|courtesy Proceso: Ivan Archivaldo Guzman|
Since Monday the airwaves and social media have been buzzing over the mass kidnapping of a group of people attending a fiesta at the La Leche restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, the known territory of the Sinaloa cartel. Initially it was reported that Ivan Archivaldo Guzman, son of "El Chapo" Guzman was among those kidnapped. I say "those" because the number of people taken hostage at gunpoint and loaded into several vehicles bounced down from 16 to 11 to 10 to 9 to finally 6 - the women and children attending the fiesta were let go. First reports stated that over four to seven large vehicles were used to whisk the hostages away - authorities now are saying two trucks were used. Authorities are now saying those kidnapped were members of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Anabel Hernandez conferred with relatives of "El Chapo" who indicated that they believed this kidnapping was related to the 06/11/16 armed attack on the house belonging to Consuelo Loera, the mother of "El Chapo" in La Tuna of Badiraguato, Sinaloa. The relatives also stated that they believed it was Alfredo Beltran Guzman, the nephew of "El Chapo" and son of Alfredo Beltran who orchestrated this attack. Government sources at the same time attributed this attack to the former leader of the Guadalajara Cartel, Rafael Caro Quintero, a fugitive from justice. His motivation they thought was unfinished business and supposedly the beginning of a war against the Sinaloa Cartel. However, in the July interview with Proceso, Caro Quintero stated he was no longer in the drug business and he had no war with anyone. In fact, he said that he and "El Chapo" are on good terms.
Anabel's sources confirmed that indeed Ivan was among those kidnapped at La Leche restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. Within this link is the July interview with Caro Quintero, and on the sidebar video of that interview. At this point with these differing initial reports, the thought is could this be an internal war within the Sinaloa cartel - and if so, what does that mean as far as increased violence in our region ? Up to this point in Baja California although having seen a huge increase in the violence, memories of 2007 and 2008 into 2009 return to another in-fight within the Sinaloa cartel where cartel members turned not only against each other, but against the CAF with brazen gunfights in public areas and on public highways.
But wait....although authorities have indicated that the people kidnapped were members of the Sinaloa cartel, they changed to report that this seems directly related to disputes between differing cartels without naming specifically who this other cartel(s) might be. They do mention CJNG activity in the State of Jalisco, which gives us pause. After all, the fight in our locality is between the Sinaloa, CJNG and CAF for territorial control. Does this mean if the authorities are correct, that hostilities in our area will increase ? From Aristegui, their reports except the video they used was removed.
Meanwhile, today Proceso and others report Eduardo Almaguer, the prosecutor of Jalisco confirmed
that there is no evidence that Ivan Archivaldo Guzman was among those kidnapped. However, Almaguer did confirm that among the hostages is Alfredo Guzman (Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar) the youngest son of "El Chapo" from his first marriage to Alejandrina Salazar. Apparently Ivan was at the fiesta but he left just moments before the arrival of the armed commando group.
The theorists and speculators on the social media at first immediately believed this was an inner-cartel dispute, some believed that there was government (s) involvement - they argued the basis for the group abduction was to pressure "El Chapo" into not spilling the beans on all the officials and agencies he has and had on his payroll, and others believed this was just a scripted act to confuse authorities and as a revenge for the the re-arrest of "El Chapo" or even perhaps as a warning to the authorities themselves or to anyone and their loved ones who might turn evidence and testify against "El Chapo". Frontera reported that the son of "El Chapo" was possibly implicated in this event, which leads us back to a inner-familia war.
Whatever the case may be with the results and final outcome is not completely clear due to the unpredictable or uncertain moves of organized crime; however Zeta has the best video of the group usurption er sorry... kidnapping.
Here are several reports from the Mexican press with the today's finale from NPR:
- The PGR has taken over the entire investigation. All records, including evidence in seized vehicles, cell phones and other objects will be handed over to SEIDO; there is no mention of the CJNG.
PGR atrae investigacion sobre secuestro de hijo de 'El Chapo"
- Everyone is looking for Alfredo Guzman Salazar; that includes the Army, the Marinos, the Federal Police and the PGR, there is no mention of the CJNG.
Ejercito, Marina y PF se suman a la busqueda de hijo de El Chapo
- A series of press reports naming the CJNG who committed the assault :
- The CNJG is only mentioned as a possible suspect in these abductions; Prosecutor Eduardo Almaguer said on 08/16 that the cartel "...could be involved."
Confirman secuestro de Alfredo Guzman, hijo del Chapo, en Puerto Vallarta
- Milenio reports information from State authorities that it was the CJNG who performed the kidnappings on 08/16:
Columnas politicas 16/08: Levantamiento en Puerto Vallarta y el 3de3 de AMLO
- Note the confusion of exactly how many sons of El Chapo were abducted, both from El Universal and Milenio. Excelsior names the kidnappers as the CJNG. On El Universal, Alexander Hope points the finger at CJNG, however he also states that the people abducted at the restaurant were not members of the Sinaloa cartel. These reports from 08/17:
Columnas politicas 17/08: Los dos hijos de 'El Chapo'
- Here, NPR's Carrie Kahn quotes Prosecutor Eduardo Almaguer as stating that the kidnappers were members of the CJNG. This was on 08/17, we had not received that information here in Mexico directly from Almaguer :
El Chapo's Son, 5 Others Kidnapped From Upscale Restaurant In Mexico
- On 08/18 NPR interviews Alejandro Hope and David Shirk of SDSU, who note the increased violence in Mexico since the arrest of El Chapo and project a bitter war ahead between the Sinaloa Cartel and the CJNG. Click "Morning Edition" for the audio. This of course is not good news for our region.
