Tag Archives: Sinaloa Cartel

Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán

Report: Mexican military blocked U.S. capture of Sinaloa Cartel leader

According to Mexican journalist Jesus Esquivel, the U.S. government offered to capture Sinaloa Cartel leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in a “simple, fast and surgical” operation.

“The U.S. intelligence services have located him, they know where he is and are ready to trap him,” Esquivel said.

However, the Mexican military blocked the effort.

EFE reported:

President Felipe Calderon, who governed Mexico from 2006 to 2012, wanted the United States to capture the top boss of the Sinaloa drug cartel, but the Mexican army and navy “were opposed and stopped the operation” because only U.S. personnel would take part, Esquivel said.

Esquivel interviewed Drug Enforcement Administration agent Jose Baeza, who told him the DEA provided the Mexican government on two occasions with all the information it needed to capture Guzman, but the drug lord got away both times in four-wheel drive vehicles in the mountains.

The Mexican government knows where Guzman is hiding because it has received intelligence reports from the DEA and other agencies, as well as information from its own military and civilian intelligence services, and officials have a list of the drug lord’s properties, Esquivel said.

The Pentagon prepared a plan to capture Guzman in an operation similar to the one that ended with the death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, Esquivel said.

“Washington has not discarded the plan” and will propose it to Enrique Peña Nieto, who became Mexico’s president on Dec. 1, the journalist said.

“The capture of this drug trafficker, if the Mexicans allow it, would be as easy as taking candy from a baby,” Esquivel said.

The United States considers this mission a “priority” because Guzman is the leader of the world’s most powerful criminal organization, Esquivel said, citing a U.S. Treasury Department analysis.

In 2011, Guzman was named to Forbes’ Magazine’s Most Powerful People in the World list.

The billionaire criminal ranked 55th on that year’s list of the world’s most powerful people.

Among others, the drug lord beat out for the distinction were Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and House Majority Leader John Boehner.

Then-Mexican President Felipe Calderón failed to make the list.

In 1993, Guzman (aka Shorty) was arrested on murder and drug charges, but escaped from a Mexican federal prison in 2001, and has remained at-large ever since. He is believed to be directing the powerful Sinaloa Cartel from the mountains of Mexico’s Pacific coast, surrounded by a virtual army of bodyguards.

The U.S. government currently has a $5 million bounty on Guzman, alleging that the Sinaloa organization is responsible for bringing most of the cocaine into this country from Mexico and Colombia.

In February, the Chicago Crime Commission named Guzman, as the city’s latest ‘Public Enemy No. 1.’

So, how does a Mexican crime boss earn such a title in a city more than 1,200 miles from the Mexican border?

By turning that city into a distribution hub for narcotics.

Jack Riley, the head of the DEA’s Chicago office, recently told the Associated Press: “This is where Guzman turns his drugs into money.”


tijuana 22

Sinaloa cartel production seized in Tijuana

Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, significant seizures of Sinaloa cartel work were seized in Tijuana, by the PEP, State Preventative Police, familiar names whenever there are large drugs shipments seized, or mid level organized crime figures.

The official story, which often seems to be a little abstract, and vague, is arresting officers intercepted a 2005 white jeep Cherokee, and observed a .380 caliber pistol, prompting a more intensive search of the rest of the vehicle. Three wraps and two packages of heroin were found under the drivers seat, which was only the beginning of a poly drug discovery. In one modified gas tank, agents found approximately 24 kilos of crystal, and in another, adjoining tank, 18 kilos, and 100 grams of cocaine.

The amount of heroin was five kilos, plus 500 grams, roughly 5 and a half kilos altogether. Two kilos of opium was also discovered. These discoveries beg the question, what was going on, with the 2005 white jeep cherokee, that day? The detainees, of course, confessed to being ‘members’ of the Sinaloa Cartel, and serving it’s leader, whose name, need not be mentioned here.

The detainees, Jesus Alberto Gaxiola, and Leobardo Gonzalez Garcia, are from smaller cities in Sinaloa, Angustura, and Mocrito. It is doubtful they are US citizens, and likely weren’t planning on crossing the border themselves, with the product. Perhaps, they were delivering the vehicle, along with a few spare kilos of heroin, to another location, where a driver who would cross the car into the United States. Or, maybe the car was coming up from Sinaloa, but that is probably less likely.

