Wednesday, August 21, 2013

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Sandra Ávila Deported from the U.S.-But Legal Troubles Follow her...

Posted: 20 Aug 2013 06:33 PM PDT

Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat

One of Mexico's best-known reputed female drug traffickers, Sandra Ávila Beltrán, called the "Queen of the Pacific," has beendeported from the in El Paso detention center to Mexico City. She arrived in DF 11:59 local time.
Ávila Beltrán was extradited to the United States and accused of conspiring to import and distribute cocaine in the years of 1999-2004, but was absolved of all charges except having helped her boyfriend Juan Diego Espinosa Ramirez aka "el Tigre" evade capture.

U.S. federal judge Michael Moore, sentenced Ávila Beltrán, 52, to 70 months of prison. "70 months from 28 September 2007, when she was arrested in Mexico”.  Thereby  the judge set  the stage for her release within days from that sentencing.
Ávila’s delay in deportation detention was due to the new process of deportation initiated in June.

Ávila, who caused a stir when information was revealed that she was allowed beauty treatments while incarcerated in Mexico, including Botox treatments, was said to now have gray hair at the crown of her head. Hiar color is not allowed in United States prisons.
Leticia Zamarripa, a spokesperson for ICE in El Paso, did not confirm or deny the transfer and offered no details. DEA officials also said they could not comment for operational reasons. However, she did confirm that Ávila Beltrán has been in ICE's custody since July 30 awaiting deportation proceedings.
Steven Ralls, who spoke with Ávila Beltrán a few days ago, revealed she's "optimistic, positive and in a good mood." "We don't know what's going to happen. All we know is she is going to Mexico and won't be able to return to the U.S." he said.

He said that Jalisco authorities might want to detain his client over money laundering accusations.  “If there is a felony warrant against her in Mexico, then she will be handed to proper authorities once she gets to the Mexican border, if not, she can go free”
Proceso reports:
“At her arrival Ávila Beltrán will be turned over to the Attorney General for the Republic by officers of the Federal Ministerial Police since she has an arrest warrant issued by a Judge of the first district of Jalisco”
El Universal reports she was given to the authority of the PGR for processing upon her arrival.
Ávila is the niece of Mexican drug trafficker Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo.

As for her future plans, her attorney stated “once she is back in Mexico, she plans on living a low key family life”.  However it looks as those plans will be on the back burner for a while at least.


Eduardo Arellano Félix, El Doctor, Sentenced to 15 years in Prison

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 07:43 PM PDT

Borderland Beat
After reaching an agreement with U.S. authorities to plead guilty to charges of money laundering, conspiracy to use illegal profits of organized crime in May, Eduardo Arellano Félix, El Doctor, was sentenced today in Federal Court in San Diego to 15 years in prison.

With the sentencing in U.S. District Court in San Diego, Arellano Felix, 56, became the last of four brothers killed or sent to prison in connection with the Arellano Felix drug trafficking ring, federal prosecutors said.
"The three living Arellano Felix brothers, who for decades lived as multi-millionaires while terrorizing the Southwest border, ordering assassinations and corrupting countless public officials are now confined to maximum security prison cells for a very long time. I urge others who aspire to take their place to take note," U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said.

Arellano Felix had faced a maximum of 140 years if convicted of the charges brought against him in the original indictment that included racketeering and conspiracy to distribute and import marijuana and cocaine to the United States, although federal sentencing guidelines typically allow for less time. The indictment described him as a senior adviser to his brother Benjamin.

"The sentence that Eduardo Arellano Felix received today marks the end of an era in cartel history. The AFO is finished, others have moved in and are attempting to take their place," William Sherman, special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego, said in a statement.

The Arellano Felix organization controlled the drug trade from its base in Tijuana, south of San Diego, between 1986 and 2002. At the height of its power in the 1990s, the cartel smuggled hundreds of millions of dollars in narcotics through a 100-mile-wide corridor stretching from Tijuana to Mexicali, south of Calexico, California.

The brothers gained an added measure of notoriety when the Tijuana cartel and its battle with the rival Juarez cartel were dramatized in the 2000 film "Traffic," which earned four Oscars.

Benjamin Arellano Felix, described by U.S. and Mexican authorities as the cartel's mastermind, was sentenced to 25 years in U.S. prison last year after being extradited from Mexico, where he was arrested in 2002. Ramon Arellano Felix, the cartel's top enforcer, was killed in a shootout with Mexican authorities in 2002.

Eduardo Arellano Félix, long considered the financial brains was presented to the court to hear his sentence,wearing the orange uniform used by prisoners and greeted smiling at his attorney Bryan Funk.
Earlier, the lawyer made a couple of requests to Judge Larry Burns that his client is not associated with the name of his brother Ramón, since some documents identified him as "Eduardo Ramon." He even claimed that he has the birth certificate to verify the name of his client.

The other request is that they include the title of doctor as it is his course of study as well as his nickname. During the hearing, Eduardo Arellano accepted his guilt, as he had agreed to and asked the judge to be moved to the same prison in Florida as his brother Benjamin, so they can serve out their sentences. He said, "I want to respect the deal I signed. I will fulfill my time and I want to ask that you send me to be with my brother Benjamin." 

However, the request will have to be evaluated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. his lawyer, Bryan Funk  explained  the situation in an interview at the end of the hearing.
Before sentencing, Judge Larry Burns said he was aware that the role of Eduardo Arellano was lower in the criminal organization, but that does not diminish the responsibility to operate in a criminal group that "caused negative effects" on society."So you should be ashamed. I said the same thing to your brother when I dictated his sentence," said the judge.Judge Burns added that once El Doctor, serves his sentence, he will be deported to Mexico .He asked once his sentence is complete and after his eventual deportation that he "not return" to the United States  and warned about the consequences of  participating again in organized crime activities, but said, "you'll pay dearly for that."

Bryan Funk expressed satisfaction with the sentence and stressed his client's  greatest desire is to be with his brother Benjamin."He has not seen his brother in 20 years, wants to be with his family during the time in which he serves his sentence," 

His statement included that Eduardo Arellano Félix pleaded guilty in May, after reaching an agreement with the U.S. authorities. For the DEA in San Diego, this action was seen as "the final nail in the coffin" of the Arellano Felix cartel, since El Doctor was the last of his brothers to be tried. Eduardo Arellano was arrested in October 2008 in Tijuana and extradited to the United States on August 31 last year. 

On August 24, 2006, Francisco Javier, El Tigrillo, was caught at sea off coast of Baja California Sur and sentenced to life imprisonment by  a court in San Diego on November 6, 2007.The eldest brother, Francisco Rafael, was extradited to San Diego in September 2006 after spending 10 years in a prison in Mexico. He was the first major Mexican drug lord to be extradited to the United States.Ramon-included in the list of "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" (The ten most wanted criminals) by the FBI, was killed in Sinaloa during a clash with federal forces on September 18, 1997.

Benjamin Arellano Felix benefited in January 2012 from the protection of the authorities in the United States.Fifteen years after being named as one of the most wanted criminals in the country, the Federal Court of the Southern District of California agreed  to reduce his sentence to just 25 years in exchange for three conditions:

1) accept that  he  was the leader of the Tijuana cartel and that he committed crimes of conspiracy and money laundering. The remaining offenses were eliminated;

2) transfer to U.S. government property, assets, accounts, financial instruments and various products amounting to 100 million dollars, and

3) cooperate unconditionally with the U.S. authorities in investigation and incrimination of other members of organized crime to be arrested, investigated and prosecuted in the future.

With this, the boss of one of the most powerful and bloody cartels in the last 25 years avoided a longer sentence, which could have been 40 to 140 years, thanks to which  he could potentially come out of prison when he is 83. When his term expires, in 2037, Benjamin Arellano will have to be repatriated to Mexico, where they reactivated the proceedings still pending, as in the case file/ arrest warrant against  him for the murder of Cardinal  Juan Jesús Posadas y Ocampo that  occurred in May 1993 at the Guadalajara airport. 

Sources:  ProcesoReuters

7 die in southern Chihuahua

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 09:00 AM PDT

By Chris Covert

A total of seven individuals have been killed in ongoing drug and gang related violence in southern Chihuahua municipalities according to several Mexican news accounts.

Three unidentified individuals were found shot to death in Jimenez municipality Sunday, according to a news account posted on the website of El Sol de Parral news daily.

The victims were found stuffed inside an SUV following a reported shootout in an area of Jimenez city near the intersection of calles Allende and 10th.  A fourth victim was also found who had been wounded.

The news account said that gunfire had been reported in several neighborhoods just prior to the discovery of the victims' bodies.

A fourth shooting victim was reported Sunday night in Jimenez, this time a local drug lord, identified as Uriel Canton AKA El Doctor, according to a news brief posted on the website of La Polaka news daily.  Sr. Canton was found on Bulevar Oscar Floes shot to death.

Meanwhile in Parral, a father and his son were beaten to death Sunday night, according tom a news account in El Sol de Parral.  The incident took place when suspects traveling aboard a truck stopped and attacked the men, beating them to death using stones.

The victims were identified as  Jesus José Chaparro Cereceres, 38  and his son, José Rodolfo Chaparro Saenz.

In Batopilas municipality Friday a man was found shot to death, according to a separate news account in El Sol de Parral.  

Miguel Renteria Mancinas, 28, reportedly left his residence in the village of Casa Viejas.  He was found among rock on a road between Batopilas and Satevo.  Several spent cartridge casings for AK-47 and 9mm weapons were found at the scene.

Also on Friday in Guadalupe y Calvo municipality five individuals including two children were shot and wounded in a shootout at a dance.  The problem started in the village of Gallinas at around 0100 hrs when two men began to fight over a woman.  At one point they both pulled pistols and fired.

The wounded were identified as Filiberto Flores Chaparro, 22, Ubaldo Flores Bojorquez, 23, Leonarda Ramos Ayala, 35, Miguel Ángel Cota Ramos, 13, and  Elmer Cota Ramos, 11.

In Camargo municipality Friday three men were detained for a number of crimes, including drug sales and auto theft.  The detaineess were identified in a news account in El Sol de Parral as Hector Garza Leyva, 33,  Eduardo Solis, 28, and Francisco Garcia Coronado, 27.  

The arrests took place when state police observed a double parked car in Villas del Sol colony in Camargo.  Police also seized one stolen vehicle, one .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol and a quantity of crack cocaine that had been divided presumably for sale.

Carlos Manuel Salas

Finally, Monday the Chihuahua state Fiscalia General del Estado (FGE) announced the investigation into the disappearance of 12 individuals in southern Chihuahua state, according to a news account on the website ofEl Diario de Juarez.

Carlos Manuel Salas announced that most of the disappearances have taken place in the western Chihuahua sierras where criminal gangs have been recruiting shooters.  According to the news report Manuel Salas said that not all the disappearances were from illegal checkpoints and carjackings.

Travel in southern Chihuahua, especially around the sierras of western Chihuahua has been hazardous especially for males, so much so, some bus drivers refuse to taker on those passengers for fear of illegal checkpoints maintained by criminal gangs in the area looking for new recruits.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for and He can be reached at

Z40 Confirms Lazca Dead- He Ordered Lazca's Body Taken

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 08:05 PM PDT

Borderland Beat

Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, El Z-40, confirmed to the Attorney General's Office (PGR) that Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, El Lazca or The Executioner, leader of Los Zetas cartel, was killed by members of the Ministry of the Navy of Mexico (Semar) in Coahuila, in October 2012, officials involved in national security cabinet. 

According to the information gathered, the Z-40 revealed to the Deputy Attorney Specialized Investigation of Organized Crime (Seido) ha had ordered his men to steal the body of Lazcano  and not to allow it to  remain in the hands of the authorities. 

On October 7, Heriberto Lazcano was at a baseball game in the town of Progreso, Coahuila, in the company of  family members, when he was located by members of the Mexican Marina, he tried to flee but was shot in an exchange of gunfire.

Lazca's body was taken to a funeral home in the municipality of Sabinas, and hours later  a group of armed men stole it on orders from Miguel Angel Treviño Morales. After the death, the latter became the supreme leader of Los Zetas, but was arrested last June, at 23 miles from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.
With regards to the confirmation of the death of Heriberto Lazcano, Treviño Morales statements have assisted Seido who have now completed the preliminary investigations, which had remained open until last month. 

This was due to the PGR failing to legally prove the death of the former leader of Los Zetas, as the samples obtained by the Attorney General of Coahuila and genetic testing conducted by the PGR using  the remains of bodies believed to be the parents of Lazca,  were inconclusive,  so did not help in legally confirming the death. 

Currently, the Z-40 is subject to a single criminal proceeding in which is judged to be suspect organized crime, violations of the Federal Firearms and Explosives and operations with illegal proceeds (money laundering ).
Thank you Lacy

Photo of X20 after Arrest and Details and New Leader?

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 09:30 PM PDT

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat

Another photo in my series of :Another reason not to become a narco", though in this case there wasn't much to begin with...

However, of the first things that I thought of was "I wonder how different he looks from his known photo"
Aside from looking very unhappy, I only recognize the eyebrows matching any feature in the old photo. I dropped in the old photo in with the arrest photo from siskyou_kid

New Leader?
Grillonautas is reporting another Cárdenas Guillén brother will be taking the CDG leadership.
Homero Cárdenas Guillén, “el Majadero” who has, according to “Contralínea” magazine, since 2009 has managed the trafficking of cocaine from the Tamaulipas Rio Bravo/RioGrande border into Houston and Brownsville, Texas, and Atlanta Georgia.

The arrest was prompted by his men giving him up
Details from the  televised conference, an official from the Ministry of the Interior:
On August 12, prior to the arrest of Ramirez Trevino, there was the capture of 24 members of CDG (Cartél del Golfo).  The detainees  provided them the  intelligence that took authorities  to  the  location of the X20. 

Spokesman Sanchez Hernandez confirmed that X20 aka El Pelón was arrested, without gunfire, in  Reynosa Tamaulipas,  in an operation led by the Army, in coordination with the Attorney General and the Federal Police,.

At the time of his arrest,  Mario Armando Ramirez Treviño had 2 active arrest warrants for  charges of organized crime, kidnapping and drug crimes.

Arrested along with the X20,  Pedro Cruz Gerardo Barrios and Lopez Ruiz, identified as bodyguards for  Gulf Cartel leader. Also three military assault rifles were secured,  nine mobile phones, $ 38.000, 25,000 pesos.

The spokesman also said Mario  Ramirez Treviño is a suspect in  the recent attacks on police facilities in Tamaulipas, as well as a series of kidnappings in the state of Veracruz.

Both Mario Armando Ramirez Treviño along with the  other prisoners were made available to the Deputy Attorney Specialized Investigation of Organized Crime (SEIDO) of the PGR. 


"We Are Villagers In Search of Justice"

Posted: 20 Aug 2013 08:01 PM PDT

By: Záyin Dáleth Villavicencio

(August8 2013).- Aquila, Michoacán.- “For a free Michoacán, that should be our goal”, claimed members of the self defense group of Aquila,  informing the next regionalization of armed civil movements, the self-styled community police.

The armed uprising in Michoacán against the Knights Templar cartel emerged simultaneously in the municipalities of Buenavista Tomatlán and Tepalcatepec since last February 24.  Then followed by: Coalcomán, Aguililla, Aquila, Chinicuila and  Coahuayana.

For the past couple of years, the seven municipalities that belong to the regions of Tierra Caliente and Costa, suffered harassment from organized crime charging of: quotas or to pay one’s dues, kidnappings and other abuses.

They charged fees to all 401 community members; $2,000 each, they kidnapped a boy and the families weren’t able to do anything because they would make them disappear.

Now “the goal is a broader self-defense movement,” said one of the five community commanders just before an inter-meeting was held between members of the self-defense groups of Aquila with representatives from Coalcomán and Chinicuila.

