“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat
At least eight people, including a minor, were killed by multiple gunshots at around 13:00 hours on December 10, 2022, by a group of armed men – alleged members of the criminal group La Nueva Familia Michoacana – in the community of El Durazno, located in the municipality of Coyuca de Catalán, in the Tierra Caliente region of Guerrero.
According to federal and state sources, the alleged members of La Nueva Familia Michoacana – whose leaders are brothers Jhonny and Jose Alfredo Hurtado Olascoaga aka El Pez and El Fresa – took the victims from their homes to a school field in the community, where they shot them.
The people killed have not yet been identified. It was not until 8 hours after the multihomicide was perpetrated that “by instructions of the governor” Evelyn Cecia Salgado Pineda, civilian and military authorities went to the area “to attend to the citizens”.
“The State Public Security Secretariat informs that, in response to a citizen report to the 911 emergency number, State Police personnel in coordination with the Ministry of National Defense, the Navy and the National Guard carried out a deployment to the town of El Durazno, belonging to the municipality of Coyuca de Catalán in the Tierra Caliente region,” said the Government of Guerrero, in a brief statement.
On October 6, 2022, “El Fresa” assured that the attack by alleged members of the criminal group Los Tequileros – who allegedly murdered Conrado Mendoza Almeda, mayor of San Miguel Totolapan, Tierra Caliente region, in the state of Guerrero, a militant of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), as well as his father Juan Mendoza Acosta, who held the same position, and 18 other people – was directed against him.
U.S. TREASURY SANCTIONS “EL PEZ” AND “EL FRESA”, OF THE NEW MICHOACAN FAMILY, FOR TRAFFICKING FENTANYL
On November 17, 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department designated brothers Jhonny and José Alfredo Hurtado Olascoaga, alias “El Pez” and “El Fresa”, leaders of the “violent” organization “El Pez” (The Fish) and “El Fresa” (The Strawberry), leaders of the “violent” criminal organization, La Nueva Familia Michoacana (LNFM), which operates in the Mexican states of Guerrero and Michoacán, for trafficking “rainbow fentanyl” and other “deadly” drugs to the US.
On October 6, 2022, “El Fresa” assured that the attack by alleged members of the criminal group Los Tequileros – who allegedly murdered Conrado Mendoza Almeda, mayor of San Miguel Totolapan, Tierra Caliente region, in the state of Guerrero, a militant of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), as well as his father Juan Mendoza Acosta, who held the same position, and 18 other people – was directed against him.
The U.S. Treasury Department designated La Nueva Familia Michoacana and its co-leaders, “pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 14059, for having engaged or attempted to engage in activities or transactions that materially contributed to, or posed a significant risk of materially contributing to, the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production”.
“La Nueva Familia Michoacana smuggles illicit drugs into and through the United States. This organization is also behind the growing presence in the U.S. of rainbow fentanyl, which, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), comes in the form of pills/powders that come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, to appeal to children and young users,” OFAC said, via a statement.
“Today’s action targets the leadership of one of the most violent and depraved drug cartels,” said Brian E. Nelson, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, quoted in the same statement.
“This cartel not only traffics in fentanyl, which claimed the lives of more than 108,000 Americans last year, but now markets ‘rainbow fentanyl’ as part of a deliberate effort to generate addiction among children and young adults,” Nelson added.
“Treasury’s partnership with the DEA and the Mexican government has been critical as we take steps to protect our citizens from the harmful effects of these deadly narcotics,” concluded the Treasury undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
According to the U.S. Government, the New Familia Michoacana is the successor to the original La Familia Michoacana, which was designated in 2009 under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) and redesignated on December 15, 2021, under EO 14059.
La Nueva Familia Michoacana operates in approximately 35 Mexican municipalities in the states of Michoacán, Guerrero, Morelos, and the State of Mexico. It is expanding into other regions of Mexico and generates revenue from drug trafficking, illegal mining and extortion, the US Treasury detailed.
“Members of La Nueva Familia Michoacana are distributing ‘rainbow fentanyl,’ which is spreading throughout the United States. La Nueva Familia Michoacana’s other drug trafficking activities include marijuana and poppy cultivation and the trafficking of various drugs from Central America, including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl, all of which are destined for the United States,” the US government added.
