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

Monday, January 8, 2024

Tabasco's New Secretary of Security Has Also Been Linked to Drug Cartels

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

Following a wave of public violence including the armed robberies of several grocery and retail stores primarily in Villahermosa, Tabasco; there is a new Sheriff in town. It is an old cliche saying; however, in this case, it may be that the new head of public security in the state, is the same as the old Sheriff.

Both outgoing SSPC Bermúdez and his new replacement, Castillo Ramírez, who was promoted from heading the state police, were mentioned as being key members of "La Barredora," a group said to be a criminal cell of the CJNG. Several SEDENA reports and charts connecting them to several cartel figures in the area were made public as well last year as a result of the Guacamaya hacks leaking thousands of documents from the country's military.

SSPC Bermúdez Resigns

On January 5, 2024, the Government of Tabasco confirmed the resignation of Hernán Bermúdez Requena as head of the state Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection (SSPC).

Oddly enough, the day prior on January 4, @SSPCTabasco denied reports that he was removed from office, calling the news false. Those 'false notices' also mentioned José del Carmen Castillo Ramírez as his replacement. Which proved to be true once Bermúdez resigned.

His resignation occurred amid a wave of violence in different parts of the state, mainly in Villahermosa, where multiple commercial robberies have occurred. After the wave of assaults on dozens of grocery stores in the city, the governor of Tabasco, Carlos Manuel Merino Campos, reported in a statement that 8 alleged criminals related to the robberies were arrested.

He mentioned that: "Tabasco is not and will not be hostage to crime, justice, security, and peace are guaranteed for the tranquility of Tabasco families."

Adán Augusto López Hernández appointed him as SSPC of Tabasco on December 11, 2019.

Bermúdez Requena headed the agency since December 2019. He was the third person to hold the position in less than a year after the resignations of Jorge Aguirre Carbajal and Ángel Mario Balcázar Martínez.

When Bermúdez took office, then Governor López Hernández said his profile was ideal for leading the agency. By then, Bermúdez was already in the crosshairs of the Southeast Regional Fusion and Intelligence Center (CERFISE) and the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) for apparent links to organized crime.

José del Carmen Castillo Ramírez is now appointed to take charge of the office after serving as Commissioner of the State Police. In an interview with "Tabasco Hoy," Castillo Ramírez asked the population not to panic since the authorities are working to guarantee peace in the city.


Leaks from the Guacamaya hacking of SEDENA in 2022 revealed that by November 2019, an alleged relationship between Requena and a criminal leader in the region had already been identified with Trinidad Alberto de la Cruz Miranda, "El Pelón de Playas" who was captured on December 30, 2019.

In more than a dozen reports, Cerfi Sureste identified Hernán Bermúdez Requeña as the “alleged leader of the CJNG in Tabasco,” known under the nickname “Comandante 'H',” and traced multiple connections to criminal groups in the region including the group La Barredora.

One of the 2021 reports mentions that the so-called “Commander H” intervened so that the criminal group took control of four Tabasco municipalities, including Macuspana, where President López Obrador is from. “Hernán Bermúdez Requena, 'Commander H', authorized 'Pantera' (alleged leader of the criminal group) to take control of Huimaguillo and part of Cárdenas, Tabasco,” said an intelligence report dated May 2021.

A report from Cerfi Sureste indicated that at least three huachicolero leaders from the area spoke, in private conversations, about the alleged relationships between the criminal Benjamín Mollinedo Montiel, “Pantera”, and “the governor” López Hernández. Mollinedo was at the time a “priority target” of SEDENA as leader of “La Barredora”.

In another report sent just last August 30, Cerfi indicated that Bermúdez, as well as José del Carmen Castillo Ramírez and Leonardo Arturo Leyva Ávalo – who were respectively appointed Commissioner and General Director of the Tabasco State Police by Adán Augusto López Hernández, are part of “La Barredora”.

Bermúdez clarified that he was not notified about “any of this”; He asserted that the group “La Barredora” is “nonexistent” [sic] and, after stating that he cannot answer for the 7,000 police officers under his command, he questioned the veracity of the hacked documents from SEDENA.

“Here we are not aware that a cartel exists, let alone of that magnitude,” he confirmed, and added: “How are we going to protect something that there is no proof of its existence?” The official stated, "If there is something against it, then at any time they put me on the dock."

“El Pelón de Playas” 

Just a month before the report connecting the Bermúdez to the CJNG, the General Headquarters of the 30th Military Zone had sent Cerfi Sureste a letter in which it indicated that Bermúdez, then Director of the Tabasco Investigative Police, had alleged links with the Trinidad boss Alberto De La Cruz Miranda, “El Pelón de Playas,” who worked with Los Zetas.

