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

Friday, May 26, 2023

CDG Matamoros Part 13: Expanding Horizons

 "Itzli" for Borderland Beat. 

October 2022 to April 2023: Cells of the Matamoros faction appear in new areas and evidence seems to reinforce rumored alliances.

Continued from Part 12: Specter of the CJNG

CDG Sur Faction

Upon Américo Villarreal Anaya becoming governor of Tamaulipas on October 1, 2022, the threat of Francisco Javier García Cabeza de Vaca, discussed in Part 11, had passed and Héctor Crescencio “R3” de León Fonseca returned to the Tampico metropolitan area after four months in hiding.

Along with his return came a glimpse of the status of the CDG Sur faction at that time. Three individuals were mentioned as being “people” of “R3”: Eder Rodolfo “El Negrito” Guzmán Cruz, code name “R48”, who had appeared previously as part of a leak of Guardia Nacional (GN) information, “Piojo”, code name “R50”, and “El Track”, code name “R21”. Two other individuals were listed in the aforementioned GN leak, Francisco “El Negro” Guevara Gómez, code name “R94” and Juan Manuel “El Plasa” Plaza López, code name “R11”, though their status at this point, a year and a half later, is not clear.

When it comes to territorial control, it is universally accepted that the CDG Sur faction has always controlled the Tamaulipas cities/municipalities of Tampico, Ciudad Madero, and Altamira. There are three additional municipalities that were sometimes listed as being under the CDG Sur faction; González and Aldama, which are alternatively listed as being part of the Centro faction, and Casas, generally listed under Zetas Vieja Escuela (ZVE, Old School Zetas). 

In the aforementioned GN information leak, González is shown to be under the control of José María Durán Chavez and Aldama under Servando Peña Martínez. While it is not specified what cartel faction they belonged to, the fact that the map shows these municipalities, as well as Casas, in gray, the same color as the municipalities under control of “R3”, and other municipalities are either yellow or green, implies that they are part of the CDG Sur faction. Regardless, after the fall of the Centro faction in September 2022, as discussed in Part 12, the CDG Sur is said to control these municipalities, with the Matamoros faction also mentioned as being present in González and Aldama

Reinforcing the idea that the CDG Sur faction currently controls González and Aldama was the February 2023 arrest of three cartel members following a shootout with authorities in the municipality of Aldama. Two of the individuals were from González, the other Ciudad Madero, and a baseball cap with “R62” was found in their possession. It has also been said that CDG Sur control reaches north of the city of Aldama, up to República Española, and southwest of the city of González, past Graciano Sánchez and, around the same time, we continue to see evidence of Los Escorpiones in the Soto la Marina area. 

Poza Rica, Veracruz

One hundred twenty miles south of Tampico lies Poza Rica, Veracruz, a city whose connections to the CDG date back to the leadership of Osiel Cárdenas Guillén. During the formation of Los Zetas, at the time in which only members of the military were recruited, Raúl “Flanders 1” Hernández Barrón, Víctor “Flanders 2” Hernández Barrón, and Ciro “El Puchini” González Pérez, code name “Z-37”, all born in Poza Rica, joined this armed wing of the CDG.

As the CDG began expanding their control outside of Tamaulipas, using Los Zetas to conquer new territory, Veracruz was among the first states to be taken over, likely under the leadership of  Efraín “El Chispa” Teodoro Torres, code name “Z-14”, who became regional leader in the state. “El Chispa” may have had a personal connection to Poza Rica; upon his death in March 2007 he was buried in Poza Rica. While Los Zetas thoroughly dominated the state for many years, even after their split from the CDG, the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) entered Veracruz in July 2011 and has steadily grown in power since.

Following the October 2015 arrest of “El Puchini”, who had been servings as regional leader of Los Zetas in San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato and northern Veracruz, Los Zetas in the area including Poza Rica became fractured into warring factions. While the group 35-Z apparently emerged on top, the instability left Poza Rica vulnerable and by March 2017 the area was being disputed by them, the CJNG, and Cártel de Sinaloa (CDS) affiliated groups.

It is often reported that Grupo Sombra, a faction of the CDG that emerged in early 2017, which will be explored in a future article, is present in Poza Rica. It appears that the primary basis for this being reported stems from them handing out Christmas dinners in 2017 in Poza Rica and other nearby locations, however, there is a lack of evidence supporting Grupo Sombra being active in Poza Rica thereafter. It appears that Poza Rica marked their southernmost expansion attempt and their territory actually stretches north, adjacent to that of the CDG Sur faction.

