October 4, 2013
A double battle for the sale of drugs increased the incidence of violent homicide by 25% in Tijuana. Four groups are fighting over the principal neighborhoods in the east and central parts of the city. The dead and the murderers belong to cells led by Alfonso Lira, “El Atlante”, and the remains of the criminal organizations that were formerly led by Melvin Gutierrez Quiroz and Armando “El Gordo ” Villareal, lieutenants with the CAF (Cartel Arellano Felix), who are now under arrest.
Investigations by ZETA
The 25% increase in homicides that Tijuana is experiencing is due to confrontations for control of drug sales in the city’s neighborhoods. They are no longer fighting over street corners, now they shoot each other for the city’s sectors and the ones who are being killed are drug distributors working larger areas.
On the Sinaloa side, with the organization of Alfonso Lira, “El Atlante”, the group “Los Pelones” is in a fight to the death with cells led by “El Seven”, “El 300”, “El Tio”, and “El Guero”. And with the Arellano Felix cartel, two individuals who used to work for currently imprisoned Melvin Gutierrez Quiroz: “El 5-8”, who up to September 23, 2013, was fighting against Francisco Javier Flores Hernandez, “El Javi”, who formerly worked for him and other groups as a hired assassin. He (“El Javi”) was arrested last Monday after a homicide.
Those are the facts that have been compiled from information gathered by intelligence sources and from interviews of the detainees from August to September. “There have been arrests or investigations initiated with court orders issued for appearances or arrests in at least 80% of the cases. The PGR has not let up, and neither have we”, claimed Alberto Capella, Secretary of Municipal Public Safety in Tijuana.
The former CAF
Secretary Capella spoke about the the conflict that encompasses the areas of the local drug corridor, the Zona Centro, (Zona) Obrera, Zona Norte and San Antonio de los Buenos.
“Individuals working for “El Melvin” are giving information to other drug traffickers — including the Sinaloa Cartel– so they will kill and finish off the competition.” He reiterated that the confrontation between “Javi” and “El 5-8” is the bloodiest conflict.
“We return to the same problem; a conflict between drug distributors. It’s about a fight that, according to background information, started in December of 2012, at least, but it has been getting more brutal as the murder rate between (criminal) cells increases.” he explained.
Questioned about reports from intelligence groups that allege that “Atlante” cells are recruiting assassins from the “Los Surenos” –a Mexican-American gang– to fight against “Los Pelones”, who are based in the Logan (Heights) neighborhood in San Diego, California, the official explained:
“Our main problem right now is the relationship between United States gangs and groups from here. “El Barrio 18”, “Los Surenos”, and the stink of the Mexican Mafia, in addition to the constant (problem) of lovers, uncles or cousins who want to steal drugs from their relatives, and who have been selling it for some time.”
Getting back to the subject of captures, he brings up the arrest of a criminal group on September 19, 2013. This group shot members of the Municipal Police intelligence unit while they were following up on some information at the El Rubi housing development. In this operation, former police officer Jose Angel Uribe Medrano was arrested and formally charged with taking part in at least two homicides. (Capella) also mentions the subsequent capture of the individual who used to be (Uribe Medrano’s) immediate boss, Francisco Javier Flores Hernandez, “El Javi”, who is currently under arrest while his alleged participation in at least 8 recent murders is investigated.
The struggle among the groups continues because “El Javi” had at least three criminal groups working for him, each with its own boss.
Regarding the fighting among Sinaloa Cartel people, Capella would only say: “There’s some confusion; right now we do not know how strong the Sinaloa Cartel’s presence is because, according to them, they are not shopkeepers, that’s the message they have sent me when they send threats. So then, I assume that they are leaving the retail sale of drugs to their lieutenants — with no controls–, in a large market that amounts to 22 million pesos a day (approximately $1.7 million).”
The Sinaloa people
In an interview with ZETA, Miguel Angel Guerrero, state coordinator for the Organized Crime Prosecutions Unit (SCDO: Subprocuraduria Contra la Delincuencia Organizada) of the Baja California Justice Department (PGJE), spoke about the conflict between gang leaders; some of them represent cells associated with the Sinaloa Cartel, others groups have surrendered to the Sinaloa group, but were previously engaged in illegal activities for the CAF.
Of the 401 violent deaths in Tijuana thus far in 2013, there had been 39 murders in the month of September as of the 26th day of the month, which led to the PGJE to admit that there had been a 25% increase in the commission of this offense.
Guerrero was asked what was the reason for the spike in the numbers (of murders), and how did this blood bath involve Alfonso Lira, who was mentioned repeatedly in police reports in recent months.
The government official talked about the conflict to regain the drug sales areas that “El Atlante’s” group already controlled, and how the alleged criminal already feels identified and cornered by the authorities, neglecting control, in addition to which the cells are falling apart.
With respect to Alfonso Lira’s accomplices, direct subordinates or cell bosses, the PGJE has identified “El Seven”, “El 300”, “El Guero” and “El Tio”, an alias formerly used by Jose Lorenzo Porfirio Cervantes Martinez, brother in law of “El Atlante”, who was arrested on August 12, 2013, by State Preventive Police.