Trinidad Alberto de la Cruz Miranda is a former state police officer who was detained by the National Guard on December 30, 2019, in a safe house south of Villahermosa. The man was investigated for crimes such as extortion, kidnapping, vehicle theft, homicides, and drug trafficking.

When he was arrested, the National Guard transferred him to Military Zone 30, the same base where the military report was prepared that linked him to criminal activities with the newly appointed Secretary of State Security.

"Report regarding the possible cooptation and corruption of authorities of the Secretariat of Citizen Public Security of Tabasco, due to the alleged negotiation for the release of members of organized crime."

In February 2021, Cerfi sent Cenfi a report indicating that Bermúdez called an intermediary from “Pantera”, and offered his help to free his brother-in-law, “Pelón”, who had been detained by the National Guard earlier that month in exchange for 500,000M pesos ($25,000). 

On May 31, 2021, the same center reported that Bermúdez had possibly informed “Pantera” about an imminent operation “by the State and the Secretary of the Navy” that occurred 3 days earlier.

New Chief's Ties to CJNG/La Barredora

Another report titled “CJNG in Tabasco,” sent in July 2021, stated that the branch in the state was directed by a leader nicknamed “Gabo,” who had among his main operators Bermúdez and Leyva, but also Javier Reyes Palomeque, General Coordinator of Municipal Police, as well as possibly José Felipe Padilla Castañeda, State Coordinator in Tabasco of the National Guard.

When that report was issued, Adán Augusto López Hernández was still governor of Tabasco. His friend and fellow party member President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, appointed him to head the SEGOB on August 30, 2021.

On August 30. 2022, an email sent by the CERFI Sureste titled “Criminal Panoramas” once again linked Bermúdez, with the structure of the “La Barredora” gang, which belonged to Benjamín Mollinedo Montiel “El Pantera”, leader of huachicoleo and drug trafficking who was arrested in September 2021.

In that same report, José del Carmen Castillo Ramírez's name and nickname "La Rana" appears alongside that of "Commandante H" Bermudez, and "El Pantera."

The report indicated that at least three huachicolero leaders from the area spoke, in private conversations, about the alleged relationships between the criminal Benjamín Mollinedo Montiel, “El Pantera”, and “the governor” López Hernández. Mollinedo was at the time a “priority target” of SEDENA as leader of “La Barredora”.

Castillo Ramírez had been appointed Commissioner of the State Police on November 19, 2019. Now he is the new Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection for the state.

SEDENA Claims No Cartels Operate in Tabasco

On January 7, 2024, after declaring that the priority is to maintain the security of the Tabasco population, Héctor Francisco Morán González, commander of the 30th Military Zone, reiterated that cartels do not operate in Tabasco and that the latest criminal acts are acts perpetrated by local criminal gangs.

"We don't have cartels here, they really are a group of vandals who are the same, before they were called La Barredora, then they called themselves the Northeast Cartel when it no longer suits them to be Barredora, then they call themselves the Jalisco Cartel, they are calling themselves." He pointed out that based on their investigations and operations, this group that has tried to destabilize tranquility in the state are local criminal cells, which continually name themselves cartels according to their interests.

Tabasco State Police began guarding several schools on the first day of class from Christmas break.

“Today we give the starting signal to the “Tabasco Seguro” operation, with the confidence that together we will manage to recover the tranquility and well-being that we deserve,” highlighted the president, alongside the new Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection ( SSPC), José del Carmen Castillo Ramírez.

Merino Campos gave the starting signal to 1,500 personnel who were in the parking lot of warehouse 3 of Tabasco Park, who joined the 1,000 uniformed personnel who are already deployed in different parts of the state.

Interviewed during the starting signal of the “Tabasco Seguro” operation, in which more than 2,500 troops were deployed and which was led by Governor Carlos Manuel Merino Campos, he shared that in the arrests carried out by the Mexican Army in Tabasco, there were no "foreign people."


  1. "Love thyself last, cherish those hearts that hate thee;
    Corruption wins not more than honesty"
    ..the Bard

  2. Tabasco used to be CDG/Zetas from what I remember. Back in the 2000s.

  3. Sicario 066 for president. Animo!

  4. If there are no cartels in Tabasco, just a few local vandals who like to call themselves cartels from time to time, why send 2500 troops there for Operation Tabasco Seguro?

    1. To deter the real cartels from setting up shop.

  5. Cartels are in every single town, area of Mexico , no cartels in Tabasco Jaja, we know who is getting AMLOs full support around country.


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