By Itzli

A deep look at “El Sierra”, groups known as Los Sierra within the CDG, and Los Sierra of San Fernando, as well as their most notable members.

Sierra and the School of Metro 3

A banner was hung in Reynosa dedicated to Samuel “Metro 3” Flores Borrego on August 6, 2012, eleven months after being killed by fellow members of the Cártel del Golfo (CDG, Gulf Cartel) on what would have been his 35th birthday. Two years later, an article was written for Borderland Beat regarding the status of the 22 individuals that signed the message, a group that was dubbed The School of El Metro 3. These cartel members ranged from well known figures such as Mario “El Pelón” Armando Ramírez Treviño to the obscure, as was the case with “Babas” and “Negro Jose”. The appearance of the nickname “Sierra” on the banner seemed to point in one particular direction, Juan Gabriel “El Sierra” Montes Sermeño, also known as “El Gaby Sierra”.

In hindsight there are reasons to be skeptical with this conclusion. For starters, there are clear links between those who signed the banner and “Metro 3”, yet there is an absence of information indicating direct ties between “El Gaby Sierra” and “Metro 3”. Furthermore, all of the other individuals that signed the banner are known to have operated in Reynosa, Río Bravo, or the string of towns and cities to the west known as both the Ribereña and the Frontera Chica, while“El Gaby Sierra” operated out of Tampico and was the regional leader of southern Tamaulipas. There is also the issue of divisions within the CDG that emerged following the death of “Metro 3”, whose killing was rumored to have been ultimately ordered by “El Coss”. The appearance of “Plaza Matamoros C.D.G.” at the bottom of the banner pointed to a level of reconciliation with a segment of the CDG that would become the Matamoros Faction under the Cárdenas Guillén family, yet “El Coss” was believed to have fallen out with Mario “El Gordo” Cárdenas Guillén. While “El Gaby Sierra” was presented to work under “El Gordo Cárdenas”, also known as “M1”, sources generally consider “El Gaby Sierra” as a close associate of “El Coss” and the fact that “El Coss” was arrested in Tampico implies that this continued to be the case.

Sierra 1: El Músico

Due to the scarcity of information available, much of the biography of a CDG member nicknamed “El Músico” derives from a song by Golpe de Guerra dedicated to him. Born and raised in Camargo, he grew up helping his parents with farming and raising cattle. In 2004 “El Músico” became a municipal police officer in Díaz Ordaz and he joined the CDG in 2008 under “Metro 3”, who was head of plaza in Miguel Alemán at that time, as detailed in A Leadership History of Los Metros.

The song alludes to the war between the CDG and Los Zetas that began in early 2010 and it is very likely that “El Músico” fought many battles. Following the September 2011 death of “Metro 3” he worked under Héctor David “Metro 4” Delgado Santiago and alongside José Ismael “El Polimenso” Mendoza Falcón, both of whom signed the banner dedicated to “Metro 3”. In October 2012 a CDG member known as “El Músico” was arrested in Magdalena, Jalisco, but it seems unlikely this is the same individual. Sometime in 2013, a year after the banner was hung, “El Músico” was thought to have been killed in a shootout.

In reality “El Músico” was arrested and spent a few months in prison before being quietly released. Thereafter, his family’s ranch was attacked and his brother Tomas was killed. The song ends by stating that “El Músico” belonged to Los Sierra, where he had the code name “Sierra 1” and went on to become the right hand man of Rafael Joaquin “Metro 32” Salinas Aparicio, who was arrested in October 2014, released in late 2020 or early 2021, and killed in January 2022.  Based on this biographical information, it appears that “El Músico” is a better fit for being the “Sierra” from the banner than “El Gaby Sierra”.

Outside of the song Sierra 1, references to “El Músico” are few and far between. A tweet from June 2011 mentions three members of the CDG: “El Polimenso”, “R1”, and “Sierra Jr”, though it is unclear if “El Músico” and “Sierra Jr” are the same individual. A comment from long time Borderland Beat forum contributor El Plata in March 2015 mentioned a rumor that the brothers Jesús Alejandro “El Simple” Leal Flores and Guadalupe “El Tachas” Leal Flores were cousins by marriage of “Comandante Sierra”. A relatively recent tweet states: “El Sierra 1 is known as Músico, he was close to polimenso”. 

Los Sierra 

Throughout the history of the CDG, multiple subgroups have taken up the name Los Sierra, with the earliest documented one being a kidnapping ring under “El Coss”. In 2009 Los Sierra was mentioned as one of three main subgroups within the CDG, alongside Los Zetas and Los Tangos, without reporting specific information about the group. Nevertheless, it has generally been assumed that “El Gaby Sierra” was a member of this version of Los Sierra. 

In late September 2012 and October 2012 Grupo Sierra of the CDG signed messages against Los Zetas in the far south of Tamaulipas. It is generally assumed that Grupo Sierra was based out of Tampico and connected to “El Gaby Sierra”, who had been arrested on September 11, 2012, although it should be noted that his principal underlings were known as Los Kalimanes. 