The upturn in cocaine seizures, both in Tijuana, and at the US Ports of entry, are evident of a returning consistent stream of product crossing into the US, which had all but halted in the summer months, where cocaine seizures, all but slowed to a halt, indicating a decrease in supply and availability. Several recent arrests along the line, including almost 60 kilos seized in early October, are more consistent with the seizures of winter 2011.

The Sinaloa Cartel, is believed to work in coordination with Arellano Felix’s remaining network, combining product, money, smuggling routes, corrupt officials, and safe houses, in an effort to by pass increasingly tight border security at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa point of entry.

Other things of note in Tijuana, is several executions, including bodies found entombed, in barrels of cement, and several daylight executions along Sanchez Tadoba. Stories are also emerging, of prominent Tijuana society members, opera singers, and architects, who have been arrested, and sentenced for drug trafficking, multiple kilos of cocaine and crystal. The reports are that these men, unlikely traffickers and mules, were coerced under threat of violence, as the traffickers grow more desperate to find a line across the border.

The catch is, many captured smugglers claim this, but more and more information leads credence to these claims. Narcos find a person, find their family, and pose a scenario, one that is not hypothetical. The way of thinking is, once they get your information, anything is possible. This would be a new elevation from the ‘blind mules’.

Murders in Tijuana continue, but are likely to end with lower final numbers then last year, continuing a de escalation in violence, since the bloody final months of 2008.

Sources: AFN Tijuana, Zeta Tijuana.


Mexican Drug Cartel Structures (2006–present)


Mexican Drug Cartel Structures (2006–present)

Beltrán Leyva Cartel(Armed wing: Los Negros)

Arturo Beltrán Leyva • Alfredo Beltrán Leyva • Mario Alberto Beltrán Leyva • Carlos Beltrán Leyva • Héctor Beltrán Leyva • Edgar Valdez Villarreal •
Current leaders:
Héctor Beltrán Leyva • Mario Alberto Beltrán Leyva • Edgar Valdez Villarreal • Sergio Villarreal Barragán •

La Familia Cartel

Nazario Moreno González • Carlos Rosales Mendoza • José de Jesús Méndez Vargas • Julio César Godoy Toscano • Enrique Plancarte • Arnoldo Rueda Medina • Servando Gómez Martínez • Dionicio Loya Plancarte • Rafael Cedeño Hernández • Alberto Espinoza Barron •

Gulf Cartel(Armed wing: Los Zetas)

Juan Nepomuceno Guerra • Juan García Abrego • Arturo Guzmán Decena • Jesús Enrique Rejón Águila • Jaime González Durán • Heriberto Lazcano • Miguel Treviño Morales •
Current leaders:
Osiel Cárdenas Guillén • Antonio Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén • Jorge Eduardo Costilla • Heriberto Lazcano • Miguel Treviño Morales •

Juárez Cartel

Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo • Rafael Aguilar Guajardo • Amado Carrillo Fuentes • Pablo Acosta Villarreal •
Current leaders:
Vicente Carrillo Fuentes • Juan José Esparragoza Moreno •

Sinaloa Cartel

Héctor Luis Palma Salazar • Joaquín Guzmán Loera • Adrián Gómez González •
Current leaders:
Joaquín Guzmán Loera • Ismael Zambada García • Ignacio Coronel Villarreal •

Tijuana Cartel

Ramón Arellano Félix • Benjamín Arellano Félix • Francisco Rafael Arellano Félix • Carlos Arellano Félix • Luis Fernando Arellano Félix • Eduardo Arellano Félix • Francisco Javier Arellano Félix •
Current leaders:
Luis Fernando Sánchez Arellano • Edgardo Leyva Escandon •

Sources: geo-mexico.com, borderlandbeat.com


Sinaloa cartel leader tied to drug tunnels

U.S. authorities tied a top Mexican cartel member to two of the largest drug tunnels ever found under the San Diego-Tijuana border, an indictment indicated.

Federal prosecutors in San Diego said Jose Sanchez-Villalobos, who was arrested in Mexico on money-laundering charges in January and faces extradition proceedings, is the highest-ranking member of the Sinaloa drug cartel ever charged in construction of underground tunnels, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The 13-count federal indictment was handed down by a grand jury in San Diego in February and unsealed Wednesday.

