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

Thursday, June 27, 2024

A Guide to the Cárdenas Guillen Family

By Itzli. 

A brief overview of the Cárdenas Guillen siblings & their children, a family that has led the CDG for over 25 years.

Cárdenas Guillen

The children of Manuela Guillén Mancilla and either Enrique Cárdenas Gracia or Rafael Cárdenas Martínez:


Born May 18, 1967 in El Caracol, Tamaulipas to a farming family that grew sorghum, he moved to Matamoros in 1980. Around 1984 he opened a mechanic shop that served as a front for selling cocaine at a retail level. Approximately two years later, when he was 19 years old, he married Celia Salinas Aguilar. He was arrested for homicide on February 16, 1989 and was released from prison the next day. In March 1990 he was arrested for assault and threats, but was released hours later. 

On August 27, 1992, Osiel was arrested in Brownsville, Texas, while smuggling two kilograms of cocaine and received a sentence of five years in prison in the United States but was sent back to Mexico on January 2, 1994 as part of a prisoner exchange. He was held in Santa Adelaida prison until he was released on April 13, 1995. Thereafter, Osiel became an associate of Salvador “El Chava” Gómez Herrera who took control of the Cártel del Golfo (CDG, Gulf Cartel) in April 1997. Together, they were arrested in the summer of 1998 and placed under house arrest, only to escape. Osiel had “El Chava Gómez” killed in July 1999, for which Osiel earned the nickname “El Mata Amigos”. Osiel then became leader of the CDG. He was arrested on March 14, 2003 but continued to lead the cartel from prison up until his extradition to the United States in January 2007. Since then it has been rumored that Osiel continues to give orders via family members.

Antonio Ezequiel

Born March 5, 1962, he appears to have been close with his brother Osiel since their youth and around 1984 he began purchasing cocaine to be sold in Osiel’s mechanic shop. Nicknamed “Tony Tormenta”, as Osiel took leadership of the CDG in July 1999 he was initially in charge of drug trafficking into the United States and went on to become a high ranking member of the cartel as it grew in power. He became acting leader of the CDG in March 2003 but was demoted a year later. Nevertheless, he regained standing after Osiel was extradited in January 2007. He was killed on November 5, 2010 during a military operation to arrest him.

Mario Alberto

Born May 3, 1958, in the early 1980s he began selling drugs and went on to have a couple men working under him. Around 1984 he helped Osiel open a mechanic shop which was a front for his growing cocaine business. Nicknamed “El Gordo” and “M-1” as head of Los Marinos, he was arrested in 1995 and held in Santa Adelaida prison or released at an unspecified time only to be arrested again in 1998. He ran a web of corruption while in Santa Adelaida that allowed him to receive shipments of cocaine that were hidden in the prison before being passed on to Antonio Ezequiel. He was formally convicted in June 2003 and reassigned to a prison in Jalisco, from which he was released sometime in 2007. Thereafter he quietly rejoined the CDG during the leadership of his brother Antonio Ezequiel, who gave him permission to traffick drugs without paying any fees to the cartel. Though rarely reported, he was considered a co leader of the CDG up until November 2010, at which point he took over the leadership following the death of Antonio Ezequiel. During his leadership the CDG fractured, leaving him in control of what became known as the Matamoros Faction. He was arrested on September 3, 2012 and extradited to the United States in May 2022.

Homero Enrique

Born March 13, 1966, by 1984 he began trafficking cocaine into the United States as part of the small drug business his brothers operated. Nicknamed “El Majadero” and “El Orejón”, after Osiel became leader of the CDG in July 1999 it appears that he lived in the United States based on reporting stating that he received drug shipments there and was in charge of drug transportation to cities such as Houston, Brownsville, and Atlanta. Nevertheless, he was rarely mentioned and suffered from poor health by 2003. After the September 3, 2012 arrest of Mario, he is believed to have taken control of the Matamoros Faction of the CDG, although his second in command, Ángel Eduardo “El Orejón” Prado Rodríguez, code name “Ciclón 7”, appears to have been the visible leader. It was rumored that he suffered a medical setback of some sort in November 2013, which left him hospitalized. It is unclear if he ever recovered and he was said to have died on March 28, 2014.


