While news out of Mexico is being totally dominated by the Swine Flu scare—anything is better than the constant Drug War news, right?—I’m gonna go about a month back in time to tell you about the some of the high profile arrests that have been taking place.
Today I’ll tell you about the capture of Hector Huerta Rios, a.k.a. “La Burra” or “El Junior.” He is (now was) one of the 37 most wanted narcos in Mexico.
Before he was arrested on March 25, “La Burra” worked as a lieutenant in the Beltran Leyva cartel, which is based in Sinaloa. He was among the most badass narco bosses out here, and not long ago the Mexican Government put a $15 million pesos (that’s a little over $1 million US dollars) bounty on La Burra’s head. Well, not a bounty, exactly. More like a reward for anyone that comes up with information leading to his arrest. And it seems they got someone to talk, but the reward wasn’t the motivating force.
He was grabbed in San Pedro, his dominion and the wealthiest district in all of Mexico. He settled there many many years ago and owned various residences. But then he was taken down in a surgical-precision army operation, led by soldiers dressed as civvies who didn’t have to fire a single shot. They took Huerta and four other people into custody, confiscated various firearms including a Five-Seven “matapolicias” (a sicario’s favorite sidearm these days), gold-plated pistols and other drug businessmen accessories.
The capture took place in Centrito Valle, in a luxury car dealership he owned called EuroDrive. Aston Martins, BMWs, Mercs and even helicopters were sold there. The lot also had a strategic position in San Pedro, being located only 100 meters away from the main nightclubs of Centrito. The car lot was also the only place without proper street lighting in this super-rich suburb, serving as an ideal distribution point for drugs.
Hector Huerta Rios arrived at the lot in a bullet-proof gray Chevrolet Suburban and was immediately seized as he entered his office, his bodyguards were all disarmed without incident. The perimeter of the car lot was surrounded by about 80 soldiers and some 200 special forces. All in all, the take-down was very well-planned and executed professionally, just like the capture of El Canicon. This means, without a doubt, that the army had some very good intel. The question is where did they get this information? It didn’t come from planting bugs, I’ll tell you that. There’s only one possibility I can think of.
Remember how I wrote last month about the capture of El Canicon, the Los Zetas regional leader? His take-down was presented to the media as a huge blow to narco-trafficking in Monterrey and surrounding areas. And now it’s coming out why it was such a score. During his interrogation, the Zetas badass started talking real quick. You can bet his interrogation included a lot of nasty torture methods. Who do you think came up with the tablazos? (Remember what I told you before, some of the founding father Zetas were former army men. The tablazo may sound like soft stuff, the lightest technique in the army handbook. But only Cheney would be an asshole enough to call not call it torture? What did he call this “soft” stuff? Harsh interrogation techniques?)
To all of you thinking, “oooh what a pussy he sounds like,” I dare you to hold out from just one day of beatings without talking. This isn’t some American crime hero that refuses to rat out his people because he’s too proud. No Clint Eastwood Western-cowboy type bullshit here. This is real life. Everybody here in Mexico understood that with his capture another capo had to fall. EVERYBODY talks eventually. You can only resist so long. But maybe it wasn’t Canicon. Maybe it was information from the executed bodyguards or maybe it was just luck or good intelligence work by the military. Who knows.
Main thing is that Huerta wasn’t an ordinary drug man like El Canicon. Huerta’s reach was bigger and he was more powerful. (They don’t call him “El Burra,” female donkey for nothing. The man can carry a heavy drug biz workload like nobody’s business.) He was in charge of operations in the city of Monterrey (which is mostly Gulf Cartel turf) and had been operating there successfully and peacefully under a truce he helped broker between the Beltran Levya and the Gulf Cartel a few years ago. With a Gulf Cartel capo ratting out the Beltran Levya, now there’s no telling what this betrayal will do to the violence around here.
A few weeks after Huerta’s capture, two of his former bodyguards were sprayed with pistols of different calibers in San Pedro, part of the realignment process, I guess. They may have had something to do with the capture of Huerta himself but I no one knows yet…
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