The internal differences of the Sinaloa Cartel, between El Mayo Zambada and the sons of Chapo Guzmán, exploded in a border town of Baja California and Sonora. The two groups began to subdue local leaders and demand the payment of the floor; today there is a “war”, reveals a journalistic work of the magazine Proceso.
“They killed the Morgan, they killed the Morgan!” Was read on cell phones, repeated in pharmacies and in stores on the main avenue of town, among friends and family. By noon on June 1, the entire town knew it, both Baja Californians and those who turn out to be Sonoran due to a bureaucratic process: the dividing line, which in fact is an alley.
The town of 11,800 inhabitants is the same, but on the Sonora side it is called Luis B. Sánchez and after the alley, it is called Estación Coahuila.
There, in the last ejido of the Mexicali Valley area, they not only mourned the death of the 28-year-old, since everyone has known each other since childhood but the message that his corpse carried:
“Anyone who supports the Russian, Isrra, Piña, Pably, Mario cabezón and Tochin, the wasteko and Omega, the same thing will happen to them, JG. We are ‘The Minors’ we do not kill innocents … We are with the people. They are fighting a lost cause ATTE: LA CHAPIZA 701 ”(sic).
And although everyone knew that Los Salazars would arrive, they hoped they would not enter the town, where Jesús Alexander Sánchez Félix, El Russo, operator of Ismael Zambada, El Mayo, has one of his safe houses. The locals insist that the murder of the Morgan was ordered by Los Salazar or Los Chapitos.
The Russian is part of the Sinaloa Cartel that, according to the InSight Crime group, lives an internal dispute between the old leader, El Mayo Zambada, and the children of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, El Chapo.
The judicial process that led to the life sentence for El Chapo Guzmán, and where Vicente Zambada –El Vicentillo, Mayo’s son– testified against him, would have triggered the differences, which intensified with the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán López in the Federal operation already known as “el culiacanazo”, when Zambada refused to participate with Los Chapitos in the release of the young Guzmán.
Although El Chapo has several recognized children, only Ovidio Guzmán López, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar and Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar are part of Los Chapitos or Los Menores. They were allied with Los Salazar, old collaborators of the cartel who are based in Chihuahua.
Crispín Salazar and his brother Adán Salazar Zamorano are the visible heads of the group. They dominate three-quarters of the territory of Chihuahua on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel, including the border with the United States, with the exception of a corridor in the central part of the state, led by the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel.
The southwestern side of Sonora is also controlled by Los Salazar and the Sinaloa Cartel, but the differences between El Mayo Zambada and Los Chapitos have sparked fierce fighting.
The war starts
The assassination of the Morgan announced to the inhabitants of Sonora and Baja California that the war between the two groups had ceased to be a shadow in their daily lives to settle in it. According to the narcomensaje nailed to the body, Los Salazars are the allies of “la chapiza”, enemies of the Russian and the Mayo.
In a tour that Proceso journalists made last May through Luis B. Sánchez and Estación Coahuila, the fear of the eventual irruption of Los Salazar was already evident.
Since January 9, when a banner signed by Los Salazar appeared in the neighboring city of Mexicali announcing the payment of a floor to exchange houses, the inhabitants of the valley were clear that they were surrounded, to the east in Mexicali and to the west in San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora.
“Important announcement. To all the money launderers of the narco that are the exchange houses, get used to 1 peso fee. Att. Los Salazars ”, said the narcomensaje.
The residents of Luis B. Sánchez and Estación Coahuila pointed out the location of several clandestine airways and said that drug dealing has existed for a long time.
One witness said: “We all know who’s up to it. They have never messed with us. Things changed when people came from abroad. In April they started 33/84 of a comma on social networks, perhaps Los Salazars, where they kidnapped people in San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, but they still haven’t stopped here ”.
Luis B. Sánchez is part of the municipality of San Luis Río Colorado. It is an hour from the municipal seat and many of the inhabitants of the first town have their jobs in this or, on the lower Californian side, in Mexicali. That is why the aforementioned sign that appeared on January 9 in this last city alarmed them, but the murder of the Morgan filled them with dread.
Regarding the other individuals mentioned in the narcomanta found on the body – such as El Piña, El Isra, and El Tochin, whose first names are omitted because their participation in organized crime has not been proven – a Middle-aged man says: “We have all known them since they were children or have heard of them. This is a town and here we all know about all of them ”.
In the last two years, the situation has changed. The local leaders were subdued by two criminal groups. The Salazars sent messages to line up, but so did El Russo and his partner, Felipe Eduardo Barajas, El Omega.
Both sides began to charge for the plaza, and although they all belong to the Sinaloa Cartel, they took sides in the internal fight: Los Salazar back Los Chapitos or Los Menores and El Russo and El Omega al Mayo Zambada.