In June 2019 ZVE emerged in Poza Rica, apparently replacing 35-Z. Since then, the plaza has generally been contested between CJNG, ZVE, and local criminal groups.

Los Escorpiones in Poza Rica

Before dawn on January 2, 2023, multiple individuals were killed in three bars located in Poza Rica. The following day a video was released by individuals claiming to be from Grupo Escorpión of the Matamoros faction and stated that the attacks marked their entrance into the city. A second video would appear shortly thereafter, this time directed to the governor of Veracruz. It should be noted that a Twitter comment on one of the videos claimed that, two months prior, suspicious vehicles with license plates from Tamaulipas and Durango began arriving in Poza Rica. 

There is quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding these videos, as a banner was hung the same day the second video was released, signed by “Vieja Escuela”, denied any connection to the bar attacks and blamed “Koriano”, who was said to be a traitor who “did not respect the ceasefire”.

While Vieja Escuela appears to be a reference to Zetas Vieja Escuela, it is not completely clear if this is the case, nor their overall relationship to other recent events, as the only other reference to them thereafter appears to be an interrogation video from early April, which discusses support of Vieja Escuela and criminal activity in Poza Rica. Furthermore, there does not appear to be any additional references to Los Escorpiones outside of the two videos.

El Pino & El Guacho

Two and a half weeks after the bar attacks, Fernando “El Pino” Pérez Vega was killed along with his wife, their two children, and two other individuals, on the west side of the city of Veracruz. Both “El Pino” and his brother Reveriano ”El Pelón” Pérez Vega, were from Coxquihui, a small town 25 miles south of Poza Rica, where they were leaders of Los Pelones, a local criminal group that also operated in the municipalities of Coahuitlán, Filomeno Mata, Chumatlán, Mecatlán and Zozocolco, according to information divulged in the Guacamaya leaks

During a press conference discussing the killing, the governor of Veracruz stated that the killing of “El Pino” was part of a series of events that began on December 23, 2022, when a municipal police officer from Espinal, José Luis Quinto Lorenzo, was kidnapped in Poza Rica. On the night of December 31, his decapitated head and mutilated body was left in Espinal, along with a banner in which he was accused of collaborating with “El Pino”; around the same time, an interrogation video appeared online in which he gave details about his links to “El Pino”.

From the governor’s statements, the kidnapping and killing of José Luis Quinto Lorenzo was ordered by “El Guacho”, a member of the CJNG. In an act of revenge, “El Pino” ordered the family of “El Guacho” to be kidnapped thereafter; all were later released but a 17 year old, most likely the son of “El Guacho”, was killed. It was because of this that “El Guacho” sought the aid of “El Coco”, another member of the CJNG, who’s cell carried out the killing of “El Pino” and his family. 

It should also be noted that the governor also stated that there was an internal dispute within the CJNG for leadership of Poza Rica between “El Guacho” and “El Tabasco”. Because of this, “El Tabasco” defected from the CJNG to an unspecified group although, from context, it is implied that it was Los Pelones under “El Pino”. It was stated that “El Tabasco” was asked by his new allies to conduct the aforementioned attack on the three bars in Poza Rica, which allegedly sold drugs on behalf of the CJNG, which further complicates the claims of the Grupo Escorpión videos and falls in line with the Vieja Escuela denial.

Gente Nueva

Three days after “El Pino” was killed, banners signed by “Pura Gente Nueva G.N.”, in which they announced their presence, appeared in Poza Rica and several other locations in Veracruz, as well as a few towns in the neighboring state of Puebla. It was reported at the time that Gente Nueva were actively fighting Los Pelones.

Two schools of thought exist regarding who Gente Nueva is referring to. The name Gente Nueva is most often associated with a subgroup of the CDS under the command of the sons of Joaquín Archivaldo “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, known as Los Chapitos, with their most notable members operating in Sonora. Due to the CDS having previously contested this area of Veracruz, it would appear quite logical that Gente Nueva refers to this group.

Alternatively, the full phrase “Pura Gente Nueva” can be interpreted to refer to Pura Gente Nueva-Zetas Vieja Escuela (PGN-ZVE), a criminal organization led by Samuel Jiltón “El Contador” Córdova Hernández, which operates in Campeche, Tabasco, and Tamaulipas according to information released via the Guacamaya leaks

Regardless of the exact nature of Gente Nueva, they continue to be present in the area at the time of this writing, although it remains unclear if they are aligned with any of the other groups operating in Poza Rica.