“We are communicating with the community guards of Chinicuila, Tepalcatepec and Coalcomán, we are trying to make this bigger because if we unite, it will be all over the state of Michoacán,” he anticipated.

 On What Side Is The Mayor On?

Meanwhile, residents from the municipality of Aquila demanded that the mayor of the municipal, Juan Hernández Ramírez, to return to his activities since he hasn’t been to the municipality since last June, after the emergence of the movement “Por un Aquila Libre”.

“We are waiting for him to come and to tell us what side he’s on, on the people’s side or the criminals,” informed the members of the Community Police to the mayor, who they say is threatened by organized crime and pays two different criminal organizations a quota for the plaza.

Located in the Sierra-Costa region of Michoacán, the municipality of Aquila has been under guard for about two weeks.  Groups of villagers with large caliber weapons, covered faces, and dressed in white shirts; look after each entrance, by highway and in the highlands.

 A representation of more than 30 community police officers, gathered in front of an audience of the indigenous community of San Miguel de Aquila, said in an interview for REVOLUCIÓN TRES PUNTO CERO (Revolution 3.0) that the conformation of the self-defense group came after the community had been required to provide a monthly quota of $700,000 to organized crime for over the past two years.

“We organized ourselves because we want there to be freedom and justice that we haven’t been given.  They’ve been robbing us for a long time, but we decided to arm ourselves because no one would help us and we don’t know what happened to the government,” said the leader of the community.

 On the past July 24th, about a hundred villagers took the command in San Miguel de Aquila, but not before apprehending the municipal police, whom they accuse of direct links to organized crime.

“We knew that the police were in collusion with organized crime.  Some days we would see them dressed up as police and other days as hitmen.  And even though the City Hall was never taken over, the mayor left,” said one of the communal authorities.

However, since June, the movement began taking shape and took control of the county seat, in accordance with the community assembly, as is still done through customs and traditions in San Miguel de Aquila.

After noting that for a month, the mayor hadn’t dispatched at the City Hall, they warned: “We are waiting for the mayor, to come because his municipal president is free.  We didn’t run him out but we believe that he was being threatened”.

We Are Villagers Seeking Justice

Meeting in the hearing of the population, a hundred people accompanied by women and children, claimed that the white shirt with the words “Por un Aquila Libre” (For a Free Aquila), worn by the men of the community, is a credential “because we are not just a group of masked men, but community members who seek justice”.

More than a month after the formation of the self-defense group, the achievements for the community are: not paying anymore quotas to organized crime “and that families feel safe”.  Because we pay about $2,000 per villager and since we organized there is no more kidnapping and no more quotas.

One of the Community Police leaders said, “It began here in the community of Aquila, with 10 men who were trusted people, but today we are about 250 armed men determined to defend the community.”  “However, the goal is a broader self-defense movement that also includes communities in the municipal,” said one of the five commanders of Aquila.

The Feds “Got Tired and Left”

In this context, they said, the federal government was the only one to answer their call, by sending in 150 elements of the Federal Police (PF) to support the safety of the population, but after a while “they got tired and left”

They sent a message to the state government: “We invite [the governor Jesus Reyna] to support the movement of Aquila, we are waiting.  We are a poor family and we know how to respect, so come talk to us.  To the Federal Government [we give them] thanks because they support us now.  To the other communities who are now organizing [we say] that we are prepared to support them.
To the society, we want to tell them that we are people, that we are communities and not part of organized crime.  We want to let them know that we are not 10 or 30 people, we are the entire community and its people who support us, because here we all seek justice and to live in peace.”

They also warned that the rise of armed civilian groups is not because of a division between communities, much less the influence with the mining company Ternium, but a movement for safety and against organized crime.

In the municipal seat life goes by peacefully, the shops are open and the people say it’s peaceful.  However they say that a few months ago, few people began going out because organized crime had taken over the municipal: “They were the law, they told the people what to do and even scolded them.  Everyone was afraid.”

Today, armed men walk by the town normally, some with sandals, bandanas or open faced, all in uniform consisting of a white shirt that says “Por un Aquila Libre”.

“Now they are the law, but we are not afraid of them because they are our brothers, our fathers, our husbands.  They take care of the people because that is what we want, a self-governed government like how the people of Cherán managed to achieve, because we are indigenous”  said one of the women of the community from a taco stand where she serves in the town square. 

Source: Revolución 3.0

Gulf Cartel leader arrested; Mario Ramirez Treviño aka X-20 goes down in Tamaulipas.

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 08:10 PM PDT

Tijuano for Borderland Beat

UPDATE 2: X-20 has been transferred to SEIDO in Mexico City.

Mario Ramirez Treviño aka "X-20"

Several news sources including CBS News are reporting the arrest of Mario Ramirez Treviño aka "Pelon" or "X-20", according to the news reports he was captured by elements of both the Mexican Army and Navy, his capture took place this morning in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas.

According to PROCESO, Mario Ramirez, 51, was arrested at a vehicular checkpoint in possession of several weapons. The operation that led to his arrest included 10 helicopters and 2 gunships.

Since this morning, more than 10 aircraft, including gunships and helicopters, have been flying over Reynosa, Tamaulipas in search of organized crime convoys, there have been reports of up to 20 vehicle convoys travelling trough La Ribereña highway and in neighborhoods such as Vista Hermosa.

Mario Ramirez Treviño rose to power after his boss, Samuel Flores Borrego aka "Metro 3" was executed on September, 2011, his rise to leader of the Gulf Cartel came a year later with the arrests of Eduardo Costilla aka "El Coss" and Mario Cardenas Guillen, brother of Osiel Cardenas Guillen. He is considered a violent man and as dangerous or even more than Heriberto Lazcano aka Z-3, former leader of Los Zetas, was.

The US Government is offering up to 5 million USD for information that lead to his arrest.

You can read a previous Borderland Beat post about Mario Ramirez by clicking HERE

Mexican Authorities confirmed the arrest of Mario Armando Ramirez Treviño this afternoon, Mexico´s SEGOB (Secretaria de Gobernación) announced this afternoon the arrest of "X-20" by the Mexican Army. The announce was made on their Twitter account.

SEGOB announces the arrest of "Mario Pelon".

Mario Ramirez Treviño has been transferred to Mexico City´s SEIDO building, his transfer was done under the surveillance of more than 100 soldiers. He is expected to make a legal statement in the next hours, Mexican authorities have called for a press conference tomorrow. details about his arrest are expected to be given at that press conference.

16 Killed in Guerrero

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 10:37 AM PDT

Borderland Beat Posted on Forum by "Señor Joe"

In two separate events, a total of 16 people were killed in Guerrero, according to reports from the Attorney General of the State (PGJE).

The first event occurred in the village of El Cajon Totolapan municipality of San Miguel, located in the Tierra Caliente region, where eight people were found murdered with gunshot wounds.

Also found were a AR-15 rifle, a 9mm pistol, six magazines AK-47, AR-15 six magazines, a grenade, 170 rounds of ammunition 7.62 223 192 cartridges and three trimmings.

The second event was reported in the town of Taxco de Alarcón, in the North, where in a clandestine grave eight bodies were found with gunshot wounds and in an advanced state of decomposition.

The preliminary report Tierra Caliente authorities indicate that none of the victims had been identified.

3 die in southern Chihuahua

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 09:28 AM PDT

By Chris Covert

Three men were killed in ongoing drug and gang related violence in southern Chihuahua state, according to Mexican news accounts.

A news account which appeared in the online edition of El Diario de Juareznews daily said that three men were shot to death in two separate incidents.

In Guadalupe y Calvo municipality two men were found shot to death near the village of La Joya Meza.

The victims, identified as Navarrete Agapito Flores, 39, and Daniel Bojorquez Juan Navarrete, were both shot in the chest.

A second dead body was found also in Guadalupe y Calvo municipality, according to a separate news account which appeared on the website ofTiempo news daily.

Guillermo Alfonso Gonzalez Ramos, 56, was dragged out of his residence in the village of Yerbitas in the course of a home invasion by six armed suspects, and taken away along with his Ford Lobo pickup truck.  Guillermo Alfonso Gonzalez Ramos, 56, later was found near El Ocote shot to death.  He has been shot with a 9mm weapon.

According to a third news account in El Diario de Juarez last Friday August 16th, is the fifth anniversary of the bloody Creel massacre which took the lives of 14 individuals.

On that date a group of armed suspects descended on a gathering of a number of residents who were holding an impromptu block party.  Many of the participants were Tarahumara Indians, colloquially known as raramuris.  The assault group numbering 12 opened fire on the group, which numbered 25.  One of the victims was a one year old infant.

Despite protests from local residents and the Catholic church, the killers have never been brought to justice, according to the news report.  Then Chihuahua Governor José Reyes Baeza had detained three men in connection with the massacre, one of whom was subsequently released, while the others had no direct ties to the shooting.

According to the report, the Juarez Drug cartel enforcement wing, La Linea, was responsible for the massacre.

Separately, another news report which appeared in El Diario de Juarezsaid that certain classes of crime were down in Chihuahua city, the capital of Chihuahua state from, 2012.

According to that news report, director of the Chihuahua city Seguridad Publica Municipal (DSPM), Heliodoro Araiza Reyes Friday said that non-violent burglaries were down with a total for the calender year of 153.  A total of seven violent burglaries were reported in July.  Also business robberies without violence were below the April, 2013 mark of 90.  A total of 79 of those robberies were reported.

A total of 25 carjacking incidents were report with 10 cases of auto theft. A total of 64 violent muggings were reported with 22 robberies without violence.

According to the report, all violent crime is down in Chihuahua city for 2013.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for and He can be reached at

Video Translated: La Tuta speaks...again Part Two

Posted: 16 Aug 2013 06:28 PM PDT


La Tuta Part Two
The following is part two of the newest video message from La Tuta leader of Caballeros Templarios (CT or KT).  Some of his  words are reminiscent of auto defense leader Dr. José Maria Mireles 

In this installment he baits the person posing questions to him by interjecting an old embarrassment to the government.  In 2011 it was revealed by a Mexican investigative journalist, that Tuta was still receiving his teachers pay, though he had not stepped into a classroom in well over a decade.  Supposedly the payment had been halted, although no “on the record”, official verification was made public.  In an exchange below, he speaks of it, and immediately the interrogator jumped on the subject and asked if he still receives checks, read his reply, below. 
If you missed Part One link here, 
Who formed the community guards, then?

They existed in our state since the administration of Calderon that is well known by all of you. There has been a group that has been formed and has caused headaches to the federal government, at least to the last government and they are the Knights Templar, but we have our reasons, for the harassment to ourselves and our families. I am responsible for this, many of my boys are responsible for this, but my, mother, my wife, my children, my siblings or my friends have been blamed for it.
How many innocent people are in prison because of Genaro Garcia Luna and the administration of Calderon? Just to fill them up. There are many innocent people from Arteaga, which is my town, that don’t have anything to do with the organization and they are incarcerated. The best actor on television networks had was Genaro Garcia Luna, I think he was paid a lot of money to make all that drama; but oh well; we will see who is right at the end.
What situation might lead in Michoacán regarding the violence that has been generated? I mean from one side the auto defense groups and on the other, the Knights Templar, who are fighting over the territory and the villages.
It is so easy to calm things down. We just have to settle an agreement; we have to come up with agreements and negotiations, everybody; we are part of a society, I pay taxes, I am a teacher and taxes are deducted from my pay check.
Are you still getting paid?
I am going to assign it to you as a task, investigate, break your head a little bit, and you will notice how the system manages things. I know that you are an educated and prepared person and you know a lot of these things, just investigate and you will see.

What are you willing to do?
Whatever is necessary to accomplish peace and tranquility, it is not fear; we have people and we have everything. It is not our intention to damage the village but we are already here and we are not going to allow people from other towns to come and offend our town, starting with Police Corporations with whom we have had many problems. 

Why can’t they do quality operations without bothering the villagers, and without causing fear? Why do they scare away the investment and tourism? Why have they categorized Michoacán as the worst? There were elections recently, clean Michoacán! All the politicians of all the parties ask for support to whoever they want to win the elections and afterwards they forget who their friends are, I am not going to say who, but all of them work that way, in PAN, PRD, PRI.
Why don’t they fix things up and we are willing to collaborate?

I am responsible and I know what will happen to me if I become careless, but I don’t want to bring my disgrace, to innocent people. The only one responsible for this is me and those who direct the organization with me, we are willing to do whatever it takes to bring peace and tranquility in Michoacán and not only in Michoacán but in all the country.
What are you willing to do? Turn in your weapons?
Turning in our weapons would be as if I turn myself in. We have publicly said, we can set aside and put away the weapons. If the government watches over and protects the villagers, as they should, go ahead, they are welcomed and we can negotiate, I would probably tell them, as the former Templar said, I am making bunkers with sand sacks in Aguililla to clear my record. I also want to clean my record, tell me where I can work as a farmer for a year so they won’t look for me. 
Why the police that are in that place haven’t apprehend them and taken them where they need to be taken? So all we have to say is that I regret what I did and that’s it. Everything is forgiven? Is it all about that?
I don’t think that is ethical or professional from the authorities to allow things like that to be aired. The television media sell the information, they get ratings or whatever is called and you know that by getting higher ratings, more people would want their product to be advertised and that is business right? 

So we are willing to do what is needed but I want to make it clear, turn in the weapons, no, set them aside, yes. We want peace and tranquility and we commit (noise of a helicopter, Speaking: that is a helicopter.) to peace and let the government do their job and establish a state of right against us if we are guilty but with respect, but at the same time to practice it against the community guards. Who are the community guards?
Who are they?
I am asking you. You are the press. The journalists have to be investigators and air what the real truth is.
But who are they? Do you know them, have you coexisted with them?
I am not going to say many things about them because you will say that I am saying this publicly and on television to make them look bad but investigate “La Many”. Who really is “La Many”? He belonged to the police of La Ruana. Investigate who is “El Americano” (the American). He is with the community guards in Buenavista.  Who is “El Abuelo” in Tepeque? Who is “Fructus”? 

Investigate, I can tell you who they are but I am going to tell you when the camera is off so you know why he is with the other group. It was easy for them to still be with the Jalisco and come to Manzano. They are lying to the people. It is totally false that we charge one peso for the tortillas. “We buy the tortillas in 17 pesos because 2 pesos go for the Knights Templar”. It’s a lie. Community guards left all this organized since the administration of Calderon and the PFP is taking them everywhere and they (PFP) are leading it. 

Do you think that we are going to let them advance? We have many people that are our friends, our relatives, and wherever the community guards go to, they displaced everybody. They are either executed or disappeared so the guards can keep their properties, because he was a friend or a buddy of a hawk. Is that crime? Is it a crime to have friends?
You are telling me that you are not going to let the community police advance, what would happen, what would you do to stop them?

What would you do if someone was trying to get in your house? Would you let them in and let them screw you? No. Am I right? You were going to react as the lions do, start marking your territory, aren’t you? So what would you do, then? We are not going to let them do it, and every time they come, it will happen, the same thing it has happen.