The Cartel’s presence in Sonora and Baja California has been present for over a decade.
Another key point of the San Luis Río Colorado-Valle de Mexica li-Mexicali corridor is the Gulf of Santa Clara, which is part of the Sea of Cortez and is also one hour from Luis B. Sánchez and Estación Coahuila.
According to the locals, El Piña allied with Los Salazar; El Isra and El Tochin, although they do not work together, aligned themselves with El Russo.
El Piña went to the Gulf of Santa Clara to take care of the plaza for Los Salazar and Los Chapitos, while the other two closed ranks at Estación Coahuila and Luis B. Sánchez. The Russian has a safe house at an entrance to the town, approximately five miles from a small military base. “The one here is one of the many you have in the area: in Mexicali, in the Valley… and El Tochin the same, eh ?! The one that is not known is from Isra, only that here they have apartments where about 40 hitmen sleep, with air conditioning and everything. “
The morning when the body of the Morgan was located, wrapped in a curtain, beheaded, with the coup de grace and mutilated of his genitals, the town went into a panic. “The war is coming, we know it, and we are in the middle,” says a tenant.
On both sides, they began to appear executed. In the national statistics of executions, the area of Mexicali and its valley ranks 23rd and Tijuana tops the list. According to the National Public Security System, from January to May last two, 92 murders were committed in the capital of Baja California and 749 in Tijuana.
When they are asked for details, the authorities offer “information cards” where they report the discovery of bodies, but it is not specified who they are or what group they belong to. The townspeople make their own versions: one is that El Morgan worked for El Isra; he allegedly carried the payroll of hitmen and vendors.
It is also said that El Piña, in charge of the Gulf of Santa Clara, warned that El Morgan was around there with two other fishermen. After the execution, the Piña ranch was looted, its cows and horses stolen and two of its light aircraft burned. “Everyone in town found out,” says a woman.
The authorities have not reported any follow-up to the case. From that day on, the town became a fortress, guarded at its seven entrances by El Russo and his people.
“Isra leads search operations. They break into parties, like the one on June 18, for ‘sex revelations’ (which replaced baby showers). El Isra and another, called El Curvina, arrived, snatched cell phones, threatened the women, put weapons to their heads; They were looking for a video where the execution of the Morgan was recorded and they were looking for the husband of the celebrant, because he works for El Piña. And although we were scared, they did not harm us, ”says a young woman who attended.
They also put up checkpoints at all seven entrances. Families who suffered the experience report that a commando in eight vans, which is watched by eight other vehicles, “stop you, point their goat horn at you and interrogate you. It was our turn to have our phone checked, but I have heard from others who only ask where they are from. When they realize that you are from here they let you go and recommend that you no longer go out at night, or that if you hear shootings you take refuge in your house ”.
The same person accepts that they feel cared for by El Russo and believe they are safe: “We are shielded by them because they live here … and we also know that they are looking for people from Los Salazar and El Piña … and that El Russo, El Isra and El Tochin they cannot stop in the gulf ”.
On May 14, the Army, the National Guard and the municipal police of Mexicali were about to arrest the Russian. That morning Sánchez Félix was having dinner with his people in a taquería when the alert for the presence of heavily armed men arrived at 911.
Municipal police arrived at the scene and requested reinforcements from the Army and the National Guard. But surprisingly, two agents of the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) arrived, who allegedly tried to bribe them with 80 thousand dollars. In the confusion, El Russo escaped and only nine people were arrested. The agents of the FGR tried to flee in their vehicles, for which a persecution began that culminated in the delegation of the Prosecutor’s Office, where they took refuge. One of them was released and the other was detained until the origin of the 80 thousand dollars was justified. The nine detainees remained at the headquarters of the Municipal Police of Mexicali.
The next day, four blankets appeared in the vicinity of the international gatehouse. They were saying:
“ALL THE FEDERAL DEPENDENCES ARE WARNED THAT IT IS THE FIRST AND LAST TIME THEY ATTACK AGAINST OUR ORGANIZATION. THEY DO NOT KNOW WHO THEY ARE TALKING WITH AND YOU, THE MUNICIPAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT, THIS IS NOT GOING TO STAY SO. ATTE RE VOLUTIONARY FORCES OF THE RUSSIAN. “
The following day the nine detainees were released due to contradictions in the “approved report”; that is, the municipal agents gave different and conflicting versions.
On Monday, May 17, at the federal government security table, the authorities presumed to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador the arrest of the armed command.
“Yes, it was a great arrest that was presumed this morning at the security table. How did they release them yesterday? We did not know! ”, One of the members of the table and a member of the National Security System told Proceso, surprised when he was told that the detainees were no longer in the power of the FGR, because they were allowed to go.