Jose Jorge Balderas Garza, “El JJ” (left); and Salvador Cabanas (right)
A Mexican federal judged granted a motion to Jose Jorge Balderas Garza (“El JJ”), former member of the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO), after El JJ complained that he was not receiving medication. El JJ is best known for the January 2010 incident that ended the association football career of Club America star Salvador Cabañas. During an altercation in a Mexico City bar, El JJ shot Cabañas on the head and nearly killed him.
Cabañas was the lead striker of Club America and one of the top players of the Mexican league and the Paraguayan national football team.Following the assault, Cabañas was unable to attend the 2010 FIFA World Cup and retired from top competition. He had a few stints in minor divisions but he was never able to fully get back into form. El JJ, on the other hand, was a BLO member based in the State of Mexico under Edgar Valdez Villarreal (“La Barbie”). He was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2019.
State of Mexico appeals judge Adrián Rivera López granted the motion to El JJ because prison authorities did not demonstrate that they are giving him the medicine he needs. El JJ suffers from joint and cartilage wear and dysfunctional dental prosthesis. The medications he takes are pain-killers that help him sleep.
In the hearing, the judge indicated that health treatment is one of the fundamental services provided in Mexico’s prison system. He said that prison authorities should work to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of El JJ. The judge pointed out that the prisoners’ right to health is not limited to the diagnosis of an illness or disease but rather to access to the respective treatment and follow-up check-ups.
El JJ was born in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, and was part of the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) under Edgar Valdez Villarreal (“La Barbie”). He worked out of the following State of Mexico municipalities: Huixquilucan de Degollado, Atizapán, Naucalpan, Tlalnepantla, Cuautitlán Izcalli and Tecamachalc.
During his criminal career, he used ten alternate names to hide his identity, and also went by the following aliases: El JJ, El Modelo, El Jey Jey and El Batman. To disguise his organized crime activities, El JJ posed as a legitimate business owner of a transportation firm.
He received national attention on 25 January 2010 when he shot Club America football star Salvador Cabañas in the head following an altercation at the “Bar Bar” establishment in Mexico City. Witnesses said that El JJ and Cabañas got in an argument after El JJ questioned Cabanas’s performance in Club America.
Bullet trajectory: Cabanas was shot on his forehead and the bullet went to the back of his head
But the incident turned into a near-fatal one when El JJ and Cabañas across paths again inside the bar’s restroom. A restroom attendant said that El JJ pointed a gun on Cabañas’s head, but Cabañas taunted him to shoot for nearly 10 minutes. El JJ then shot Cabañas on his forehead.
Cabañas was nearly killed and was bed-ridden for several months. He suffered severe memory loss and had to learn how to walk again. Doctors said they were unable to retrieve Cabañas bullet because removing it could bring life-threatening injuries to him. They explained that since Cabañas was shot from close-range, the bullet did not pick up enough speed to perforate hiss skull on the way out. “I am alive because the bullet stayed in my head”, Cabañas said. Though he returned to play football in a second-tier division, his football career was short-lived.
Arrest and conviction
La Barbie helped El JJ hide for about three months throughout the Mexico City metro area. However, after a year on the run, El JJ was arrested by the Mexican Federal Police.
Mexican actress Silvia Irabién, winner of the reality show Big Brother Mexico, declared at the Attorney General’s Offices in Mexico City in 2010 that she knew El JJ, but by his alternate name Jorge Díaz Treviño,. She confirmed that they were in a romantic relationship and that they had a daughter.
El JJ, as presented to the media following his arrest
A day later, a written banner (narcomanta) signed by La Barbie was placed in a Mexico City avenue. La Barbie appreciated his friendship with El JJ and threatened the kill the actress if she did not remain silent. Irabién never testified against the BLO again.
In February 2019, El JJ was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of organized crime involvement. He is currently serving his sentence at the Federal Social Readaptation No. 1 (“Altiplano”), a maximum-security prison in the State of Mexico.
In an interview years following the attack, Cabañas said was financially broke, had separated from his wife, and was working at a bakery in Paruaguay to earn a living. He said he no longer had access to his bank accounts and that his wife took his money and left him.
“I regret all my life for being at that nightclub. Even more because I was with my former wife who I loved so much and she did what she did”, Cabañas said. Sources: Milenio; MedioTiempo; SD-UT; BBC; ABC