Born December 5, 1950, he was mentioned as having visited Osiel while he was under house arrest in 1998. In 2004 it was reported that he protected properties, ranches, and businesses that belonged to the CDG. Referred to as “Don Rafa”, in June 2015 he was referenced in comments which placed him above Ciclón 7” from which it can be argued that he became leader following the death of Homero Enrique. His status thereafter is unknown.


Likely born before the spring of 1950 or sometime in 1951-1957. According to reporting from 2004 he protected properties, ranches, and businesses that belonged to the CDG. Outside of this reference his status in the cartel is unknown.


Alternatively reported to be named Liliana, by 1980 she lived in Matamoros, when Osiel came to live with her. Occasionally reported as a money launderer for the CDG, she was mentioned as a potential candidate for leadership of the Matamoros Faction in September 2012. Her status thereafter is unknown.


A rarely mentioned sister, any connection to the CDG has not been mentioned.


According to a rumor Jesús “El Chucho” Romo López was actually the youngest of the brothers and used that name as an alias. However, this seems extremely unlikely and there does not appear to be any other references to a Jesús in the family.

Offspring of Rafael

Rafael Cárdenas Vela

Known as “El Junior”, “El Rolex”, and “El 900”, he was born September 12, 1973. At some point he moved to the United States and was living in Oklahoma in 1998 when his uncle Osiel asked him to return to Mexico. Under Osiel he was designated head of plaza in San Fernando and reassigned to Rio Bravo in 2009 or 2010, during the leadership of his uncle Antonio Ezequiel. Following the death of Antonio Ezequiel, he sought to increase his power within the CDG, taking control of Matamoros in March 2011 and fighting fellow members of the CDG in the following months, which led him to spend most of his time in the United States to avoid his enemies. He was arrested in Texas on October 19, 2011 and was sentenced in November 2014 to 20 years in prison after taking a plea deal which led him to testify against two of his former enemies. He was released from prison on March 6, 2024 and it is currently unknown if he has returned to cartel activities.

Offspring of Agustín 

José Alfredo Cárdenas Martínez

Born in February or March of 1980, by June 2003 he was transmitting orders and sending money to various members of the cartel as directed by his uncle Osiel, who was in contact with him from prison via cellphone. He was arrested on April 20, 2004 after it was discovered that he was acting as an intermediary so that Osiel could lead the CDG from prison. It appears that he was released sometime in 2014 (or possibly in 2013 if his rumored daughter is accurate) and in January 2015 it was claimed that he was a subordinate of his cousin. 

Known as “El Contador”, he was rarely mentioned until March 2016, at which point it appears he began taking control of the Matamoros Faction. He was arrested on February 19, 2018 but was released two days later on a legal technicality. On March 3, 2019 he was once again arrested and his right hand man, Evaristo “El Vaquero” Cruz Sánchez, became the visible leader of the Matamoros Faction, although it was heavily rumored that “El Contador” continued to give orders from prison through his girlfriend or wife Balkys Marlene García Leal. After a year and a half in prison, he was released on October 29, 2020, continued as leader of the Matamoros Faction, and was arrested again on February 26, 2022.

It is believed he continued to lead the Matamoros Faction thereafter from jail, initially giving orders to his sons Axel Alfredo “El Hijo Mayor” Cárdenas Rodríguez and Alan Alexis Cárdenas Rodríguez in addition to subordinates. The two sons of “El Contador” were arrested in May 2023, although Axel Alfredo was released in January 2024. It is believed that “El Contador” continues to lead the Matamoros Faction from prison. 

Offspring of Unknown

Dora Cárdenas 

Dora or possibly Doris is said to be a cousin of José Alfredo “El Contador” Cárdenas Martínez and married to Héctor René Chapa Villarreal, an alleged cartel accountant under “El Contador”. 

In February 2020 she was mentioned among the individuals that aided “El Contador” in leading the Matamoros Faction from prison. Outside of this there does not appear to be any other references, not only is her current status unknown, it is not clear who her parents are, although Rafael or Lilia appear to be the most likely candidates.