Can we say that this situation, instead of what the police say that there is peace, may lead to greater violence, a civil war?
I wouldn’t go so far, probably there is a lack of organization in the country, and the reasons were not given for a civil war. I don’t see it that way.
What could we call it?
Well, let’s call it criminal groups against criminals. What do you think? I don’t consider myself a criminal but that is how you call us, so let’s say it’s a criminal group against criminals. PFP or militaries should not intervene. Let them do it alone, since there are bunches. Why take sides, why don’t they listen to us?
Probably they will take our side. Who have worried about us? Until now, you young lady, is interested in interviewing us, but who has worried about knowing what is our routine and what is what we want? No one has asked us before. For you and for everyone else we are criminals. Investigate if we really are criminals.
What do you want? What is your doctrine?
We want employment, education and health. That the government corporations serve as they should with the taxes they steal. Why don’t they give education? They are going to say that there are universities but where is the employment? An attorney, a doctor with salaries as Cordero said, any Mexican can live with 6,000 pesos per month. Why doesn’t he get paid that? Why doesn’t he say: “I don’t want a permanent base, just give me 6,000 pesos per month”? Probably it would not harm him to receive 6,000 pesos per month because he should have enough funds since he is a politician. I say it with due respect.
Why aren’t we careful what we say? Don’t you think that those words offend the people? Don’t you think that they humiliate the people? Probably.  I also have humiliated the people and if I have, I’ve done unconsciously, that wasn’t my intention. That is what our doctrine is about, that everybody defends their rights, their values. Every man has its dignity and their pride. I prefer to ask forgiveness than to ask permission, if someone hurts me personally. I am not going to allow someone killing my parents, my brother or my woman and if my woman wants to leave me, she is free to do so, I can find another one.
Simple as that but there should be respect. Federal, state and all type of government should respect my agreement. We have another cause as to why we are here, and if you want to categorize us of anything, go ahead, I had said it clearly. We have many friends that like our organization are drug traffickers. They can do whatever they want; we are not going to prohibit it. We will prohibit kidnapping, rape and robbery. Probably you would say: “But you also steal”, I have said before, there are some of my boys that don’t understand and they steal. I am not going to say that I don’t steal, but we need a way to produce for our people to eat. Ask around how many people we have of each village and how many people receive a salary.
At top is decal for one month highway tax paid to CT the lower is 
avocado growers CT receipt for "tax" citizens pay a tax to use public highways
Did you substitute the abandonment of the government on these villages? What benefit have you brought to the villages of Michoacán and the other places where you have presence?
The real problem is not only of the actual administration or the last administrations. All the administrations commit the same mistake. Many government employees leave the resources to their personal benefit, it doesn’t go to where it should.. I am not going to say that they are not doing anything because there are many militaries, marines, PFP and state police. What happens is that certain people of different federal government dependencies only fill their pockets. They don’t think about the towns.
What benefits have you brought to the communities where you are present? I don’t know if you have helped with pavement on streets or public lightning on streets?
You should put on evidence government employees and I want to make it clear, everybody knows everybody but not one civil servant have to do with us; we are respectful and we respect  their job, they should do what they are supposed to. If they won an election for popular vote, we should not mess with them. The only thing that we want is for the budget to be applied as it should. Yes, we have done many things. I ask for you to go to the communities and investigate, you already know where I am.
But, have you done roads, bridges, electricity to the communities that are abandoned, from your own resources? Have you supported the communities that way?
I invite you to go to the communities and you know where I have been or have domain. Ask the municipal presidents if it’s true that we are charging a fee of 10%. You can go and do your own investigation. We have done a lot of labor but it is not my duty to say it. I should not put on evidence many things but everybody come to us and ask for support. Poor people have their needs and sometimes they don’t have enough to pay  a thousand pesos for childbirth.
Not even for a caesarian section. The c section is not paid by the government for impoverished, I mean progress, opportunities, I don’t how referred to,  that fucking little program, but the money is not enough and since the people are so screwed and without a job that they come to us for support. If a c section costs one thousand pesos, I can give them 300 or 400 thousand pesos and not only for that, any kind of disease they have, anything they have asked for.
I am not going to say which, or where, it is not for me to say. But do your investigations, see what we really are. Just as during elections, when you do, what do you call it when you put who is on top?
A poll?
Yes a poll. I invite you to do one and project who we really are. The real problem here is what is happening with the community groups. Who walks around with their faces covered? My boys are covered but we are already categorized as criminals.
I assure you that most of them (community guards), 80% of them are criminals. We have plenty of space in the mountains to do whatever we want and not affect the villages or the people. It is not a message for the federal government. It is for the criminal groups because they are criminals and they are moving everywhere and stealing uncontrollably, but if any police corporation keeps supporting them on their advance for interests they have against us, I am going to say this as I talk, there will be quarrels. Let’s pray to God that it doesn’t happen and that we can get to an agreement and we are willing to do what is necessary so it will end up here.
Do you have something else to say?
Thank you, young lady for joining me. I am thankful
Thank you

Malaysia: Mexican Brothers Lose Appeal on Death Sentences

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 09:35 AM PDT


A Malaysian court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by three Mexican brothers of their convictions and death sentences for drug trafficking.
The men still have one more opportunity to appeal to Malaysia’s highest court after a Court of Appeals rejected their bids to be released.

The Mexicans from Sinaloa state were arrested at a secluded Malaysian drug-making factory in 2008 and said they had been cleaning the place.

Police found more than 29 kilograms (63 pounds) of methamphetamine worth 44 million ringgit ($15 million) at the factory where they were working as maintenance men.  The owner of the factory and others were set free.  The men had only been in Malaysia for a couple of months.
Malaysia’s High Court convicted the brothers — Jose Regino, Simon and Luis Alfonso Gonzalez Villarreal — of drug trafficking in May 2012. The crime carries a mandatory penalty of death by hanging.
Defense lawyer Kitson Foong said the men and their family were “keeping their hopes high” that their final appeal will succeed.
The Mexican government said it will continue to help fight the sentence because, despite a guilty verdict, the country opposes such form of punishment. It said the embassy there will be reviewing the defense appeal that will be filed in the next few days.

“Mexico’s government regrets that Malaysia is upholding a death sentence against the Gonzalez Villarreal brothers,” says a statement by the Foreign Relations Department. “It will exhaust its legal resources aiming to revoke the death sentence.”

The brothers are the first Mexicans held in Malaysia on drug trafficking charges. They worked making and selling bricks in Mexico, and their family said they left for a job opportunity abroad.

The Mexicans come from the state of Sinaloa, cradle of their country’s drug trade, but have no criminal record at home. Their relatives insist there was no sign they were involved in the drug trade.
family gets the news


My husband and I have worked our business in the Pacific Rim for 3 decades.  Beginning with Taiwan we have lived in several of the Asian countries, including KL Malaysia.  Malaysia is a Muslim country and one with the majority of citizens hating Americans.  Some of the architectural meetings for the 911 tragedy were held in Malaysia, after 911 we sold our offices and home and moved out of the country

 It was in Malaysia that I first learned of a practice of servitude being conducted there. 

Servitude or debt bond slavery is practiced in two ways.  One is a head hunter in Mexico, or Central America recruits workers with promises of high paying jobs that contract for a year.  They promise training that they will cultivate a career out of and return to their country with.  They agree and are taken to an Asian country and passports taken away, and the men or women are "resold" or a recruiter will find workers for a direct transfer. 

 This practice is slavery.  Money is never paid because there always is a "debt" to repay, for travel, food, and housing.  They do not have; freedom to leave the premises at their choosing, money, or passports.   They are told they will be severely punished if they go to the police because they are in the country illegally.  They speak Spanish, which is one of the reasons they are attractive to those who entrap them, it limits who they communicate with.  This can continue for years even decades.  They are threatened, beaten, women are raped. 

 When I heard of this story of this story and when journalists travelled to Sinaloa to get a sense of the brothers only to find zero criminal history or ties, and that a man at the soccer field was telling them about these high paying jobs, everything clicked with me.  I highly doubt that these men knew they were going to work with drugs.  And forget Sinaloa Cartel running drugs in Malaysia or any Asian country with the Triads in control.  Mexican cartels buy the precursor from Asia and make drugs in Mexico or Central America not cut into the business of the Asian mafias at their homefront.

It appears that Muslim countries are the guiltiest of this shameful practice, but also Asian countries.  The Philippines, Bangladesh and other impoverished countries are affected.    Young women and teens are promised modeling jobs which turn out to be the sex trade.  

The fact that no one but the brothers ended up taking the rap, after being there for such a short period of time, and the tampering of evidence, along with other facts leave a strong doubt of their guilt.  But that is typical in Malaysia the big fish never fry, just little patsies like these brothers.  Their downfall surely was not helped by public opinion that they were from Sinaloa; there has never been a connection to CDS or any cartel with the brothers.  

 I concede it is difficult for one to understand this practice, without living there and seeing it for yourself, or know of someone who has.  

 Even if guilty of running the machines or cleaning them, they certainty do not deserve death.  In Malaysia they hang people even for Marijuana.  Yet capital punishment has done nothing to curb the drug problem or any crime, for a couple of years a momentum has grown to abolish it because it has not help with crime. As previously stated it is seldom the drug trafficker or person heading the operation that is convicted.  And in other cases this prosecutor is under scrutiny for fabricating evidence and destroying evidence that would exonerate.  Evidence was lost and tampered with in this case as well.   

Mexico is a "Tier2" country in Involuntary Servitude abuse.  the lower  the number the most abuse.  They are in with countries like Libya Sudan and Russia.  The chart below depicts the worse offenders, tier 3 on the watch list:

Here is an article I wrote in December about the family. (click images to enlarge)


The war for Tijuana, a 20+ year conflict. PART 3

Posted: 16 Aug 2013 06:00 PM PDT

Tijuano for Borderland Beat

Note: My sincere apologies to all the readers who awaited for so long for Part 3 of this series, as I had stated in previous comments, my health had some ups and downs in the last months and I just didn´t feel like I could give my full attention to this article, I´m already working on Part 4 and it should be up soon. You can read Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE. Links to the sources can be found by clicking on the top of each story)

It was the year 2000, a time of change in Mexico; for the first time, the Mexican people could claim their President was elected by them and not by the previous President. Many things changed in Mexico with the arrival of Vicente Fox (PAN) at Los Pinos.

The people of Mexico had their hopes set in the new Government, 70 years of the so called “Perfect Dictatorship” by the PRI party left Mexico with some really big issues. At the moment, the drug trade was believed to be a problem suffered only in border cities like Tijuana and Juarez. Amado Carrillo had been gone for 3 years and (at least to the general population) the biggest dealers were the Arellano Felix brothers, they were feared all over the country. What the general population didn´t knew was the fact that the Tijuana Cartel had lost a lot of suppliers in Colombia, some of them were death (Helmer Herrera and Jose Santacruz Londoño, both high ranking members of the Cali Cartel), and others were in prison (Most notably the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers), this caused big problems inside the Tijuana cartel which at the moment was the main source of Colombian Cocaine to the west coast.

The cocaine producers in Colombia had issues with the Arellano Felix brothers, even with all the power they had, they struggled to send money to Colombia and the new cocaine producers soon lost their patience, they began looking for new contacts in Mexico who could keep moving all the tons of cocaine they could make. They search didn´t take long, the Beltran Leyva brothers (then unknown to most people) soon made a deal with the North Valley Cartel. Colombia had a new partner in Mexico and it was none other than the old rival of the Tijuana Cartel.

The war for Tijuana was in high gear, after Vicente Zambada Niebla´s succesfull attempt at “heating up” Tijuana, the Federal Government had to do something.

On December 22nd, 2000, Vicente Fox announced his first action regarding national security, his goal was to “eradicate” organized crime from Tijuana, he planned on recruiting 12 to 15 thousand new Federal Police Officers and take them to Tijuana to fight the Arellano Felix Organization, he was clear on his intentions: “Power to power, We will beat them”. Fox claimed he would do this in a mere 6 months; this was well documented by the national media in Mexico. 

All this sounded good on paper, but truth be told, not much changed in Tijuana. Of the “12 to 15 thousand” new officers, only 2 thousand arrived at Tijuana, and most of them stayed there for only a week or two. According to ZETA newspaper, Tijuana was calm for about 2 weeks on January 2000, but as soon as the Federal Government left, the Cartel operatives went back to work stronger than before.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox Quesada.

By the year 2000, not many knew the name of Javier Torres Felix, much less that of Arturo Villarreal Heredia, but at least one of this names would soon appear in the national media.

Javier Torres Felix aka “El JT” was a little known drug trafficker who began his career working for Manuel Salcido Uzeta aka “El Cochiloco”, Torres Felix had been previously arrested several times, including once in Mazatlan in the year 1990 (in possession of 800 kilos of Marijuana and 4 AK-47 assault rifles) and once in 1997 in Quintana Roo (this time with 2 kilos of Cocaine), he never stayed more than a year in prison. By this time he was recognized by the DEA as Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada´s right hand man.

In 1999 Jesus Villarreal Heredia was killed in El Carrizal, Sinaloa. Javier Torres ordered the hit over some drugs. At the moment Arturo Villarreal was a low level hit man for the Tijuana Cartel, he began his career in Tijuana kidnapping business man when he was recruited by the Tijuana Cartel as an enforcer. 

Arturo sought vengeance and he volunteered himself to go to Sinaloa and kill Javier Torres, along with his brother, Manuel Torres Felix aka “El M1”.

Arturo knew Torres Felix had a ranch called “El Cajoncito” in Cosala, Sinaloa. He travelled there along several hit men from the Tijuana Cartel, others were recruited in Culiacan and Mazatlan, the plan consisted in raiding Javier´s ranch and killing him. 

After arriving at “El Cajoncito”, Arturo only found some construction workers who were building a cellar. The construction workers were questioned but they claimed they knew nothing; they were taken to a nearby ranch called “El Limoncito”. On their way to “El Limoncito”, the gunmen found Humberto Torres Felix along with other men, when they saw the convoy they got scared but Humberto told them not to fear since it was “Javier and his people”, as soon as the gun men stopped their vehicles the ranchers tried to run and were shot by the Tijuana enforcers, Humberto was captured and taken alongside the construction men.

When the gunmen arrived at “El Limoncito”, people didn´t suspect what was about to happen, the hit men were dressed in military clothing and the town people thought they were just a group of the Mexican Army doing surveillance in the mountains.

It was February 14th, Valentine´s day, the whole town was celebrating the Sheriff’s birthday with a big BBQ, at about 5:30 PM, the group of hit men arrived at Valentin Beltran Arechiga´s house, the leader ordered the hit men to round up all men in town and take them to the town plaza. The hit men raided all the homes asking for Javier and Manuel Torres Felix but none was found.

After searching in all the town homes, most adult males, along with 2 minors were taken to a pick-up truck bed where they were shot to death. 

This massacre made the headlines all over Mexico, giving more pressure to the new Government to act as quickly as possible; “El Chapo” had just escaped from a “Maximum Security” prison and the mass murders between cartels were becoming very common.

Days after the massacre hit the news, several people were believed to be behind the gunmen, for several years the official version claimed it was Lino Portillo Cabanillas aka “Lino Quintana” who led the death squad, if Lino was involved in the massacre is still a mystery, he denied his involvement years later. Arturo´s involvement would be revealed years later in several made-to-order “corridos” (songs) where he claimed to be the “terror of the Torres”. Javier Torres Felix and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada narrowly escaped a raid by the Mexican Army in Cosala, Sinaloa on October 2001.

Massacre at El Limoncito de Alaya.

In 2001, Humberto Rodriguez Bañuelos aka “La Rana” was one of the main hit men for the Arellano Felix brothers, Rodriguez Bañuelos was a former Sinaloa police chief, in 1988 he was accused by journalist Manuel Burgueño of protecting the interests of drug lord Manuel Salcido Uzeta aka “El Cochiloco”, that same year Manuel Burgueño was killed by 2 men under orders of Rodriguez Bañuelos, this caused an uproar in Sinaloa which prompted the Federal Authorities to act, his brother was arrested and accused of helping in Burgueño´s murder, however he escaped prison along with 96 other inmates.

