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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Sunday, July 2, 2023

The CJNG, the CSRL, & the Car Bomb which Turned a Soldier in an Amputee in Guanajuato

"HEARST" and "Redlogarythm" for Borderland Beat

New information has emerged about a car bomb near Celaya, Guanajuato, which turned a soldier into an amputee and injured nine other soldiers.  

In Borderland Beat’s interview with one of Mexico’s top security analysts, David Saucedo, he reveals unreleased details about the car bomb, like the type of explosive used and the method for detonating. Saucedo also explains why he believes the bomb attack was ordered by El Mamey and the CSRL, and not the rival organization, the CJNG.

Warning: There are graphic images within this story.

Details of the Attack

As covered previously by Huaso, on June 28, 2023, a car bomb exploded near the city of Celaya, located in the state of Guanajuato. The state is contested primarily between two main groups, the Cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL) and the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), although there are a number of other groups who now have a presence in the state. 

There are reports of Gulf Cartel - Matamoros hitmen being present and active in Celaya but they appear to work alongside the CSRL, and in effect, work under the CSRL leadership.

Today, further details have emerged about the car bomb attack. According to multiple news outlets, a call to the 911 emergency line reported a suspicious vehicle, parked in the middle of a street. This 911 call is what led a group of National Guard soldiers, who were already out on patrol, to divert their route so they could check on the reported vehicle.

According to El Pais, the vehicle was parked on Río Lerma Street, near the on-ramp to the highway, in the Sauz de Villaseñor, which is a small town located south of the city of Celaya. 

The newspaper La Silla Rota reports that the National Guard soldiers approached the suspicious vehicle, a red Volkswagen Vento with license plate GPY051C. This differs from earlier versions of the story (such as this article from NMAs) which claimed the vehicle had no license plate. 

La Silla also alleges that the car belonged to the gardening store Agro Purépecha del Sur, but on May 5, 2023, an Agro employee reported that the vehicle was stolen. 

National Guard soldier Eduardo Alberto Jiménez, alongside other soldiers, approached the vehicle and some type of search was performed on the vehicle (more on this later). Then, at some point during the search, the explosive detonated. 

The soldiers who were inside the vehicle at the time of detonation, were thrust downwards - not upwards. The roof of the vehicle was also ripped from the vehicle by the force of the bomb and it was partially projected away. 

Soldier Eduardo Alberto Jiménez, who was standing at an unreleased location, received the worst of the bomb's impact. His right arm was severed from his body and he began bleeding profusely. 

Other soldiers rushed to remove Jiménez from the immediate area of the vehicle and they applied a tourniquet to his arm in order to stop the bleeding. In photos of Jiménez, shown below, it appears his face and right leg were also badly injured. 

Jiménez was taken, semi conscious, to Celaya Hospital. There was an attempt to recover his severed arm so it could be reattached by doctors, however, the bones in his arm were shattered and it made reattachment untenable. 

Another soldier, who received burn injuries on his face, arms, legs and chest, as well as a ruptured eardrum, was also rushed to the hospital. When both soldiers were stabilized, they were transported to a hospital in Irapuato, where they received further treatment. 


But how many other soldiers were injured in the attack? Yesterday, it was reported that a total of five soldiers were injured. Today, as is typical, that number rose and Milenio newspaper is now reporting that 10 soldiers were injured, while, Zona Franca alleges that 12 were injured. Today, President Lopez Obrador informed reporters that one of the injured soldiers has died from his injuries.  

A law enforcement agent that spoke to La Silla said that he believed that the bomb was placed in the roof of the car based on how the explosion projected the soldiers inside the vehicle downwards. Evidence technicians who have experience with analyzing explosives will likely be called in and offer more detailed opinions. 

International news outlets, such as ABC News, Reuters, and Al Jerezeera, have covered the attack due to the seriousness of a car bomb being used. 

Why the Specifics Matter

Currently, articles covering the bomb vary greatly on key details. Take for example the 911 call. 