Offspring of Mario Alberto

Mario Alberto Cárdenas Medina

Born circa 1976, he was known as “El Beto”, “El Betito” and “El Betillo” and his mother is said to be named Nadia Lorena Medina Rodríguez. He joined the CDG after his father was released from prison in 2007 and under the tutelage of his father, he received shipments of cocaine from his cousin Rafael Cárdenas Vela sent from San Fernando to the Playa Bagdad area of Tamaulipas, up until his arrest on June 7, 2009. He was released from prison in circa July or November 2014 and in January 2015 it was claimed that he had taken control of the Matamoros Faction, although “Ciclón 7” continued to be the visible leader. It appears he was sidelined with the rise to power of his cousin “El Contador” in March 2016 and likely focused on drug trafficking in a discreet manner thereafter.

By early 2019 “El Betillo” was living in Mexico City, from where he directed his criminal underlings in Tamaulipas, and stayed in communication with his imprisoned father through a lawyer. Following the third arrest of “El Contador” he began fighting against “El Vaquero” in an apparent attempt to recoup power and met with at least one former associate of Osiel. He was arrested on June 30, 2019, though his second in command Raúl “El Loco” García Martínez, code name “Escorpión 2”, continued to wage war against “El Vaquero”. “El Betillo” was released from prison on November 11, 2022. His current status within the Matamoros Faction is not clear.

Manuel Cárdenas Medina

Nicknamed “El Many”, “El Meme”, and “El Cachorro”, he was born circa 1984. It appears that he joined the Matamoros Faction after his brother Mario Alberto was released from prison in 2014 or possibly prior to his father’s arrest in September 2012. In January 2015 he was presented as working for his brother. It was reported that he moved to Monterrey in late 2015 and focused on legitimate businesses. He was killed on October 8, 2016 in front of his two children and wife, Daniela Solares Meade.

Gerardo Cárdenas Medina

Nicknamed “El Fantasma”, references to him operating in northern and central Coahuila began in September 2023. His relationship with the Matamoros Faction is unclear.

Nora Cárdenas Medina

Very little is mentioned about her outside the fact that in 2015 she and her husband, José Luis Martínez, a high ranking cartel accountant, worked under “El Betillo”.

Claudia Cárdenas

Reportedly imprisoned in 2015, she continued to launder money for the cartel under “El Betillo”. Her husband, Juan Remigio Quintanilla, was an operator in the cartel in this timeframe and said to be close to “Ciclón 7”.

Offspring of Antonio Ezequiel

Ezequiel Cárdenas Rivera

Nicknamed “El Chubasco”, “El Cheke”, and “Tony Tormenta Junior”, he was born in 1987 or 1988 and likely joined the cartel during the leadership of his father prior to November 2010. He was arrested on November 25, 2011 and released by the fall of 2016. At that point he was denounced for extortion and thereafter regarded as a “narco-junior”, that is to say a son of a cartel member that is more interested in partying and enjoying their family wealth/money gained from extortion than cartel affairs. With photographs of Grupo de Operaciones Cercanas a Ezequiel Cardenas patches appearing online in March 2023, it was said that he headed a kidnapping group in Matamoros, though his relationship with the Matamoros Faction is unclear.

Jorge Cárdenas Rivera

Born April 3,1991, he is better known as George, the English equivalent of his first name. An American citizen, he went to high school in Brownsville, Texas. He was arrested along with his mother at his house in Matamoros on September 26, 2010 as authorities sought to locate his father. It is said that he has never joined the CDG and disapproves of cartel activities.

Karla Elizabeth Cárdenas Rivera

Following the arrest of her mother and brother Jorge, she publicly denounced the operation to authorities and two weeks later it was reported that authorities gave her the body of her father after he was killed in an arrest operation. 

Offspring of Homero Enrique

Enrique Homero Cárdenas Salinas

Nicknamed “Kike”, he was believed to have supported his cousin “El Contador” in taking control of the Matamoros Faction but beyond this any role he had within the cartel is unclear. Seen as a “narco-junior”, in October 2019 he appeared drunk in surveillance footage of him attacking a waiter. In September 2020 he was denounced for threatening the life of a doctor. He was killed on February 6, 2021.

