Mica for BorderlandBeat.com
My new research project is called “Dinner at La Leche.” The project reexamines the 2016 Chapitos kidnapping in Puerto Vallarta. The research focused on news sources and conversations that I have had with locals in Puerto Vallarta.

I travel to Vallarta often and have discussed the kidnapping with employees of The Marriott, La Leche employees, cab drivers, and more. The new series will have a minimum of Four chapters, and I encourage you to comment and ask questions. 

Finally, I am trying something new by providing content that “didn’t make the post” to my Twitter account.

Dinner at La Leche
The kidnapping of Los Chapitos in Puerto Vallarta

Inside La Leche

Chapter 1 Marriott Vallarta

On Monday, August 8, 2016, a group arrived to celebrate in Puerto Vallarta. They arrived at The Marriott Vallarta Resort and Spa. The resort’s location is on the beach in Marina Vallarta. The Marina is a tourist area with resorts, golf courses, and luxury residents. El Chopa of CJNG would die in a confrontation in Marina at his residence.

Entrance to Marriott Resort from 2016
View of the pool area at The Marriott from 2016

The Marina is located right next to the airport. El Chopa was killed at his residence next to the airport.

The group at the hotel consisted of at least 20 adults (not including children) and at least two bodyguards. More than likely, they had three guards at the hotel.
The group traveled from different parts of Mexico, including Nayarit, Sinaloa, and Jalisco.

BB Alumni Chivis and I worked on this story in real-time in 2016. During this time, Chapitos were active on social media, and Iván often posted pictures of flying private. Initially, the thought was that they flew from Sinanola.

The drive from Cuilican to Puerto Vallarta is 650 km/400 miles and takes 8 hours.

The group would arrive in at least five vehicles, all white in color.

1. Cadillac Escalade 2016 with Jalisco plates
2. Dodge Challenger with Police Package
3. Land Rover 2016 armored with false registration
4. Honda CRV with Sinaloa plates
5. Jeep Limited 2016 with Nayarit plates

Many people in the group used false identification, and this celebration was no ordinary holiday among friends. This special occasion was to celebrate the birthday of Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar, aka El Chapito.

Family members and others connected to Cártel De Sinaloa arrived to help Iván celebrate in Vallarta. Brothers included Ovidio, Jesus, and Cesar. This celebration was one that, if you got invited, then you had to attend.

Ivan occupied The Presidential Suite 2,742 sqft/247 sqm.

Iván might be family, but he’s a boss who rules with an iron fist, and you don’t want to be the one who didn’t attend. If Cesár was able to join and the cousin was invited, then I am sure brother Joaquín Guzmán López stayed at the hotel.

César Guzmán Salazar is two years older than Iván. He entered real estate in 2009 and lived in Zapopan, Jalisco, in 2016. He probably has the sole license plate from Jalisco. Also staying at the hotel, Jose Manuel Diaz Burgos, a cousin, is the son of Emilio Diaz Guzman.

Ovidio and Joaquin worked separately initially, as they had inherited their operation after their brother Edgar was murdered. These brothers are Lopez (wife 2). The other brothers and Iván are Salazar.

Dinner at La Leche was just another meal on holiday that would occur the following Monday. The entire week at the resort included celebrations, pool time, drinks, and dinners at the resort.

The women would enjoy days at the pool and spa, and the men would talk business throughout the day, drinking at the pool.

The Marriott pool area in 2016

Everyone would get ready and enjoy dinner as a group. Among the regular guests staying at Marriott Vallarta would also include the drug lords and their entourage.

Writing this reminds me of a video of Benjamín Arellano Félix at a birthday party.

Thanks for reading! Chapter 2 will focus on La Leche.