The Mexican attorney general’s office identified 43 cartel subgroups in September 2014 and a dozen were listed as belonging to the CDG: Metros (Reynosa), Rojos (Matamoros), Grupo Lacoste, Grupo Dragones (Tampico), Grupo Bravo (Aldama); Grupo Pumas (El Mante), Grupo de Apoyo Ceros M3 (Reynosa), Los Fresitas, Los Sierra, Los Pantera, Ciclones, and Los Pelones (Cancún, Quintana Roo). All of these subgroups were readily identified with the exception of Los Sierra, although once again it was generally believed to be associated with “El Gaby Sierra”.

Within the Los Metros Faction of the CDG a subgroup known as Los Sierra existed with “El Músico” as “Sierra 1”, though the details of its origins remain unclear. “El Músico” was closely associated with “El Polimenso”, both of whom had strong ties to “Metro 4” and “Metro 32”. It should be noted that a subgroup directly linked to “El Polimenso” was known as Los Pantanos and following the October 2014 death of “El Polimenso” they are believed to have linked up with Juan Manuel “El Toro” Loza Salinas. In late July 2016, a group known as “Los Potros Sierra Fox” was said to be fighting in San Fernando under the command of “El Toro”.

By the summer of 2018 Los Sierra under “El Músico” were operating in Méndez, a sparsely populated municipality northwest of San Fernando. According to reports, Los Sierra would go on to control the Tamaulipas municipalities of San Fernando, Méndez, Burgos, Cruillas, and San Carlos, as well as China in Nuevo León. References to this Los Sierra group continue to appear on occasion.

The San Fernando Plaza

The small city of San Fernando is the seat of the largely rural municipality of the same name that links southern Tamaulipas to the border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros. During the time that Juan García Ábrego was leader of the CDG, Óscar “El Compadre” Malherbe de León built dirt landing strips around San Fernando that were used to fly in cocaine from Columbia while a native of San Fernando, Hugo Baldomero “El Gordo” Medina Garza, oversaw transportation of drugs using his tractor trailer business. 

As Osiel Cárdenas Guillén took control of the CDG, he placed his nephew Rafael “El Junior” Cárdenas Vela as head of plaza in San Fernando, which was given the code name Sierra Fox. In 2005 Los Zetas, who were still allies of the CDG at that time, established training camps in the rural areas of San Fernando under the direction of Mateo Díaz López, code name “Z-10” and Los Zetas set up operation centers thereafter. Sometime in 2009 “El Junior Cárdenas” was relocated to take over the plaza of Río Bravo. With war breaking out in 2010, the CDG was initially able to push Los Zetas out of San Fernando, but following a major counter attack the municipality became fractured. It was in this timeframe that the infamous San Fernando migrant massacre took place and participants such as Martín Omar “El Kilo” Estrada Luna, Román Ricardo “El Coyote” Palomo Rincones, and Salvador Alfonso “La Ardilla” Martínez Escobedo would be arrested over the years to follow.

In October 2011 the CDG began to splinter with the emergence of the Los Metros Faction and Los Zetas began attacking Valle Hermosa from San Fernando at this time frame. Throughout 2012, the Los Metros Faction mounted counterattacks and reached the outskirts of the town of San Fernando by early September 2012. Fighting would continue over the next two years, with it said that the CDG was gaining control of the northern and eastern parts of the municipality, although it was unclear if this was ultimately the Los Metros Faction, the Matamoros Faction of the CDG, or both. 

Following the March 2015 arrest of Óscar Omar “Z-42” Treviño Morales his nephew José Francisco “Kiko” Treviño Chávez became leader of Los Zetas, which, beginning in July 2015, was rebranded as Cártel del Noreste (CDN). In Tamaulipas, tensions within the CDN reached a breaking point in December 2015, leading to the emergence of Grupo Bravo, which soon evolved into Zetas Vieja Escuela (ZVE). Martiniano de Jesús “El Pata de Queso” Jaramillo Silva, who led the San Fernando region from a rural part of the municipality, separated his territory from the CDN by February 2016 and became a member of ZVE.

While the ZVE was clearly associated with the Matamoros Faction of the CDG by July 2016, over time divisions emerged, with the bulk of ZVE in Tamaulipas being directly absorbed into the Matamoros Faction in October 2017. Weeks later, “El Pata de Queso” was arrested and died of kidney failure three days later. His second-in-command, Hugo “El Ganso” Sánchez García, became leader of the San Fernando region at this point, up until his arrest on July 7, 2019.

