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Dispatch / The Mexican Drug War / March 24, 2009

El Canicon

MONTERREY, MEXICO — I woke up the other day and started the morning off just like I do every normal day: by sitting on a bench in my front yard, reading the newspaper and toking. There’s a saying in Mexico that goes: “Un churro al dia es la llave de la alegria,” which roughly translates to: “one joint per day is the key to happiness.” It’s supposed to rhyme and all that, but the poetry got lost in the translation.

Well, I was doing that when, suddenly, one of my friends calls me on my NexTel and says: “Hey, you heard who they caught?” and before I could guess that it was the son of “El Mayo” Zambada in Mexico City, he blurts out: “They grabbed El Canicon cabron!”

The news hit me like a tablazo and I ran inside my house, turned the TV on, booted up my computer and started surfing the web to get a confirmation on this amazing piece of intel. And I did. Sigifredo Najera Talamantes, a.k.a. El Canicon, was caught in Saltillo during a military raid.

The feared Canicon answers (or I should say, answered) directly to two very very high placed Zeta bosses: Heriberto Lazcano, a.k.a. “El Lazca,” and Miguel Treviño, a.k.a. “El L-40.” These dudes were in charge of all the money-making activities carried out by the Zetas. That means they were pulling the strings in narco-trafficking, human-trafficking, piracy, kidnapping, murder, extortion, rape (done for purely for philanthropic reasons), tapping into gas pipelines (like some criminals do in Iraq), etc., etc., etc. Basically, these guys were in charge of most of the day-to-day operations. (As you can see, Mexican Cartels are not just Drug, Inc. They are more All Crime, Inc.)

The reason I got all fired up about the news of El Canicon’s capture was because it was personal. This motherfucker traveled close to my circle and was actually involved in the kidnappings of various friends of mine. He also had a hand in the execution of my coke/lsd/chiva go-to guy, as well as being connected to a whole lot of unpleasant shit that happened to people I know and the people they know.

But I’m already saying way too much. And since I can’t get all personal (yes, I don’t want a eat a metal slug while reading the morning paper and enjoying the first toke of the day), I’m gonna back off and tell you about some of the conquests that have made El Canicon famous, or infamous—whatever you prefer.

He is responsible for ordering the execution of 9 soldiers in Monterrey (three of them got their throats slit while they were sitting in a strip club, their eyeballs fixed on a set of gyrating titties). He also masterminded the execution of 6 federal agents in 3 different cases between 2007 and 2008. He attacked the US general consulate in Monterrey last October. (You gringos made a big deal about this, but it was nothing, really. The damn grenade he lobbed didn’t even go off. Yet the consulate is still closed right now, with a strong police presence guarding the building and cement roadblocks set up to protect its surroundings.) He also mounted raids on installations of Televisa, a local news/tv company. I’m not even gonna start listing the all the various shootouts and executions he’s participated in. There are so many, I’m not sure he’d be able to remember a tenth of them himself, no matter how hard you torture him.

El Canicon rose to power somewhere around 2007-2008, when he got leadership of the plaza in Monterrey after the guy he replaced, Eleazar Rojas, a.k.a “El Chelelo,” was captured. That’s when I first learned of El Canicon. And then I didn’t stop hearing about him. See, some of my friends knew El Chelelo and had his permission to “operate” in the area. And after the police nabbed him, the protection stopped counting for shit. With El Canicon in power, it was a new ball game. A few people I know got to know him pretty well, a few never returned and those that did weren’t looking so hot. (Remember that story I told in my second post?)

El Canicon barely lasted a year in this position. Sure, it ain’t much out there in the normal world, but it can seem like a lifetime in this business.

Leading up to his capture, I’m told that the Army and SIEDO were tailing El Canicon for days before finally taking him down. Some say it happened while he was cruising around downtown Saltillo in his bullet-proof Altima Coupe, others say the takedown took place at a his hideout/party place. Whatever it was, apparently he was in the middle of a mid-week rager, partying for days on end, right up until his capture on Friday afternoon. I guess that picture of him shows it. It’s hard to tell where exactly on his face the haggard hang-over stops and the puffy beating marks begin.

