Sonora, Chihuahua in the eye of the Mexican Government

By Buggs for Borderland Beat
Source: Sonora Informativo

The place where the children and women of the LeBarón and Langford families were ambushed and killed last Monday, November 4th, is in a historic area of ​​influence from Los Paredes Cartel.  Currently, according to intelligence reports from the Secretary of Public Safety and Protection (SSPC), Los Paredes controls from there the trafficking of narcotics to Phoenix, Arizona, in order to distribute them in the US market.

 For a long time, the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, the latter through Los Paredes, have disputed the control of this strip between the states of Sonora and Chihuahua.  In the last four months, gunmen from both sides set fire to several houses with children inside, ambushed police groups and killed each other, although federal security authorities say they knew nothing.

 The authority ignored the notices.  On June 10, after the break with Los Paredes de Agua Prieta, the criminal group headed by Marco Antonio Pareces Ponce ‘Marquitos’ or ‘El Junior’ and Martin Siqueiros Acuña ‘Tin Tin’, in that Sonoran municipality killing  four men and one woman, including José Javier Rascón Ramírez ‘El Fox’, a member of Los Paredes (also called Los Pesados ​​Apson) for alleged treason.  Two hours later, on the road to Naco, Sonora, four other people died in another confrontation.  Then, on August 24, a video was leaked where it is seen that an armed group travels through the high mountains of Sonora in several vans: “So they just go ready for war, ready for the topon, let’s go for you click Misael  and Toltec “.  Which this armed group belonging to Los Paredes circulates through the mountains that connect Sonora with Chihuahua.

 An intelligence report from the SSPC indicates that the municipalities of Agua Prieta, Cananea, Bavispe, Bacerac, Moctezuma, Huasabas, Sahuaripa and their surrounding villages have long been controlled by a criminal group commonly known as Los Paredes or  Los Pesados ​​Apson. These operate for Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada.

 Agua Prieta is the destination of the route of drugs that cross Sonora from the municipality of Obregón and other surrounding areas to the United States border line.  They are currently under the control of Marco Antonio Paredes Machado ‘El M-100’, Marco Antonio Paredes Ponce ‘Marquitos’ or ‘El Junior’, Martín Siqueiros Acuña ‘Tin Tin’, Leonel Toscano Cuevas ‘El Tigre’, Vik Andrade or Armando La  Madrid ‘El Delta’, Elmer Guadalupe Córdova ‘El Pluma’, also by orders of Los Paredes have heads of plaza that travel through some other municipalities of the entity which is under the control of David Guillén ‘El Pato’.

 Within the investigations, it highlights two very important and worrying points for security in the region;  first, the reports of disappearances of people in Agua Prieta and its municipalities, which do not present results by the competent authorities, secondly, because of the ease that this criminal group operates financially;  counting on many companies in disguise for the laundering of money inside and outside the country, as detailed in the SSPC report, it has simulated financial operations, starting in Agua Prieta;  extending to Hermosillo, Mexico City and the United States.

Managed by Luis Renato Ursuastegui Gaxiola ‘Renato’ on behalf of Los Paredes.

 According to the SSPC report, Los Paredes also financially, operationally and strategically support Francisco Javier Arvizu Márquez líder El Jaguar ’, leader of the Gente Nueva del Jaquar criminal group.  He approached Los Paredes after being displaced along with his family from the mountain area of ​​Chihuahua, which includes the municipalities of Ignacio Zaragoza and Madera, among others.  According to the document, El Jaguar proposed to Los Paredes an alliance with the objective of snatching those two municipalities from La Linea.

 In a section of the report, entitled Rupture and birth of rival groups of Los Paredes, it is indicated that the transfer route to the municipality of Agua Prieta includes, among others, the municipalities of Bavispe, Bacerac, Huachinera, Nacori Chico, Sahuaripa, Arivechi  and Yécora.

 In the region of Agua Prieta operate cartel leaders such as Vik Andrade or Armando La Madrid ‘El Delta’ in Agua Prieta, David Guillén ‘El Pato’ in Bavispe and Bacerac, Leonel Toscano Cuevas’ El Tigre ‘in Huachinera, Pedro Paredes Peru’ Pedrito  ‘in Villa Hidalgo, Francisco Javier Arvizu Márquez’ El Jaguar ‘in Mesa Tres Rios, Jose Luy’ Pepe Luy ‘in Huasabas,’ El Cholo ‘in Arivechi and Sahuaripa, Heriberto Peña Gonzalez’ El Furcio ‘in Yécora, Jorge’ El Jach  ‘in Cananea like Elmer Guadalupe Córdova’ El Pluma ‘, head of sicarios from surrounding mountain areas.

Most of these plaza bosses of the small and medium-sized municipalities mentioned above are linked to extortion and theft of cattle, there are multiple reports which point to Los Paredes, these reports are related in the same strategy pattern by  the criminals;  “Armed people travel the surrounding ranches and take over both the land and the cattle, to move it to different regions,” according to the report, this group of criminals has evaded any type of complaint, since they have determined the collaboration of officials within  the government corporations at different levels;  which are being investigated.

 In the two states, the presence of two large organizations is currently changing sides or dealing with La Linea or Cartel de Juárez and the Sinaloa Cartel.  Other cells move around them, which eventually change sides or try to be independent, say security sources in both states.

 For example, Los Aztecas and a group called Los Linces, the most experienced hitmen of La Línea, operate between the municipalities of Juárez and Chihuahua.  On the other hand, Los Artistas Asesinos or Doblados operate in Ciudad Juárez in alliance with the Sinaloa Cartel and another group that responds to its interests are only known as Chapos.  La Linea fights the control for the same plaza.  In the rest of the entity, criminal organizations are located by territories: in the northwest municipalities, such as Janos, Buena Ventura, Namiquipa and Casas Grandes, La Linea predominates, it has its leader in each region.  On the contrary, if one member is threatened, they have the support of fellow convoys and they gather between 20 and 30 vehicles with sicarios.

 El Cabo came into conflict with others from La Línea and began to operate as an independent.  After a series of armed clashes, a strong shooting broke out in March 2017 in which El Cabo was killed.  However, its people decided to continue to work independently and were known as El Tigre Cartel.  Its founders are Los Gamboa, brothers of the Cape.  Criminal activity in western Chihuahua consists mainly of the confrontation between La Línea and El Tigre.  With fewer members, El Tigre remains strong in Cuauhtémoc, but the advance of La Linea forced them to retreat to Carichi and Nonoava.  Recently. The Tigre Cartel won the support of the Sinaloa Cartel and since then receives weapons, sometimes reinforcements or drugs to market.

 Madera was controlled by La Linea, subsequently invaded by Los Jaguares, which in 2017 and 2018 caused clashes in that municipality, in addition to Temósachic, Gómez Farías and Zaragoza.  The Jaguar forced La Línea to retreat to Casas Grandes but have failed to expel its rivals completely and the leader of Los Jaguares moved to Sonora every time there are security operations.

 To the north of Madera is Bavispe, where the LeBarón and Langford families were attacked, a place where the Cartel de Los Paredes have become strong.

 As for the big bosses, the authorities assume that one of Amado Carrillo’s children is still at the head of the Juarez Cartel and of La Línea.  Even so, it is believed that El Mayo and Guzmán Loera’s brother and children control the groups that lead Los Paredes.  Such is the complex panorama of criminal interests in the area.  Last June this group of criminals attacked homes and cars killing more than nine people in the municipality of Agua Prieta.

It was the beginning of this war.