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

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Guatemalan Criminal Leader Requested by the US is Captured in Mexico, Armed Commando Tries to free Him

"Redlogarythm" for Borderland Beat

Capture and Extradition to Guatemala:

On June 6th 2023, members of Mexico´s SEDENA and National Guard captured in the southern State of Tabasco Cruz Antonio Gálvez Hernández aka "El Patrón" or "Don Cruz", a 44 year old Guatemalan citizen.

Anotnio Cruz Gálvez Hernández aka "El Patrón" or "Don Cruz"

According to the available information -which is fragmentary, scarce and in some points contradictory- Cruz Antonio Gálvez Hernández was one of the leaders of a Guatemalan criminal organization operating in the northern State of Petén. 

The capture took place in the municipality of Tenosique was made possible by intelligence work done by the FGR´s AIC -Criminal Investigation Agency-, INM -National Immigration Institute- and FEMDO -the FGR´s Attorney Office Specialized in Organized Crime-. Cruz Antonio Gálvez Hernández, was revealed, was established in the State of Tabasco and was living in Mexico undocumented, without permission of authorities. Guatemalan authorities had been monitoring him and requested Mexican officers to carry out the capture and the delivery of "Don Cruz".

He was immediately transferred to the Guatemalan border, in the near State of Petén, and at the border crossing of El Ceibo was handed to officers of Guatemala´s PNC -National Civil Police-, the State Attorney and the Armed Forces at approximately 20:00 pm.

Attempt to Release "Don Cruz"

One of the most interesting facts regarding the capture and handing of "Don Cruz" was that after being handed over to Guatemalan authorities in the El Ceibo border point the convoy taking him to La Libertad´s courthouse a group of armed individuals driving 10 pickups ambushed the vehicles and tried to liberate the detained.

The officers managed to drive to the El Ceibo military base in search of protection. Nevertheless the armed men followed them and entered into the military compound shooting with assault rifles. In the ensuing shootout -which lasted at least 15 minutes- two of the attackers were killed by the security forces.

Antonio Cruz Gálvez Hernández in the hearing at Guatemala City

After the attack the Ministerio de Gobernación sent two helicopters and a plane from Guatemala City which took Cruz Antonio Gálvez Hernández at 23:00 pm to the capital in which a hearing was scheduled in the Tribunal Quinto de Sentencia Penal. In that hearing it was established that the handing of "Don Cruz" to Guatemalan authorities by Mexican officers was aimed at the extradition of the detainee to the US, a country in which he is accused of trafficking cocaine. 

Weapons used in the attack against El Ceibo´s military barracks

Several days later, on June the 14th and 15th Guatemalan authorities carried out five raids in some populated areas in La Libertad municipality in search of the men involved in the 6th attack. Some of the attackers had stolen several weapons in the assault of El Ceibo´s military base.

An Unknown Organization with Connections with Mexican Groups:

One of the questions being rised in the wake of these events is that of which organization did "Don Cruz" command. Although the group has been identified as "Los Gálvez" there are no records of any Guatemalan criminal structure bearing that name whatsoever. The truth is that although the charges levied on "Don Cruz" by Texas Eastern District Federal Court are related to membership of criminal a organization for the distribution of drugs and the importation of cocaine some journals have attributed to this group a broader criminal portfolio which includes weapons and human trafficking. 

The Guatemalan State Attorney issued a formal statement presenting "Los Gálvez" as a formidable criminal organization operating between 2006 and June 2020 not only in Central America but also in North and South America. Mexican media has revealed that the group coordinated the smuggling of drugs between Petén in Northern Guatemala and the Mexican States of Campeche and Tabasco.

The capture of "Don Cruz" on June 6th had been preceded on January 5th when his brother Gustavo Adolfo Gálvez Hernández aka "El Tavo" was captured between El Naranjo and La Libertad municipalities.

Gustavo Adolfo Gálvez Hernández, "Don Cruz"´s brother, captured on January 2023

Regarding their Mexican counterparts, there are confusing reports. La Jornada has published that "Los Gálvez" were linked to the Gulf Cartel -without even mentioning the exact faction of this group-. Other sources such as Infobae or the Guatemalan Prensa Libre linked them to the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación. 

Guatemala: a Safe Haven for Organized Crime

The small Central American nation of Guatemala is the perfect example of how the consequences of a continuum of misery and injustice are levied on the back of an innocent people. The country suffered Latin America´s most brutal civil war, an internal extermination conflict that between 1960 and 1996 meant the killing of at least 200,000 people and the disappearance of 50,000; mostly at the hands of the Armed Forces and paramilitary structures of military intelligence.

After the signing of the peace accords in 1996 the URNG guerrilla demobilized and joined the imperfect democratical multiparty system while the underground paramilitary units created inside the Armed Forces to conduct counterinsurgent operations in the urban areas didn´t.

As jurist Carlos Castresana explained this clandestine units reshaped their operations and started coopting smaller criminal cells, absorbing what had initially been common criminality into formidable criminal conglomerates known as CIACS -Illegal Bodies and Clandestine Security Apparatuses- which started a brutal war in their quest for achieving criminal monopoly of a market -Guatemala- that was not just limited to drug trafficking but also to weapons and human trafficking as well as money laundering and political corruption.

May 2011, Petén, Guatemala. A Zeta cell murdered 27 peasants working in the ranch of a rival drug trafficker. Their legs and arms were used to pain the walls of the property with threatening messages

This state of things was only worsened when Los Zetas made their appearance in the northern State of Petén in the late 2000s rapidly absorbing local criminal cells and displaying the classic violence they were accustomed to using in Mexico. In May 2011 Los Zetas murdered 27 peasants in Petén, chopping their remains and using them to paint the walls of a house.

The situation was so bad -Guatemala reached 2007 with a rate of 47 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, a ratio worst that the one of Baghdad and Kabul at the time- that president Oscar Berger asked the UN Secretary for the deployment of an international mission in order to train Guatemalan security forces into how to deal with organized crime.

Thus, the Guatemalan International Commission Against Corruption and Impunity, the CICIG, was created. And despite initial formidable successes in their fight against criminal structures -which saw even the dismantling of criminal groups led by the heads of the Armed Forces and the National Civil Police- the CICIG was dismantled by the corrupted Government that have followed.

Despite the relative success of Álvaro Colom´s executive in tackling Los Zetas´ structure in northern Guatemala the disappearance of the group has left a vacuum that has been filled by smaller groups that act as coordinators of the influx of drugs, weapons and people crossing a border, the one of Petén, in which AMLO recently recognized the presence of serious organized crime.

Sources: Hyperlinked within the text


  1. Dang sucks his guys couldn’t get him out imagine the adrenaline during that attempted break out

  2. Major blow to CJNG operations in Chapinlandia

  3. His gross shirt is full of crap.

  4. To be honest, CJNG probably has a replacement already in function


    1. I dont think he works for the jaliscas. This was part of a broader network of connected cells throughout Central America to move stuff from the producer to the north. They have no special affiliation beside money and keep things quiet.

  5. 44 looking like 64

  6. Nomames 44 lol def a typo

  7. Redlogarhythm: what do you think of increased adoption of cryptocurrencies/Bitcoin in Mexico? Big deal with Grupo Salinas

  8. That massacre of 27 is horrific. Using limbs to paint threats on the walls?? 😳😳


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