”. 

As both individuals came to power at the same time, along with the secretive nature of both “El Contador” and “Cortez”, a level of confusion exists as “Cortez” is sometimes mentioned as an alias of “El Contador”. Nevertheless, enough evidence exists to support that they were two separate individuals. For instance, the presence of “Cortez” in Matamoros dates back to at least April 2015, with reports of his brother, Pedro Ortegón, exposed as a drug distributor in the city and “Cortez” was said to be second-in-command of Los Gamas at the time of the death of “El Gordo Cherry”.

By the end of May 2016 a number of deaths of low level cartel members within the Matamoros faction was met with speculation that “Cortez” was eliminating individuals that had been working under “El Gordo Cherry”. In addition, the emergence of a video with bound and blindfolded men in front of banner denouncing thefts, kidnappings, rape and extortions, signed by “The Old School Mr. Cortez” was seen as further acts against the remnants of the regime of “El Gordo Cherry”, especially in light of previous allegations of kidnappings being blamed on him. 

(Additional pictures can be found at Menytimes)

From Los Zetas to Cártel del Noreste

As mentioned in Part 1, Los Zetas began as an operations group within the CDG and would go on to split from the cartel in January 2010, leading to open ended war between the two organizations. Leadership of Los Zetas was officially held by Heriberto “El Lazca” Lazcano Lazcano, code name “Z-3”, with Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, code name “Z-40” heading the operations of the cartel as second-in-command, and Los Zetas became arguably more powerful than the CDG at the time.

On October 7, 2012, “El Lazca” was killed in a government operation to arrest him and “Z-40” took his place, up until his arrest on July 15, 2013 by the Mexican navy. It should be noted that both of these events took place during the leadership of Homero Enrique “El Majadero” Cárdenas Guillén of the Matamoros faction of the CDG.

While it has been consistently rumored that “Z-40” continued to lead Los Zetas from prison, even to this day, his brother Óscar Omar Treviño Morales, code name “Z-42”, took his place as leader of Los Zetas up until he was arrested on March 4, 2015, during the war of “El 98” and Los Metros against Matamoros, discussed in Part 3

Thereafter, a nephew of “Z-40” and “Z-42”, José Francisco "Kiko Treviño Chávez, assumed leadership of Los Zetas under the guidance of his father, Juan Francisco “Kiko Ozuna” Treviño Morales, and aunt, Ana Isabel Treviño Morales and the name of the organization was changed from Los Zetas to Cártel del Noreste (CDN, Northeast Cartel).

Zetas Vieja Escuela Forms

Stemming back to the leadership of “Z-42”, there were complaints by Los Zetas in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas about having to take orders from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Tensions increased early in the leadership of “Kiko, during the summer of 2015, with several arrests of prominent members of the cartel in Ciudad Victoria and southern Tamaulipas occurring, only to be replaced by individuals from Nuevo Laredo.

Back in November 2014, there was an odd communication signed in part by “El Kelín” announcing a “New Alliance of Peace” between the Cártel del Golfo and Zetas, which was mentioned in Part 2. Due to a lack of visible changes in the months thereafter, the message was generally regarded to be a hoax, yet it would prove to foreshadow things to come.

On February 3, 2016, two months after the death of “El Kelín”, a banner hung in Ciudad Victoria, signed by “Bravo-1” (later identified as Juan Pablo "El Oaxaca" Pérez García), signaled the beginning of a war.  

By the end of the month it was official, a breakaway group of the CDN, calling themselves Zetas Vieja Escuela (ZVE, Old School Zetas) was fighting for control of Ciudad Victoria, southern Tamaulipas, and San Fernando.

A New Alliance

In the beginning, the makeup of the ZVE was uncertain but in the first several weeks, names were slowly revealed. Early on, with a report on March 21, 2016 detailing several members of the ZVE, links between the organization and the Matamoros faction were revealed, with Humberto Rodrigo “El Pantera” Herrera Lara being mentioned as an envoy between the two.

A banner hung on September 20 of that same year was the first to mention ZVE in conjunction with Matamoros and, a month later, the alliance between CDG Matamoros and ZVE was confirmed

In mid November it was alleged that “Cortez” organized a six hour meeting in Matamoros with leaders from the ZVE from the states of Oaxaca, Tabasco, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Coahuila, Veracruz, and Quintana Roo to strengthen their alliance, with Matamoros giving logistical support and access to drug trafficking routes in exchange for payment from the ZVE.

From that point forward, the Matamoros faction of the CDG and ZVE became deeply intertwined, to the extent that their areas of operation in Tamaulipas became virtually interchangeable as plazas are frequently shared by the two groups.

Author’s Note: Once again, a special thanks to Computer JA, Bjeff, MIKE7 (Ivan), El Plata, Quema Cocos, ToPHeR, and mr.browntown956, whose work on the old BB Forum helped make this better. I know at least a couple of you are still around, please hit me up so we can catch up:


  1. Bring back the forum!!!

    -Holden D. Cash

  2. Its got to be out of pure hatred these guys haven't aligned and created a federation similar to CDS.

    1. El contador united the matamoros cdg faction with the old school zetas.

  3. El gordo cherry was el ciclon 7 right hand man and el orejon had a pact with his number 2 anything happens to him and el cherry wld take over with his blessing. But the cartel chose a man called el gama 10 as the new boss and el gordo cherry tried to fight for the plaza. Eliminating rivals like el kilin. Eventually el gordo cherry and el gama 10 decided to meet to fight it out. El gama 10 died and el gordo cherry was killed by one of his own people el comamdante fili who then faked his death and turned snitch and then joined the cartel again probably with a new identity untill he was executed. With both el cherry and el gama 10 dead el contador took over.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write all this, you definitely know your stuff and making me second guess the way I wrote that section.

      I originally had the whole Gama 10 subplot included up until the final draft and could have presented it as Gamas vs Ciclones as a proxy war between Contador and Betillo, akin to Chive vs. Sheila being a proxy war between Sierras and 20. I actually left the part about Cortez being a Gama and second-in-command, which made him a natural fit to take over when Gama 10 was killed.

      But I second guessed myself in writing this section for two reasons. Outside of being killed, I have no information about Gama 10, no name, no other aliases, no background to place him in the larger narrative. The same goes with Los Gamas in general; I am aware of a few of their members, but lack information on their origin as a group with the CDG and how the fit in.

  4. Great series, Itzli. I hope the forum is reestablished. Small thing though, as I recall, narcomantas with CDN first appeared in Torreon, where Los Zetas was fighting El Chapo, when Z40 was still in charge.



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