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

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

From the Archives - The King of Crystal

 From within the deep pages of Borderland Beat 

By Buggs for Borderland Beat

During the early years when El Cártel del Pacífico was considered the most violent and powerful criminal group in the Mexican narco world, it possessed the greatest capacity for the cultivation of heroin, as well as the trafficking of cocaine from South America.

Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel Villarreal was an important piece of the puzzle.

Nacho Coronel bought tons of cocaine from the Colombian cartels and was responsible for the production of large quantities of methamphetamines in clandestine laboratories. That earned him the nickname "The King of the Crystal."

Nacho arrested in 1993.

"The King of Crystal" began his criminal career working next to "The Lord of the Skies," Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Carrillo "turned over" Nacho Coronel to the authorities in 1993, but the Sinaloa Cartel helped him obtain his freedom.

After the escape of El Chapo from the prison Federal Center for Social Readaptation 2, West, in Puente Grande, Jalisco, the organization known as the Sinaloa Cartel was divided among Nacho Coronel, Ismael El Mayo Zambada, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and Juan José Esparragoza Moreno, El Azul.

Nacho became the right hand man of El Chapo. Nacho became someone that Chapo had the most confidence to operate Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit. These areas for the most part, had managed to stay away from cartel violence. Especially the out-of-control violence that resulted from conflicts between El Chapo and the Beltrán Leyva brothers, that brought a series of murders along the Pacific coast and beyond.

The Beltrán Leyva brothers allied themselves with Los Zetas to face the powerful Sinaloa Cartel and its main leaders: El Chapo, El Azul, El Mayo and El Nacho.

The Beltrán Leyva Organization (BLO) and Los Zetas, led by Héctor "El Hache" Beltran Leyva, kidnapped and murdered the son of Coronel, Alejandro Coronel who was only 16 years of age.  

This heightened the violence and forced Nacho to enter the conflict against the BLO. 

The dead bodies of the sicarios
who killed the son of Nacho.

This prompted Nacho to ordered the execution of the alleged assassins who were responsible for the executing his firstborn. Several bodies appeared executed and burned in Xalisco, Nayarit. Among the dead was "El Pepino" or "5-5" who was known to command the plaza in Xalisco and a soldier for Beltran Leyva. (Illiana reported on El Pepino in April of 2010).

The wife of Héctor  Beltran is abducted by Nacho,
to send him a warning not so mess with family.

Clara Elena Laborín Archuleta is set free by Nacho.

Nacho responded to the death of his son by kidnapping the wife of  "El Hache" of the BLO, Mrs. Clara Elena Laborín Archuleta, whom he soon released with a message: "I give you your wife back, healthy and unharmed so you can see and learn that for us that family is sacred."

In his thirst for revenge, suddenly Nacho found himself a target of Mexican authorities. Little did he know, BLO was colluding with the Mexican government of former president Felipe Calderon. Nacho was ultimately located by elements of the Mexican Marines. After they had located his whereabouts, an operation was launched to capture Nacho at his residence in the Colinas de San Javier community, in Zapopan, Jalisco.

Nacho did not know that they were coming for him until he had the military on top of him.


Mexican Marines in operation to capture Nacho.

The Mexican military elite group arrived by air and lined up in “single column,” as the military refers to a particular formation. When he reacted, Coronel broke a window and tried to flee through the garden of his safe house, where he had been hiding for at least two weeks, afraid of being apprehended. He knew, that the fence working against him was too far away, it was not coming to him fast enough.

Iran Francisco Quiñones Gastélum, was the only man who accompanied Nacho, and a physiotherapist who had provided him with a massage minutes before the military assault. All three made their way out through the broken glass in the rear of the house, but were immediately stopped on the grass. Nacho turned back on his steps and went back inside his home. He ran up some stairs that lead to a corridor on the left to the main bedroom and on to the right was the living room.

He didn't get anywhere. He turned toward the soldiers coming up and fired five or six shots with an M-16 assault style rifle that killed one soldier and wounded another. A few steps later he ran into a 12 gauge Mossberg shotgun. Nacho took two gunshots from the shotgun center mass, one in the abdomen and one in the thorax from a soldier at no more than four meters away. The pellets entered from his left side, almost on his back. The shots, at a wide range, did not spread much. 

Nacho Coronel was dead.

Nacho Coronel is shot dead.

Killed at the age of 55 years of age Nacho had been considered number three of the Sinaola Cartel behind only to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and Ismael "Mayo" Zambada.

The body of Nacho Coronel.