“La Rana” escaped Sinaloa, and for some time nothing was heard of him, until he was mentioned as the leader of a group of armed men who participated in the murder of Catholic Archbishop Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo under orders of Ramon Arellano Felix, it was in 1993 when the Government knew he was now working for the Arellano Felix brothers. His involvement in this crime is still in doubt, some claim he was there protecting Ramon Arellano´s escape, others said he went to the airport with the orders of killing the Archbishop, neither has been confirmed. “La Rana” had a huge criminal record in Jalisco, he was investigated in at least 19 murder cases, when some of his men were arrested, he sent someone nicknamed “El Tio” to speak with the State Prosecutor in order to make him an offer, the Prosecutor said no, so he was killed.

Rodriguez Bañuelos was arrested on March 2001 after a shootout in Tijuana, in that shootout he killed 2 Municipal Police Officers and was taken to the Tijuana prison under the name of Carlos Duran Montoya. Nobody recognized “La Rana” at the moment of his arrest; he had undergone plastic surgery to change his face and submitted himself to a liposuction which helped him loose about 90 pounds.

It wasn´t until several months later when an anonymous informant gave the authorities the tip of who Duran Montoya really was, he was transferred to Puente Grande Federal Prison (same one Chapo had escaped a year before) as soon as the authorities knew the true identity of Rodriguez Bañuelos. His capture was another major hit to the Tijuana Cartel, Rodriguez Bañuelos was a man with direct contact with the Cartel leadership, someone who could give inside information on the daily movements of the Arellano brothers. “La Rana” was convicted to 37 years in prison.

Humberto Rodriguez Bañuelos aka "La Rana", before and after liposuction.

3 months after Fox´s declaration of war, the Tijuana Cartel had receive only minor hits (save for La Rana´s arrest), but this all changed in March 23rd, 2001 when the Mexican Federal Forces arrested Rigoberto Yañez Guerrero aka “El Primo” and Bernardo Araujo Hernandez aka “El Jabali”, they were at the time Ismael Higuera´s right hand men.

Rigoberto was in charge of receiving the cocaine shipments arriving from Colombia at the Mexico City International Airport, Rigoberto is Ismael Higuera´s cousin hence the nickname “El Primo”. Bernardo Araujo was in charge of making sure the cartel´s money had a safe trip down to Colombia in order to pay for the cocaine shipments, he also was in charge of providing the necessary security to cartel bosses when they were in the city. Both of them were arrested in the Benito Juarez district in Mexico City by Federal Police Agents.
Later that year, in June, the Federal Government gave another major hit to the Tijuana Cartel when Ivonne Soto Vega aka “La Pantera” was arrested in Tijuana by the Mexican Army. Soto Vega had a close relationship with the Arellano Felix brothers and their wives, she even went on vacations with them on several occasions, her role in the organization was to launder money, she was considered at the time of her arrest the main money laundered for the Arellano brothers, by estimates of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, “La Pantera” laundered over 120 million USD during a 3 year investigation.

According to Federal reports, in 2001 the Tijuana Cartel had a presence in 15 Mexican States while the Sinaloa Cartel only operated in 5 Mexican States and only with help of the Juarez Cartel who had a major presence in 17 Mexican States. Sinaloa as a Cartel didn´t had the resources it now has; it was a “Satellite” Cartel to the Juarez Cartel.

Nowadays that situation has greatly changed, and it was in part the result of the major hits received by the Tijuana Cartel.

Ivonne Soto Vega and Eduardo Arellano Felix.

2002 will be remembered by many as a fatal year for the Tijuana Cartel, on February 10, 2002, Ramon Arellano Felix was killed by a Sinaloa State Police Agent in Mazatlan, Sinaloa.

Ramón Arellano was known for personally “hunting” his enemies, he loved to take action in the executions of his rivals, he attended and participated in the execution of capos such as Armando “El Rayo” Lopez, Rigoberto Campos Salcido and Manuel Salcido Uzeta aka “El Cochiloco”, among others.

His passion for killing rivals would ultimately be the reason for his death. According to ZETA magazine, somewhere in late January, a tourist from Sinaloa was arrested in Guadalajara by Federal Agents, the “tourist” had was drunk and began telling the Federal Agents about his “friends” in Sinaloa, he mentioned a party being organized by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada in Mazatlan during its carnival. The “tourist” was set free and the Federal Agents immediately called their contacts on the Tijuana Cartel, they gave them the info they had about “El Mayo”.

Ramon arrived at Mazatlan on February 5th, for five days he toured the city, he wasn´t able to locate Zambada anywhere. 

Ramon kept looking for Zambada, on February 10th, Ramon was travelling aboard a Volkswagen sedan when State Agents pulled him over, 4 hit men accompanied him, when they pulled over, 2 of the hit men ran away, Ramon identified himself as Federal Investigative Agent Jorge Perez Lopez, while he was showing his “badge”, Ramon took out his gun and shot State Agent Antonio Arias twice in the chest, Agent Arias was fatally wounded and fell to the floor with a shot to his heart, Arias, however, was able to pull out his gun and shot once, hitting Ramon Arellano straight in the head.

Fake Fedral Agent ID used by Ramon Arellano Felix.

Of all the possible ends a drug lord as Ramon Arellano could have had, this was it, he received a fatal shot to the head by an agonizing Police Officer who died with no clue he had just killed one of the FBI´s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.

After Ramon died, one of the hit men tried to run from the scene, he had identified himself with a Federal Police badge under the last name of Solorzano, he was tracked down by State Agents who killed him after he fired his gun at them.

Ramon Arellano Felix´s body was taken under the name of Jorge Perez Lopez to Calderon Mortuary in Mazatlan, at the moment nobody knew he was Ramon Arellano so no special guards were given to his remains by the Federal Government.

On February 11th, a man arrived at Calderon Mortuary to claim the body of “Jorge Perez Lopez”, he showed and ID with the name of Celestino Lopez and claimed to be a relative of “Jorge”. Ramon´s body was cremated and his remains were never recovered by the Federal Government.

On February 21st, the Sinaloa State Attorney Office identified “Agent Solorzano” as Efrain Quintero Carrizosa, a known hit man from Culiacan, Sinaloa. Quintero Carrizosa was believed to be part of the “Death Squad” responsible for the massacre of Javier Torres Felix´s relatives at “El Limoncito” ranch one year prior.

The Mexican Federal Government got word that Jorge Perez Lopez was in fact Ramon Arellano Felix, they tried to run DNA tests but Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix (then an inmate in La Palma Maximum Security Prison) refused to provide them with blood, skin and hair necessary to run the tests. 

Even so, it would take less than one month for the Federal Government to get access to the DNA samples they needed.

Ramon Arellano Felix killed by Sinaloa State Police.
Ramon Arellano.

Ramon Arellano was gone, the man in charge of the hit men squads from Tijuana was no more, with Ramon dead, and many felt it was just a matter of time for the Cartel to fall to pieces, on Tijuana very few knew of the whereabouts of the remaining Arellano Felix brothers, even they ignored the location their brothers.

The promise Vicente Fox gave of finishing the Tijuana Cartel was finally showing signs of being true. On March 9th, 2002, Benjamin Arellano Felix was arrested in Puebla by members of the Mexican Army elite team known as GAFES (Grupo Aeromovil de Fuerzas Especiales) without firing a single shot.

The key to Benjamin´s capture was his family, for months, members of the GAFES conducted a surveillance operation on Benjamin´s family, they learned all their movements and followed them everywhere; they knew sooner or later Benjamin would show up, it was just a matter of time.

Benjamin´s family was tracked thanks to Manuel Martinez Gonzalez aka “La Mojarra”, Manuel´s brother was none other than Fabian Martinez Gonzalez aka “El Tiburon”, one of the most famous hit men from the “Narco-Juniors”. Being a relative of such key member in the Tijuana Cartel gained Manuel the trust of Benjamin, “La Mojarra” was in charge of delivering 30 thousand USD every 3 days to Benjamin´s wife, he would receive them and take them to her wherever she went.
Manuel Martinez Gonzalez aka "La Mojarra".
For years, Benjamin´s family lived in California, sometimes in Beverly Hills, others in San Diego or Coronado; they used to visit Las Vegas frequently without being harassed by the DEA. This all changed by 2000, when Mexican Agent Jose Patiño was about to find them, he changed his residence to San Diego, California in order to track them down, but was sold by his peers at the Mexican Federal Attorney General´s Office. He was kidnapped, tortured and executed for this. Benjamin sent his family to Mexico immediately, thay changed their location constantly to avoid both authorities and rivals, on 2001, Benjamin´s family moved to San Pedro Garza Garcia, Latin America´s richest city, a city where their wealth would go unnoticed by everyone, but a city also in control of his rivals, the Beltran Leyva brothers. San Pedro has long been considered a safe haven for Mexico´s drug lord families.

On February 13, 2001, Jesus Medina Alvarado, son-in-law of Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo was executed in Monterrey, following the investigations, Mexican Army personnel found a security house in Monterrey, inside the house, they found a video taken at a birthday party celebrated in Monterrey, the birthday girl was Benjamin Arellano´s daughter, along with the video they found an agenda with several addresses and the phone number of a private school, the same school Benjamin´s daughter attended in San Pedro Garza Garcia.

Benjamin remained in the USA during this time; he travelled from San Diego, California to San Antonio, Texas, where he would meet with his wife and children from time to time.

Benjamin´s wife was able to discover the surveillance operation and warned Benjamin, she immediately prepared herself to leave San Pedro and head to Mexico City, unknown to her was the fact that she was unable to get rid of the GAFE´s surveillance. Two months after arriving at Mexico City, Ruth Corona (Benjamins´s wife) bought a house in Puebla under the fake name of Maria Garcia Romo.

Manuel Martinez kept delivering money to Ruth Corona, his mistake was to use the same vehicle in San Pedro, Mexico City and Puebla, he was soon recognized, “La Mojarra” was now under surveillance too.

On March 8th, Benjamin Arellano finally arrived at his wife´s new home, he had received reports telling him the GAFE´s were gone, they weren´t.

Just when Benjamin was about to go to bed, a group of Special Forces raided his house, Benjamin had a .38 handgun with him but was unable to use it as he was quickly subdued by the Special Forces.

Benjamin was questioned by the Army on his own house, there he had an altar honoring Ramon, his father and Fabian Martinez aka “El Tiburon”, his captors showed him a pictured of Ramon´s body which he immediately recognized.

Just like this, the once almighty Tijuana Cartel leaders were gone, Ramon was dead and Benjamin was in prison, both Mexican and American Governments rushed to claim the end of the Tijuana Cartel, in less than one month both heads were taken out and nobody believed the other brothers would be able to take care of the Cartel.

Up to this moment Tijuana had ties with the Italian Mafia, the Colombian Cartels, the Japanese Yakuza and the Chinese triads, with Benjamin gone, all this was at stake.

Benjamin Arellano at the moment of his arrest in Puebla, Mexico.

For decades, Ismael Zambada Garcia aka “El Mayo” was able to keep a low profile, even today, there´s not much known about him, his fame is just a small fraction of that of “El Chapo”, his power however, is not.

Zambada Garcia began at a very early age in the drug business, like many other drug lords, he began on the bottom and steadily grew to become of of the world’s biggest drug dealers.

By 2000, his name was known all over Sinaloa; even so, the Federal Government had failed to act against him, or his organization. Prior to the escape of “El Chapo”, Zambada was considered a member of the Juarez Cartel, he allies with them after the Arellano Felix brothers got him out of Tijuana. After Amado Carrillo´s death, he became more independent, the problems with Amado´s successor began as soon as the news of his death were known, drug lords such as Arturo Beltran Leyva aka “El Barbas”, Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno aka “El Azul” and Zambada himself felt they owed their respect and loyalty to Amado, but no one else.

Vicente Carrillo wasn´t felt as a good leader for the Juarez Cartel and soon the frictions began, the arrival of “El Chapo” in 2001 just made things worse.

In 2002, Ismael Zambada was included in the Kingpin Act by President Bush.

“El Chapo” was by then considered the leader of the (then small) Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquin had a plan to change that. When “El Chapo” escaped prison, he already had big plans for his Cartel, with the help and protection of the Beltran Leyva brothers and Zambada, Guzman quickly recovered the power he once had, he began by allying himself with the Juarez Cartel; his plan included using Juarez as an entry point for his drugs into the US, at first “El Chapo” paid taxes to the Carrillo Fuentes family, but this wouldn´t last long. His lieutenants began skipping payments, working for themselves and hiding from the Juarez people. This caused small frictions but Guzman always told Carrillo he would take care, they thought it was no big deal back then.

With this union, a new group was created, the Sinaloa Federation was born, the most prominent cartel (Juarez) had allied themselves with the most notorious fugitive (Chapo), the idea behind this (at least, what was told to the Juarez Cartel) was to overcome the weakened Tijuana Cartel and to fight for Tamaulipas, then believed to be plazas without a real leader, the consequences of this actions are still felt today all over Mexico.

"Azul", "Mayo", "Barbas", "Viceroy", "Chapo", "Nacho".

By mid-2002 many expected a huge rise in violence in Tijuana, but it didn´t happen, the Government expected a full offensive by Sinaloa/Juarez but it simply didn´t happen. The truth is Sinaloa had their sights in another plaza: Nuevo Laredo.

By 2001, after “El Chapo” escaped from prison, his main goal was to monopolize the drug trade, that´s the idea behind the Sinaloan Federation, in order to do this, the Sinaloan Federation decided to get a Nuevo Laredo for them, after the fall of Juan Garcia Abrego, the Gulf Cartel appeared to be dismantled, but it wasn´t, a young newcomer was in the process of rebuilding it, his name was Osiel Cardenas Guillen, in the Sinaloan Federation nobody had heard of him before. At the time, the Milenio cartel (Valencia brothers-Michoacan) was the major force in Nuevo Laredo, a gang known as Los Chachos served as their enforcers.

In February 2002, Osiel Cardenas asked permission to Jose Dionisio Garcia aka “El Chacho” to smuggle 2 tons of Cocaine through Nuevo Laredo in exchange for a “tax”.

The drugs left Matamoros in 3 armored vehicles, under the surveillance of Eduarco Costilla aka “El Coss” and a man named Heriberto Lazcano aka “Z-3”.

According to a former CDG member, Costilla was to meet with the Federal Investigations Agency commander in Nuevo Laredo to discuss the terms under which the cocaine was to be smuggled. The commander however, tried to arrest them. The commander and his people were easily neutralized by Lazcano and his people but “El Coss” gave the order to let them go.
When the CDG operatives left the scene, the Federal Agents chased them resulting in a shootout between the people from Osiel and the Federal Agents who were aided by local police. The CDG operatives were able to escape after they blocked the road with a pick up truck.

After this treason, Osiel was enraged, he ordered his team of hit men known as “Los Zetas” to reunite in a safe house, there he ordered them to take Nuevo Laredo for him once and for all.

El Chacho wouldn´t live much more, on May of that year he was kidnapped by Los Zetas in Monterrey and severely tortured, his death body was left in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas.

This would be the beginning of another war for a plaza, Armando Valencia planned on sending 200 men to recover Nuevo Laredo, he was aided by Arturo Beltran Leyva who recruited as his enforcer a young man from Laredo, Texas named Edgar Valdez Villarreal.

The war for Nuevo Laredo exploded in full force, the Sinaloan Federation used a lot of their resources to gain control of Nuevo Laredo but they failed. Their mistake was to underestimate Osiel Cardenas, his army of hit men was too much for the Sinaloan hit men, The war ended(briefly) after Osiel Cardenas met with Arturo Beltran Leyva, then the criminal leader in Nuevo Leon, they both agreed to cease fire and respect their respective plazas. Osiel would pull out from Monterrey if Arturo left Nuevo Laredo.

Osiel Cardenas Guillen aka "El Mata Amigos", former leader of CDG.

