“Char” for Borderland Beat

This article reposted and translated from Ríodoce

One year before he is to serve his sentence at the Altiplano
A Collegiate Court ratified the sentence of Joaquín el Chapo Guzmán’s private secretary, Carlos Manuel Hoo Ramírez, one year before he is due to serve it.
Hoo Ramírez was sentenced to 10 years for the crime of organized crime and 250 days of fines, which start counting from 2014, when he was arrested.
El Condor was captured along with El Chapo on February 22, 2014 at the Miramar condominiums in Mazatlan.
The Attorney General’s Office charged El Condor with organized crime for the purpose of committing crimes against health.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, Hoo Ramírez was Chapo’s private secretary and the man closest to him.
During the criminal proceedings, they presented statements from protected witnesses who were part of the Sinaloa Cartel.
With the evidence, they proved that the criminal group has existed since at least 1997, with different hierarchies, responsibilities and activities among its members, headed or directed, among others, by Chapo Guzmán.
One of the witnesses testified that El Condor was recruited after he accompanied Jonathan Salas Aviles, El Fantasma, to a lunch with Chapo in Mazatlan.
El Fantasma and El Condor, according to the witness, knew each other because they were both former military men. El Fantasma was arrested by the Army in November 2015 in the Costa Rica syndicate in Culiacan and is being held in Almoloya de Juarez.
In a 2014 statement, another witness mentioned that he had known El Condor for approximately 12 years, and that during that time he was Chapo Guzmán’s personal bodyguard and that he observed him every time he saw the Sinaloa Cartel leader.
A different witness stated that he remembered that Hoo Ramirez taught the people who were with Chapo to shoot and “to move through the mountains where the camps were because he ran, rolled and did “pirouettes”, that he trained them, because as far as the witness knew, the complainant was a military man”.
The witnesses said that El Condor was Chapo’s “shadow” and went with him to various places, such as Los Cabos, Obregón, Culiacán, Mazatlán, Puerto Peñasco, Durango and Guadalajara.
In addition, he is said to be Chapo’s errand boy and the one who passed on his messages and ordered deposits to be made to Chapo’s wives; and as the liaison between Chapo and Dámaso López Núñez, the Licenciado, who was in charge of maintaining and seeking relationships with local, state and municipal authorities, making arrangements with them.
According to the testimonies, they lived in Culiacan for three years prior to the arrest and the only thing they did was to rotate in various houses, as they were all connected to a subway escape system.
They pointed out that “they bribed police corporations, so that the same (criminal organization) would not have any obstacles in the plaza and thus be able to freely carry out their criminal activities, in this case, actions related to crimes against health”.
El Condor denied being Chapo’s private secretary and assured that it is a lie that the Navy officers saw him armed in the Miramar condominiums since he was asleep.
He denied having pointed a gun at the agents since he did not have the opportunity to take them at the moment he was arrested.
During the criminal proceeding, the District Attorney’s Office presented a letter from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s deputy regional director informing that it has an active investigation against Hoo Ramirez.
The arrest report details that at around 6:40 a.m. on February 22, 2014, members of the Navy were carrying out their duties in the fight against organized crime, and when they were driving by the Miramar building, a man stopped them and informed them that minutes before he had entered the condominium tower and inside there was an armed person walking around.
In view of this information and the fact that they had information that Chapo Guzmán was in the building, based on information obtained in the different seizures that had been carried out in Culiacán in previous days, they proceeded to enter, he said.
When they reached the fourth floor, they found a man in the hallway, who turned out to be Hoo Ramirez, with a long gun in his hands and a marine shouted “Mexican Navy, drop the gun” and the subject pointed it at them and ran into one of the apartments, so they began a chase.
The man was caught in the living room of the apartment where he threw the weapon and said “I’ll give up, no problem” and there he was arrested and a 5.56 millimeter caliber rifle with a 40 millimeter caliber grenade launcher attachment was secured.
Upon inspecting the apartment, according to the report, Chapo came out of the rooms and was captured; and in the same apartment they found three adult women and two minors who refused to give their personal information.
The detainees indicated that the women and girls had nothing to do with the weapons and were not arrested, according to the report.
Hoo Ramirez was transferred to the facilities of the then Deputy Attorney General’s Office Specialized in Organized Crime Investigations of the Attorney General’s Office in Mexico City and held in the Federal Center for Social Readaptation number 1, the Altiplano, where he is currently being held.
On June 19, the Collegiate Court confirmed the sentence for organized crime, which he will finish serving next year.
Article published on July 30, 2023 in the 1070th edition of the weekly Ríodoce.