“In addition to La Nueva Familia Michoacana, OFAC designated its co-leaders, Mexicans Johnny Hurtado and Jose Hurtado, for having engaged or attempted to engage in activities or transactions that have materially contributed or present a significant risk of materially contributing to the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production,” the statement said.
“The New Michoacan Family has also demonstrated a willingness to attack government officials and buildings in Mexico, in addition to employing and training multiple hitmen. This violence is carried out in support of their poly-drug trafficking activities within Mexico and the United States,” OFAC insisted.
“Johnny Hurtado and Jose Hurtado are two of the most wanted criminals in Mexico; the Mexico State Attorney General’s Office is offering up to 500,000 Mexican pesos for information leading to the capture of Johnny Hurtado and Jose Hurtado,” the U.S. Treasury emphasized.
OFAC recalled that on June 24, 2000, a “federal grand jury” in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, issued an indictment against “El Fresa” charging two counts related to attempted possession and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, although he remains at large on these charges.
“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons and entities located in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. In addition, any entity that is owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons is also blocked,” the U.S. Treasury Department said.
“OFAC regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions in transit through the United States) involving any ownership or ownership interest in the property of designated or otherwise blocked persons,” the U.S. government emphasized..
“Today’s action is part of a government-wide effort to counter the global threat posed by illicit drug trafficking into the United States that causes the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans each year, as well as countless more non-fatal overdoses. OFAC, in coordination with its U.S. government partners and foreign counterparts, will continue to target and pursue the accountability of foreign illicit drug actors,” the statement concluded.
AMLO RULES OUT REINFORCING SECURITY IN SAN MIGUEL TOTOLAPAN, DESPITE MASSACRE
On October 7, 2022, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ruled out increasing security in the municipality of San Miguel Totolapan, in the Tierra Caliente region of the state of Guerrero, despite an attack by alleged members of the criminal group Los Tequileros, who allegedly murdered Mayor Conrado Mendoza Almeda, a member of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), as well as his father Juan Mendoza Acosta, who held the same position, and 18 other people.
“We have been attending to the area, I was telling you that about a month ago search warrants were denied by a judge and when they were authorized, nothing was found, on the contrary, there was resistance from certain groups of settlers to the presence of the Army, we have been there and we are there”, said the head of the Federal Executive Power, during his morning press conference, held from the Treasury Room of the National Palace.
The politician from Tabasco insisted that the matter is “extremely serious” and does not merit any alleged agreement with members of organized crime, but rather that it should be investigated and that the law should be applied. Likewise, he indicated that state authorities of Public Security and the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Guerrero are working in the area and are carrying out an investigation. “And they are doing a good job,” assured the president of the Republic, who also indicated that Governor Evelyn Salgado Pineda has asked for his support.
“It is not a matter of local authorities, it is a very serious matter in which 20 people lost their lives. This is not for agreements, it is for investigation and for the law to be applied,” added López Obrador, who said that “for logical reasons” he cannot give more information regarding the investigations that are underway, but that more details of the case will be released soon.
“Yes, and the area has been attended to. I was telling you that about a month ago search warrants were denied by a judge, and when they were authorized, nothing was found, on the contrary, there was resistance from a certain group of residents to the presence of the Army. So we have been there and we are there,” responded the national president.
“I cannot give more information for logical reasons, but we are taking action because impunity is not allowed in our government, it is not like before, when criminals acted, when they committed murders and massacres, and there was no punishment, among other things because there were agreements with the authorities”, added the politician from Tabasco.
“THEY WERE AFTER ME”, SAYS “EL FRESA”, FROM THE FAMILIA MICHOACANA AFTER AN ATTACK BY TEQUILEROS IN SAN MIGUEL TOTOLAPAN
José Alfredo Hurtado Olascoaga, alias “El Fresa”, one of the two leaders of the Familia Michoacana, said on October 6, 2022, that the attack by alleged members of the criminal group Los Tequileros -who allegedly murdered Conrado Mendoza Almeda, mayor of San Miguel Totolapan, mayor of San Miguel Totolapan, in the Tierra Caliente region of Guerrero state, a militant of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), as well as his father Juan Mendoza Acosta, who held the same position, and 18 other people – was directed against him.
