The capture of
Inés Coronel Barreras, father in law of Chapo Guzmán, in Sonora, last April 30, apparently was not the result of intelligence work of Mexican federal agencies in charge of anti-drug trafficking operations, it was the result of information and work conducted by the DEA. This is the information confided to Proceso by Mexican and American agents. The arrest was an attempt by the DEA to win favor of the Pena Nieto administration that would win support allowing them to continue operating freely in
México, as it was in the Calderón administration.
|woman wearing crown is Chapo’s current wife
Operation Father-In-law Was a Gift from DEA to México
Intelligence agents from both Mexico and the US have unequivocally confirmed toProceso that the capture of Inés Coronel Barreras, father in law of Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, leader of Sinaloa Cartel, was a gift from DEA to the government of Enrique Peña Nieto.
“Coronel Barrera was located by the DEA and the information given to the government of President Peña Nieto with the purpose of opening the doors for the United States intelligence agencies that have been slammed shut by Peña”, said a Mexican intelligence agent, who lives in Agua Prieta, a city adjacent to Douglas, Arizona.
“Do you think the arrest of Chapo’s father-in-law was a surgical operation?” The Mexican agent asked.
“Maybe the DEA gave it to the Navy [Marina] on silver platter so afterwards the Army, Secretariat of Government and PGR can hang a medal” (take credit).
On April 30th, at approximately at 5:40 am, thirty federal vehicles moved in on the avenues International 20, 30, and 6th Street of this border town.
Sleep of residents was suddenly interrupted by commotion caused by speeding federal vehicles and the blades of the Tomahawk helicopter, that was supporting them, flying at low altitude, according to the accounts by sources, communicated to the reporter.
More than 250 soldiers, marines and federal police that arrived at dawn to this location of Agua Prieta entered to several homes conducting quick inspections.
“And to everybody’s surprise, including local authorities, who were not informed about the operation, after two hours and five minutes (at 7:45 am) the more than 250 federal agents, as well as the helicopter disappeared leaving the town in astonishment who did even not know what had ensued”.
The invasion and quick exit of the numerous groups of uniformed men left the town stunned residents. It’s because before this morning, in this part of Sonora nothing happened, or at least nothing spectacular, it was considered a “safe and totally controlled plaza” because of the power structure of Sinaloa Cartel.
It was not until noon when the people of Agua Prieta began spreading the rumor that federal agents had captured the “troublesome relative” of El Chapo (that’s how people in Sonora refer to Coronel Barrera).
At 4:00 pm of the same day, Eduardo Sánchez, sub secretary of Norms and Media of the Secretariat of Government, announced in a press conference that the Mexican authorities had captured the father in law of the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. The government of Peña Nieto announced; the arrest was made without gun fire due to the effectiveness of the Mexican intelligence system that had located the alleged drug trafficker.
The narrative of the events in Agua Prieta are that about an hour after the federal officers left, from several areas of almost the entire state of Sonora, about 80 vehicles (mostly trucks) full of armed men quickly headed in several directions towards the mountains.
“It was the chiefs of the plaza that El Chapo and El Mayo (Ismael Zambada Garcia) have in the entire state, says one of the witnesses that spoke under the condition of anonymity.
It all started in Colombia
“Was it the DEA who located Coronel Barreras in Agua Prieta?” An intelligence agent of the United States, who requested anonymity, was asked.
“What I can say is that the government of the United States had time to investigate and follow the tracks of Coronel Barreras in Sinaloa, Durango, Sonora and South America”.
Pressuring him to explain further in the case of the father-in-law of the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, the agent specializing in Mexican drug trafficking explains that it all started at the beginning of 2012 with a DEA investigation focused on the Colombian Jorge Milton Cifuentes Villa.
According to DEA website, Cifuentes Villa is leader of an organization dedicated to traffic cocaine.
“Cifuentes’s organization amassed a great fortune in money and illicit properties, as one of the main providers of cocaine to the Sinaloa Cartel”, reads on a page of the DEA.
The American agent reveals that in several intelligence reports written by DEA about the Cifuentes Villa Organization, the name Coronel Barreras came up.
“He is identified as the contact person of El Chapo and the person in charge of the transportation of cocaine shipments that originated from several points of South America to Central America and México”, he clarifies.
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On February 13 of this year, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of Treasury of the United States designated Cifuentes Villa – who also has Mexican nationality- “most significant drug trafficker”. With this label, Washington applied sanctions, confiscated properties and froze bank accounts that belonged to Cifuentes Villa or associated to him, which were under United States jurisdiction.
OFAC maintains that Cifuentes is owner of 15 companies that operate in Colombia, Mexico and Ecuador.
“Coronel Barrera was under surveillance by DEA, it’s true, which was confirmed a little more than a month ago, when in Ecuador a shipment of four tons of cocaine was seized that Cifuentes Villa was sending to Mexico”,says the agent.