When it finally went down, it took a whole battalion to take El Canicon into custody. The guachos weren’t taking any chances. They were scared stiff. Dozens of snipers and riflemen with ski masks over their faces set up firing positions behind parked cars, on rooftops and garbage cans, nervously waiting for what they thought would be the scariest shootout of their lives. I’m sure there was a lot of shaking G3 rifles. But all the buildup was for nothing. The big firefight never came.

Shaking In Their Boots

When special op guys finally stormed the house, the fearsome El Canicon was passed out in bed. He didn’t put up any resistance, neither did the other five dudes in his crew that were arrested along with him. They were too strung out to care. (Other assorted Mexican drug cowboy booty was taken out of his hiding as well: all sorts of bling bling jewelry, some Rolexes and Cartier watches, a whole heap of cellphones and NexTel radios, 24 grenades, 8 rifles, 3 pistols, 1 40mm grenade launcher add-on for m16 (R-15 here), chingos of ammunition, 5 vehicles (2 of them bullet-proof), 10 million pesos and 930 dollars.

The feared “soldier-killer/narco-terrorist” gave up his freedom without firing a single shot. And, to tell you the truth, I can understand him, as much as I hate him. I’ve been there, too. After days of coked-up partying you don’t give a shit about anything else other than taking a nice toke of weed, finding the closest bed and passing out for a day or two, hoping for some sweet dreams. But El Canicon got himself a green-colored nightmare with a dozen machine gun barrels pointing at his head, and felt the raw pain of being on the receiving end of a few rifle butt thrusts to his face.

Ok, they got him. But you gotta wonder, But what does it really mean? See El Canicon had been in the news a lot lately, way too often for it to be good for him. He was becoming a liability, and it was just a matter of time before he was gonna get caught. I’m pretty sure he was hiding out in Belize because of all the “heat”. And then there’s this “strange” coincidence of this high-profile take-down happening right before Hillary Clinton visits Mexico. I think she was scheduled to arrive yesterday.

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Add your own

  • 1. Chema Pino Suarez  |  March 24th, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Ahh a post full of such wonderful mexican nicknames. What will come from the continuing fragmentation of the drug cartels in respects to the drug economy will be interesting to watch.

  • 2. mx?  |  March 25th, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I know…there is a rumor that the plaza is about to go hot again

    Stay tuned people, because Hector Huerta “La Burra” (The donkey) just got nabbed this afternoon as a result of a military operation.

    When I heard it I couldnt believe it, this guy is old school local “pesado” since 2005 and way back.

    He was the main guy for the Beltran Leyva Cartel here in Monterrey so consequences are almost certain.

  • 3. Hilda OROZCO  |  March 25th, 2009 at 2:56 am

    Why mariguana became such a BIG problem in México, some South America countries and US? I meant in this particular way, extra-hyper-violent and extremist. I’m amazed of how in this forsaken Europe “EVERYBODY” smokes a “Porro” everywhere, all the time, sometimes with a member of their families. Maybe mariguana legalization is the solution, but I think that it’s a cultural issue too. We need to stop thinking that mariguana it’s so bad and that we will go to hell. Yes it’s a drug but I think we are overacting. Right now we can not change things so easily because we created a big monster and for kill it we need the help of another bigger and rich. I doubt that this war will finish peacefully; we need to change our minds too to win in our house and community. We have the right of fuck our life. Are we ready to be responsible at that point? Don’t think so and that sucks! But we must to get the right of doing it, that kind of protection of the Government its ridiculous! Ok DAD this the last time.

  • 4. Chema Pino Suarez  |  March 25th, 2009 at 4:35 am

    Cartels would not be eliminated overnight with legalization. If the government where to decide to make drugs insanely overpriced like the proposed cost for medicinal marijuana in Oregon than the black market would continue.

    Making drugs a low priority through decriminalization and legalization would be a massive blow to the prison industrial complex and to many police departments who rely on government money to combat drugs. I mean a rapist is no where on the same moral level as some guy who had a few plants in his house.