Offspring of Osiel

Yahaira Cárdenas Muñiz

Nicknamed “Yaya”, she was born to Leonor Muñiz, a woman Osiel was having an affair with. Her husband, René “El Gordo” Villarreal Garza, is regarded to be a major drug trafficker for the Matamoros Faction and close associate of “El Contador”. Since December 2018, it is repeatedly claimed that she has a close relationship with her father and her husband gives orders to the Matamoros Faction on Osiel's behalf.

Osiel Cárdenas Salinas

Born in 1991 or 1992 in Brownsville, Texas, he is nicknamed “El Mini Osiel”, “Osiel Junior”, “Osielillo”, and “Osielito”. In 1999 he lived in San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León with his mother. After dropping out of high school in the United States he became a well known “narco-junior” in Matamoros. He was arrested in August 2014 on drunk driving and unlawful possession of a weapon in Brownsville but was released on bond. On December 31, 2014 United States Customs and Border Protection officers arrested him while he was smuggling ammunition into Mexico and was sentenced to 10 months in prison under a plea agreement. By May 2016 he was released and said to be working with “El Contador” thereafter. While it was rumored he was arrested in Matamoros in October 2016, there is no documentation of imprisonment. He was arrested on March 13, 2018 in Brownsville and sentenced to two years in prison. Following his release on March 25, 2020 he was denounced in September 2020 for threatening the life of a doctor in Matamoros. In April 2021 an undercover operation caught him purchasing weapons in Brownsville. On December 7, 2021, he stabbed two individuals outside a party in Brownsville and was arrested on December 13, 2021. After pleading guilty to the weapons purchase he was sentenced to 109 months in prison and is currently scheduled to be released on September 10, 2029.

Marlene Cárdenas Salinas

Known but rarely mentioned prior to 2020, she lived with her mother in San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León in 1999. It is said that she was in a relationship with Carlos Fabian “El Cuate” Martínez Pérez in 2010, if not prior. By 2014 “El Cuate” was mentioned as a son-in-law of Osiel who gave orders to the Matamoros Faction on his behalf up until the spring of 2019. He was arrested in November 2022 at a home in Mission, Texas, where he lived with Marlene and their children.

Grecia Cárdenas Salinas

Known but rarely mentioned prior to 2020, her godfather was likely Salvador “El Chava” Gómez Herrera and she lived in San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León with her mother in 1999.

Steve Cárdenas

A rumored son by this name has been mentioned but appears unlikely due to the absence of additional references.

Offspring of Unknown

Rigoberto Brown Cantu Jr.

Born in 1984, he has been mentioned as a nephew of Osiel, though based on his last names it is more likely that he is the son of a female cousin of Osiel. Regardless, he was mentioned in 2018 as an associate of “El Cuate” and indicted in November 2022 in the case against “El Cuate”.


  1. Osiel is probably a dead man walking when he's released

    1. One can only hope!


    2. a death knoll?

    3. Oziel will come back to matamoros and they will give him the top spot if he wants it. There are rumors that ppl in moros and in reynosa are just waiting for him to become boss again. The metros are tired of primitos b.s. taking all the money they make back to jalisco or whatever the fuck hes hiding. He wont set foot in tamaulipas he knows they will smoke his ass. The question is will he punish his nephew for killing his own cousins and will he fight the jaliscos.

    4. Not a chance. He has many of his family involved on drug trafficking.

    5. Knowing how USA treats drug lords he will probably stay in USA after his release.

    6. 955 actually no he will enter witness protection sorry for you loss

  2. There is a faction within CDG Matamoros lead by a Cardenas that's passes drugs for MZ/Cabreras.

    1. Is it the same people CDG ESCORPIONES (los que pican con la cola) in Guanajuato teaming up with CDS + Los Marros ???

    2. El Fantasma operates in Coahuila for Los Cabrera.🦂

    3. There is a cell in Couhila called Los Escorpiones Fuerzas Especiales MZ

  3. El Commandante R1 will return with Osiel.

    1. Supposedly he went to go work for a CDS. Might be just myth though.

    2. 306 that's a CDs fangirl myth

    3. 3:31
      It's been reported for years that he went to CDS and from there fell off the radar.