According to El Pais and La Silla Rota, the caller found the vehicle suspicious because it was pocketed with bullet holes. El Economista and El Financiero, however, wrote that the caller found the vehicle suspicious because they saw dead bodies inside. 

Meanwhile Milenio reporter Carlos Zúñiga Pérez reported on air that it was "neighbors [who] alerted about the presence of a suspicious car” but it's unclear if it's been confirmed that caller was a neighbor or if that was an assumption on the part of the dispatcher. But, why do all these smaller details even matter? Well, because the details reveal the level of planning that went into the attack. 

If the emergency line call was placed by an innocent civilian who happened to notice the vehicle, or if the call was placed by the perpetrators themselves, matters a lot. 

The fact of matter is a criminal group placed a live explosive in a public, residential area - so either that criminal group was ok with the chance that someone other than the authorities (such as curious children) could accidentally trigger the bomb or they were uncomfortable with this possibility and they therefore orchestrated the 911 call. 

In other words, these details reveal how risk-averse the perpetrators are and to what degree they tolerate civilian casualties. 

But the reason why this is really important is because it might give us insight into whether the National Guard soldiers were the intended target or if municipal police were who the perpetrators were targeting.

Both President Lopez Obrador and security analyst Juan Miguel Alcántara Soria have stated that municipal police were the ones the bomb was meant to target, although neither gave many specifics about how this conclusion was reached.

Was the Explosive Remote Detonated?

The explosive could have rigged to detonate from a physical movement, such as a pressure sensitive bar or a tripwire. The explosive also could have been designed to trigger based on a signal received, such as a receiver being sent a message by a remote operator’s cellphone.  

Figuring out if the device was designed to be remotely detonated or not will likely play a role in determining if the National Guard soldiers were the intended target of the bomb.  

Is it possible for us, as outsiders to the case, to make an educated guess about if it was remote-detonated based on news reports? Not currently. 

NMAS and La Silla Rota allege that the soldiers inspected the vehicle for about five minutes before the bomb detonated. La Silla even specifies that the soldiers opened the vehicle doors and trunk (two common tripwire locations) during their search of the car. 

There's also the possibility that the explosive was meant to be detonated remotely but the device was poorly designed, so the initiator (fuse) was triggered by some movement made during the search. 

Telegram Message & the Fedepales

On Telegram, a message was shared in local groups soon after the explosion occurred. The message implies its coming from the perpetrators of the car bomb attack. It read as follows:


Know that the attacks against FEDEPALES will continue until we exterminate them all, and this also includes the car bomb attack against the NATIONAL GUARD soldiers. And we are going against all those MINISTERIALS. 

All the [security force] patrols that enter our territory will be shot with bullets or bombs, all those elements that go around fully equipped and armed will be destroyed if they enter in our neighborhoods, which are: 

*Los Olivos

*El Sauz

*Villas del Bajío

*El Becerro 

*San José de Guanajuato

*Santa rosa de lima


And all that territory will not be taken from us. We have already taken note of several vans entering [our area], as well as some fedepales and some security forces in SUVs. It won’t matter if the officers are originally from here, the only armed men allowed here are our guys. No one else. 

What most articles are missing when analyzing this bombing is that the recent cartel violence in Celaya isn’t just directed at police, it is directed at a specific group within the police - the fedepales. 

The message above uses the term “fedepales”, which is slang which refers to former federal policemen hired to work as municipal police, hence, the term combines “agente federal” and “policía municipal” to create fedepales. These federal agents were hired as part of a larger campaign to make Guanajuato safer in 2021 and they were brought into particularly violent parts of the state.

In the city of Celaya, the fedepales are particularly hated by the locals. One aspect of their hatred comes down to a hyper-localism which treats those not native to the area as second-class but this attitude is not unique to Celaya and occurs in many parts of Mexico. 

The other aspect of the local hatred of fedepales comes from the widely held belief that fedepales engage in organized crime-like tactics, such as conducting search operations without warrants and extra-judicial violence. 