In a 10-minute video posted on his personal Facebook profile, “El Fresa”, who along with his brother Jhonny Hurtado Oloscoaga, “El Pez”, dominate drug trafficking in the Tierra Caliente region of Guerrero, added that the attack occurred when he was about to get out of his armored truck for a meeting with the mayor and his father.
Hurtado Oloscoaga said that the meeting with the two aforementioned politicians, as well as a dozen public officials and residents, was due to a video that had been released previously in which hooded men, known as Los Tequileros, claimed that they were reappearing three years after the death of Raybel Jacobo de Almonte, who was part of the Familia Michoacana, but later formed the criminal group.
However, “El Fresa” claimed that after escaping the attack, some members of his group protected him in the hills and attacked the convoy that minutes earlier had killed the 20 people in the town of Totolapan. In the same message, Hurtado Oloscoaga also threatened two men nicknamed “La Mula” and “El Vago.
The leader of the Familia Michoacana also warned Saúl Beltrán Orozco, former local deputy for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), who has an arrest warrant against him, since January 9, 2017, by a criminal judge, for the probable crime of aggravated homicide of José Antonio Zeferino Gil, who witnessed the kidnapping and subsequent execution of the priest José Ascensión Acuña, in San Miguel Totolapan, after the parish priest officiated the baptism of a son of De Almonte Jacobo, alias “El Tequilero”, of which the former legislator was the godfather.
After witnessing the events and discussing them with his relatives, Zeferino Gil was murdered on September 25, 2014, three days after his “abduction,” allegedly on the orders of Beltrán Orozco, who between October 2012 and September 2015 served as municipal president of San Miguel Totolapan.
In addition to the above, “El Fresa” assured that he has a house a block away from the headquarters of the Municipal Presidency in San Miguel Totolapan, that everyone knows him and that he felt so calm in that town that he even went to jaripeos without escorts and without weapons. He also revealed that he was scolded by his brother “El Pez” for trusting the attack that “Los Tequileros” had warned about days before in a video. Finally, he assured that the Familia Michoacana has the money to fight against other criminal groups in the region.
“He arrived at the meeting, thank God I am in armored vehicles, I never go with people in that town because I considered it the same as Arcelia, as other towns, very quiet. If they had let me get out, I would have been there too, I managed to get out, they left the truck in ruins, I don’t know what else happened, I left towards San Francisco, Valle Luz, I had a lot of people in all the hills, all the trails,” said “El Fresa”.
“Things got out of control, they came to where we were, I have some videos, where they were following me, they thought I was going without people, and they came to where we were [he showed a video]. I was very upset, we didn’t leave a single bastard there, I decided that they didn’t even deserve to be buried, why, because they went over the wall to get into that town, a quiet town, the responsibility is ours for having trusted us, we never thought that something like this would happen in San Miguel, my close family died,” said Hurtado Oloscoaga.
“I live in San Miguel, I have my house a block from the Presidency, I think everyone knows it, they know where I live, I leave my house because we agreed to meet with the president, his father, the peace group, because of the facts, a video before, I thought it was false, that the people [from Los Tequileros] were not there,” said “El Fresa” in his recording.
“San Miguel was calm, people saw me in jaripeos with my family, without a weapon, he never used a weapon, I have never used a weapon, yesterday I had to use them because there were no more. It was costing me my life, my brother gave me the scolding of my life for being confident, without people, but San Miguel was calm, people saw me in jaripeos with my family, without a gun, never used a gun, I have never used a gun, yesterday I had to use them because there was no other choice,” added Hurtado Oloscoaga.
“Today their [the murdered people’s] fight is over, but mine is going to begin to kill that son of a bitch ‘El Vago’, Saúl and ‘La Mula’, you did your best, we have money to spend. I wish they would come here to give us a good hiding with them, they don’t have the courage to come, we have to be calm on the side that there is no one, but we must not let our guard down, we have to be on our toes,” concluded “El Fresa”.
20 PEOPLE KILLED IN SAN MIGUEL TOTOLAPAN, GUERRERO; AMONG THEM THE MAYOR
Ricardo Sóstenes Mejía Berdeja, head of the Undersecretary of Public Security of the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection (SSPC) of the Federal Government, informed, on October 6, 2022, that alleged members of the criminal group Los Tequileros assassinated, Conrado Mendoza Almeda, mayor of San Miguel Totolapan, Tierra Caliente region, in the state of Guerrero – a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) – as well as his father Juan Mendoza Acosta – who held the same position – and 18 other people. Three people were also wounded.