On August 2002, ZETA magazine founder, Jesus Blancornelas wrote about a new incursion in Tijuana by other cartels, this time they didn´t came from Sinaloa, but from Juarez and Nuevo Laredo, he wrote about how drug shipments were arriving from cities like Ciudad Juarez and Nuevo Laredo, and how people from those cities were being executed in Tijuana, the operation had no logic, why would someone travel all the way from Juarez or Nuevo Laredo to Tijuana to smuggle drugs when they had their own lucrative plazas? One theory supports the idea of sending “test” shipments to learn the plaza.

This incursion was short lived, it just wasn´t worth it for them, the Tijuana Cartel still had very strong hold on the city and they were losing a lot of operatives and drugs for nothing. Just like the Federation underestimated Osiel in Nuevo Laredo, CDG underestimated CAF in Baja California. Tijuana had a new leader and soon everybody would hear about him.

Popular sticker found on vechicles in Tijuana.


While everyone believed the end for the Tijuana Cartel had arrived, a new leader had arrived at Tijuana, Francisco Javier, the youngest of the Arellano Felix brothers, was ready to fill up the hole left by his brothers.

The story of the Arellano Felix brother´s is somehow unique in the way that they were rich before they began selling drugs, an example of this is Francisco Javier´s wealth since he was 14, at that age he became the legal owner of several properties, including 2 mansions and commercial plazas. The Arellano Felix family had a prosperous way before their days in Tijuana, this helped them blend easily on Tijuana´s rich neighborhoods. 

Francisco Javier had always been under the shadows of his brothers, he began his criminal career in the early 90´s, after his life was spared by Joaquin Guzman´s hit men in 1993, “El Tigrillo” as he was known, began recruiting a team of hit men and bodyguards for the Cartel leaders, 

After a failed attempt at killing Hector “El Guero” Palma on March 3rd, 1994, and his arrest by State Police after the shootout, his brothers took him out of Mexico, on his book “El Cartel”, Jesus Blancornelas narrates how Ramon was angry at Francisco Javier´s addiction, he went all the way to kill those who sold or gave drugs to him, “El Tigrillo” was sent among other places, to Thailand, there it is said he began practicing Muay Thai and this helped him leave behind his addiction, this, coupled with his new liking of lifting weights, got him the new nickname of “El Conan”.

In 2002, after Ramon´s death, many jumped ships to Sinaloa, one of those was Gilberto Higuera Guerrero aka “El Gilillo” or “El Gallo” who was in charge of the plaza of Mexicali, Higuera Guerrero had connections all over Mexico and Colombia, his brother, Ismael, was for years the main importer of Colombian Cocaine for the Tijuana Cartel, his contacts with high level members of the Mexican Army, especially on the 28th Infantry Battalion, in Baja California, gave him the nickname “El 28”.

Francisco Javier sent a group of men to retake Mexicali, but the hold “El Gilillo” had on the plaza was too strong.

With many of the old members changing sides, Francisco took the decision to give new blood to the Cartel, his inner circle consisted of young men he met at Tijuana´s discotheques while partying, one of those your men was his brother-in-law Jorge Briseño Lopez aka “El Cholo”, Briseño steadily grew in power inside the Cartel, climbing from a simple go-getter to a cell leader, at first, many attributed this to his relationship with “El Tigrillo”, but soon he would gain fame by his own “merits”.

The new generation, as Francisco Javier called his team, was comprised of then unknowns such as Manuel Diez Castillo aka “El Buda”, Jorge Briseño Lopez aka “El Cholo”, Arturo Heredia Villarreal aka “El Nalgon” and his brother Amado Villarreal Heredia aka “El Gordo”, Marco Antonio Garcia Simental aka “El Cris” (brother of “El Teo”), former “Narco-Junior” member Saul Montes de Oca Morlett aka “El Ciego”, Victor Magno Escobar aka "El Pareja" or "El Matapolicias" (Cop killer), a young man named Luis Fernando was also with him most of the time. 

For a time, a relative peace prevailed in Tijuana, Francisco Javier was able to maintain control of a large part of the Cartel and his dominion of Tijuana was unquestionable, many knew him and recognized when he was out partying, his entourage grew bigger every time and began getting attention, this however, didn´t matter to Francisco, all the made-to-order corridos about him and the “New Generation” are proof of that.

The new leadership had arrived, but with as with any new leadership, new contenders also appeared for the throne. The war for Tijuana would soon prove to be far from over.

Top: "Tigrillo", "Cholo", "Nalgon"; Bottom: "Matapolicias", "Gordo", "P1".

To be continued...

Camarena's Killer: Caro Quintero Ordered Arrested and Extradited

Posted: 15 Aug 2013 09:19 AM PDT

Good luck locating him

A Mexican judge on Wednesday ordered the arrest of notorious drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero -- who was freed last week on a technicality -- after receiving a US extradition request.
US authorities were outraged  by the surprise release of Caro Quintero, who had served just 28 years of a 40-year sentence for the abduction, torture and killing of a US drug agent in 1985.

The 60-year-old, once a senior figure in a now-defunct cartel, was convicted of killing the US Drug Enforcement Agency's Enrique Camarena and his Mexican pilot Alfredo Zavala.
But on August 7 a judge in the western state of Jalisco ordered his release, and Caro Quintero has gone missing since he left prison.
Kikis son, daughter in law and grandsons

The federal judge accepted the request from the US government, saying Caro Quintero was wanted for "various offenses" in the state of California, the Mexican attorney general's office said.

If and when Caro Quintero is detained, US authorities will have 60 days to submit a formal extradition request, it added.

The US National Security Council had said Sunday it was "deeply concerned" by Caro Quintero's release and feared another individual connected to the Camarena killing could also be set free.

Mexican Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade downplayed the dispute over the release, saying it would not affect relations with Washington because both governments opposed the court ruling, which he said should be "revised."

Caro Quintero was a leading figure in the Guadalajara Cartel. The now-defunct organization was one of the early Mexican drug mafias that linked up with Colombian groups to smuggle cocaine and other drugs into the United States.
Source:Global Post

San Diego cartel associate sentenced

Posted: 14 Aug 2013 03:07 PM PDT

San Diego cartel associate/lieutenant sentenced

Referred to as an 'underboss', in the complaint against him, Mario Escamilla, aka 'Unico', answered directly to Armando Villareal Herdia, 'Gordo', who presumably answered directly to Fernando Sanchez Arellano, 'El Ingeniero', the heir of the Arellano Felix dynasty.

31 year old Escamilla was sentenced quietly nearly 3 years after his arrest during Operation Luz Verde, a Cross Border Task Force, OCDETF multiple agency investigation.  One of the primary defendants in an indictment under RICO naming 43 persons, his sentence is the harshest yet.  District judge William Hayes handed down a sentence of 35 years, following Escamilla's January 2012 guilty plea to RICO conspiracy and drug trafficking charges, he won't be released until he is in his late sixties. 

Revolucion Nortena 'El Unico'

Most of Escamilla's immediate family were also indicted in 'Luz Verde', including his sister, two brothers, and father, who presumably faces charges in Mexico.  From Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach, blocks from where Armando and Arturo Villareal began their careers in the CAF, Revolucion Nortena, likely at his direction made a 2010 corrido, detailing 'El Unico', and his rise to power.  

His sentencing memorandum, by Assistant US Attorney Todd Robinson detailed Escamilla's involvement in three conspiracies to murder wayward and disobedient members of his organization, for 'frivolous reasons....including the theft of (relatively) small amounts of marijuana and 'disrespecting' senior leadership.  “Escamilla confirmed through his conduct in this case that he has no qualms about committing murder, no matter how trivial the justification is for doing so".  

District Judge William Q Hayes added, the conduct of Mr. Escamilla can only be described as aggravated . . . he conspired to murder three people in cold blood and he participated in the trafficking of a significant amount of methamphetamine, one of the most addictive and destructive controlled substances our society must deal with.”

The primary defendant  Armando Villareal, was arrested in Hermosillo, Sonora, in July 2011, and extradited in May 2012.  His trial is set to begin in October of 2013.  Details of Escamilla's plea agreement are unknown.  

Previous Related Stories:

Sources: San Diego Fox 5 News, US Justice News Release

Video Translated: Tuta Speaks.....again

Posted: 14 Aug 2013 12:39 PM PDT

Chivis Martínez for Borderland Beat

This is 'Tuta's' latest video, released a few days ago.  It is 30 minutes in length.  To translate the narrative to English takes more time than the typical video, so I am dividing the narrative translation into two parts.  Many of you have written requesting this video posted.  

In my opinion, he is evil, killing and extorting innocents.  Before you feel that he is saying things with merit, I agree with some of what he says, but I look for the motive and you can easily find it.  Community police are the enemy, he is annoyed he has been unable to "take them out" so he tries one of his rants to compromise the reputation of the community police.  
He is a deceitful liar, posing as a humble Mexican forced to do wrong.  Just stop and look at the young and old, men and women lemon workers killed, and what people say about CT and Tuta.  Tuta is educated.  He was a teacher.
As for being humble take a look at these photos of his children-humble? at bottom his son at top son on left jenny Rivera and his daughter.  You be the judge.
Here is part one. 

Due to the lack of attention from the media of the country, we are obliged to say the truth and why is the insistence of our brotherhood. We don’t want society to only hear what others say about us, that is why we give the reasons for our cause…

We are Templar!!!

Would you say your name and your duty?

Servando Gómez Martínez, La Tuta, El Profe

What is your responsibility?

I am responsible of the Knights Templar, the brotherhood or the organization of the Knights Templar. That is who I am.

What do you do here?

Well, right now, I am running away, I am forced to run away because of many things that are said about us. Who say those things? The television networks, that have made us criminals, state, nation and worldwide and criminals in an exaggerated way. Until now, that is the first time that someone come to interview us and which I believe wants to know what our organization is about. This organization that I preside has as others, a board and a congress.

 It is not done what I order or what I say. It is done what is believed, it is convenient to the interests of the majority of the people of the town. I excuse myself if we affect the interests of third parties. There are things in our code, our statutes that we can do and others that we can’t do and which are penalized with penalties that are from light to capital penalties, it depends on the magnitude of the mistake. We do many illicit things but there are things that we can do and others things that we can’t do. We can’t mess with the citizens, or the hard working people that work honestly.

 If you ask me if I am drug trafficker, we will get to parts where something will come out, but I want to clarify something, there are many people that do the same thing as our organization and who work transporting products to the U.S, they can do whatever they want but the only thing is that, here, we don’t let “the ice”  be consumed (they don’t do drugs). The prostitutes are a necessary wrongness, if it didn’t exist, there would be many rapes.

 Someone has to regulate the selling of drugs, as well as someone wants to legalize the marijuana. I haven’t known anyone that has died for smoking marijuana or that has cancer (from Marijuana). On the other hand, wine, beer, tobacco and cigarettes are advertised on television networks. That is business and even though those substances are harmful they are advertised.   People die of cirrhosis and cancer because of smoking and still (cigarettes) are sold (that are harmful). Probably there are other interests; you know there are other interests of foreign enterprises. I ask the television networks to investigate and say what is the truth, not what they are forced to say.
What is what is really going on in Michoacán?
We believe in what the President of the Republic said, a few days ago, is right. It should be established a Mexican state of right. The disturbance of the country is not caused by the actual government. There was a party that lasted 12 years with the power and that in those 12 years, they could not organize things. They put themselves on television; they don’t have democracy and they even say so, I have the power and I take this person out, and you know what I am referring to.
So it is necessary to establish a state of right in the Mexican Republic. If the Knights Templar is the one obstructing, well then, let the municipal, state or federal police do their job. If someone says that state and municipal police are working for us then, let the federation do the job but with respect. Here the only one to blame is my humble self and the people that work with me (Tuta and the Templar). There is no reason to affect the people of the town. Everybody knows each other, so why do they come and hit people. People say they don’t know us because they are afraid. Why don’t they do careful operations to get us?
Why send in all those armed people and police corporations to offend and aggravate the people. Why? Tourism and investment are scared away. They come to steal and that is not told about. Why don’t the television media ask the villages what is going on? We think that we have the concept clear that we are servants and not to make use of the services and we don’t consider ourselves to be scourges. The fingers of the hands are not equal, just as it is not the same the members of the family. That is what happens in the fraternity.
We would like that all of our boys were refined and prepared but which part of the society has been concerned and say: I am an attorney, architect, professor,  whoever, I want to collaborate with you so that this will get better and have progress for peace and tranquility. Violence generates violence. All effect has a cause and all cause have an effect. This has logic, we are a group; we are criminals, right because that is how we are categorized by the television network.
We are a group and we are in Michoacán because we are watching over the interests of the Michoacán people. It has been said by the television networks and by the community guards that we steal and extort and I don’t doubt that some of our boys do that do it foolishly, but the administration do not accept it. We don’t have a magic wand to enchant everyone to stay still until we tell them or inject in their heads what is wrong and right.
Most of our people lack education this is true,  but no one has worried about supporting us. Well, why do they have to support us, crooked or straight, we are a necessary wrongness and we are here. We are not only in the municipalities of Michoacán, Tierra Caliente or the Mountains. We are in the entire Republic and not only my group; there are many groups. There are foreign people that want to take over the country. I am going to say this with all respect; we have an immeasurably invasion of Chinese. Probably it convenes to the interests of the corporate or I don’t know but they are here and they also have mafias.
I am not considered as a mafia, but the media has put us in that level and it is hard work to refute it when the media has the power of reporting it worldwide. What we say does not count but here we are. Ask around, ask the villagers if we are doing right or wrong. I ask the communication media to be professionals, investigate, not only what they are forced to say.
Who is responsible for the violence in Michoacán?
We all are part responsible, the Knights Templar, the Zetas, who aren’t in Michoacán nor the Jalisco Cartel, but they manage the community guards and are behind them and to prove it, see the armament that the community guards handle, and see where they started from, from the state of Jalisco and Colima heading this way. They are advancing. We all are part of it, some for defending ourselves and others for attacking us.

Some networks have said, two or three days ago, “here are some former Templar” oh some former Templar and they are in the town of Aguililla, arranging some sand sacks, forming bunkers for protections in case there is a confrontation. We are not going to confront anybody, if we are not being attacked and we clearly said it on a video. If the community guards keep advancing and PFP come escorting them, we are going to do our job for defending our home. We all have the right and they as well.
There are many ways to fix things but they did it the wrong way. How is it possible that an ex Templar appear trying to clean his record when he is admitting publicly that he is or was a hit man. There are two man that appear on the video; the other one also says that he was a gunman, and there are some video shoots where PFP and soldiers come out. Ten, why isn’t the state of right established with them, arrest them and turn them in to the corresponding institution. Why are people armed and face covered?
 My boys are face covered also but I am already categorized as a criminal and I know that people are looking for me but it is not my intention to harm people; all I want is to watch our state from Zetas, Jalisco Cartel and all other groups that want to take over the state to kidnap and rape or to attempt against the primarily rights of the human beings. We are against that. Probably our boys had done things wrong but they have received their punishment. Why haven’t the former Templar that come out on television been arrested.
Who gave power to so many people that are armed and face covered? That we have daily extorted, that is a vile lie, ask where that idea came from; investigate. It was the contribution of many avocado harvesters, we didn’t demand any contribution. They wanted to contribute so that we watched over their interest because they didn’t even trust the federation, or the state police. There were many kidnapping; they invited us to protect them, they came up with the idea of contributing for our boys, our organization. We have to pay our people, they need to eat. They offered to pay, we have never extorted and we will never ask anybody for a dime for anything.
What about the accusations against you?
What type of accusations?
The accusations the police or the community guards say about you?
Well, the police say we are criminals. We have an old dispute exclusively with the federal police and it all started with Genaro Garcia Luna, who I think, will be imprisoned, the jails that he built before me. I hope it will never happen to me, I will be very careful and I know that I am a criminal but there are people worse than me that have protection because they work with the government. Wasn’t it said that impunity and immunity had ended? How many testimonies and witnesses exist against several elements of the last government administration? Where are they, why hasn’t there been a state of right (state of right referring to a trial) against them?
Why have the community guards have to have their faces covered? And from municipality to municipality when the certified police of the municipalities have to have an official order to move from the town hall to watch over a dance and if they go by a military check point, they have to show their order. Everybody knows that, so why do the community guards are doing that freely and the PFP are leading the convoy.
They even drive white buses with people dressed on white clothing and we don’t even know who they are. Investigate what is going on with the community guards. What problems they have in La Ruana and Aguililla? Community leaders are fighting over the share of possessions they have stolen. Ask around the villagers that have been displaced, so you can see. We haven’t displaced anyone; the only ones we have displaced are those who are part of the Zetas or the CJNG.