And there seems to be evidence to support this belief of the locals. After just one year of the program, ten Celaya-based fedepales were fired due to either being involved in crimes or “irregular actions”, such as threatening civilians who were not cartel-involved but were perceived as “wanting to get involved in organized crime.” 

Furthermore, in December 2022, federal authorities arrested four Celaya fedepales on charges of homicide after their firearms and cellphones were found to be connected to a recent homicide. 

As of January 2023, all four fedepales were still being charged and the trial against them was going forward. 

The Civilian Protests Against the Fedepales

But, here’s the real complexity when it comes to fedepales. They do engage in police misconduct and thuggish behavior that leads to civilian backlash…. But, some of the civilian backlash against them is orchestrated and funded by the CSRL. 

There have been a number of supposedly civilian-led protests against fedepales in Celaya. Photos from the protest show locals holding signs with messages like "We want our municipal police to work here, not the fedepales. They are from other states and they do not care for us."

A number of reputable news sources have hinted at an “outside funder” of some supposedly civilian-led protests against fedepales in Celaya. 

For example, in December 2022, at least 500 people from Celaya, Villagrán and Juventino Rosas protested the fedepales at Celaya´s town hall. The protestors were driven to Celaya in buses which had their license plates covered. The protesters held up signs in which they demanded the withdrawal of the fedepales from the streets claiming that they weren't from Guanajuato. 

All the protestors were either masked or wearing hoods. The protestors were given free food, water and beverages by unidentified individuals.

The newspaper El Sol de Bajío wrote that “it is important to emphasize that of the people with whom we were able to speak during the course of the demonstration, none of them said who led it or who organized it.” 

Meanwhile, Periódico Correo wrote that the protestors “asked that their faces not be photographed. They were asked what specifically they were asking for or to name a specific case of the abuse of authority, but they did not respond.” 

These quotes may not be damning in isolation, but it's important to remember that the CSRL was found to be involved in “civilian” led protests before in May 2019

There is a similar situation in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, where the military is widely believed to carry out extra-judicial killings. And there are a number of high profile incidents this year which prove their guilt. However, in Nuevo Laredo, there are also allegedly cartel-funded “human rights'' activists, such as Raymundo Ramos Vázquez (covered in more detail here). False claims of military brutality can be used as a way to pressure soldiers into taking on cartel hitmen less often. 

These examples of cartels funding the civilian outrage at authorities doesn’t mean that every claim from these regions about police/military brutality should be discounted. It simply means that claims should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and focus on determining the verifiable facts of each situation.

The CSRL’s History of Threatening the Fedepales

The CSRL has threatened the fedepales in two previous narco videos. The first video came out in August 2022, when an alleged fedepale member of the Celaya municipal police was abducted by the CSRL and interrogated about the alleged corruption of the fedepales by the CJNG. 

The abducted officer also claimed that fedepales were extorting local businesses and planning out where they conducted police raids to seize illegal drugs as a way of aiding the CJNG. To see the video and read an English translation of the interrogation, please see this previous post

In the second CSRL video, which was released in May 2023 - just one month before the car bomb attack, a CSRL hitman reads out a message and threatens the Celaya municipal police, naming one patrol unit in particular. To see this video and read an English translation of the interrogation, please see this previous post.

The Interview with David Saucedo

David Saucedo is a Mexican security analyst who has extensively covered the current public security crisis in Guanajuato. He is a prolific criminal analyst and he is frequently brought on as an expert to give insight on news channels such as CNN and Telemundo, and he is often consulted by newspapers such as El Universal. Law enforcement members in Guanajuato often inform him about the details of active investigations.

Red: We want to know a bit more about the car bomb that was placed in Celaya on Wednesday, because we are writing an article about it, and we would like to know your opinion as a security expert on various aspects of it. 

David Saucedo: Yes, of course. With pleasure

Red: Wonderful. In your opinion, what was the motive behind the car bomb? 

David Saucedo: Well, we must begin with the one who placed it and the ones who ordered for it to be created. The ones who placed the car bomb are members of the CSRL, without a doubt.

