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Pancho Montana

Don Arturo

On December 16th in the town of Cuernavaca, Mexican armed forced cornered and killed Don Arturo Beltran Leyva, the country’s most powerful drug boss and one of the top three capos of the trade. Some people still don’t believe he is dead, some do, but all agree that it’s going to unleash a shitstorm. He’s a mythical figure among his people, but Americans have no idea who he is. So allow me the honor to introduce you to the man and the legend of Don Arturo Beltran Leyva.

In Mexico, if you call someone “Don,” it means you respect him to the extreme, and even fear him. You’d be more than justified in using the title when referring to the “jefe de jefes” of the Mexican drug trade. Don Arturo Beltra Levya was without exaggeration the most powerful boss in the country. He had more power than Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the drug cartel boss who was listed as Fobes’ #701 richest man of 2009. In Mexico, you won’t hear anyone referring to him as “Don Joaquin.” (more…)

Posted: December 28th, 2009


Quick dispatch with some groundbreaking news: Mexican marines shot it out with Arturo Beltran Leyva and his bodyguards in some luxury mall/department store in Cuernavaca, about 50 miles south of Mexico city. Unreal. The shootout—caught on tape—happened in the middle of the night on the streets of the city. This episode has the possibility of bringing a lot of violence, with the reacomodos (what we call when the bloody realignment of power happens) and all fights for control of the plazas. (more…)

Posted: December 17th, 2009

mexican drug war

MONTERREY, MEXICO — Another day, another shootout. Forget about the tropical storm that hit the Pacific just now, it’s raining bullets in this biatch.

It seems that every day there is another firefight in this or that part of the city, and frankly I’m getting sick of it. Every day, a copy of a copy of a copy. It’s tiring, exhausting—that’s what the drug war is beginning to feel like. A drag, kinda like the Iraq war for you gringos. (more…)

Posted: October 29th, 2009

El Drug War

Hello there! Hola to the few who still check out this column to learn about crazy antics of America’s favorite suppliers. Yeah, I know I haven’t been updating you for a while on account that I’m getting lazy (weed ain’t exactly speed, neither is Rohypnol). And I don’t have much of an excuse since I’m unemployed and have a lot of free time on my hands, time which I spend doing everything but writing…

To be completely honest, I kinda lost interest in the whole Drug War. It became like watching a re-run of a sitcom you kinda like. Watch it long enough and you’ll start hating it little by little, because it always more of the same plot and punch lines: A big gunfight in Guerrero, another decapitation in Chihuahua, the biggest drug lab ever busted in Michoacan (and then a few days later an even bigger one is busted) or the detention of a “big” capo in Tijuana. Same ol’, same ol’. (more…)

Posted: August 14th, 2009


Ok, so it’s been a while since the last update to this column. It is not that I’ve been THAT busy, I’ve just been a victim of my own laziness (I suspect it’s related to my pill and smoke habit certainly, not that I’m complaining). And since I no longer have a job, I’ve been having to go back to find old ways of making money in order to pay for my fucking Nextel bill and my other assorted expenses.

And to be honest there wasn’t really much to write about. The drug war, at least here in Monterrey, has been losing wind for a while. All the high profile detentions deflated it like a balloon of heroin that popped in some poor mule’s stomach. (more…)

Posted: July 15th, 2009

swine flu babes

I’d pork these fine swine flu mamacitas, the pandemic be damned

MONTERREY, MEXICO — I’ve been meaning to do a dispatch on the Swine Flu ever since the “epidemic” broke out, but I have been too busy working and scoring some good shit to smoke in my free time. The drought is on this time of year, and almost all the goddamn weed in the city is dry, dusty and tastes like shit. There is nothing worse for a true pothead than to have to smoke shitty weed.

As far as the Swine Flu goes, people will look back and remember the pandemic as a random memory, a wacky story for the grandchildren. Maybe you’ll see street vendors selling “I went to Mexico and all I got was influenza” t-shirts to drunken college students in Cancun. Pretty funny, but it ain’t true. I don’t know a single person who got the flu. In fact, I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone that got the flu. That’s pandemic for you. (more…)

Posted: May 28th, 2009

Hector Huerta Rios

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. (more…)

Posted: April 28th, 2009