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

Monday, July 3, 2023

The Curious Case of Chiricuas

Itzli for Borderland Beat. 

Once a prominent member of the Los Metros faction of the Cártel del Golfo, “El Chiricuas” faded from view for years. In 2022 he was arrested and deported months later, although his real name was different in articles than what had been previously rumored. A new narco message containing the alternate name has appeared, which raises questions about “El Chiricuas”.

Special thanks to Char (MIKE7) for pointing out the name Roberto Saavedra appearing in the CDN banner.

The Criminal Career of El Chiricuas

Among the historic members of the Los Metros faction of the Cártel del Golfo (CDG, Gulf Cartel), “El Chiricuas” has played an important role in several events over the years. While documentation from his early years is hard to find, a song by Cano y Blunt dedicated to him in 2010 that he began in “la guardia” of the cartel when he was young and went on to spend three years in Miguel Alemán. He went on to become a commander, reporting to “El Romeo”, and was said to operate in the “8-5 ribereña” and the Aquiles sector of Reynosa, where he grew up. 

In May 2014, “El Chiricuas” was said to be in charge of the central part of Reynosa, while José Tiburcio “El Gafe” Hernández Fuentes was head of plaza. Months later, when Sergio "Junior Cortez" Ortegón was killed amidst internal fighting in Los Metros, “El Chiricuas”, also known by his code name “Metro 85”, was briefly rumored to have been killed as well, as he was said to be a close ally of “Junior Cortez”. “El Gafe” would go on to become leader of Los Metros and in October 2014, “El Chiricuas” was sent to take over Miguel Alemán by force, removing Rafael “El Salinas” Salinas and his more well known son, Rafael Joaquin “El Salina” Salinas Aparicio, code name “Metro 32”, who was injured in the conflict and arrested in a hospital. 

Government officials would target “El Chiricuas” in April 2015, while he was head of plaza in Miguel Alemán. On April 6, the Grupo de Coordinación Tamaulipas (GCT) announced that Roberto Saavedra “El Chiricuas” Santana Delgado had been arrested and, days later, announced that Benigno “El Veneno” Vázquez Cruz and three others were arrested. It would later be alleged that “El Chiricuas” was released after he bribed officials and the four were handed over as part of the deal.

Toward the end of the month, “El Chiricuas” was targeted during a wedding of a close associate of his. Taking place in the La Riviera events center, with La Adictiva (Banda San José Mesillas) playing music, government forces were met with gunshots. “El Chiricuas” was said to be injured in this event, though managed to escape, while three of his gunmen were killed and three arrested, among them “M22”, described as head of lookouts under “El Chiricuas”. A red Corvette, said to be owned by “El Chiricuas”, was also seized during this operation. It should be noted that, at the time, “M22”, who was said to be a cousin of “El Chiricuas”, was regarded as an unimportant, low level member of Los Metros, but would eventually become a prominent member: Ernesto “La Mierda” Sánchez Rivera.

Four months later, “El Chiricuas” was again targeted by authorities, resulting in the arrest of two of his associates in August 2015: Juan Carlos Aguilar and Fernando Flores García. The GCT stated in their press release: “State police of Fuerza Tamaulipas detained in Miguel Alemán two criminals linked to Roberto Saavedra Santana Delgado, also known by the nickname “El Chiricuas”, head of plaza of the criminal group that operates in this municipality”. In October 2015 audio of a conversation between “El Chiricuas” and “El Güero” Cleofas Alberto Martínez Gutiérrez circulated online, in which a car bomb from Octavio Leal Moncada was discussed. 

After a year as leader of Los Metros, Juan Manuel “El Toro” Loisa Salinas chose to replace “El Chiricuas” as head of plaza in Miguel Alemán in April 2015, which appears to have been met with resistance. It appears that “El Chiricuas” and his followers were unable to keep control of Miguel Alemán; by the end of the month, five of his associates, including Héctor “La Mimi” Sánchez Rivera, code name “M-1”, and Luis Nabor “El Nabor” Aguilar Rubio, code name “M-21”, were arrested crossing the border illegally into the United States.

The power of “El Chiricuas” was greatly reduced thereafter, as discussed in CDG Matamoros Part 5, he would back Petronilo “El Panilo” Moreno Flores in a dispute for leadership of Los Metros, only to be accused of participating in the killing of “El Panilo” months later, in January 2018. However, the death of “El Panilo” was false, and in all likelihood he continued to be an ally that helped fake the death. Thereafter, “El Chiricuas” faded from view, although some rumors indicated that he defected to the Matamoros faction and eventually became a member of Los Galos of Óscar Antonio “La Droga” López Sandoval, code name “Ciclón 89”.

The Arrest of El Chiricuas

Throughout the career of “El Chiricuas”, it would consistently be reported in blogs, major media sources, and government press releases that his real name was Roberto Saavedra Santana Delgado. Therefore, it was surprising when, after years of not being mentioned, “El Chiricuas” was said to be arrested in April 2022 and his real name was reported to be Dionicio Ávila Bárcenas. There was no doubt that the same “El Chiricuas” was being referred to, as the code name “Metro 85” was also mentioned, as well as him being the former head of plaza in Miguel Alemán.

