From within the deep pages of Borderland Beat 

By Buggs for Borderland Beat

During the early years when El Cártel del Pacífico was considered the most violent and powerful criminal group in the Mexican narco world, it possessed the greatest capacity for the cultivation of heroin, as well as the trafficking of cocaine from South America.

Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel Villarreal was an important piece of the puzzle.

Nacho Colonel bought tons of cocaine from the Colombian cartels and was responsible for the production of large quantities of methamphetamines in clandestine laboratories. That earned him the nickname “The King of the Crystal.”

Nacho arrested in 1993.

“The King of Crystal” began his criminal career working next to “The Lord of the Skies,” Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Carrillo “turned over” Nacho Coronel to the authorities in 1993, but the Sinaloa Cartel helped him obtain his freedom.

After the escape of El Chapo from the prison Federal Center for Social Readaptation 2, West, in Puente Grande, Jalisco, the organization known as the Sinaloa Cartel was divided among Nacho Coronel, Ismael El Mayo Zambada, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Juan José Esparragoza Moreno, El Azul.

Nacho became the right hand of El Chapo, someone that he had the most confidence to operate Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit. These areas had been for the most part kept away from cartel violence. Especially the out-of-control violence that resulted from conflicts between El Chapo and the Beltrán Leyva brothers, that brought a series of murders along the Pacific coast and beyond.

The Beltrán Leyva brothers allied themselves with Los Zetas to face the powerful Sinaloa Cartel and its main leaders: El Chapo, El Azul, El Mayo and El Nacho.

The Beltrán Leyva Organization (BLO) and Los Zetas, led by Héctor “El Hache” Beltran Leyva, kidnapped and murdered the son of Colonel, Alejandro Coronel who was only 16 years of age.  

This heightened the violence and forced Nacho to enter the conflict against the BLO. 

The death of the sicarios who killed the son of Nacho.

This prompted Nacho to ordered the execution of the alleged assassins who were responsible for the executing his firstborn. Several bodies appeared executed and burned in Xalisco, Nayarit. Among the dead was “El Pepino” or “5-5” who was known to command the plaza in Xalisco and a soldier for Beltran Leyva. (Illiana reported on El Pepino in April of 2010).

The wife of Héctor  Beltran is abducted by Nacho,
to send him a warning not so mess with family.
Clara Elena Laborín Archuleta is set free by Nacho.

Nacho responded to the death of his son by kidnapping the wife of  “El Hache” of the BLO, Mrs. Clara Elena Laborín Archuleta, whom he soon released with a message: “I give you your wife back, healthy and unharmed so you can see and learn that for us that family is sacred.”

In his thirst for revenge, suddenly Nacho found himself a target of Mexican authorities. Little did he know, BLO was colluding with the Mexican government of former president Felipe Calderon. Nacho was ultimately located by elements of the Mexican Marines. After they had located his whereabouts, an operation was launched to capture Nacho at his residence in the Colinas de San Javier community, in Zapopan, Jalisco.

Nacho did not know that they were coming for him until he had the military on top of him.


Mexican Marines in operation to capture Nacho.

The Mexican military elite group arrived by air and lined up in “single column,” as the military refers to a particular formation. When he reacted, Colonel broke a window and tried to flee through the garden of his safe house, where he had been hiding for at least two weeks, afraid of being apprehended. He knew, that the fence working against him was too far away, it was not coming to him fast enough.

Iran Francisco Quiñones Gastélum, was the only man who accompanied Nacho, and a physiotherapist who had provided him with a massage minutes before the military assault. All three made their way out through the broken glass in the rear of the house, but were immediately stopped on the grass. Nacho turned back on his steps and went back inside his home. He ran up some stairs that lead to a corridor on the left to the main bedroom and on to the right was the living room.

He didn’t get anywhere. He turned toward the soldiers coming up and fired five or six shots with an M-16 assault style rifle that killed one soldier and wounded another. A few steps later he ran into a 12mm Mossberg shotgun. Nacho took two gunshots from the shotgun center mass, one in the abdomen and one in the thorax from a soldier at no more than four meters away. The pellets entered from his left side, almost on his back. The shots, at a wide range, did not spread much. 

Nacho Colonel was dead.

Nacho Coronel is shot dead.

Killed at the age of 55 years of age Nacho had been considered number three of the Sinaola Cartel behind only to Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Ismael “Mayo” Zambada.

The body of Nacho Coronel.

Details of the scene of his death, his body laid on the stairs with blood coming from his mouth, a hemorrhage. Near a plant you could see his favorite handgun with a diamond-covered grip. The military had said that Nacho fired at them with an M-16 rifle and had no choice to shoot back with the shotgun. They say that the shotgun that killed Nacho was usually used to force open doors.

The death of Nacho Colonel left a power vacuum in the synthetic drug trafficking, which Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes aka “El Mencho” took advantage to create the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and dominate the west of the country after winning the battle against Ramiro Pozos González, aka ‘El Molca’, leader of La Resistencia.

The death of Nacho was indeed a heavy loss for the Pacific Cartel operation, but El Chapo Guzmán already had the support of a cousin of Nacho Coronel. It was Inés Coronel Barreras, who eventually also became his father-in-law.

The body of Nacho Coronel is escorted by the military in a funeral procession.