    Also Miss Orozco your quite cute.

  • 5. Tommy Jefferson  |  March 25th, 2009 at 6:05 am

    This is a minor victory for the evil Mexican government. The violence created by the Mexican government’s stupid “War on Some Drugs” will not last forever.

    Every Mexican citizen has the natural right to keep and bear arms. More AR15’s to more Mexicans means more jobs for American manufacturers, more safety for Mexican citizens, and more freedom from government oppression.

    We must work to ship and many guns as possible to Mexico. We must work to break the government-created drug cartels and let the profits from supplying drugs to North Americans spread to every Mexican citizen willing to work hard planting, harvesting, processing, transporting, and marketing.

    Free enterprise will win in the end.

  • 6. buzz  |  March 25th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    well after 75 years of drug prohibition and the 45th year of nixon’s ‘war on drugs’, i’m glad that their finally making some progress.

    thank you hillary.

  • 7. Eye  |  March 25th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I don’t want AR15s, that’s for pussies. I have the natural right to drive a T-72. And to launch atomic missiles…

    It’s the best way to defend my freedoms from government oppresion. And more T-72s and atomic missiles mean more jobs for Russian manufacturers.

  • 8. captain america  |  March 25th, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    i personally can’t decide between an AK-47 or an AR-15. maybe both?

  • 9. Baltimoron  |  March 26th, 2009 at 4:39 am

    It’s pretty disappointing that this feared underboss is just some fat dude who should have taken fewer trips to the taqueria. The way these guys are described in the news media, you expect them to look like Fender from “Cyborg”

  • 10. CasinoInWest  |  March 26th, 2009 at 10:36 am

    lol, I like the Ak

  • 11. mx?  |  March 26th, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    some sicarios look like straight-up dumbasses but you wouldnt believe their aim.
    For being coked-up most of the time they are pretty good shots, well youve seen the pictures right?

  • 12. PassingByandWondering  |  March 27th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Felicidades Compadre! Excellent post..

    So Mexican Army is started to kick ass and take names in and around N.L. …Canicon is in lock up, el “burrito” de Centrito has said “adios”, now…when are they gonna’ get the “Mero Mero”? When are they going to start Operation Clean House in the streets of N.L.?

    Nati’s working overtime announcing to the 4 winds “he had nothing to do with these busts, it was the Mexican Army all by themselves”..He’s got at least $7 million a year lined up on beefing up security to ex- officials and God only knows how much to cover his own sweet nalgas—Que onda? What’s your take?

  • 13. mx?  |  March 28th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    This looks more like some group is trying to open the plaza than the army kicking ass.

    Most people “inside” believe El Chapo Guzman is behind the Army operations.

    As for the Gov, well that trash will be dealt with when he no longer holds office I believe.

  • 14. Anonymous  |  March 28th, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    He may look fat to you, but he looks like one mean scary thug to me. I don’t want to pretend that people’s looks tell everything about them, but the haircut and expression make it clear that looking like a nice guy is nowhere on his to-do list, and his body looks like it has a lot of muscle, and not enough fat to sag or slow him down much, but enough for him to stay mean strong and fast after being starved for a few days. He’s also short, sturdy, and compact, without the tall broad shouldered lean build fighter pilots and politicians tend toward. The ultra-lean muscle you see in Calvin Klein underwear ads is actually as impractical as the skin and bones female models, and a truly strong and tough body looks a little different, and not at all attractive to American eyes. Frankly, I’m not all that close to this shitstorm, but that photo reinforces my feeling that I’d feel better knowing this guy was dead, and I feel worse knowing there are more like him operating out there.

  • 15. PassingByandWondering  |  March 29th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Chapo behind all of the military operations? Hell, it’s scarier than I thought were you are. Is he setting up his own people to clean up new and start with fresh thugs?

    It’s a shame. Mexico is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people (ok, – the drug thugs, I guess they’re not so beautiful, but you get the gest.)

    Do you actually see an improvement for Nuevo Leon, Monterrey or all of nuevo Leon, or is this just a calm before the storm?

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