Rival Mexican Cartel Kidnaps 'El Chapo' Guzman's Son, Authorities Say
UPDATE 08/19 : Apparently, Anabel Hernadez's sources were right in the first place !
For those of you who are not familiar with Anabel Hernandez, here is a three years old interview with her - muy importante in order to understand the full scope of this story:
Democracy Now !
Narcoland: Journalist Braves Death Threats to Reveal Ties Between Mexican Government & Drug Cartels
- It is almost 4:00 pm in the afternoon and still we have received no reports that the authorities have clearly labeled the CJNG as responsible for the kidnappings at La Leche restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. Not a word.
However, today Carmen Aristegui interviewed both Anabel Hernandez and journalist Jose Reveles. Here are highlights of that interview with attached link, including the audio.
Originally in the Proceso article, Anabel interviewed relatives of 'El Chapo' immediately following the kidnapping at La Leche restaurant. Although the relatives believed at the time Ivan had been kidnapped (which as a matter of fact everyone believed at the time), they also believed that the kidnapping was masterminded by Alfredo Beltran Guzman (nephew of 'El Chapo') as revenge for the 2008 arrest of Alfredo Beltran Leyva aka "El Mochomo".
There are now even more details from that interview: Alfredo Beltran Guzman has realigned himself with the CJNG and the Zetas, as in the days of old. Here then is not only a dispute between the CJNG and the Sinaloa Cartel, but also an internal war within the Sinaloa Cartel. This internal war, Anabel feels is even more serious. Further, her investigations show that both of the Chapo sons were targets and family members have revealed to her that if the worst materializes there will be reactions.
Authorities according to Anabel have already began to prepare for worse case scenarios involving several cities and states in Mexico. Durango has already issued an alert (for violence) for their state; she mentions that other cities and states have issued alerts but does not name them. Presently we do not know if Tijuana and Baja California are under alert.
Journalist Jose Reveles who also participated in the interview noted that the kidnappings were a move by the CJNG most likely prompted by Alfredo Beltran Guzman to take control and dates back to the original feud as previously stated days ago by Anabel.
Complete interview with audio:
Aristegui Noticias - CNN
"Guerra intestina y division terrible" en el Cartel de Sinaloa
UPDATE 08/21 @ 11:58pm:
It's almost midnight and we have been experiencing lost internet connection here for nearly 48 hours, sorry. At any rate, most news agencies have reported that Alfredo Beltran Guzman and the five others kidnapped at La Leche restaurant were released.
- Anabel Hernandez reports that since last Thursday relatives of 'El Chapo' received calls asking for large amounts of money in exchange for the whereabouts of those abducted, in some cases as much as five million dollars. These same relatives also received anonymous calls saying the men were already dead. Another version is that not all of those kidnapped have been released:
Liberan a hijo chapo fue secuestrado en jalisco
- From Zeta: It was the French News agency AFP which reported that Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar along with the five others kidnapped were released the night of 08/19 and were safe and sound in Sinaloa. The AFP source was a relative of 'El Chapo' :
El hijo de "El Chapo" ya fue liberado y encuentra a salva en Sinaloa: AFP
When the computer finally came back on, I checked Aristegui (08/21) and there were no reports regarding the release of the six men..
Importantly there has been no official notification from the authorities that the six men have actually been released and are alive. Which sort of leaves us in limbo. More reports hopefully as they come in....if I can keep a connection here.
UPDATE 08/22: We are still in limbo. There has been no official confirmation of these latest Mexican press releases and plenty of folks are wondering why and if some sort of a deal was made between the CJNG for control of territory and whoever is running the Sinaloa cartel. Going back to the initial Anabel Hernandez report from day one, Ivan according to her sources was also kidnapped; that would make then both sons of El Chapo kidnapped and released. How could this story become so distorted and convoluted ? We may never know.
- Frontera reports this morning that both of El Chapo's sons were kidnapped from La Leche restaurant in Puerto Vallarta and that it was "El Mayo" Zambada who allegedly participated in the negotiations for their release, their information is from Riodoce:
'El Mayo' Zambada habria negociado liberacion de los hijos de 'El Chapo"
- Proceso confirms this version this morning.
Of course, some of the many questions being asked on the social media is exactly what kind(s) of a bargaining chip(s) did the two sons of El Chapo represent other than extended territorial control by the CJNG ? Does this mean that El Chapo is not going to spill the beans ? Will his extradition to the United States still take place ? Perhaps a reduced sentence ? Why hasn't the fubar "drug war" made it into the conversations and banterings between the U.S. Presidential candidates Clinton and Trump ( *gasp*....the mention of their names drives me crazy !) And, if this truly was an accord with regard to territory, will it mean that the violence in our region and the entire nation will subside ? Another one I saw on the internet....who exactly is going to be on the CJNG'S payroll ?
UPDATE/edit 08/23: This story is no longer appearing in the Mexican press. As far as I can see they have moved on to the plagiarism case against Pena Nieto and the teachers strike down in Oaxaca. Back on 08/17 I made a comment on another spot that CBS got the story wrong. This is a correction: They (AP) actually got the story right when they reported that both sons of El Chapo had been kidnapped; however unfortunately now their initial report from AP in Mexico City is not showing up on the internet. Wow, so who are their sources? Sorry CBS.
P.S. Check the Mexican News Links for the latest, I am as usual running behind here.
Everybody do the limbo !
The executions are continuing throughout the region at a rapid pace, I'll be back with those and more progressive reports on the U.S. Presidential election.