(More information after this was written can be found at: Cartel Dispute Sows Terror in Northern Veracruz, Papantla, Veracruz: The Gente Nueva Responds With New Video, and Poza Rica, Veracruz: The Gente Nueva Threaten Several Public Figures)

Los Alemanes & the Matamoros Faction

Following the release of information via Guacamaya leaks in October 2022 came much online discussion about the information suddenly available, which provided further insights about Los Alemanes and the CDG Matamoros faction at the time.

The graphic “Leaders of Criminal Groups in the border with the state of Zacatecas” from the San Luis Potosí report written in June 2022, discussed in Part 10, showed the Matamoros faction controlling the municipalities of Matehuala, Villa de la Paz, Cedral, Venegas, and Catorce under the leadership of René “El Gordo” Villareal García. 

Adjacent to this, in Zacatecas, the CDS is shown to control the municipalities of Villa de Cos, Mazapil, Melchor Ocampo, Concepción del Oro, and El Salvador under the leadership of Luis Alberto “El Mudo” Cervanez López and Júlio César Chávez Beltrán. Furthermore, these members of the CDS are presented as having a possible alliance with Rolando “El Rolis” Velázquez Caballero, leader of Los Talibanes (Cártel de Los Talibanes, CDT). From this came mention of rumors that “El Rolis” previously had an alliance with Los Espartanos. Furthermore, it appears that, based on commentary, a cell of Los Espartanos continued to operate in Charcas, under the leadership of an individual known as “El Borjas”.

Following the September 2022 arrest of Alfredo “El Alemán” Alemán Narváez, discussed in Part 12, leadership of Los Alemanes may have passed to his son Luis Alfredo “El Mongol” Alemán Hernández and/or Adrián Alemán Hernández, although this second son was arrested in June 2022 and it is unclear if he is currently imprisoned. Regardless, José Pedro “Peter Carretaras” Bárcenas Martínez, a prominent member of Los Alemanes that seems to be at the forefront of the cartel following the arrest of “El Alemán”, if not the actual leader, was the primary focus of the CJNG cell known as Operativa Bélica (O.B.) in the capital city of San Luis Potosí and the Huasteca region.

It should also be noted that in the Guacama leaks was the mention of an operations leader of Los Alemanes known as “El Ruso”. Discussion in December 2022 claimed that he was no longer a member of Los Alemanes and had likely joined the Matamoros faction directly, rather than being merely part of the alliance of the CDG Matamoros faction, Los Alemanes, and ZVE under Samuel “El Picas” Rodríguez. It was also said that “El Ruso” was from Matehuala, San Luis Potosí, a bastion of the Matamoros faction in the region, which was given the code name “Metal”. Further claims indicated that “El Ruso” was in Doctor Arroyo, Nuevo León, the municipality adjacent to Matamoros and it was said that “El Ruso” controlled the southernmost municipalities of Nuevo León, Doctor Arroyo, Mier y Noriega, Aramberri, and General Zaragoza, with the CDS present to the north, in Galeana.

Cadereyta Jiménez, Nuevo León 

Just outside the Monterrey metropolitan area is the city of Cadereyta Jiménez in Nuevo León, a key gateway in the area, providing a direct link to Reynosa via Highway 40, access to the San Fernando area via Méndez from Highway 18 that spurs off at China, Nuevo León, and Hidalgo via Highway 9/85, to name a few. Historically, Los Metros have controlled the city as part of their presence in Nuevo León.

In 2021, Jerónimo “El Gero” Hernández de la Rosa was the head of plaza in Cadereyta Jiménez, likely for Los Metros, although there is some uncertainty due to a lack of specific references to what faction of the CDG he belonged to. It should be noted that he survived an attack by the Cártel del Noreste (CDN, Northeast Cartel), which sought to take over the plaza, in March 2021.

Six months later, banners were hung in Cadereyta Jiménez and nearby areas, including Santiago, Allende, Montemorelos, and Linares, announcing a campaign by Los Metros to push the CDN out of these cities. Two months after that, in November 2021, “El Gero” was arrested and apparently released shortly thereafter, only to be killed in late December 2021.

