Traces of Reality
March 13, 2014
Since the capture of Dionisio Loya Plancarte (alias “El Tio”) in late January, Michoacan’s autodefensas have made enormous gains against the Caballeros Templarios cartel. Just two weeks ago, Mexican Federal Police killed Templarios leader and plaza boss Francisco Nuñez Galeana (alias “El Pantera”). Since then, police and military, in conjunction with autodefensas organized under the legally-recognized Rural Defense Corps, arrested extortionists Luis Alfredo Aguilera Esquivel (an illegitimate son of Servando Gómez Martínez, alias “La Tuta,” still at large and the the subject of the final link in last week’s Narconoia Update) and Cristian Salinas Ruiz. In the days following, Mexican Federal Police and RDC autodefensas also arrested cartel plaza bosses Abraham Zamora Zamudio and Javier Álvarez.
Early Sunday morning, on March 9, 2014, Mexican Marina killed Caballeros Templarios demigod and former La Familia Michoacana founder, Nazario Moreno González (alias “El Chayo” and “El Más Loco”), during a shootout that erupted after Moreno González refused to surrender. Marina forces and Federal Police had been guided to Chayo’s location through intelligence gathered by autodefensas units, who assisted in the operation.
This marks the second time “El Chayo” has been declared dead. Rumors of his demise spread far and wide after a massive clash with Mexican Marina in December of 2010. Back then, Mexican government officials claimed that the body of Nazario Moreno González had been taken from the scene by cartel operatives. This time they have a body and the physical proof to confirm it.
“El Tio” was reportedly killed once before as well, but it was information obtained from him, Tuta’s son, and fellow Templarios after this recent string of captures that led the forces right to Chayo.
Disappointingly, even as the final blows to the Caballeros Templarios are dealt — with only La Tuta, Kike Plancarte, and remaining security detail in hiding — cartel infiltrators within the autodefensas units are beginning to set Michoacan’s self-defense groups on to the same path taken by the armed vigilante groups in Colombia.
With all of these important developments in Michoacan, this week’s links will focus on this subject, plus a few miscellaneous links worth checking out as well.
Michoacán’s “narcosaint” meets death in a hail of gunfire, again
El Chayo Killed…Again via Chivis Martínez @ Borderland Beat
Really dead this time: Mexico confirms man killed Sunday was drug capo ‘slain’ in 2010 via Adriana Gomez Licon @ Associate Press/Dallas Morning News
‘Dead’ Mexican drug kingpin likely killed in shootout: official via Dave Graham and Simon Gardner @ Reuters
Drug kingpin is really dead this time, Mexican officials say via Richard Fausset @ The Los Angeles Times
Mexican Drug Lord, Thought Dead in 2010, Is Reported Killed Randal C. Archibold @ The New York Times
Mexican authorities kill Knights Templar drug cartel leader Nazario Moreno via Joshua Partlow and Gabriela Martinez @ The Washington Post
Mythical Leader of Mexico Cartel Dead – For Sure This Time via Jeremy McDermott @ InSight Crime
As Mexico nabs drug ‘kingpins,’ Pena Nieto’s vow to cut crime lags via Tim Johnson @ McClatchy News
Mexico’s government says this time it really killed ‘craziest’ kingpin via Dudley Althaus @ Global Post
Beyond the headlines, inside the mind of “El Más Loco”
Mexico’s Craziest Drug Lord ‘Died’ Twice and Used to Dress as God via Ioan Grillo @ Time [after you read this excellent Grillo article, listen to Guillermo's interview with Ioan about the situation in Michoacan and much more]
In life, Mexican cartel boss was revered as a saint via Richard Fausset @ The Los Angeles Times
Seeking a Place in History – Nazario Moreno’s Narco Messiah via Falko A. Ernst @ InSight Crime
Turmoil among Autodefensas in a region still smoldering
Armed Group Trying To Overthrow Hipólito in La Ruana via Chivis Martínez @ Borderland Beat
‘El Chayo’ Dead but Knights Templar War with Vigilantes Rages On via Dudley Althaus @ InSight Crime
Mex Goverment shields the truth: it was autodefensas that led forces to Chayo via Chivis Martínez @ Borderland Beat
Mexico arrests prominent vigilante leader on suspicion of murder via Dave Graham and Lizbeth Diaz @ Reuters/Global Post
Leader of Mexican vigilante group arrested in double homicide @ The Los Angeles Times
Opponent of Mexico’s Cartels Is Detained in Vigilantes’ Deaths via Damien Cave @ The New York Times
Michoacán Self-Defense Leader Hipólito Mora Had Nothing to Do with Murder of Ex-Templar – José Mireles via Aristegui Noticias @ Mexico Voices [translated by Carolyn Smith]
Chapo & Mayo, Zetas, Golfos, y más
U.S. vows to work more closely Mexico and Guatemala against cartels via Agence France-Presse @ Raw Story
Border town violence ramps up after arrest of cartel leader via Morgan Loew @ KPHO CBS5
Kidnapped in Mexico: How he survived via Nick Valencia @ CNN
A Deal with the Right Devil via Douglas Lucas @ WhoWhatWhy [some interesting points raised here, a thoughtful read]
During first incarceration El Chapo summoned DEA to “turn in” Arellano Félix via Anabel Hernandez @ Proceso/Borderland Beat [translated article, Hernandez's work is always a must-read]
Federal agents, Texas Rangers search Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office amid ‘El Gallo’ probe via Dave Hendricks @ The Monitor
New Film Portrays Mexican Drug Lord “El Chapo” Guzmán As A Zorro-like Legend via Dolia Estevez @ Forbes
4 years of Gulf Cartel-Zetas war leave Reynosa with unnerving nights via Ildefonso Ortiz @ The Monitor [an excellent article, and worth pairing with a conversation Guillermo and I had about one of the most violent clashes in Reynosa for TOR Radio a year ago this very week]
Cartel associates plead guilty to bribery charge via Chris Tomlinson @ Associated Press
Citigroup reduces executive’s pay, cites issues at Mexico unit @ Reuters [the executive in question is Eduardo Medina Mora -- cousin of Manuel Medina Mora, Mexico's ambassador to the U.S. and former president Calderon's Attorney General]