[Cifuntes Villa was captured
in Venezuela and extradited to Colombia in 2012, his sister Dolly Cifuentes Villa was extradited
to the United States in August of 2012. Dolly’s daughter, Ana Maria Uribe Cifuentes was also arrested. The arrest of Ana Maria caused uproar in Colombia as it became known she is the niece of Álvaro Uribe former president of Colombia. The president declared he had no knowledge of any relationship to Ana Maria. Uribe’s brother Jaime is said to be Ana Maria’s father, the former president scommented:
“My brother Jaime died in 2001, he was married to Astrid Velez, they had two children … Any other romantic relationship that my brother may have had was part of his personal life and is unknown to me,” Álvaro Uribe tweeted. He denied Jaime was ever linked to the drug lord Pablo Escobar.
|Ana Maria at left dolly at right
Continue reading on next page But according to the Nuevo Arco Iris investigation, Jaime Uribe was arrested and interrogated by the army in 1986 after detectives discovered calls had been made from his car phone to Escobar, leader of the Medellín cartel.]
“Was it a shipment for the Sinaloa Cartel?”
“Not only that. The contact person for the shipment of cocaine was Coronel Barreras. This was confirmed by the people arrested at the time of the confiscation of the drug. The suspects arrested include Colombian and Mexicans” replied the agent.
DEA, according to the source, convinced the authorities of Ecuador to keep secret the news of the cocaine seizure “because the detainees agreed to provide additional information in exchange for a reduction in penalties that they would confront in Ecuador, their native country, or the United States, if they were extradited”.
Avoiding revealing more details of the case, because he affirms a continued investigation remains open about other figures of the Sinaloa Cartel, the American agent says that thanks to the confiscation of the cocaine shipment in Ecuador, DEA was able get to the localization of Coronel Barreras.
“It was determined that he moved around the border of Sonora, and that he was in charge of the crossing of marijuana, heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine through the south border of Arizona”, he added.
“So you maintain it was DEA then who gave him to the Mexican government?”
“The intelligence agencies of the United States continue cooperating extensively with the Mexican government in the fight against drug trafficking. And there is a lot of trust in the Mexican Navy [Marina], which has demonstrated to be a most effective entity to capture drug lords “, he affirms, barely able to hold back a smile.
Doors are closed
On their part, the Mexican officer reiterates that it was DEA who turned in the father-in-law of El Chapo to the government of Peña Nieto. “That is why there was no shooting”, he says.
“There is no communication with DEA, Secretariat of Government has them completely isolated, with the argument that the relationship is being revised as well as the cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking. That is why DEA passed the information directly to Navy, not even the Army”, he points out.
Since December 1st of last year, when Peña Nieto acquired office, his government closed doors that Felipe Calderón had opened to the intelligence agencies of the United States (Proceso 1904).
During the last president term, DEA, CIA, FBI, Pentagon and Department of Treasury had authorization to spy, operate and investigate under the shelter of the Bi-National Offices of Intelligence created for the security of the Initiative Mérida.
“The DEA agents are desperate because they don’t have anyone to turn to in the government of Peña Nieto, with the exception of the Navy, in which they trust blindly. DEA hopes that with the assistance in the case of Chapo’s father in law, things might change. I doubt it. Although it was very symbolic that Coronel Barrera fell just a few days before the Obama’s arrival to Mexico”, says the American agent.
On Wednesday 1st, sub secretary Sánchez said that Coronel Barrera, of 45 years of age, was captured in a residence that operated as a warehouse, where the Federal Police found 255 kilos of marijuana, 2 trucks, 4 long and 1 short gun, several chargers and dozens of cartridges.
Besides the father in law of el Chapo, Inés Omar Coronel Aispuro (son of Coronel Barreras and as well as brother in law of the leader of Sinaloa Cartel), Juan Elías Ruiz Beltrán, José Heriberto Beltrán Cárdenas and Reynaldo Ríos Morales were also captured.
“The capture is the result of the work of intelligence of the government of the Republic. Their arrest took place approximately at 7:00 am without any gun fire”, affirmed Sánchez
The leadership structure of the Sinaloa Cartel in Sonora is controlled by two families. According to the description given by the agents and public employees of the United States and México, the control of the plaza are maintained by the Paredes Machado and Salazar families, which are led by Jesús Alfredo Salazar “El Indio”.
Since the eighties, these two families–with Chapo’s absolute trust- are in charge of monitoring the transportation of drugs coming mainly from Sinaloa to the strategic points of Sonora: Agua Prieta, Sonorita, Sasabe, Naco, Nogales, San Luis Rio Colorado, Costa Rica and Riito. To the south, Paredes Machado and Salazar family impose their law in Imurís, Cananea, Caborca, Altar, Santa Ana, Esqueda, Puerto Peñasco, Libertad, Guaymas, San Carlos and Bahía de Kino.
In the Paredes Machado family, El Goyo and El 20 stand out as right hand men of Chapo and in charge of restraining Los Zetas and The Beltrán Leyva in the entire state.
Although the Salazar family is native from Chihuahua – whose strings with the Sinaloa Cartel were established by the patriarch,
Adán Salazar Zamorano, “Don Adán”, they are considered by the people of Agua Prieta as responsible for the atmosphere of peace and freedom that prevailed in this city until the capture of the “troublesome relative”.
Don Adán, arrested by Federal Police on February 15th 2011 in Querétaro, was the Sonora person in charge of border crossing operations and the delivery of the drugs into Arizona. After his arrest, the sons of Adán, Jesús Alfredo and Adán Salazar Ramírez, were in charge of the operations of the Sinaloa Cartel in the state.