    4. He’s still alive

    5. yea that is super silly

    6. 3:31 there is this CDN page and some people supposedly within the NL organization where saying a member by the nickname of Panini had taken the R1 route and had joined a CDS cell . Might not be no truth to it or might be true who knows.

    7. Could be the true, it's been rumored for a while that chapitos were passing drugs through nl. Chapo and z40 also allegedly befriended each other in prison, so who knows. Cds are not as much of a federation as they were in the past.

    8. In the San Pedro Garza municipality. Los Chapitos supply CDN and some CDG cells with drugs .

    9. CDS fans and they're urban myths R1 saved Azul!!!!!!!

    10. R1 fue protegido por Choco, Hamburguesa y otros Miembros de los Metros cuando lo de Metro 3, R1 apoyo mucho la guerra de M98/Carrizales contra 40 y luego contra Matamoros.

      Lo mas probable es que el se fuera en aquel momento con La Tuta y despues bajo demasiado su perfil, no dudo que este pegado a las huestes de Primo

  4. Damn, great stuff Itzli. The source links sent me down so many corridors I got lost trying to find my way back, especially the ContraLinea "Secrets of the Gulf Cartel" witness Karen testimony, Part 2, from 2007. All 3 parts would make for a great upload in future, because that kind of witness testimony is rare.

    1. Yuppp

      I always liked this one

    2. I must have heard the details from that testimony diluted or quoted third-hand dozens of times. Thanks.

  5. Man Osiel has a mean mug. Let me tell you something right now and idgaf what you idiots think or that I'm lying. JORGE CARDENAS IS A PIECE OF SHIT. I don't know if he sold but he was always in the Reynosa and McAllen Nolana scene with a bus load or guys and you could see the aregance a mile away. Anybody that use to go to Club Fuego has seen this pig back in the day.

    1. He looks like an elderly lady with short hair.

    2. @4:19
      I wouldn't doubt it at all

      Tell us more
      I always remember that Fuego club full of pesados or atleast people that looked like it

    3. Yes fuego, the yatch club y el boom boom room... I rubbed shoulders with lots of folks there... did you ever hear about the boom boom room now thats where you really meet people if you had enough back story and people to back it up that was like a recruitment center but these pieces of shit living at mommy's will say fake

    4. @ 9:47 100% on boom boom
      I went a few times but only as a guest/visitor/puta lover
      Seedy ass people in there with $$$ & probably contacts but mostly grimy AF people
      never really felt comfortable or 100% there tbh & I was always ina group
      Lotta regular business folks too from mission but then you have the other business business guys
      You probably know way more than me noone I knew was in that circle tho

      I can say that the realll deal guys would host some of those boom boom type deals in their sharyland plantation homes...
      Which is probably an open secret...
      And nothing ever happens to them
      Always found that interesting.
      Like tomas el gallo... He was in no way the only 1 like him in the whole valley. But only he gets caught?
      Feels like the banks that all do things wrong but only 1 the worst one gets caught.

      I stumbled across a few of these guys, as childhood friends I knew/worked had actual legit multi millon $ legit family businesses

    5. 10.43 finally someone who knows.. ya las palmas down was an ants nest of them. You wanted connection you became a fly at one of these places.

  6. Informative. Thank you for posting this information

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. There is a young kid in Tamp. ready to whack him to make a name for himself.

  8. Since we speaking about CDG . Here is a video of CDG Escorpiones saying Escorpion 25 no longer belongs to the organization and that SLP has a new plaza owner for the cartel .


  9. Holla!
    Whatever will he wear to the holiday fiesta..personally.. and if it were me (but it’s not-nuff said) I’d offer at least three choices.. a vest combo or two different types of sport coats.. not anything with a metallic sheen, but that’s just me.. (whispers): if it is for an extensive holiday season perhaps he could make the pieces last through January. Better to shop ahead is what my great grand cousin Titotionotitito once said, one time.

  10. TT’s shootout was out of this world. More than 100 people killed in Matamoros over the weekend. Back then reporting on social media wasn’t common yet nor were good phone cameras. But if it had happened in the future the deaths would have been more widely reported. I believe Sedena only said 8-10 people were killed.