Towards the end of November 2022, Dionicio Ávila Bárcenas, was extradited to the United States, which was much more widely reported in the media. Once again he was said to be “El Chiricuas”, also known as“Metro 85”, and former head of plaza in Miguel Alemán. Based upon the available information, it could be assumed that Roberto Saavedra Santana Delgado was merely an alias that “El Chiricuas” had used, to the extent that it was assumed to be his real name, though the fact that media would not come out and say this was somewhat strange.

Roberto Saavedra

Sunday, July 2, 2023, six bags with human remains along with a banner were left in Pachuca, Hidalgo, which were reported to be of an individual(s) killed 6-9 days prior. Based upon footage from nearby cameras, a vehicle with a San Luis Potosí license plate was identified, which led to four individuals being arrested for leaving the bags. Four individuals were arrested, three from San Luis Potosí and the other from Estado de México.

The banner that was left on the ground was signed by the Cártel del Noreste (CDN, Northeast Cartel), which authorities claimed was not fully established in the state, merely trying to enter, despite CDN members, such as Pablo César “El Takia” Guajardo Álvarez, being present there previously.

More importantly for our current focus is the first part of the message itself, which targets Los Zetas Vieja Escuela “especially for Roberto Saavedra alias Compandante Roberto”. Authorities say they do not have any information as to his identity. Searches online appear to lead nowhere, leading us to only know what we see in the banner: his girlfriend is named Lucia and his right hand Gus. 

What is strange about the message is the uncommon name itself, Roberto Saavedra. While it may be merely coincidence, it is instantly recognizable as it is part of the name that was thought to be “El Chiricuas” for years. Currently there are more questions than answers, but it could be argued that there is more to the story regarding Roberto Saaverdra and “El Chiricuas”.

7/6/23 Updates

1. I have been in touch with Dr. Douglas A. A'Hern of A'Hern Law Group, an attorney that is currently representing Dionicio Ávila Bárcenas. He agrees that there are many questions left to be answered whether his client is “El Chiricuas”;  His contention is that Dionicio Ávila Bárcenas was a low level associate of the real “El Chiricuas” years ago.

2. It should also be noted that the following was commented in a reply to a Twitter post by Reynosa Codigo Rojo regarding the extradition of Dionicio Ávila Bárcenas:

“Ese no es chiricuas jaja chiricuas trae todo tatuado el cuello y esta mas joven y radica en usa”

“This is not chiricuas haha chiricuas has tattoos all over his neck and is younger and lives in the usa”

3. Finally, shout out to La Jornada Hidalgo for basically taking this article and reworking it in Spanish for their article “¿Quién es el ‘Chiricuas’? El criminal que apareció en un narcomensaje en Pachuca”.


  1. I've been wondering about Chiricuas. It's rumored that one of M3's brothers and los Escorpiones are in negotiations for an alliance/pact of some kind. Supposedly alot of Metros are good with Primito and aint fu**ing with him. Y supposedly they're going to try and remove/replace him and null his power. Time will tell. We'll see what happens.

  2. And good job Itzli. Your is comended as always.

  3. Can't see clearly the alias that written for Roberto Saavedra, some word that ends with "rro" I think it says.
    Ga..rro? 🤣🤣 Perhaps same name as the infrequent poster but surely not to be confused with him.

  4. Tucanes de tijuana corrido "el chirikuas" banger I think on that slapping ass El Arbol album

  5. El Jefe19 will soon be the boss of a unified Cartel Del Golfo.

    1. "la kena"? Alberto García Vilano?

    2. Simón que yes @10:33

  6. I always thought M-85 got out the game. For awhile Gordo Sexy was his main accountant, and that chick they called la muneca or la guera part of his group. Just kind of hard to see him leaving them out dry like that. Especially when they were making alot of money.

  7. Also could he have been a U.S citizen. He was extradited pretty quick.

  8. Los Dos De Tamaulipas had a Song About him, I still jam it..

  9. Los Tucanes de Tijuana - El Chiricuas

  10. Off topic, but important - I notice that BB is now https, upgraded from http. Thank you BB admins and contributors mil gracias. Fue fuerte el vergazo

    1. Ok ok keep your underwear on, you already mentioned in 5 articles and has been knowledged.

    2. He can have an opinion about it no need to be rude , after all your just a malparido bueno para nada como tu jefita

  11. Noreste I. Hidalgo and zacatecas I wouldn't imagine it but no it make sense they can be the ones making videos in hidalgo & zacatecas claiming to be cjng to heat up things etc..there are several strategies to claim another group to get extortion payments etc
    It can be convincing because cartel de noreste are well armed just as cjng are
    But who am I I'm just a nobody lol

  12. Cano y blunt were dope

  13. Anyone know how to contact his sisters or brother I'm his half brother from his dad's side never met them other then at my dad's funeral I was just released from federal prison and would like to know what's up with him


Comments are moderated, refer to policy for more information.
Envía fotos, vídeos, notas, enlaces o información
Todo 100% Anónimo;