It is not the first time they have used this type of explosive. They have previously placed a bomb in Celaya, in a restaurant which, unfortunately, killed one of the owners. Also, in the beginning of the war between CJNG and CSRL, they used explosives and placed a car bomb near the Salamanca refinery. 

This device, this [most recent] bomb, was meant for members of the Celaya municipal police. But the first people who responded to the scene were the National Guard, who saw the vehicle, and without any protocol, without any precautions taken, approached the vehicle. They inspected it and it exploded. 

It was obviously a trap that was organized by members of the CSRL meant for the municipal police but it ended up, unfortunately, injuring members of the National Guard.

Red: Then is there no doubt, David, that the car bomb was aimed at members of Celaya’s municipal police even though it was detonated by members of the National Guard? There is no doubt about that, right?

David Saucedo: No doubt at all. Federal authorities are currently investigating, although the case is still technically in the hands of the state Attorney General’s office. 

They have determined that the plastic explosives that were used are the same type of ones used by the CSRL. The triggering mechanism of the bomb was the same as ones they have made before. The voice which reported the vehicle to 911 has been identified as belonging to someone who has made other 911 calls that were, in fact, traps for Celaya’s policemen. 

Red: Regarding the bomb itself. We know there are two basic mechanisms: a physically activated detonation (like a tripwire) or a remote detonation. Do you know which mechanism was used in the bomb attack Wednesday? 

David Saucedo: It was detonated with a tripwire. When the vehicle which was reported as abandoned to 911 was being inspected, they opened the trunk and that is when it exploded. 

As a matter of fact, the Celaya police had previously inspected similar vehicles but they had spotted sires on them. 

In this case [on Wednesday] the vehicle inspection was conducted during the night and the wires were not spotted. And the National Guard soldiers didn’t have proper protocols in place to safely undergo the vehicle inspection. 

Red: We are trying to establish the history of people tied to organized crime and their attitude towards police officers in Celaya.  

In late May, a CSRL audio was posted on social media. In the audio, a CSRL member threatened fedepales, ex-federal policemen hired by certain municipalities in Guanajuato. Also in December 2022, there was a demonstration in which 500 people protested in Celaya against the presence of Fedepales. Someone hired buses to transport them. The buses had their license plates concealed. Someone gave the protestors water and food. Is there a connection, in your opinion, between the local push back against the fedepales and the car bomb? 

David Saucedo: Yes, of course. The fact of the matter is the city of Celaya continues to be CSRL’s main stronghold. It is the cartel’s economic capital. It is where they conduct most of their drug sales. 

It is also in this city where they conduct massive extortion rackets against small businesses. They hire the sicarios [hitmen] who make up for enforcer cells from the Celaya slums. And in the rural areas of Celaya, the CSRL has safe houses for their hitmen. 

We now know that the CSRL has been slowly moving their groups of hitmen in other municipalities back to Celaya. They have been re-concentrating their forces in Celaya, with the goal of defending it as a bastion of their power. 

The current Celaya mayor, Javier Mendoza, and his Public Security Secretary, Jesús Rivera, have had to deal with the CSRL problem. The cartel has taken its own measures against them. It killed the mayor's son a few months ago and it has launched an offensive against elements of the municipal police, murdering many of them this year. 

So, there is an intention on the part of CSRL to retain Celaya as its bastion of power, which means they are attacking the authorities which get in their way. 

In Celaya, the municipal police hit the CSRL harder [than they hit the CJNG] because the CSRL are the who dominate the city. [This perception of being hit harder] is why the CSRL is reacting and attacking them so hard, like the car bomb we saw recently.

Red: Then, there is no doubt about the car bomb being retaliation against the municipal police force’s campaign against the CSRL? 

David Saucedo: No doubt at all. It is not the first time that after a criminal attack, messages start circulating claiming that they are going to continue with the attacks. In Celaya´s social media messages have been circulating in which CSRL claimed responsibility for the attack [he is likely referring to the Telegram message we covered above]. It was the CSRL, without a doubt. 