It appears that the Matamoros faction took over the area following the death of “El Gero” as “Cartel del Golfo Grupo Scorpions” left a decapitated head and message in Cadereyta Jiménez in April 2022. In July, 2022, it was reported that Miguel Ángel “El Morro” Martinez López, code name “Escorpión  56”, who was in charge of Juárez, Nuevo León, was responsible for the deaths occurring in Cadereyta. A month later, members of Los Escorpiones were arrested there in August, as well as additional members in a later event, in which they were specifically reported to be from Matamoros and Río Bravo.

Alliance with Los Chapitos 

As mentioned in Part 6, rumors emerged in August 2019 that the Matamoros faction had entered into a truce with the Cártel de Sinaloa (CDS, Sinaloa Cartel) and the CDS would be allowed to operate in Nuevo León as part of this. Since then, references to an alliance with the CDS, specifically Los Chapitos and Gente Nueva, occasionally appear through unofficial sources and circumstantial evidence.

Take for example the song “Somos del Golfo” by Golpe de Guerra, which was uploaded to SoundCloud on April 29, 2022. This narco-corrrido is dedicated to a member of the Matamoros faction and briefly stated “...seguimos al tiro con la gente nueva…”, we stay on point with La Gente Nueva.

A month later, a message signed by CDN and directed to the CDG in Ciudad Victoria said to “stop involving yourselves with the Chapitos from San Pedro”.

More recently, in January 2023, a safehouse was raided by authorities in Los Ramones, Nuevo León; items clearly referencing Los Chapitos were seized: a JGL baseball hat and a paddle marked 701. While there is no direct connection to the Matamoros faction, Los Ramones is a mere 25 miles east of the aforementioned city of Cadereyta Jiménez. 

Furthermore, media coverage of this safehouse also mentions the search of a property in the municipality of Doctor Arroyo, alluding it was also connected to Los Chapitos, while not clearly stating so. It should be noted that this location is 35 miles north of the Matamoros faction stronghold of Matehuala, San Luis Potosí and the municipality is said to be controlled by “El Ruso”, as previously mentioned.

In March 2023, a CJNG affiliated Twitter account that has since been deleted, wrote:

#cartel de sinaloa y cartel del golfo matamoros se unen en #Monterrey #Durango, #Saltillo Coahuila por no pueden con el Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación y sienten que si siguen peleando podrían los dos perder el terreno y ya no tener rutas de trasiego de drogas 🤡🤣 

“Sinaloa cartel and Gulf Cartel Matamoros have united in Monterrey, Durango, Saltillo Coahuila because they can’t deal with the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación and they feel like if they keep fighting both could lose the territory and would no longer have drug trafficking routes”.

The extent of an alliance between the Matamoros faction and CDS is unclear and may be simply a non-aggression pact between the two organizations, though the increasing presence of the CDS in Nuevo León echoes the initial rumors from 2019. Furthermore, it appears that fentanyl that is trafficked through Matamoros originates from Los Chapitos in Sinaloa and is brought across Durango to Matamoros via the Torreón-Saltillo-Monterrey tracking route.

Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima

Four hundred twenty-five miles from Matamoros as the crow flies lies the small town of Santa Rosa de Lima, Guanajuato, just outside of the city of Celaya. This area of southeast Guanajuato was rarely of particular importance to cartels, yet activity in the neighboring state of Michoacán generally spilled over into Celaya.

Beginning in 2002, the CDG began backing Carlos Alberto “El Tísico” Rosales Mendoza, a member of the Cártel del Milenio in Michoacán, who had fallen out of favor with the leadership. As part of this, members of the CDG, most often Los Zetas, were sent to reinforce the cell of “El Tísico”, which would go on to become La Familia Michoacana and split from the CDG. 

It was in this time period that Los Zetas moved into southern Guanajuato, where they expanded their revenue via fuel theft from the pipelines and oil refineries located there. While doing so, they recruited criminals living in the area into their cells and as Los Zetas left the region, their local allies continued to operate independently. In time, the Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL) was born under the leadership of José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez Ortiz from one of these cells.

While he initially escaped the public eye, “El Marro” made his presence known in a video against the CJNG in October 2017, giving rise to a conflict between these two organizations that ravaged Guanajuato. While the CSRL was thought to be an independent organization at the time, it was believed to have some association with Cárteles Unidos (CU) and possibly the Grupo Sombra faction of the CDG, though it appears more likely that Grupo Sombra was merely a cell of CSRL that was unrelated to the CDG faction in Veracruz.

