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Column 101314 Wall

Monday, October 13, 2014

Within Eight Days, Mexican Authorities Capture Two Notorious Narcos

By Allan Wall

Within a period of eight days, Mexican authorities nabbed two notorious narco barons who had been at large for years: Hector Beltran Leyva of the Beltran Leyva Cartel, and Vicente Carrillo Fuentes of the Juarez Cartel.  Both of these men headed cartels which are less powerful than they once were, but nevertheless are still part of the criminal panorama of Mexico’s cartel world.  Both men apparently thought they could avoid capture by maintaining low profiles, but in the end that didn’t work for them, and both are now in custody.

Beltran Leyva

On October 1st, Hector Beltran Leyva was captured by Mexican Army special forces soldiers as he enjoyed eating fish tacos at a seafood restaurant in the quiet colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, in Guanajuato state in central Mexico.

Beltran Leyva was the boss of the family enterprise known as the Beltran Leyva Cartel, or the South Pacific Cartel.  Hector was known as “el H” (pronounced “ah-che,” the name of the letter H in Spanish).  Another moniker used to refer to Beltran Leyva was “el Inge,” short for El Ingeniero, “the Engineer,” which in Mexico is used as an honorific in a similar fashion as the title “the doctor.”

Hector had US$5 million on his head in the United States, and a $30 million peso bounty in Mexico.  The infamous cartel chief had adopted a low profile, and was living in the central Mexican city of Queretaro, famous for its colonial architecture, where he was working as an art and real estate dealer.

When el H was captured in that San Miguel restaurant he wasn’t even accompanied by a bodyguard, but was eating with political insider German Goyeneche. The latter was president of the "Citizens' Council 100 percent for Queretaro," and president of the “Citizen Parliament of Mexico" for the State of Queretaro.  Goyeneche is suspected to have been involved in the financial side of the Beltran Leyva organization, and his involvement with el H raises questions about his links with politicians.  

According to the restaurant employees, Hector’s arrest went down quickly, in less than ten minutes, with no shots fired.

Carrillo Fuentes

On October 9th, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes was captured at a traffic checkpoint in Torreon, Coahuila, in northern Mexico.  Carrillo Fuentes, known as “The Viceroy,” was the boss of the Juarez Cartel and had a US$5 million bounty on his head from the FBI.

Carrillo Fuentes had run the Juarez Cartel since 1997, replacing his brother Amado who died in a botched plastic surgery operation.  Under Vicente, the Juarez Cartel carried out a bloody war over turf against Chapo Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel in Ciudad Juarez (across the border from El Paso, Texas). This conflict was responsible for killing an estimated 8,000 persons in Ciudad Juarez, from 2009 to 2011.  The Sinaloa Cartel won that war.

There were originally six Carrillo Fuentes brothers, and Vicente was known as the most violent, sometimes killing enemies personally, sometimes burying them alive.

In recent years the Viceroy had been on the move, the power of the Juarez Cartel greatly reduced.  So Vicente had had his physical appearance altered and led a low-profile lifestyle.  His capture was due to the fact that he always drove the same vehicle on his visits to Torreon – a navy blue Chevy Silverado pickup with Coahuila tags.  Vicente was in that vehicle when stopped at a traffic checkpoint by federal police.  Though it looked like a routine traffic checkpoint, it was actually set up to nab the Viceroy.  When stopped Vicente first gave a fake name, but eventually confessed to being who he is, so he and his bodyguard were taken without a shot being fired.  The once-powerful drug lord was then whisked away by air to Mexico City.


Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located at

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