Red: Regarding the use of these former federal policemen by some Guanajuato municipalities and the allegation that the fedepales are going after the CSRL. Could you tell us more about the demonstrations being organized in Celaya - was the CSRL being behind them? Because it seems that someone is paying for these protests. 

David Saucedo: I would say that there are two aspects to this. 

On one hand, there have been appalling episodes in which Municipal Police officers have carried out the excessive use of force against civilians. In these cases, the protests against them have been genuinely held by civilians. 

On the other hand, there are instances of protests in which people from rural areas are paid and transported by the CSRL. The CSRL takes advantage of the real anger that is felt against the fedepales and through paying these citizens, they create protests against the officers who are former federal police. 

I think there are cases of both. Some of the protests are genuinely about police abuses and some are paid for by the CSRL. 

Red: We are trying to establish who the plaza boss of Celaya is. The last news citation we have is about El Mamey being the Celaya plaza boss. In your opinion, are there any plaza bosses right now in Celaya and are they who gave the order for the car bomb? 

David Saucedo: The plaza boss is El Mamey. He was detained in Celayas’s jail for a period of time but he was inexplicably released by state authorities. I think it was a case handled very badly by the state Attorney General’s Office (FGE).  

It was the FGE who actually captured El Mamey. He was held in Celaya’s jail and inside that very jail, he continued directing the criminal activities of his forces. It was a rookie error to leave the plaza boss in Celaya’s jail because he took control of the CSRL inmates inside the jail and he directed criminal activities from inside it. Moreover, he was released, and by doing so, violence increased in Celaya. 

I am not sure that he gave the orders, but I am certain that he knew about the car bomb and that he is part of the cartel´s leadership. 

It used to be that the group had a pyramid-like structure, with one single leader at the tip. First this leader was Marro, then it was M1, then it was El Azul, and so forth. Now there is a council-like leadership in which various plaza bosses make decisions as a council. The plaza bosses from Salamanca, Irapuato, Acámbaro, Villagrán, etc, have decided to support Celaya and now the cells of the CSRL are concentrating on defending the main bastion city, which happens to be Celaya.

Red: Then, in your opinion, although the car bomb could have been a decision made by some particular plaza boss inside the CSRL by himself, at the end of the day this has been a decision that was agreed upon by the council, right? 

David Saucedo: Yes. The narcoterrorist strategy [inherent in a car bomb] has only been used in certain situations before this. 

But because of the impact that a comb can have on the media, because the bomb makes their hitmen feel more in control, because bombs wear down the support for political figures, because bombs can make citizens afraid to report criminal activities to police…. The have decided a car bomb would benefit them. 

It is sad to say this, but in fact, because this car bomb injured the authorities, it will be considered a success in the eyes of the CSRL. Their intended strategy went perfectly and I have no doubt that they are going to repeat it. 

Red: Ah, that was what we were going to ask you next. In your opinion, is this car bomb the beginning of something bigger? And if this is the beginning of something bigger, will there be attacks similar to the car bomb in the future? 

David Saucedo: Definitely. Even the National Guard knew that something like this was going to happen because recently there have been seizures of explosives being sent to the CSRL. Even the Army (SEDENA) publicized that explosives had been seized in the Irapuato and Celaya regions.

At some point the National Guard knew that the CSRL was going to attack them using terrorist tactics, utilizing explosives and, despite the seizures of explosive material, the CSRL somehow managed to continue purchasing explosive material. We don't know how much of this material] they have, but we know they already have the technology and willingness to use it. 