During the morning press conference, held in the Treasury Room of the National Palace, the federal official pointed out that the massacre “takes place in the context of the criminal dispute between criminal groups”, Los Tequileros and La Familia Michoacana.
“In the event that took place in San Miguel Totolapan, according to information from the Attorney General’s Office, 20 people were killed, among them the mayor of that municipality, Conrado Mendoza, and his father, also a former mayor of that municipality, along with 18 other people,” said the undersecretary.
“The context is the criminal dispute between criminal groups […] In that region there was a group known as Los Tequileros, which was a group dedicated mainly to the trafficking and commercialization of poppy, but also engaged in kidnapping, extortion and perpetrated several murders and disappearances,” added Mejía Berdeja.
“To say that there is a dispute with a criminal group known as the Familia Michoacana whose heads nicknamed ‘El Pez’ and ‘El Fresa’, who are the criminal leaders in that region, a line of investigation links them together with this group Tequileros as they may be responsible for these events,” concluded the federal official.
According to local media reports, the attackers arrived at the Municipal Palace of San Miguel Totolapan, in the Tierra Caliente region of the state of Guerrero, at around 1:30 p.m. on October 5, 2022, aboard two pickup trucks, shooting at those present, among them several police officers and local officials.
Afterwards, the group of armed men moved to a private home located on Emiliano Zapata street, in Barrio de San Pablo, where shots were also reported and where “18 bodies were located, killed by firearm projectiles; of which 10 were identified by their [the mayor’s] relatives.”
Elements of the Army, National Guard and the State Police were able to enter San Miguel Totolapan after carriers unblocked the road that leads to that municipality, close to Poliutla, near Tlapehuala. The road remained closed since 2:00 p.m. and then at 4:00 p.m. the trucks were removed.
In a video circulating on the WhatsApp messaging application, at least 10 corpses can be seen, dressed in civilian clothes and lying on the ground in the courtyard of the mayor’s private home, while a woman -who claims to be Mendoza Almeda’s daughter- screams in grief and elements of the Municipal Police observe the scene or pick up the bodies, to place them in coffins or in the bed of a pick up truck.
The Guerrero State Attorney General’s Office detailed that 18 people were killed, but so far only 10 have been identified, among them Gustavo Salazar, a U.S. citizen, brother-in-law of the mayor.
In addition to Fredi Martínez Suazo, director of Public Security of San Miguel Totolapan, as well as Roberto Mata Marcial, advisor to the mayor. Also, Genesis Araujo Marcos, administrator of the Health Jurisdiction 01 of Tlapehuala.
Other victims identified were Samuel García ‘N’ and José Antolín Calvo Caballero, personal security personnel of the municipal president. In addition to Javier Domínguez ‘N’, owner of the place where the bodies were found, as well as his son.
According to the Attorney General’s Office of Guerrero, at 16:35 hours a helicopter of the state Public Security Secretariat arrived in the municipality, which left 25 minutes later to transfer a man identified as Rómulo Robles Bernabé, 33 years of age, as well as two other unidentified persons, wounded by firearm projectiles, to receive medical attention in Chilpancingo.
The Tequileros — led by Abelardo Miranda Urióstegui, alias “El Alacrán” — allegedly have an alliance with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), to jointly confront La Familia Michoacana — led by brothers Jhonny and José Alfredo Hurtado Oloscoaga, “El Pez” and “El Fresa,” respectively, in the Tierra Caliente region of Guerrero, where Senator Felix Salgado Macedonio, father of the current governor, Evelyn Salgado Pineda, a Morena militant, is from.
Hooded individuals, who called themselves Los Tequileros, released a video in which they claim responsibility for the attack. Since 2019, after the main leader of this criminal group, Raybel Jacobo de Almonte, was killed during a confrontation in the mountains of the municipality of Heliodoro Castillo, it was assumed that the organization had been dismantled.
“I condemn the facts and reiterate that in the @Gob_Guerrero there will be no impunity for the vicious aggression against the municipal president and officials of the City Council […] I instructed the head of the @SSPGro, Evelio Méndez Gómez, to go to the scene to provide appropriate care; I have asked the @FGEGuerrero, expedite investigations and clarify the facts,” wrote the state governor, through her accounts on various social networks.