9 die in Sinaloa state

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 05:10 PM PDT

UPDATED with information about the new death toll and the names of six of the seven victims in Fuerte

A total of nine individuals have been found shot to death in Sinaloa state Saturday, according to Mexican news accounts.

A news reprot which appeared in the online edition of El Diario de Coahuila said that the victims were found near the village of Jahuara Dos in El Fuerte municipality in the Mexican sierras Saturday mid morning.

Three of the victims were stripped of clothing.  All of the victims had been bound hand and foot, and had been tortured and shot once in the head.

According to a wire dispatch which appeared in El Imparcial news daily, six  of the dead were identified as Patricio Castro, Cervantes Efren Espinoza, Joshue Eleazar Cervantes Medina, Ruben Angulo Flores, Joel Vega Gaxiola and Juan carlos Milan Bojorquez.  All the victims were listed as residents of Guasave municipality. 

According to official sources, the victims had been kidnapped over the course of two weeks in northern Sinaloa state.

Two weeks ago three other victims of executions were found in the same municipality.  El Fuerte and its northern neighbor Choix municipality are considered to be Beltran-Leyva territory.

More than a year ago Choix municipality was the location of intergang warfare between groups aligned with the Sinaloa Cartel against other drug gangs including elements from the Juarez Drug Cartel and Los Zetas.  Over that two week period a total of 57 individuals were killed in intergang fighting and in confrontations with security forces.

Two other individuals were killed in Culican municipality in Sinaloa state Saturday, according to the report in El Imparcial.
  •  Cristian Vizcarra was shot to death in Benito Juarez colony Saturday afternoon while on his way home.
  •  An unidentified man was found shot to death in Centenario neighborhood in the Barrancos sector.
 Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for and He can be reached at

Five die in southern Chihuahua

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 04:49 AM PDT

By Chris Covert

A total of five individuals were killed in ongoing drug related violence in southern Chihuahua state, according to Mexican news accounts.

A report which appeared in the online edition of El Diario de Juarez, three men were shot to death in a home invasion in Guadalupe y Calvo municipality Saturday.

According to the report a number of armed suspects entered a residence in Mesa de San Rafael demanding weapons.  The occupants of the residence handed over three weapons: one AK-47 rifle, one 9mm pistol and one .22 caliber rifle.  Armed suspects then dragged the victims from the residence and shot and killed the three.

The victims were identified as Pedro Aviles Orozco 22, Raymundo Ponce Rios, 53 and Nahum Escarcega Aviles, 36.

Reforma de Mesa is the location where six unidentified men were shot to death in a massive shootout that took place two weeks ago.  According to Mexican news accounts at the time, the firefight was so intense almost 400 rounds from AK-47 rifles were fired.  Several buildings and vehicles in the area were destroyed by fire as well.

Meanwhile, also in Guadalupe y Calvo municipality, one unidentified  Mexican Army soldier was shot to death and two more were wounded when armed suspects executed an ambush against a military unit.

The incident took place in an area known as Nuestra Señora on a road that connects Guadalupe y Calvo and Baborigame, according to a separate news account which appeared on the website of El Diario de Juarez.  The army wounded were air evacuated to Chihuahua city for medical attention.

About 40 days ago five members of a family were ambushed and killed by armed suspects along a stretch of road between Guadalupe y Calvo and Barboringame, according to previous news accounts.

The news report said that security agencies were attempting to gain the upper hand against criminal groups which operate in the area.  Past news accounts have indicated that criminal activity such as kidnapping and gang recruitment is so bad in some areas that ground transportation service  between some towns have either been suspended or bus drivers refuse to take on male passengers.

The fifth victim, this time in Bocoyna municipality, was found shot to death.  Robertino Avila Justo was found near Creel, where the victim and another traveling companion were detained at a criminal checkpoint.  The companion was released, but the victim was killed.  A state autopsy report  said the victim had been tortured prior to being executed.

Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for and  He can be reached at

Self Defense Groups Extend To the Center of the Country Due To Insecurity and Corruption

Posted: 10 Aug 2013 11:01 PM PDT

The first self defense group in Tlaxcala
Photo: Cuartoscuro

Federal and state authorities have yet to find a solution to respond to the people of Michoacán and Guerrero, where insecurity has prompted the creation of self-defense groups, but in Tlaxcala, a state where there hadn’t been any news of a citizen’s front, the state’s first Community Police has emerged.

Yesterday, citizens of the municipal of Papalotla armed themselves with machetes, sticks, and pipes to protect its people and to stand up against crime and government corruption.

Earlier this year, self-defense groups were registered in at least eight states.  Michoacán and Guerrero are the states with the largest number of communities with armed civilians and that register more clashes and violence.

But far from being solved, the problem—albeit legal—where citizens arm themselves and set up checkpoints, has spread.

In recent weeks, the situation in Michoacán has prompted federal and state officials to meet to discuss the crisis of insecurity and violence in the state.

According to the governor of Michoacán, Jesús Reyna, the meeting built “a common agenda that benefits Michoacános”.  However, not even a week had passed when the Mexican Army, State Police, and Self-Defense Groups of Guerrero and Michoacán were in moments of tension, which caused roadblocks and military operations.

On Monday, residents of El Pericón in Guerrero detained federal and state officials due to a lack of compromises with authorities, and the group of soldiers who remained in the town, after reaching an agreement with Governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero and the Secretariat of the Interior.

In Aquila, Michoacán, the Army dismantled a self defense group for arresting a soldier.  After the rescue of their fellow soldier and the disarmament of the community, the military left the area.  As they left, the citizens, who complained of the authorities’ indolence to their security problems, returned to their posts.

Michoacán has turned into a war zone in recent weeks.  In seven days, according to official figures, at least 42 people have died in clashes. Before the violence, Enrique Peña Nieto said that his administration would stand up to the problem and support the authorities of Michoacán in recovering territories and “rebuild the social fabric” in Michoacán.

“The purpose is to support the state government, but also backing and supporting the Federal government, especially in dealing with the complication and the complexity involved in rebuilding the social fabric of Michoacán”, said the president.

However, last Tuesday, the coordinator for the members of the National Action Party (PAN) in the Congress of Michoacán, Alfonso Martínez Alcázar, denounced the lack of attention of the President Enrique Peña Nieto about the crisis in the state and for not having visited the state in the eight months of his Presidency. 

Papalota, Tlaxcala. With sticks and tubes, they have armed their community police.
Photo: Cuartoscuro

Tlaxcala and Its First Self Defense Group

Yesterday, residents of Papalotla, Tlaxcala, formed the first self defense group in the state in order to protect the people as well as motorcycle taxi drivers, to fend off crime and corruption in the operations that the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation performs.

Armed with sticks and machetes, around 60 civilians formed the police, who along with residents, protested against the operations conducted by the state government, as they have been assaulted during attacks.

The local press indicates that the conflict has lasted over three years and according to the leader of the motorcycle taxis, Mariela Pérez Rojano, they have been constantly repressed by the security forces, allegedly abusing their authority.

“That’s why the community police are to defend all of the people, the motorcycle taxi drivers and the people who use the motorcycle taxis, because more violence occurs with the execution of operations”, said one witness.

Tired of this situation, they declare that it was necessary in order to ensure the protection of the users and operators of the motorcycle taxis, through the use of the community police.

They said that the municipal and state governments have been unable to create jobs and security and that is another reason why motorcycle taxi workers have found that job as a means of providing for their families.

Source: Sin Embargo

How KKiki Camarena's Murder Nearly Brought Down the Mexican Government and Economy

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 09:43 PM PDT

by "DD" for Borderland Beat

From Tijuana to Brownsville, Texas, along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexican border, everything on wheels moved at a lentissimo pace last week, when it moved at all. At the point known locally as the "world's busiest border crossing," between Tijuana and San Ysidro, Calif., the usual 20-minute delays on the 22- lane northbound approach plaza dragged on for as long as seven hours.  
The number of U.S. motorists heading south had dropped dramatically. Howls of pain rose from local businessmen as the supply of vacationing gringo customers dried up.
U.S. Customs agents at every one of the 15 official crossings into Mexico carried out an excruciating campaign of car-trunk by car-trunk inspection known as Operation Camarena. They were acting on direct orders from Customs Service Commissioner William von Raab, who in turn was responding to an appeal from Francis M. Mullen Jr., head of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The ostensible aim of the exercise: to discover the whereabouts of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena Salazar, 37, who was abducted by four machine-gun-toting men on the streets of Guadalajara on Feb. 7, 1985. 

No one seriously believed that Camarena, an eleven-year DEA veteran, would turn up in the search. Instead, the border operation was the Reagan Administration's way of trying to force the Mexican government of President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado to step up its hunt for the missing agent. 

 Camarena was stationed in Guadalajara (pop. 3 million), a major center of the proliferating drug industry. He was kidnaped in broad daylight, less than two blocks from the U.S. consulate. Camarena's abduction was not reported for 18 hours; bystanders may have logically thought that they were watching a drug arrest. Five days after his disappearance, the U.S. embassy in Mexico City offered a $50,000 reward for information on Camarena's whereabouts. 

(Part one of a TV miniseries about the Kiki Cameranis story is posted below along with a link to the other 5 episodes). 

U.S. suspicion in the kidnaping focused on two drug-trafficking families, headed by Miguel Felix Gallardo and Rafael Caro Quintero who has been in the news lately because of the siezure by the US of properties held by his family.
Rafael Caro Quintero detained 

In private, U.S. officials complained that Mexico was not doing enough in the hunt for Camarena. From Washington, Attorney General William French Smith sent a cable of complaint to Mexican authorities, expressing "frustration and disappointment" at the pace of the investigation.
Other messages flew back and forth between Ambassador Gavin and Mexican officials, including President de la Madrid.   President Reagan and President de la Madrid talked about it in a phone coversation.  (I don't know who called who). 

In Washington, Ambassador Jorge Espinosa de los Reyes presented a formal note to the State Department expressing his government's "profound concern" at the border operation. The Customs campaign, said the note, was "incongruous with the spirit of cooperation" that exists between the two countries. Meanwhile, the Reagan Administration's controversial Ambassador to Mexico, John Gavin, returned to Washington for consultations. 

High on the list of Gavin's topics was whether to issue a State Department travel advisory that would warn American tourists to use caution when visiting Mexico. 
Such an advisory would damage Mexico's $2 billion tourist industry, the country's second- largest foreign exchange earner after petroleum. 

U.S. unhappiness in the Camarena affair inflamed another increasingly sore point in bilateral relations, the safety of ordinary Americans south of the border. 

Mexico's economic woes have also made those tourists attractive targets for criminals. Last year there were 627 reported incidents of violent crime against American visitors. Four Americans were murdered, and four were raped.
From The DEA Wall of Honor Killed in the Line of Duty
In the vicinity of Guadalajara and the resort town of Puerto Vallarta, one American was murdered, eight were robbed, and eleven were burglarized during the month of January. In the first week of February three American women were sexually molested, one in the bathroom of a luxury restaurant. 

Since December, seven Americans, including the DEA agent, have disappeared. Benjamin and Patricia Mascarenas of Ely, Nev., and Dennis and Rose Carlson, of Redding, Calif., all Jehovah's Witnesses, are believed to have been abducted while distributing evangelical literature. On the night of Jan. 30, John Walker and Alberto Radelat failed to return to Walker's Guadalajara apartment after they went out for a drink. 

The bodies of Walker and Radelat were found in a 6 ft. well in the San Isidro Mazatepec Park.  Walker was from Minneapolis and Radelat was from Fort Worth, Texas. 

Mexican drug kingpin, Rafael Caro Quintero, was charged  with killing Walker and Radelat after they stumbled into a private party in a Guadalajara restaurant Jan. 30. 

Caro Quintero was also  charged and convicted of  murdering U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena Salazar, who was kidnaped Feb. 7 in Guadalajara. 

A tip from witness Francisco Tejeda led police to the bodies. Earlier statements by Tejeda, who also was being held in the Camarena case, led to arraignment of Caro Quintero in the Walker and Radelat killings. 

Tejeda said Caro Quintero was dining with a group of people in La Langosta restaurant, a hangout for drug traffickers, when Walker and Radelat walked in. 

He said Caro Quintero ordered the two men seized and taken to a restaurant storeroom, where they were stabbed with ice picks to force them to say why they had entered the restaurant. Then they were beaten and taken to the well to be buried, Tejeda said. 

The U.S. ambassador to Mexico, John Gavin, earlier told reporters that Caro Quintero may have mistaken the men for U.S. drug agents. 

Walker had been living in Guadalajara for nearly a year doing research for a novel on the Mexican drug underworld. Radelat was visiting him. 

Tourism,  accounts for 8% of Mexico's foreign exchange earnings, and any pressure by the U.S. to steer visitors away from the country would be very troublesome to the economy 

The U.S.-Mexico fracas could hardly have come at a worse time for the Mexican government, which already has a surfeit of problems. Burdened by a $96 billion foreign debt, the second largest in the Third World, after Brazil's, The International Monetary Fund was threatening to withhold $1.2 billion in credits from Mexico unless the country sets economic performance targets that were more to the IMF's liking. That possibility in turn could delay a complicated $48.5 billion refinancing of Mexico's debt by private, mainly U.S banks. 

Atop all that travail, Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party is enduring one of its most serious political challenges in 56 years. The De la Madrid administration, which came to office in 1982 amid promises of "moral renovation," is facing a popular backlash, particularly in the north, where riots against alleged P.R.I. election fraud have sputtered for weeks.
Increasingly, Mexican ire is directed at a P.R.I. legacy of corruption, graft and lawlessness that De la Madrid's new broom has been unable to sweep away. Says Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California at San Diego: "This is the most important and crucial political year since 1968." That was when Mexican troops shot at student demonstrators in the streets of the capital, killing more than 200. 

Mexico's economic fragility, the de-facto shutting down the border crossings, the threat of a US State Dept. travel warning in effect saying "stay out of Mex.", the unraveling of bi-lateral relations between the US/Mx., and the "mini rebellion" in the north of Mex. against the corruption of the PRI government are a study in unintended consequences that created a perfect storm.   

It kind of reminds me of the Cuban missle crisis when a wrong move by either party could have resulted in disastrous consequences - crashing of the Mexican economy and possibly the fall of the Mexican goverment, both having dire consequences on the US economy. 

Buy Mexico arrested and convicted Rafael Caro Quintero for the murder of "Kiki  Camarena and sentenced Caro Quintero to 40 years in the pen and Bill Clinton negotiated a bailout (loan) to help Mexico out of its financial crisis.  Mexico repaid that loan in full ahead of schedule. 

Disaster avoided.
This is the Drug Wars Movie of the Camarena history  part 1.
 other installments are on following page



Chicago: Anatomy of a Heroin Ring

Posted: 10 Aug 2013 02:28 PM PDT

BorderlandBeat.Com posted on BB Forum by Mik

Anatomy of a heroin ring by Nick Dumke for the Chicago Reader

The DEA estimates that 80 percent of the heroin and cocaine sold in Chicago originates with the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico

Dana Bostic's gang-affiliated west-side drug organization employed dozens of residents, served thousands of customers, established ties with Mexican drug cartels, and relied on violence to stay in business......
At first  it seemed like just another senseless shooting in an already violent summer. A little after 4 AM on Monday, August 18, 2008, two men were fired on as they sat in a Mercedes outside the Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's. By the time police arrived four minutes later, the Mercedes was on its way to Stroger Hospital.