Prosecutors allege Sanchez-Villalobos oversaw construction and operation of a 2,200-foot-long tunnel discovered in November 2010, and a similar underground passageway found a year later. Prosecutors said Sanchez-Villalobos received frequent updates on construction work, controlled drug flow and directed other traffickers to use the tunnels.

The Times said both tunnels were discovered in the same area of San Diego’s Otay Mesa community — a warehouse district where law enforcement agencies have unearthed drug tunnels for years.

The tunnel found in 2011 had an elevator and a rail-and-cart system. Law enforcement agencies seized 32 tons of marijuana, among the largest drug seizures in U.S. history.

Source: upi.com


Mexican Drug Cartel was working alongside the US Government

A high-ranking Mexican drug cartel operative currently in U.S. custody is making startling allegations that the failed federal gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious” isn’t what you think it is.

It wasn’t about tracking guns, it was about supplying them — all part of an elaborate agreement between the U.S. government and Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel to take down rival cartels.

The explosive allegations are being made by Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, known as the Sinaloa Cartel’s “logistics coordinator.” He was extradited to the Chicago last year to face federal drug charges.

Zambada-Niebla claims that under a “divide and conquer” strategy, the U.S. helped finance and arm the Sinaloa Cartel through Operation Fast and Furious in exchange for information that allowed the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal agencies to take down rival drug cartels. The Sinaloa Cartel was allegedly permitted to traffic massive amounts of drugs across the U.S. border from 2004 to 2009 — during both Fast and Furious and Bush-era gunrunning operations — as long as the intel kept coming.

This pending court case against Zambada-Niebla is being closely monitored by some members of Congress, who expect potential legal ramifications if any of his claims are substantiated. The trial was delayed but is now scheduled to begin on Oct. 9.

Zambada-Niebla is reportedly a close associate of Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and the son of Ismael “Mayo” Zambada-Garcia, both of which remain fugitives, likely because of the deal made with the DEA, federal court documents allege.

Based on the alleged agreement ”the Sinaloa Cartel under the leadership of defendant’s father, Ismael Zambada-Niebla and ‘Chapo’ Guzman, were given carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago and the rest of the United States and were also protected by the United States government from arrest and prosecution in return for providing information against rival cartels which helped Mexican and United States authorities capture or kill thousands of rival cartel members,” states a motion for discovery filed in U.S. District Court by Zambada-Niebla’s attorney in July 2011.

A source in Congress, who spoke to TheBlaze on the condition of anonymity, said that some top congressional investigators have been keeping “one eye on the case.” Another two members of Congress, both lead Fast and Furious Congressional investigators, told TheBlaze they had never even heard of the case.

One of the Congressmen, who also spoke to TheBlaze on the condition of anonymity because criminal proceedings are still ongoing, called the allegations “disturbing.” He said Congress will likely get involved once Zambada-Niebla’s trial has concluded if any compelling information surfaces.

“Congress won’t get involved in really any criminal case until the trial is over and the smoke has cleared,” he added. “If the allegations prove to hold any truth, there will be some serious legal ramifications.”

Earlier this month, two men in Texas were sentenced to 70 and 80 months in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to export 147 assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition to Mexico’s Los Zetas cartel. Compare that to the roughly 2,000 firearms reportedly “walked” in Fast and Furious, which were used in the murders of hundreds of Mexican citizens and U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry, and some U.S. officials could potentially face jail time if they knowingly armed the Sinaloa Cartel and allowed guns to cross into Mexico.

If proven in court, such an agreement between U.S. law enforcement agencies and a Mexican cartel could potentially mar both the Bush and Obama administrations. The federal government is denying all of Zambada-Niebla’s allegations and contend that no official immunity deal was agreed upon.

To be sure, Zambada-Niebla is a member of one of the most ruthless drug gangs in all of Mexico, so there is a chance that he is saying whatever it takes to reduce his sentence, which will likely be hefty. However, Congress and the media have a duty to prove without a reasonable doubt that there is no truth in his allegations. So far, that has not been achieved.

Zambada-Niebla was reportedly responsible for coordinating all of the Sinaloa Cartel’s multi-ton drug shipments from Central and South American countries, through Mexico, and into the United States. To accomplish this, he used every tool at his disposal: Boeing 747 cargo planes, narco-submarines, container ships, speed boats, fishing vessels, buses, rail cars, tractor trailers and automobiles. But Guzman and Zambada-Niebla’s overwhelming success within the Sinaloa Cartel was largely due to the arrests and dismantling of many of their competitors and their booming businesses in the U.S. from 2004 to 2009 — around the same time ATF’s gun-walking operations were in full swing. Fast and Furious reportedly began in 2009 and continued into early 2011.

