The Silent Voices of Juárez

On September 3, 2009, a man living in Horizon City returned home to find three armed men in their home. The family was duct-taped. The wife and the children were left in the home and Sergio, the father, was forcefully taken to Juárez. About a week later, the family heard that Sergio had been found murdered with his hands chopped off and put on his chest as a warning to other drug traffickers that their drug debts were to be paid on time.

El Pasoans tend to believe that the drug violence is a Juárez problem forgetting that the fight is about the transit point from México to the consumers through El Paso’s points of entry. BY 2010, Juárez was seeing a death toll of 3,000 per year. After the violence dropped for a time, the death rate is once again starting to creep up again.

El Chapo was blamed for the death a decade ago. Amado Carrillo Fuentes, “El Señor de los Cielos,” is long dead, as well as Chapo’s rival, Rodolfo.

Today Chapo sits in a concrete cell facing life in prison after being convicted this month on drug trafficking charges.

Donald Trump has declared an emergency on the border.

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) recently announced that the policy of the Mexican government is to divert the military away from targeting cartel leaders and instead focus on México’s internal needs.

Lost in all the self-serving political narratives are the facts.

During the Chapo trial, Edgar Iván Galván testified that the war between the Juárez cartel and Chapo started in 2007. Galván, told the jury that he was working for the Sinaloa cartel in El Paso, Texas. You read that right, El Paso. He is now serving a 24-year sentence. According to the court testimony, Galván grew up in Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua. And, according to his testimony, he was recruited into the Sinaloa cartel by Antonio Marufo aka “Jaguar”. He testified that El Chapo had put Jaguar in charge of the Juárez plaza because El Chapo needed someone that could eliminate La Linea. Prior to working for El Chapo, Jaguar had overseen all the marihuana market through El Paso to the consumers in New York.

Jaguar had previously worked for La Linea until he was kidnapped by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes’ men. La Linea was the enforcement arm of Carrillo Fuentes’ Juárez cartel. Galván told the jury that Jaguar wanted to kill the kidnapper and thus changed sides, leaving La Linea and joining the Sinaloa cartel. Galván also noted for the jury that Jaguar never paid him or his other workers, “not even a dollar”. He said he never asked Jaguar for money because he was “afraid” of him. Galván told the jury that when an associate was killed, he rescued 50 kilos stashed in the associate’s house. Galván kept two of the kilos and sold them. He used the money to pay himself and his workers.

Galván told the jury that they would cross 12 kilos of cocaine from Cd. Juárez into El Paso at a time. Once they built up 50 to 80 kilos at a stash house in El Paso, they would load up a truck and send the drugs to Atlanta or Chicago.

Between 2008 and 2011, Edgar Iván Galván testified that he moved about a ton of marihuana and 250 kilos of cocaine from Cd. Juárez to El Paso, Texas. Between 2008 and 2010, a shipment of cocaine and heroin would be delivered to New York every eight to fifteen days, according to the testimony of Alex Cifuentes, Chapo’s former secretary. The witness added that the going rate for cocaine was $40,000 per kilo and $44,000 for heroin. The drugs were distributed in the destination cities by Dominican gangs that they were working with.

On January 7, Edgar Iván Galván, testifying against El Chapo, described to the jury how his mentor, Antonio Marufo, Chapo’s man in Cd. Juárez, took him to a murder house. The house was lined with a tile floor with a drain. “In that house, no noise comes out,” he said, adding that “if someone were to scream” no one would hear it. Galván told the jury that is where he took people that were to be killed.

On January 7, Edgar Iván Galván told the jury that he also supplied the Sinaloa cartel with weapons for Chapo’s war against the Juárez cartel. According to his testimony, the guns, including a .50 caliber rifle, were stored in El Paso, Texas safe houses. Galván also told the jury that he was ordered to facilitate murders. In one case, he provided a sicario with a silenced hand gun and a photo of the target in El Paso, Texas. The target was later killed in Cd. Juárez, according to his testimony.

Juárez may be known as the murder capital of the Americas but it ignores the simple fact that without El Paso’s complicity it would not be so.

Excerpted from Martín’s upcoming book; “Convicting Chapo, Naked and Afraid – the Trial to Convict El Chapo” available on Amazon on March 1, 2019.

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