The 29-year-old driver had been shot five times; the passenger, his younger brother, was declared dead on arrival at Stroger. From the little information police were able to piece together at the time, the slaying seemed to have stemmed from an altercation at Excalibur, the popular nightclub a couple blocks away.

Area residents and bar patrons expressed alarm, noting that shootings don't usually happen in low-crime River North, and certainly not at heavily trafficked tourist stops like the landmark McDonald's.
To some, it was the latest sign that bloodshed seemed to be spreading everywhere that summer—even the Taste of Chicago had been marred by a deadly shooting as thousands of people left the fireworks show on the Fourth of July. The city was well on its way to more than 500 murders for the year, the highest total since 2003. Even more troubling, police were able to identify suspects in only about a third of them.

The slaying outside the McDonald's would remain one of the open cases. What led to the gunfire—and how it was connected to a string of other violent acts around the city—wouldn't become evident for another two years, after an investigation led deep into a highly profitable heroin ring on the west side that employed dozens of residents, served thousands of customers from around the midwest, and had ties to Mexican drug cartels.

What turned out to be most notable about the operation, though, was how typical it was. The DEA estimates that 80 percent of the heroin and cocaine sold in Chicago originates with the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico. Distributors here extend the cartel's reach by connecting with street gangs. 

The gangs, in turn, hasten the decline of distressed communities into open-air drug markets through their skillful use of product promotion, their ability to offer job opportunities where there are few, and their willingness, when necessary, to use violence to stay in business.

The survivor of the River North shooting had the attention of authorities even before he left the hospital. 

His name was Dana Bostic, and he was the older brother of Curtis Ellis, who'd been fatally shot in the seat next to him. 

Not long after Bostic was hospitalized, Mahogany Barbee, his longtime girlfriend, rushed in to see him.
The couple lived together with their children in suburban Aurora, not far from where she worked as a nurse's assistant. 

To her and the couple's friends and family, Bostic was loyal and generous, known for lending money when anyone was short and organizing block parties or boat outings for special occasions.

Police, though, knew him as "Bird," a big guy—6'2" and heavyset, with a large round face and a scar on his forehead—who was a longtime member of the New Breeds street gang based on Chicago's west side.

Investigators learned that earlier that night Bostic and his brother had been at Excalibur, where they'd scuffled with a group that included NBA player Tony Allen, a native west-sider who had just signed a new two-year, $5 million contract with the Boston Celtics.

It wasn't the first time Allen had been in a fight with members of the New Breeds. In 2005, he and several friends from the old neighborhood got into a confrontation at the White Palace Grill in the South Loop that ended with one man shot and another suffering a fractured eye socket.Allen was eventually acquitted of aggravated battery.

Bostic and his brother weren't involved in the 2005 fight, but friends of theirs were, including two men who sued Allen for damages in civil court. "There was some notoriety amongst his crew," Commander Joe Gorman, the former head of the Chicago Police Department's gang investigations section, recalled of Bostic. "Him and Tony Allen, there were some confrontations amongst those groups."

As police tried to find out more about the Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's shooting, Bostic received another visitor in the hospital: Maurice Davis, a fellow member of the New Breeds who'd grown up with Bostic and his brother. Davis was a tough character. Nicknamed Capone, he was 6'4" and weighed 235 pounds.
He was 22 at the time and had been selling drugs since he was 14, typically while high, since he smoked marijuana and used ecstasy every day. He'd been incarcerated for heroin possession and domestic battery, and had a girlfriend who was just 16. He was also a loyal soldier who was known to carry a gun.
Davis had hurried to the hospital as soon as he learned of Ellis's death. As he later recalled, Bostic didn't mince words about what had happened to his brother: "He just said Curt got shot in the head." And according to Davis, Bostic was just as direct about whom he considered responsible: the Takers, or Undertaker Vice Lords, whom the New Breeds had been at odds with for years. Bostic and Davis believed some of them were friends with Tony Allen and had played a role in the shooting in 2005 in addition to the one earlier that morning.

Bostic left the hospital a few hours after being admitted. That evening, according to Davis, he held a meeting in an apartment he rented for friends at 4019 W. Van Buren, a two-story brick building painted green with neat white trim, in a part of West Garfield Park known as K-Town because the north-south street names all start with K.
Bostic later denied being part of any of the gang's violent activity, but Davis's account of what happened at the meeting couldn't be more different. Davis said he and most of the other top members of their clique were present as Bostic issued unequivocal orders. "Bird said it was a green light on everybody," Davis recalled. "It's time to go to war . . . [on] whoever had something to do with Curt getting killed."

Everyone there knew that Bostic didn't tolerate dissent, according to Davis and others—stories had circulated for years about his willingness to hurt members of his own organization who stepped out of line.
He told the group that anyone who didn't want to be part of it needed to "get the fuck home," Davis recounted. Nobody did.
The New Breeds had been at the center of conflicts over shifting gang alliances and drug territory for years. The gang was formed in the 1980s when members of the Black Gangsters broke away from their leadership. But the splinter group soon became the more prominent, and within a decade the New Breeds swallowed up the BGs.

By the 1990s the New Breeds were notorious for their use of violence to protect heroin and crack territory, especially in vicious conflicts on the west side with factions of the Vice Lords. In 1996, 102 people were murdered in the 11th police district, which includes the neighborhoods of West Humboldt Park and East and West Garfield Park; that figure accounted for more than one of every eight murder victims in the entire city.
Even when the west-side homicide count began to drop in subsequent years, the drug markets remained in place. Police made thousands of arrests annually for the possession or delivery of crack and heroin, and federal authorities announced crackdowns on west-side drug operations run by the New Breeds every year from 2004 to 2007. Yet dealers continued to openly hawk their wares in communities crippled by poverty and disinvestment.
Bostic grew up in the middle of the west side's toxic drug landscape. He was three when his father was sent to prison. His mother's next long-term boyfriend—Curt Ellis's father—was bludgeoned to death. Bostic's mother sank into a heroin addiction and, by most accounts, frequently left her children to fend for themselves.
When Bostic was eight, state child welfare workers gave his grandmother custody of the kids, but she was overwhelmed by the 12 people crammed into her one-bedroom apartment. She died within the year. Bostic later said he could recall "regularly eating half a loaf of bread per day and nothing else."

Bostic sought refuge the first place he could find it—on the street, where neighborhood drug dealers served as mentors and caregivers, buying him pizza and teaching him how to earn his own spending money. He started selling marijuana at 12. A year later, he took an entry-level job in the heroin trade, making about $8 an hour to alert street dealers when police were in the area.

At age 14, Bostic was placed in a group home, where he said supervision was lax. He stopped going to school and, when he wasn't being held in a juvenile detention facility for carrying a gun and stealing a car, he moved up the hierarchy of the drug trade. At best, he was able to read at a grade school level.
In 2000, Bostic, then 20, was arrested near the corner of Pulaski and Gladys after police said they saw him selling a small baggie of crack. Bostic contested the charge, saying he was simply hanging out with a lifelong friend named Eleazar Alves. A county judge found Bostic guilty, but let him off with a year of probation.
It wasn't Bostic's first run-in with police—he'd previously been arrested for gambling, disorderly conduct, and unlawful use of a weapon. What was significant this time, though, was his mention of Alves. Known on the street as Boodro or Dro, Alves controlled drug sales in the blocksaround Van Buren and Pulaski, authorities and other dealers said. Bostic had become one of his top deputies, they alleged, with a reputation for securing territory through violence and intimidation.

Bostic has always denied the allegations—including in 2002, when he was charged with homicide for the slaying of a member of the rival Undertakers. The murder was one of 648 in Chicago that year, including 70 in the 11th District alone. The story is hard to piece together because of the lack of cooperation and shifting accounts of witnesses. It's a roadblock investigators encounter regularly, and the major reason so few murder cases are solved.

What's clear is that around 9 PM on May 19, 2002, a New Breed was shot in the leg in a vacant lot near Gladys and Pulaski. Later that night, a rival Undertaker was shot and killed about a mile away, on Kilpatrick. Bostic claimed he had an alibi that night: he was with one of his neighbors the whole time.

But she told police Bostic didn't come to her house until well after the Kilpatrick shooting. When police asked her to give a written statement, however, she changed her story and then declined to cooperate further.
A couple weeks later, a man who survived the Kilpatrick shooting told police the perpetrator was a guy everyone knew as "Bird" and identified Bostic in a photograph. The witness said he didn't share the information sooner because "he was afraid that 'Bird' or his gang would kill him," according to the police report.
The witness later recanted during the trial. Still, a Cook County judge found Bostic guilty of first-degree murder—but not for long. Bostic's attorney filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider in light of the shifting witness accounts, and the conviction was reversed.
The acquittal only enhanced Bostic's intimidating street reputation, according to authorities. And by that time, Bostic had a lot at stake that depended on it.
A year before the Undertaker slaying, Bostic's younger brother, Ellis, began recruiting Davis and other old friends to help run a drug operation headed by Boodro, Bostic's boss and mentor, at Van Buren and Pulaski.
They started working for the operation the way Bostic had been indoctrinated years earlier: keeping an eye out for cops. As they demonstrated their reliability, they were promoted to street sellers.
But within a year, Boodro was shot and killed at a block party. Friends and police say everyone understood that Bostic was taking over his drug operation.
Bostic quickly established his leadership style—and he didn't tolerate sloppy mistakes. Davis's cousin Ladonta Gill found that out the hard way. Gill was like the other members of the organization—he'd grown up in the neighborhood under the roughest of conditions. His father was out of the picture.
Gill's mother sold heroin and left his sister to care for him, except that his sister was a heroin addict who often disappeared, leaving him to spend the night by himself in the back of a truck. His grandmother was incarcerated for killing his aunt. Gill hung out on the
streets with Ellis and the other guys in the gang, who called him Bam. He started selling heroin when he was 16.
None of that inspired mercy when Gill reported being robbed of $400 in heroin proceeds that he owed the boss. "Bostic didn't believe me," Gill said. As punishment, Bostic broke Gill's hand with a baseball bat.
But Bostic also had a softer side. In 2001 he started dating Barbee, then 23, a fellow west-sider and a nurse's assistant who worked in the suburbs. Barbee had also grown up amid drugs, gangs, and violence—she recalled seeing several people killed near her home, and if she and family members wanted to go to the store, they frequently had to use the back door and alley to avoid fighting or gunfire on the street.
Two of her brothers had sold drugs and become leaders of the Unknown Vice Lords, but she had moved to the south side to get away from the life.
Barbee later said that Bostic initially told her he lived in Minnesota and was just back in town visiting. But as they spent more time together she realized that he was a drug dealer. "I noticed that Bird had money," she said, though "Bird hasn't had a job in the time I have known him."
Still, the couple moved in together, first in Berwyn and then in nicer homes ever farther from their old neighborhood—in Cicero, Woodridge, and finally Aurora. In December 2003, they had a baby girl. Barbee said she avoided talking to Bostic about his work, since it only led to fights, though she agreed to rent cars for him, and to register his Mercedes in her name.
And she recalled that after Bostic and his brother were shot at the McDonald's in 2008, a number of Bird's friends showed up at their home with guns. "They were standing outside the house to make sure nothing else happened," she said.
 After Ellis was killed, police heard murmurs that Bostic was planning retaliation.
"His half brother was 25," says Gorman, then the police department's top gang investigator. "We had information that he was going to kill 25 rivals for the killing of his half brother."
 But Bostic himself stayed away from the violence, allegedly instructing his underlings to get ready for war. And they did.
"I got me a gun," Davis later explained. He said several were stored in the gang's apartment at 4019 W. Van Buren. He then went and found one of the organization's street dealers—Cornelius Thomas, nicknamed Bunny—who was also an expert at stealing cars. Bunny knew the drill—he got the call every time his supervisors were preparing to do a drive-by shooting. Davis, Bunny, and several others drove around in Davis's blue Stratus looking for something suitably nondescript.

But along the way they got word that several Undertakers had been seen outside a store on Madison and Kostner. They sped over, and within minutes two of the men jumped out of the Stratus and began firing.
 No one was killed, and Davis and the others fled as police arrived.

But that wasn't the case three nights later, on August 21, 2008. That night, Davis got behind the wheel of his Stratus. He said Gill—the fellow New Breed whose hand Bostic had broken years earlier—was in the passenger seat, and other New Breeds trailed them in a stolen Impala. Gill, however, denied being there.
Davis said they cruised the west side looking for Undertakers, until finally they passed a guy they knew as D-Low—Davon Taylor, 27, the cousin of one of the guys who'd been in the fight at Excalibur. A woman was in the car with Taylor.
Davis did a U-turn and pulled up alongside Taylor at a light so he and his friends could make sure it was the right guy. Then they followed him to a gas station at Chicago and Laramie. When Taylor stepped out to fill up, Davis said he pulled up alongside him and instructed Gill to be careful not to hurt the woman. "I told him, 'Go on ahead,'" Davis said, but "'don't shoot the bitch.'"
A security camera captured footage of what happened next: a man in a white T-shirt casually stepped out of the Stratus, got a good look at Taylor, and then shot him once in the back and once in the head.
"He got back in the car, and we left," Davis said. He was careful not to speed or otherwise attract notice.
With his brother gone, Bostic promoted his brother-in-law Lee Floyd to serve as his second-in-command, according to friends and investigators. Bostic's lifelong friend Charles Cowart—whom everyone called Maniac—also took on more responsibility in making sure street dealers had enough product to sell. 

It's common for the leaders of drug organizations, from street gangs to cartels, to surround themselves with top aides who are family members or lifelong friends—people they can trust because of their blood ties and shared financial stake in the business.
It's also common for the chain of command to be broken by eruptions of violence.
On the evening of June 22, 2009—Father's Day—Bostic held what had become an annual barbecue in honor of his predecessor and friend Boodro. Dozens were gathered on a lot behind Melody school, at Congress and Keeler, when a couple young women came by and informed Bostic's crew that a friend was out of prison and ready to take over area drug sales.
Bostic told them to go away, but Cowart—Maniac—wasn't as levelheaded. Punches were thrown, friends of the girls showed up as reinforcements, and a full fight broke out. When someone started shooting, a little after midnight, Cowart shot back—but instead of hitting his enemies, he shot Floyd. Police reported that Floyd was dropped off at Stroger Hospital by a group of males who then fled. He died early the next morning.
Cowart was arrested four days later and charged with first-degree murder and being an armed habitual criminal.
Bostic was running out of trusted deputies. This time, rather than promote from within, he looked outside the organization for help—to Brandon Richards, a childhood friend of Bostic's slain brother.
According to numerous accounts, Richards was different from Bostic and many of the others
in the organization. Like them, he'd grown up without a father amid the neighborhood drug markets. But he'd finished high school, moved out of the city to suburban Bellwood, taken a straight job as a restaurant cook, and stayed involved in his young daughter's life. Ellis had urged Richards to stick with "honest work." Everybody called him Smooth.
But Bostic had always been like a big brother to Richards. When Bostic got in touch and said there was no one else he could trust, Richards agreed to help.

By June 2009, antigang and antiviolence units of the police department were ready to zoom in on Bostic's organization. That month, police sat down for a chat with a high-ranking member of the operation who was incarcerated. In later court documents, he was referred to as "Confidential Informant 1."
The informant laid out the structure of the organization for the police. No one had formal titles, he said, but the hierarchy, production process, and compensation system were well established.