  1. Good post Hearst. D.E.P. brave National Guard soldier. Pray for the brave soldiers who were injured in this attack.

    1. Sign up Detroit. Mexico needs you.

    2. Same here bro,whatever people may think,mexico would be worse without them

    3. 2:33 but Mexico would better if they actually did their job

    4. 2:41 - The military does do its job, but it’s difficult to make any progress when there’s so much corruption. If you arrest a cartel leader or a group of sicarios, there’s a big possibility a corrupt judge might end up releasing them. If you decide to take no prisoners, there’s a big possibility that human right activists on a cartels payroll might come for you, and you might end up being the one who gets arrested for extrajudicial killings. Not to mention that the cartels are like fucking cockroaches. Capture their leader and someone else will just take over. Weaken a cartel, and they might just end up splitting off into two different cartels. It’s like a never ending cycle of corruption and violence. I honestly have no idea how some soldiers in Mexico still stay motivated to keep fighting the good fight when some things just don’t seem to get any better as the years go on.

    5. 241 one soldier lost his life, another an arm, another one probably gonna be deaf and another 9 additional injured and you're over here saying tonterias talking about "... if they actually did their job"🤦🏽 WTF are you doing besides saying babosadas tonto.

    6. 459 ...Tell him brother..
      "if soldiers did their job"
      The same soldiers would save your crying arse.Support the soldiers,dont make their hard job harder

    7. 4:59 Didn't you pay attention??!!! The car bomb was meant for the fedepales because they are helping CJNG. If they did their jobs instead of take sides of organized crime groups, they wouldn't be getting targeted how they are.

    8. 432 it sounds to me like CSRL is retaliating because some one is actually doing their job and they're feeling the impact.

    9. Life is a losing battle. Props to anyone who won it or at least did something good fighting it.

    10. It isn't about the soldiers, it is about the men who command them. Most SEDENA who work for cartels, most SEMAR who work for cartels, most police on all levels (except the agencies who are in the loop to protect the funding for local government) who work for cartels, they have NO IDEA who they are working for, or why. You make it sound like noble underpaid good men fighting against brutal bad men. It is absolute bullshit. They are kids on both sides, just with different weapons, exploited for different reasons.

  2. The planting of secondary explosive devices is probably inevitable.

  3. Well done! Great article. Really good insight from Saucedo.

  4. Dude you can literally make explosives from coffee creamer powder... No lie

  5. El doble RR Velasquez sembrando el terror en irapuato y romita

  6. Good evening Miss Hearst. Once again, thank you for the very, very, very informative article. Trust me everyone here is very appreciative of you.
    Rubio NYC

  7. Hey Ms Hearst, almost to the end of your article. Did you really mean to write “Fedepales” or “ “Federales” ?
    And if it’s “Fedepales”, is that a term used to describe them?
    Rubio NYC

    1. Didn't read the article huh. Read it. You'll get your answer.

    2. Duh I did not have time to read the article, I skipped to the comments.

  8. Mr president are you going to let your soldiers get killed by terrorists? Or you're going to just sit in your office in los.pinos.? And collect bribes ? Or do something about a man and protect your people.

    1. Hum yes collect bribes, but if you mentioned it I will deny it.

  9. Someone needs to tell AMLO and the government that they are no longer in charge of Mexico

    1. @5.50. Then write him a long detailed letter about it, but you should probably do some research first. Saying ''Bro, you ain't gained control back from the Government that sold the State to the traffickers decades ago. Why Not?'' won't cut it.

  10. That was a good article!! Thx for that. You know if your police force is shady, they are criminals why does it matter if they get hurt the same. These cops do just as bad stuff as hitmen. I know not all the cops are bad but come on. The chances of finding that honest officer who is gonna help you in Mexico are pretty small. Every from of police is corrupt in some way or another. I personally think the cops deserve to get what they put out. And feel what abuse of power really is. I'm sure they could have been innocent but I doubt it. Every cartel calls out shady cops, and government bye name in almost every video. Politicians smuggling drugs I mean come on how can you feel bad for 12. 12 extorts and kills people just the same but they wear some badge and we gotta act like there actual cops and feel bad. Yea I think not. Cops in the US suck but most are ok. Unless your in LA those cops are like Mexican police officer. Idk sounds bad and I don't care but they fucking deserve every bomb that comes until they clean up there shady government and police. It's truly a disgrace they even get to be called a police officer or marine.

    1. I need to wash my car. Got a lot of dust already.

    2. Dust from the bomb lol


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