According Zambada-Niebla, that was a product of the collusion between the U.S. government and the Sinaloa Cartel.

The claims seem to fall in line with statements made last month by Guillermo Terrazas Villanueva, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state government in northern Mexico who said U.S. agencies ”don’t fight drug traffickers,“ instead ”they try to manage the drug trade.”

Also, U.S. officials have previously acknowledged working with the Sinaloa Cartel through another informant, Humberto Loya-Castro. He is also allegedly a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa Cartel as well as a close confidant and lawyer of “El Chapo” Guzman.

Loya-Castro was indicted along with Chapo and Mayo in 1995 in the Southern District of California in a massive narcotics trafficking conspiracy (Case no. 95CR0973). The case was dismissed in 2008 at the request of prosecutors after Loya became an informant for the United States government and subsequently provided information for years.

In 2005, “the CS (informant Loya-Castro) signed a cooperation agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California,” states an affidavit filed in the Zambada-Niebla case by Loya-Castro’s handler, DEA agent Manuel Castanon.

“Thereafter, I began to work with the CS. Over the years, the CS’ cooperation resulted in the seizure of several significant loads of narcotics and precursor chemicals. The CS’ cooperation also resulted in other real-time intelligence that was very useful to the United States government.”

Under the alleged agreement with U.S. agencies, “the Sinaloa Cartel, through Loya-Castro, was to provide information accumulated by Mayo, Chapo, and others, against rival Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations to the United States government,” a motion for discovery states.

In return, the United States government allegedly agreed to dismiss the charges in the pending case against Loya-Castro (which they did), not to interfere with his drug trafficking activities and those of the Sinaloa Cartel and not actively prosecute him or the Sinaloa Cartel leadership.

Taken directly from the motion filed in federal court:

“This strategy, which he calls ‘Divide & Conquer,’ using one drug organization to help against others, is exactly what the Justice Department and its various agencies have implemented in Mexico. In this case, they entered into an agreement with the leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel through, among others, Humberto Loya-Castro, to receive their help in the United States government’s efforts to destroy other cartels.”

“Indeed, United States government agents aided the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel.”

The government has denied this and says the deal did not go past Loya-Castro.

Zambada-Niebla was arrested by Mexican soldiers in late March of 2009 after he met with DEA agents at a Mexico City hotel in a meeting arranged by Loya-Castro, though the U.S. government was not involved in his arrest. He was extradited to Chicago to face federal drug charges on Feb. 18, 2010. He is now being held in a Michigan prison after requesting to be moved from Chicago.

“Classified Materials”

During his initial court proceedings, Zambada-Niebla continually stated that he was granted full immunity by the DEA in exchange for his cooperation. The agency, however, argues that an “official” immunity deal was never established though they admit he may have acted as an informant.

Zambada-Niebla and his legal council also requested records about Operation Fast and Furious, which permitted weapons purchased in the United States to be illegally smuggled into Mexico, sometimes by paid U.S. informants and cartel leaders. Their request was denied. From the defense motion:

“It is estimated that approximately 3,000 people were killed in Mexico as a result of ‘Operation Fast and Furious,’ including law enforcement officers in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, the headquarters of the Sinaloa cartel. The Department of Justice’s leadership apparently saw this as an ingenious way of combating drug cartel activities.”

“It has recently been disclosed that in addition to the above-referenced problems with ‘Operation Fast & Furious,’ the DOJ, DEA, and the FBI knew that some of the people who were receiving the weapons that were being allowed to be transported to Mexico, were in fact informants working for those organizations and included some of the leaders of the cartels.”

Zambada’s attorney has filed several motions for discovery to that effect in Illinois Federal District Court, which were summarily denied by the presiding judge who claimed the defendant failed to make the case that he was actually a DEA informant.

In April, 2012, a federal judge refused to dismiss charges against him.

From a Chicago Sun Times report: “According to the government, [Zambada-Niebla] conveyed his interest and willingness to cooperate with the U.S. government, but the DEA agents told him they ‘were not authorized to meet with him, much less have substantive discussions with him,’” the judge wrote.

