“Ivan” for Borderland Beat 

The story of a hitman who was lowered from the mountains to prevent Ovidio Guzmán from being apprehended.

“Move everyone to the airport! To the airport!” was heard on the hitmen’s Motorola radios. The voice of the one coordinating the operation sounded energetic and decisive, and there was no time to hesitate. The gunmen ran to their vehicles, and then an impressive deployment of gunmen to the Culiacan airport began.

When they arrived at the air terminal, they rushed to the military hangar and tried to force their way in, but several commando soldiers were already waiting for them… and again they clashed, just as an hour earlier they had clashed in Jesús María, where the difference was a Black Hawk helicopter that was annihilating them from the air.


When they arrived at the airport, the hitmen had only one order: to kill any soldier they found along the way, and to prevent the olive green Boeing of the Sedena Special Forces, where they were taking Ovidio Guzmán López prisoner, from taking off at any cost.

The above account was given by a Sinaloa Cartel hitman to whom this weekly had access, and who recounted the clashes that Los Chapitos gunmen had with the army during the operation to capture Guzmán López, son of Joaquín, El Chapo Guzmán.

The Calm

At four o’clock in the morning on January 5, the nighttime calm in the Sinaloa highlands was profound. It was the typical calm of the mountains, according to the hitman, who operates somewhere in the mountains of Sinaloa.

The account, made via telephone, is given with some hesitation for fear that others of his colleagues would find out he was talking to the press.

“The Motorola began to ring at four o’clock; there was a lot of noise and there was a lot of urgency because the government had fallen in Jesús María, and Los Menores needed support, and the order we were given was that all the groups in the mountains should go to that ranch to provide support,” recalls the hitman, who asked only to be identified by a false name.

The group of gunmen commanded by “Marquillo”, made up of six hitmen, took their AK47, AR15, a grenade launcher, and a Barret .50 that was placed on a tripod installed on the base of a pickup truck, took all the ammunition they could, and set off at full speed towards Jesús María.

“On the radio we were hearing that they were plotting, and that we had to arrive to destroy every soldier we could find, so from the moment we left, we had our adrenaline pumping,” recalled the hitman.

The initial surprise and adrenaline collapsed along the way. Between jokes, cocaine passes, and his finger always on the trigger, fear began to seduce “Marquillo”. He knew he might not make it back alive and for a moment he thought about his family. What would happen if he did not return. But at that moment it was too late to repent, and a new pass of coke gave him courage to think that this was his life, and for that alone he would go for everything or nothing, or in his own words, “when you are a hitman and you go to fight, you know you are going to kill or get killed.”

“That’s why I thought, I’m going to kill,” he recounted.

AIR FORCE PLANE. The attack on the airport.

While it is true that most of the time the life of a hit man is calm, “without getting into the lion’s den,” he is always aware that at any moment the time may come when he has to go to fight. And that Thursday at dawn the bad hour had arrived, and it was only a matter of time before he would be killing, or dying.

He did not know at what moment they arrived at the junction with Pericos, nor was he aware when they turned south on Mexico 15 towards Culiacán. It wasn’t fear, he recalls, because that’s what a hit man is made for… it was adrenaline.

Long before arriving, at the height of Dique II, they heard one or two helicopters flying overhead, but they also heard the “rockets” of the confrontation, and they didn’t need to be fortune tellers to know that the military and “la plebada,” as he calls the hired killers, were going at it full force.

The Bullets Thundered 

Along the sidewalks of the road, next to the town of La Campana, the smoke of the rifles and the smell of gunpowder could be seen rising over the hills. “Marquillo” and the other five hired assassins prepared themselves; they cut the cartridges of the “horns” and the comrade with the Barret .50 also prepared his weapon, because they knew that at any moment the soldiers could shoot at them from anywhere, or they could shoot at the soldiers.

Finger on the trigger, alert as could be, “Marquillo” and his people advanced trying first to position themselves in a strategic point where they could take cover… and start shooting.

There was no time for anything and they quickly fired their rifles. The rest of the assassins had formed a front of more than 300 men thundering their weapons against the soldiers who, although they were guarding the area where they had apparently subdued Ovidio, had a similar number of elements and were defending themselves, until a military helicopter rose in the air, just as another one was shooting at them from another angle with a .50 caliber.


“It got very ugly; many people dead! I don’t know how many, but there were more dead than the government says; cars, houses destroyed, very ugly,” he says.

And although the Black Hawk that had been raised earlier was already far away, the soldiers below were still shooting at them, and the hired assassins were also responding, as the shots from the helicopter had stunned them while they tried to take cover.

It is believed that the air and ground attack was a strategy, since the helicopter that took off minutes before from Jesus Maria was carrying Ovidio on its way to the airport.

The day had already dawned when his group received the order to move towards the airport, to prevent any aircraft from taking off or landing at the Culiacán air terminal. “If a plane approached, or if one tried to take off, especially if it was an army or navy plane, we were going to shoot it.”

An impressive deployment of vehicles full of gunmen, arrived at the airport and set up outside the army hangar, and they readied their weapons trying to get in, but they were already waiting for them.

“They did what they could to stop the army plane from taking off, but the army had everything well prepared,” he said.

Several of the airlines that had their flights scheduled months before were already on their way, and they had no choice but to land in Culiacán. The gunman did not specify if they shot at any of those planes, what he did say was that they were part of the group that was plotting with the government there at the air terminal.

Around 10:00 a.m., after a new confrontation, a military Boeing of Sedena Special Forces made a very risky take-off while being covered by hundreds of soldiers who were trying to cover the plane, and at that moment they released everything they had against the armed groups.

Finally, the aircraft had managed to take off, and a few minutes later, national media reported that Ovidio Guzmán López was already at Military Camp 1 in Mexico City.

A neighbor of Bachigualato remembers the spectacular roar made by the military Boeing, and the great maneuver he had to make to be able to take off.

“We did what we could, but the “plebada” was not happy because Ovidio could not be rescued, and I think it will not end there,” said the hitman.

Article published on January 08, 2023 in the 1041st edition of the weekly Ríodoce.