Several times a week, he would join Bostic and sometimes Richards in driving a rental car to buy 100 or 200 grams of heroin from a supplier. Then they'd take the haul to an apartment and prepare it to be sold: they'd mix it with over-the-counter pharmaceuticals like Dormin and other antihistamines to increase its bulk (and decrease its purity); wrap one-tenth-gram portions in tinfoil; and place the packets into small plastic baggies, often blue or pink to distinguish their product from competitors'. The baggies were bundled with plastic strips in groups of 14 known as packs or "jabs."
The informant said he would then get in touch with another member of the organization, whose job was to pick up the packaged heroin and connect with other street managers, known as runners. The runners would distribute jabs to street dealers. Each baggie sold for $10. The dealers were responsible for turning $120 over to the runners for each pack, meaning they could keep two baggies or $20 for themselves every time they sold a dozen. The runners kept another $20 and turned $100 over to Richards.
"CI-1 said that most members of the New Breeds' clique have their own customer base," authorities later reported, "but all of the members of the clique go through CI-1 and Bostic to purchase heroin."
He said their home base was the apartment on Van Buren. On average days, the operation brought in $4,000 to $6,000; on good days, such as the first of the month, they could haul in $10,000, the informant said. In other words, they were selling between 400 and a thousand dime bags of heroin a day, much of it to buyers who appeared to be from the suburbs or out of state.
 The informant added that the organization also had its own wholesale customers who often bought larger portions of heroin.
The police understood they were looking at a highly profitable street business with a clear management structure. Bostic "ruled by violence and people weren't going to question his authority," says Commander Gorman. "It got to the point where he didn't have to be out there on the street. He lived out in the suburbs, but he was in charge."
They also realized that the operation had ties to a significant source of heroin. That's when they asked for assistance from the feds. "Joe Gorman sees the volume of dope coming in and out, and he recognizes that this is more than a street-level organization," says Jack Riley, the special agent in charge of the Chicago division of the Drug Enforcement Agency. "He sees the violence and the history of the guys. And when we see there's a Mexican connection, we say, 'Let's go.'"
Since Bostic was the center of the investigation, they called it "Operation Bird Cage."
Just after 6 AM on October 24, 2009, a potential drug customer called a cell phone number used to make heroin buys from Bostic's crew. The buyer asked for $100 worth and the person on the other end agreed to meet in the parking lot of a grocery store at Pulaski and Congress. The customer said he'd be driving a green Dodge. When he pulled into the lot less than half an hour later, a man dressed in black approached him and cautiously handed him a dozen pink baggies.
The man said his name was Mike—which wasn't his real name, as most dealers used street nicknames or aliases to conceal their real identities—and gave the buyer a new phone number to call anytime he needed something. He also asked for feedback on the quality of the product. "Call me and tell me what you think of it," Mike said. "Everybody's been telling me it's good."
"Mike" didn't realize that he'd just sold to an undercover cop.

Once the police had confirmed that the substance in the baggie was heroin, they wanted to know who "Mike" really was. They found their opportunity a couple hours later, when they saw him driving a van with temporary plates and pulled him over. After he presented a license showing his name was Cornelius Thomas, they let him go.

Thomas, otherwise known as Bunny, wasn't always fooled. In November, he noticed an undercover officer in a car near the site of an arranged deal. Instead of making the sale, he kept on walking and got on the phone to warn his coworkers.
Yet as careful as Bostic and his crew were, they were sloppy at other points, even as the investigation slowly moved closer to the top.

In late November 2009, Bostic was pulled over and arrested on drunk driving and heroin charges. For the next couple weeks, he spoke openly over the jail phone with Richards, his top deputy, even though it's well known that authorities regularly monitor calls in and out of correctional facilities.

Bostic grew upset as Richards informed him that he'd also been pulled over by police, that the organization's heroin supplies were dwindling, and that receipts had come up short. But what really touched a nerve was when Richards told him that Cowart—Maniac—seemed to be succumbing to the stress of murder charges stemming from the barbecue shooting.

"Man, Maniac sounded like he was finna cry," Richards said.
Bostic came across as unsympathetic, noting that they were facing heat from authorities since the melee. "If he wouldn't've smack that bitch, that shit would've never happened, man." Cowart was eventually convicted and sentenced to 51 years in state prison.

Meanwhile, police were also gleaning information from sources outside of Bostic's operation—info that led back to Bostic. They'd recently spoken with informants close to a leader of the Dirty Unknown Vice Lords who controlled a section of the Austin neighborhood near Chicago and Laramie. 

The informants told them that even though Bostic was supposedly in a rival organization, the two gang leaders hung out regularly. 

More important to the investigation, the source said that Bostic had become the other organization's heroin supplier. The authorities weren't surprised—at the highest levels, they say, gang identification is often far less important than business relationships. "You see how the leaders of different gangs are working together through a common source," says Gorman, the former CPD antigang commander.

The key was finding what that source was. Rather than rounding up Bostic at this point, authorities wanted to see where the heroin trail led. Over the next few months, they found out by listening to lots and lots of phone calls.

On some of them, they say, Richards arranged money collection and received updates from street managers on the day's sales figures, heroin supply levels, and news of street workers who'd been busted or violated the terms of their employment.
Such was the case in February 2010, when Maurice Davis caught Thomas, aka Bunny, selling heroin at a time Bostic's organization didn't have any of its product out on the street—meaning, in other words, that Thomas was freelancing without permission. Davis reported that he sent someone to "smack him down all types of shit." Like a good soldier, Thomas took the beating without fighting back.

More significantly, the authorities say they were able to track calls discussing pickups of heroin. Then they started witnessing the pickups themselves.

When Bostic's brother-in-law and top deputy, Lee Floyd, was killed in June 2009, Eddie Valentino was faced with a dilemma.

Valentino was 24 at the time and had grown up in Bucktown. He was wiry, with a long face and long hair he wore in a ponytail. He was a regular pot smoker and had been caught with it once, but the case was thrown out and he hadn't been in any other real trouble.
He knew some guys who dealt drugs, including his own brother, but Valentino had stayed away, working straight jobs at fast-food restaurants and a lumberyard.

That changed around 2008, when Floyd asked if he had any connections to heroin. Valentino and Floyd had become friends after meeting at a barbecue a few years earlier, and Floyd had then introduced Valentino to his friend "Freak"—another of Bostic's nicknames. 
When Floyd inquired about a heroin connection, Valentino decided to help him out—and help himself out, too. He got in touch with Erik Guevara, a guy he'd grown up with. Guevara, in his mid-20s, had a relative in Mexico who could get him cocaine and heroin.

Valentino realized he could make some quick cash as a go-between. He would buy 100 grams of heroin from Guevara for $6,000, then sell it to Floyd—and, by extension, Bostic—for $6,500 to $6,800. Valentino understood Bostic had people dealing it for him on the street.

This went on for a few months. But after Floyd was slain at the barbecue, Valentino was wary of dealing directly with Bostic. "I was afraid of him because he is a known gang member," Valentino said. But he knew Floyd's widow—Bostic's sister—and she assured him it would be all right.

When it came time for deliveries, Valentino and Bostic, and usually one of his deputies, would meet at a designated spot on the west side or in nearby Berwyn or Cicero, almost always in a public place such as the parking lot of a Walgreens or gas station, apparently as a way of hiding in plain sight.
But it turned out that they weren't hidden at all. By the spring of 2010, officials were regularly following the transactions with wiretaps and in-person surveillance.

On May 3, 2010, investigators listened in as Bostic called Valentino and wondered why he hadn't been in touch for days. Valentino said he was just about to call, but Bostic didn't buy it.
"Man, you weren't finna do shit," Bostic said.

Valentino explained that he meant to call back the day before, until he'd showed up for his bowling league and realized it was the last night of the season. "I didn't get out of bowling 'til like six-thirty, man," he said. "But I'm right here leaving the crib. You want me to come by?"

Bostic told him he was a "goofball" but yes. That was noon. It was almost 4 PM before Valentino was able to make his delivery in the parking lot of a diner at Roosevelt and Central—to Richards, since Bostic was actually vacationing in Las Vegas at the time.

Richards then met up with Gill at an apartment in Cicero, and the two of them cut the heroin for street sale. In the meantime, Valentino went to a nearby gas station, where agents watched him get into a Volkswagen driven by Guevara, his supplier. A couple minutes later Valentino got back into his car and left, while Guevara drove to a house in Berwyn and switched cars before heading to his home in the city.

The next day, police watched as one of Bostic's street managers distributed heroin packets to salesmen in front of the apartment at 4019 W. Van Buren.

When officers approached, the manager took off. Half a block up Van Buren, police said they saw him throw three bags in a vacant lot. Each was stamped with a gold crown insignia to market it as a New Breeds product.
A few minutes later, a woman left the apartment building wearing a red backpack. When police stopped her, they found nearly 16 grams of heroin, with a street value of at least $2,000.

It fell on Richards to call Bostic with the bad news of the bust—including the fact that the police had seized all that product. Bostic was in disbelief.

"I should've stayed in Vegas," he said.

Several months later, in late July 2010, federal agents finally got the big break they were waiting for: they listened in as Valentino's friend and heroin source Erik Guevara talked on his phone about the arrival of a large shipment.

Guevara, a chunky guy nicknamed "Fat Ass," was careful about whom he dealt with personally. Yet he often seemed to go about business with little urgency. Valentino frequently bickered with him about his habit of sleeping in after a night of drinking or showing up for appointments hours late.

This time Guevara was the one who was annoyed. One of the guys working for him had called and said they'd encountered a problem—they couldn't get into the compartment of the Dodge Dakota where the heroin shipment had been hidden.

Guevara told them to try turning the screw the other way. When that didn't work, he suggested they "just kick the motherfucker." That didn't do the trick either. Finally, realizing he was going to have to take care of it himself, Guevara drove to Home Depot and met the men at a house in suburban Franklin Park. Authorities covertly watched as he worked with several other men on the Dakota parked in the yard.

The next day officers saw one of Guevara's workers take a drive shaft from the truck and place it in the back of Guevara's Jeep. When he drove off, they followed him. Guevara headed slowly toward the city, driving about ten miles an hour under the speed limit, until swerving onto the Austin exit from the Eisenhower. Police pulled him over after a few blocks.

As one officer asked him to step out of the car for a search, the other quietly took the drive shaft from the Jeep's rear compartment. The police asked Guevara to get back into the Jeep while they supposedly ran his name—but instead they sped back to the 11th district police station, where they found almost eight kilograms of suspected heroin in the crankshaft's tubes. They estimated it was worth well more than $1 million on the street.

On an August morning in 2010, Bostic listened as his longtime girlfriend, Mahogany Barbee, tried to convince him to turn himself in. The couple and their children had been staying in a suburban hotel, but friends had started to call and text her to say that the authorities were looking for Bird and it was all over the news.
Barbee pulled the stories up on her laptop—how 25 people had been named in a sealed 230-page criminal complaint filed a day earlier in district court, charging them with conspiracy to possess and distribute heroin. "Heroin bust a blow to street gang," the Sun-Times headline declared.

"I remember it said that he would make $10,000 a day," Barbee would later recall to investigators. "Bird was sitting across the table from me. I asked him if it was true, and he said, 'Hell, no.' I was wondering where all the money was that the police said he had made."

Barbee added: "He knew he was going to jail, since this was a federal case."
The next day—Friday, August 13—federal marshals caught up with the couple as they tried to slip out the back of a home in suburban Villa Park where one of Bostic's friends lived—one of the guys who'd been in the fight with NBA player Tony Allen at the White Palace Grill in 2005. Barbee was charged with harboring a fugitive.

Over the next few months, several key members of the organization agreed to cooperate with the investigation in return for the consideration of lighter sentences, including Valentino, who sold heroin to Bostic; Thomas, the street dealer and car thief; and, most significantly, Maurice Davis, who provided graphic details of several unsolved shootings, most of them stemming from a years-long feud between the New Breeds and the Undertaker Vice Lords.

One by one, in 2011 and 2012, each of the defendants pleaded guilty, typically to a single one of the multiple counts against them. Their sentences varied depending on their cooperation and level of involvement. Richards, who'd served as Bostic's lieutenant for a little more than a year but had no significant criminal history, was sentenced to 184 months.

Guevara, who admitted to supplying heroin to the New Breeds and a number of other gangs, received a 360-month sentence. After cooperating, Valentino—the liaison between Guevara and Bostic's crew—got a relatively light 71 months.

Despite admitting his involvement in a number of shootings, Davis was sentenced to 20 years after cooperating. Gill denied Davis's accusation that he was one of Bostic's hired shooters—and responsible for the retaliation killing for Bostic's brother's death—but still got 329 months.

Gill's attorney, Jerry Bischoff, stresses that Gill admitted to being a midlevel heroin dealer but was never proven to shoot anyone. He argues that the federal government's use of cooperating witnesses with a history of lying—like Davis—is "reckless" and unfair, especially when combined with heavy mandatory sentences for drug crimes.

"It's good we're getting some of these guys off the street," says Bischoff, a former Cook County prosecutor. "But a lot of low-level guys get locked up for what amounts to murder time. They're born into this environment and you can predict how they're going to end up."

Last February Bostic pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiring to distribute 1,000 grams or more of substances containing heroin. At his sentencing hearing six months later, he told Judge Matthew F. Kennelly that he had nothing to do with the violence. "Yes, I sold drugs," he said. But "I didn't tell these people to do none of that."

The judge wasn't moved. "Running a heroin ring alone is very damaging—to the people involved in selling who are going to prison, to the addicts, to the neighborhood," he said. "Mr. Bostic is not out there pulling any triggers, I agree with that. He's very well insulated. He's like most CEOs. There's people that take the weight for him. . . . And, you know, violence is part of running a business like that.

"What Mr. Bostic did was victimizing people who lived in his community."
Judge Kennelly sentenced Bostic to 38 years in federal prison.

After years of covert surveillance, wiretaps, and legal work by local and federal officials, 24 of the 25 indicted coconspirators in Operation Bird Cage have been convicted, including one scheduled to be sentenced this week. Just one defendant remains a fugitive.

Local and federal officials say the case illustrates their commitment to using resources on the street and in the courtroom to eliminate drug markets. The U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago charges about 100 defendants annually for being part of major drug conspiracies, each one the result of months or even years of intense investigation.

Riley, the head DEA agent in Chicago, says the feds are no longer interested in seeing how much dope they can seize—their goal is to disrupt organized-crime networks, especially those with suspected ties to Mexican cartels, and to send the message that perpetrators will spend much of their remaining lives in prison.

"Did we completely eliminate drug trafficking in Chicago? No," Riley says of the Bostic investigation. "But it eliminated, start to finish, one of the many organizations responsible for narcotics and violence in a neighborhood, and I hope people there feel better about their safety.

"If we lock up the guys selling drugs on the corner, they'll be replaced that day. If we take the supply chain out, now we've caused some problems that can't be fixed overnight."

Yet the problems haven't disappeared, even in the middle of Bostic's old neighborhood. The New Breeds' former base of operations on West Van Buren has been razed, and the street was quiet on several afternoons recently. But just a few blocks away, at Wilcox and Springfield, men were lined up waiting to help customers. In fact, the pace of drug arrests in the police beat that includes Bostic's old territory has gone up since his crew was taken down.

On January 26, a 16-year-old and a 32-year-old were shot and killed near a vacant lot on the 4200 block of West Congress, a corner Bostic once controlled. Police are still investigating. In the meantime, well-wishers have created a memorial, with bunches of bright-colored balloons and a hand-painted sign that simply says, "RIP." 

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A note on Sourcing

This story was constructed from hundreds of pages of federal and state court records, police reports, and interviews with federal and local law enforcement officials, as well as attorneys for some of the defendants. Attorneys for Dana Bostic did not respond to multiple requests for comment or an interview with their client