In their official response to Zambada-Niebla’s motion for discovery, the federal government confirmed the existence of “classified materials” regarding the case but argued they “do not support the defendant’s claim that he was promised immunity or public authority for his actions.”

Experts have expressed doubts that Zambada-Niebla had an official agreement with the U.S. government, however, agree Loya Castro probably did. Either way, the defense still wants to obtain DEA reports that detail the agency’s relationship with the Sinaloa Cartel and put the agents on the stand, under oath to testify.

The documents that detail the relationship between the federal government and the Sinaloa Cartel have still not been released or subjected to review — citing matters of national security.

Source:globalresearch.ca (by Jason Howerton)



Three members of the Sinaloa drug cartel were arrested in Spain

Three members of the Sinaloa drug cartel were arrested in Spain after they were indicted by a federal New Hampshire grand jury for conspiracy to distribute 1,000 or more kilograms of cocaine.

“This doesn’t dismantle the Sinaloa cartel but it does disrupt and foil what the cartel tried to do. They constantly search for new routes,” said New Hampshire U.S. Attorney John Kacavas said at a press conference. “You’ve heard of death by a 1,000 cuts. This is one of those cuts.”

Undercover agents from federal, state and local agencies working in Boston, New Hampshire, other areas around the country and in Europe sought a partnership with high-level members of the cartel including Mauel Jesus Guttierez Guzman, the first cousin of the cartel’s reputed leader Joaquin Guzman-Loera, according to Kacavas. Guzman-Loera also was indicted for conspiracy to distribute cocaine but remains a fugitive from justice, he said.

The group sought new transport routes to Spain and eventually into Canada and the United States including the Northeast, Kacavas said. The three members were arrested in Algeciras, Spain on Aug. 7 along with a fourth member of the cartel who was sent to Spain to monitor the safety of the cocaine shipment.

They were arrested after 750 pounds of cocaine were delivered to Spain by ship.

The Department of Justice seeks to extradite the four members to face trial in U.S. District Court in Concord.
The Sinaloa Cartel is considered by federal law enforcement agencies to be one of the two most powerful drug cartels operating from Mexico.

The three-year investigation included several federal agencies as well as the Boston Police Department with the assistance of the Spanish National Police.

Archivaldo Guzman Salazar

US targets assets of 2 sons of Sinaloa cartel leader El Chapo Guzman

MEXICO CITY — The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Tuesday against two sons of Sinaloa cartel drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico said the Treasury Department designated Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar and Ovidio Guzman Lopez under Kingpin Act, which prohibits people in the U.S. from conducting businesses with them and freezes their U.S. assets. El Chapo Guzman was put on the list in 2001.

The department said Ovidio Guzman Lopez plays a significant role in his father’s drug trafficking activities, and that Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar was detained on money laundering charges in Mexico in 2005, but was later released.

The department also named two other alleged high-ranking Sinaloa cartel figures to the list. Both Noel Salgueiro Nevarez and Ovidio Limon Sanchez were detained in Mexico in 2011 and remain in custody.

On Monday, authorities in the northern border state of Nuevo Leon announced they had captured the female leader of a local cell of the violent Zetas drug cartel who is suspected of ordering or participating in at least 20 murders in or around the northern city of Monterrey.

One of the gang’s alleged victims was a police detective killed March 2 in a suburb of Monterrey.

State security spokesman Jorge Domene said suspect Maria Guadalupe Jimenez Lopez is nicknamed “La Tosca,” or “the Rough One.” Domene said that among the half-dozen suspected members of her gang arrested with her were three men who worked as hired killers and lookouts, earning between 4,000 and 10,000 pesos ($300to$750) per month.

Three other members of the gang detained on May 1 are women: a 49-year-old mother and her two daughters, aged 18 and 30, who allegedly worked as lookouts and sold drugs at a bar.

Domene said Jimenez Lopez received payments of about$1,500per month to overseeing drug sales, auto theft, kidnappings and murders of rival gang members. All the suspects are being held pending investigation.

Women have been active in Mexico’s drug cartels, and a few have allegedly taken on high-level responsibility in the gangs. But women are usually employed by the cartels as drug couriers, lookouts or minor dealers; it is unusual to find them as leaders of local enforcement squads.


Source: washingtonpost.com