Miguel Angel Guerrero confirmed that these are aliases that have been mentioned often in recent statements.
“Relying on recent investigations by intelligence groups, (we) were able to put a face and a name on “El Atlante”, because at first it was assumed that there were two individuals, two brothers, in a family business,” he explained….continues next page
“Since we put a face to “El Atlante”, he started to cover himself, he disappeared from the city and, as a consequence, conflicts have begun among the cells that were under him. As for the homicides, the persons arrested tell us that the dead person was with the “Pelones”. The persons arrested were working for “Atlante’s” people and received orders from “El 300” or “El Tio”, who are associated in the Eastern Zone, and others in the Central Zone who say they’re “El Atlante’s” people, but they get orders.”
— Some intelligence information is claiming that there’s a schism among these groups and that they are trying to form groups independent of Lira. What truth is there in this?
“The facts obtained from interviews are that they are still under the control of ‘El Atlante’, one ‘El 300’ and ‘El Tio’ in the Eastern Zone, and ‘El Seven’ in the Central Zone of Tijuana corridor.”
With respect to the murders in the Colonias Libertad and Postal, which are atypical areas that had not been included in the confrontations, Guerrero explained: “What we know so far in the investigations is that everything points to executions of people from the Northern Zone.”
— The people from the Northern Zone are committing murders?
“Yes, (they are killing) people trying to come into La Libertad, La Postal and Del Rio (neighborhoods).”
Because the most violent conflict is between Alfonse Lira people and “Los Pelones”, the SCDO coordinator is questioned about the second group, and, although he did not identify bosses, he explained:
“‘Los Pelones’ are a branch of what was left from (the group led by) Armando ‘El Gordo’ Villareal, who managed –criminally– Mesa de Otay from Los Modulos, Libertad and Zona del Rio. Generally, they are former convicts and people deported from the U.S., with contacts in the Logan “Barrio”, which was a part of the CAF. We all know that’s how they worked.”
With respect to the recruitment of Mexican-American deported criminals, Guerrero asserted that it’s a fact, but he explained that there are also two other phenomena that have been reported by immigrant support organizations. A considerable number of deportees have been provided medical care by government organizations after they were beaten or shot, in some cases because they have been asked to join and they refused. In other cases, they were “contracted” to commit crimes, and were promised money or drugs. After they commit the crime, the only thing they get is a beating and they are dumped somewhere along the border.”
— According to intelligence reports from active police (agencies), (retail drug) sellers are no longer killing each other, they are not fighting over street corners; is the fight then between wholesalers/distributors who are fighting over entire zones? he was asked regarding the change in the profiles of the murdered persons.
“It does coincide a little with information we already have, including a homicide over the weekend in the (Colonia) Felipe Velazquez, where one person died and another was wounded and died at the General Hospital. In fact, we already have information that the dead person, a young man in his twenties, was the one who controlled distribution of crystal in the the Sanchez Taboada and Felipe Velazquez (neighborhoods). So then, we are saying that it’s no longer the street corner vendor, but rather the suppliers responsible for distribution in those areas who are getting killed,” concluded the state official. (by Sergio Haro)
Municipal and state police officers disagree on the facts.
ALLEGED MURDERER CAUGHT
Originally, it was disclosed that (Ramon Hernandez Cruz) was involved in seven recent homicides in the Western Zone in Mexicali, although the office of the State Attorney General (PGJE) stated– based on evidence from the scene– that there was evidence that he had taken part in only two murders and one assault.
We are talking about Ramon Hernandez Cruz, arrested Tuesday morning, September 24, 2013, in the Colonia Virreyes in Mexicali by agents with the Municipal Public Safety (agency). The PGJE stated that ministerial agents also played a part.
In the initial report, the municipal authorities stated that three firearms were confiscated from Hernandez; a .22 cal. semi-automatic pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun and a .40 cal. Glock. In addition, he was linked with the murder of a military person a year ago.
Abel Galvan, the state deputy prosecutor with the Organized Crime (unit), disclosed that neither the .22 caliber pistol nor the 12-gauge shotgun were functional, which is why only the .40 caliber Glock was sent to the lab for analysis, which is how it was determined that it was involved in at least three crimes.
One was the assault on March 26, 2013 –File No. NUC 0202/2013/12758– against Felizardo Valencia Ceballos, who was wounded in the incident that took place in Colonia Huertas. In another, incident in September 12, 2012, night watchman Alvaro Guzman Sanchez was murdered in Colonia Progreso, the presumed motive being the theft of his car. In the third one, on September 21, Ricardo Urias Carrillo was shot to death in Colonia Palmeras. Investigators believe that robbery was the motive.
According to Galvan, the PGJE has enough material to prosecute and obtain a conviction against Hernandez Cruz, at least in the murder of Alvaro Guzman. Evidence is being gathered in the other cases.
“I want to emphasize that at this time we have no evidence to determine whether this person was involved with the murder of a military person, nor whether the weapon is involved, as was reported before,” the official explained.