Following the August 2020 arrest of “El Marro”, Adán “El Azul” Ochoa became leader of the CSRL. Around the same time that “El Azul” came to power, Los Salazar/Gente Nueva of the CDS began making their presence in Guanajuato known and it appears that “El Azul” sought an alliance with them, something that “El Marro” had publicly considered doing. It is unclear if this was achieved prior to the October 2020 arrest of “El Azul” or under subsequent leadership, yet there are indications that the CDS became part of an alliance with CSRL, Los Viagras of CU, and the small local organization Unión de León.

Los Escorpiones in Guanajuato

It appears that “El Mamey”, the former CSRL head of plaza in Celaya, who had been arrested in July 2020, became leader of the CSRL following his release from prison in August 2022. It can be speculated that he reached out to the CDG Matamoros faction for help thereafter, although it is possible that he merely continued ties that dated previously. It should be noted that the presence of the CDG in CSRL territory dates back to the leadership of “El Marro”; a CDG cell leader was arrested in Celaya in May 2019 in the same residential division where the mother-in-law of “El Marro” had lived. However, it is unclear which CDG faction he belonged to.

Regardless, in November 2022, Grupo Escorpión announced in a video that they had arrived in Guanajuato to support the CSRL against the CJNG on behalf of José Alberto “La Kena” García Vilano, also known as “El 19”. An additional video would appear a month later, with reference to their boss “El 19”, making it clear they were part of the CDG Matamoros faction, even without specifically stating they were Grupo Escorpión.

The Matamoros faction would continue to operate in conjunction with the CSRL in the months thereafter, apparently under the leadership of an individual known as “El Morado”. In many cases, direct reference to CDG membership is lacking but can be inferred from reference to certain individuals being from Tamaulipas in arrest reports. In the wake of the disappearance of six women in Celaya in March 2023, a cell of the CDG was said to be responsible and many members were arrested.

Thereafter, the Matamoros faction faded from view and it appears that “El Morado” was killed in mid-April 2023. It is unclear if they have ceased to support the CSRL or if they are merely operating more discreetly following the wave of negative publicity surrounding the aforementioned killing of young women.

*This article was updated on 5/31/23 to include additional information in the last paragraph of the Cadereyta Jiménez, Nuevo León  section and 6/6/23 to rewrite and include additional information in the second to last paragraph of the Los Alemanes & the Matamoros Faction section.

Continued in Part 14: Infamy


  1. Does anyone know what happened to el commandante R1

    1. Last I heard, years ago, he was working for Sinaloa affiliates. Anyone else?

    2. 3:02 last i heard you asked the same question 🤷🏼‍♂️

    3. 7:54 😂😂😂😂

    4. He asks the question because it hasn't been answered. I'm sure there are many people asking the same question, myself included

    5. He is dead. Gone he was killed many years ago

  2. What up hearst, hi the machine, ready to smoke some joints for the week end.

    Rubio NYC

    1. 5:28
      Todo viejote con tus mamadas!

  3. Bravo the bravery of BB airing out chariots and cdg through all this! Put all these animals out as what they truly are, may stop dummies from glorifying this shit.

  4. Hats off to Itzli for somehow putting the pieces of the puzzle together to make some sense of a head-scratcher of an evolving story..
    It's like trying to herd cats, at any moment the plot can veer off into unforseen territory..
    I have to keep re-reading parts to keep up, I feel like the who, what, when, and where guy, jaja..

  5. It is very difficult for me, as an european, to follow all these groups, cells, subgroups,…the killing rate is also so high causing new names come in and semi old names get removed continuously. On top, they switch alliancias every couple of months, also depending of the location…crazy!

    1. Like anywhere else you'll remember names when they actually affect your life. The noms des guerres - in the east it's often just people trying to make a name - in the west it's how people remember you.

  6. Does anyone know who are the enforcers in Tabasco Zacatecas?

  7. Amazing reading please do one on cdn or even from the split of zetas upto cdn now they interest me as they roll on convoys of 30+ trucks and have Nuevo Laredo on full lock but you don’t hear much about them I feel journalists are scared to report. On them in tamps Nuevo León and Coahuila. Once again this is amazing reading

    1. Theyre on the fucking news all the time. The mexican government just killed a shitload of cdn at some check point between nuevo laredo and monterey. Like 18 cdn members got killed. Look at tamaulipas news.

  8. Great article and series Itzli.
    Rumor says "El Mamey" was the target of the second attack on the balneario where a child or children were killed along with other innocents. Something about his former allies not happy about his leaving the organization. More or less from that attack the K19 sicarios have been off the radar in GTO.



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