    The shootout was a suicide operation from TT. He knew he wouldn’t come out of it alive and died Tony Montana style. It’s n coincidence they called his men “escolta suicida” in some of the songs.

    1. Escolta suicida was osiels people
      The first 20 by beto

      TT never had actual Zs & I think most of csg didn't like him much...
      He wasa cokehead/wild
      At first even Osiel was kinda put off by TT's escorpiones since he didnt push as much as guys like Coss/Meme/Viejo Fox/June/Zefe a bit before his time but still.

      100% on his shootout though
      Not even Hummer or Karis went out that badass have to admit
      Escorpiones Like el Tyson went out with him too

      Zs with OCG shot it out for like 3 hrs but disn't come nowhere near as close to TTs guys.
      He had Flander 1 victor hernandez barron with him when osiel got arrested, which was raul hernandez Flander 2s younger brother.

      I always wonder about guys like
      Victor Manuel Vasquez Mireles El meme loco/El Cabezon, heavyweight pusher

      Alsooo a HUGE one was Adan Javier Medrano licenciado ligistics guys

      And Jose Garza Rendón they called him la brocha

      ^All these guys above have been out
      Meme then adan were osielss top people even above Zs and his family

      I always wonder about them

    2. Adan Medrano "El Licenciado" was supposedly picked up in Tamaulipas (Matamoros?) and disappeared. It wasn't too far back, I'd say within the last 3-4 years. I'm not sure if BB did a story about it. Google it @7:33

    3. 8:08pm yes, Medrano was kidnapped. I think it was in 2019 or 2020. Can’t remember. I believe Morogris or Itzli commented it about it in the comment sections of a BB article over a year ago or so. It may have been in one of the throwback articles where there’s usually good info.

      Medrano was the owner of Natural House chain of restaurants in Matamoros.

    4. TT went out more bad ass than all CDS princesas put together. Not even botas blancas can boast that.

    5. Los Scorpiones originales tuvieron diestra de Los Zetas Originales y Tyson nunca aflojo la mano en tener elemento de alta escuela y se vio reflejado el dia del topon

  11. whatever, you call it.
    a sad feeling don’t hit like a bad feeling.
    you know what they say about
    tonight, right?

  12. How to join CDG: Be fat

    1. Mexicans that live in and south of Texas
      I mean isnt McAllen the most obese city in America 7 years in a row being the fattest city almost everyone is being diabetic

    2. Literally every influencer from Tamps and Monterrey is fat asf

  13. Que nilo piensen. De cual quera manare. Que ni se te aserque un piensamiento. Ha una Isla de muertos que se separan en mar o tierra. Y en el primer piensamiento que tengas de que queres tocarlo se te va borrar la cabeza. No te agas guey porque es barrato este pedo. Los mios pagaron todo pa mantener este jale.

  14. Segun las redes, Escorpion 25 has been ousted from the Escorpiones operating in SLP. Reminds me of how Kena was ousted from Matamoros after Comandante Tigre Ciclon 34 was killed and yet somehow remained on the outskirts of operation of the CDG Matamoros Faction. Sounds more like a personal rift between the chain of command in the Huasteca region.


  16. the best fish live in the ocean,soon or late he is go back to jail.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  17. Informative article & comments 😸

  18. HEY ! I look stuff up on REDDIT, like for example , if my doctor prescribes me medicine and I never took it before I search up people on reddit that have taken it just to see there feed back so it don't do something weird to me or kill me okso reddit can be helpful

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Yeah, it can. I've always wondered why some people bad mouth it.

    3. @9.29. Reddit can be great, but there's a site called "Narco Footage" and the majority of people who go to it are young, from the US, and go there looking for torture or murder, and they come with the assumption that whoever is getting tortured or murdered deserves it. I think people are talking about the young people on that site who flooded here over a few years because they couldn't access gore, not Reddit itself.

  19. Damn these Gulfos are ugly af


    1. Mucha gente de aya de esas partes así son de feos jaja

    2. Lol everyone south of the border looks like fucking little savages.

  20. El "Oso" captured in Culiacan Sinaloa.

  21. 10.29..they should call him el little raton is only 1.60....


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