Details of the scene of his death, his body laid on the stairs with blood coming from his mouth, a hemorrhage. Near a plant you could see his favorite handgun with a diamond-covered grip. The military had said that Nacho fired at them with an M-16 rifle and had no choice to shoot back with the shotgun. They say that the shotgun that killed Nacho was usually used to force open doors.

The death of Nacho Coronel left a power vacuum in the synthetic drug trafficking, which Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes aka "El Mencho" took advantage to create the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and dominate the west of the country after winning the battle against Ramiro Pozos González, aka 'El Molca', leader of La Resistencia.

The death of Nacho was indeed a heavy loss for the Pacific Cartel operation, but El Chapo Guzmán already had the support of a cousin of Nacho Coronel. It was Inés Coronel Barreras, who eventually also became his father-in-law.

The body of Nacho Coronel is escorted by the military in a funeral procession.


  1. Who thinks he was betrayed by his own? Both due to being a possible threat and/or taking over his business?

  2. I think he was betrayed by CDS chapo .. he was practically his own cartel had jalisco on lock . I remember when el Molca got snatched up he predicted everything that was to happen to Jalisco .

    1. Chapo didn't betray nacho they were close

    2. 9:38 Chapo was really close to mochomo and all the Beltranes too

    3. Chapo didn’t snitch on beltranes, it was la Barbie being an informant and staying to steal beltranes power but blamed chapo

    4. 10:53 yea right, chapo snitched on Mochomo and Nacho, thats why Arturo and his brothers split, than when all the heat was comming on Arturo barbie did snitch on him.
      Its a well know fact by everybody that in Fact chapo snitched!

    5. Yeah.. but molca was wrong.. he predicted the Zetas would come from Michigan to take the Pacific

    6. @11:21 — I assume you mean Michoacán, and with how big the Z was at the time, that was a fair assumption… the guy got hammered from all directions.

    7. 11:14 nacho died after Arturo split, arturos guys killed his son, get your facts straight. Then coronel died. Barbie was snitching from the beginning.

    8. @11.14. It's not a well known fact dude, its just a rumour that's been repeated so often people forget that's all it is. Since the information about Barbie was leaked, and that the DEA had infiltrated high up into the BLO, its just as plausible that it was an operation to catch both Alfredo and Arturo based on Barbies info, and it was made to look like a betrayal, to protect their source and push the US policy of turning cartel leaders against each other. Or Chapo snitched.

    9. 7:43 stop it, chapo snitched and thats that

    10. When mueca predicted that the Zetas were deep in his guts, he was feeling the heat. His prediction at that time was based on what he was seeing. Zetas chopping them ngs up left and right

  3. Excellent read, I love reading about narco history. Thank you

  4. Mencho strived to be Don Nacho. Even snitched out his location to take his spot. El 85 got switched on and CJNG's co founder who got popped in a Carls Jr

  5. pura raza alacránera, arriva la sierra!!!! ohh y es coronel no colonel, mamen!!

  6. Only one thing wrong it’s 12 gauge not mm

  7. No loyalty amongst crooks and thieves. You CDS, CJNG, LFM, CDN, CDG cheerleaders are a bunch of fucken idiots.

  8. Come on guys you still believe chapo didnt snitch Nacho? Its already been documented that Garcia Luna was helping chapo and mayo, this two were snitching on every other cartel capo, friend pr foe, of curse there had to be an scape goat so that it wouldnt be so ovious and thats why Nacho had to go

    1. Who gives a shit nacho snitched on el maradona because after inviting the milenio cartel to guadalajara he realized he wld be working for the valencias. He didnt want to be the valencias bitch.

    2. Get your homework right... please... EL Maradona and the Valencias stole the Recipe from the Original Cartel de Colima in How to cook Glass with Ephedrine. Not that Cheap biker meth made with P2P fule...this goes back to before Nacho

    3. 4:53 😆 🤣 😂 ok and chinolas invented sushi and birria lol

    4. 4:53 WUT?
      It's true Los Amezcua were the first known family to import into México the chemicals to manufacture methamphetamines and traffick it in large scale but to write that they were the first paisas to make it is incorrect. I'd be willing to bet that one of the Amezcua brothers, the same as many other individuals who started to manufacture stimulants, was taught how to "cook" meth in the USA. The reason I write this is because I know in California meth (crank variant) use was common during the early 90's but cocaine was still king, especially in crack form.
      Certainly they were smart enough to monopolize an emerging market.

  9. By summer 2010, hard to see where Genaro Garcia Luna's loyalty would be

    Grande's still free, but only for a summer
    Barbie's done or close to it
    Arturo is dead and can't talk

  10. It was Damaso who helped Chapo escape, and caused the war, and worked undercover DEA.


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