CDG Infighting

A war for leadership of the Los Metros Faction broke out after “El Toro” was killed in April 2017. On one side was Petronilo “El Panilo” Moreno Flores, whose claim as leader was supported by the Matamoros Faction, which gave birth to an alliance that included them, the former ZVE members of San Fernando, and the Ribereña Faction of Los Metros under the leadership of César “El Primito” Morfín Morfín. Sometime in the first three months of 2018, “El Primito” left this alliance and began waging war against his former allies via the recently released Luis Miguel “El Flako Sierra” González Mercado, who had controlled the northern part of the San Fernando municipality until his arrest in July 2014. The remaining alliance further fractured in May 2018, during the leadership of “El Ganso”, as a dispute emerged over the killing of “El Comino”, who was said to have been killed by the Matamoros Faction. It appears that this event sparked the formation of what we will refer to as the San Fernando Faction, initially made up of former ZVE members that left the Matamoros Faction, regaining their independence.

While it is unclear if “El Músico” and Los Sierra had aligned with “El Panilo”, “El Primito”, or remained neutral, by the end of July 2018 Los Sierra joined the San Fernando Faction, as detailed in a Facebook post:

“El comandante sierra #1 can be found on the dirt roads of mendez he and his people threaten to kill everyone from the cartel del golfo he says their days are numbered in san fernando he claims to be pure zeta he and his people give a time limited ultimatum to los golfos to leave san fernando…sierra #1 is also entering reynosa he already has all of san Fernando and threatens to kill all of los metros…” Thus “El Músico” and Los Sierra declared war against both the Matamoros Faction of the CDG and the Los Metros Faction. The motivation for this is not known, although it should be noted that this report was posted online the day after “El Flako Sierra” was arrested in Reynosa. 

Beginning in 2016, José Alfredo “El Contador” Cárdenas Martínez began solidifying control of the Matamoros Faction by sidelining his cousin Mario Alberto “El Betillo” Cárdenas Medina, who was a son of Mario “El Gordo” Cárdenas Guillén. Following his arrest in March 2019, “El Contador Cárdenas” continued to lead the Matamoros Faction from prison via his second in command, Evaristo “El Vaquero” Cruz Sánchez. In the weeks thereafter forces loyal to “El Betillo” began fighting for control of the Matamoros Faction. After “El Betillo” was arrested at the end of June 2019, Raúl “El Loco” García Martínez, code name “Escorpión 2”, continued to fight on his behalf against “El Vaquero”.

Overlapping this conflict was events within the Los Metros Faction. “El Panilo” was arrested in October 2018, though references to his underlings operating in the far northern part of the San Fernando municipality would continue in the days and months to follow. Five days after the arrest of “El Contador Cárdenas”, “El Primito” along with Armando Daniel “El Choco” León García, Jesús Iván “El Boludo” Castellanos Alaní, and Zenón Guadalupe “El Pezón” Ruiz Ortegón declared themselves the new leaders of the Los Metros Faction. It appears that the latter three individuals turned against “El Primito” in mid-July 2019 and the forces of “El Pezón”, also known as “M12”, were active in the northern part of the municipality of San Fernando in early August 2019. By the end of August 2019 the plot failed and “El Primito” took sole leadership of the Los Metros Faction.

Sierra 7: El Chuy

Carlos Roel Collazo Rodríguez, nicknamed “El Chuy”, was born in 1989 or 1990 and by the age of 22 was a low level member of Los Zetas. He was arrested in Monterrey, Nuevo León by the military at some point in 2012, which opens up the possibility that he was among the forces of Iván “El Talibán” Velázquez Caballero that defected to the Los Metros Faction, but this is purely speculative. 

“El Chuy” went on to become a member of Los Sierra, where he was given the code name “Sierra 7”. From this, various alternative nicknames emerged, such as “Chuy Sierra”, “Chuy 7”, and “Comandante 7”. Two months after Los Sierra joined Los Zetas of San Fernando as part of the formation of the San Fernando Faction, an anonymous report mentions a cartel individual threatening to call “Comandante 7”, an apparent reference to “El Chuy”.

Following the July 2019 arrest of “El Ganso” it appears that Los Sierra took leadership of the San Fernando Faction. While “El Choco”, “El Boludo”, and “El Pezón” were fighting the loyalists of “El Primito”, on August 10, 2019 a picture of “El Chuy” appeared online, denouncing him as head of plaza in San Fernando and having aligned with the Los Metros Faction. Apparently whatever grievances Los Sierra had against the Los Metros Faction previously had been resolved. Five days later an organization chart of the San Fernando Faction appeared in which “El Chuy” was presented as leader in Méndez, Burgos, Carboneras, Barrancón, Las Norias, Cruillas, and San Carlos, as well as San Fernando and China, Nuevo León.

A comment from August 20, 2019 claimed that Luis Nabor “M21” Aguilar Rubio of the Los Metros Faction was making an alliance with San Fernando.

On September 26, 2019, “El Chuy” was said to be a lieutenant of “El Primito” who was fighting on his behalf.

As reported on September 13, 2019, an alliance had formed that included “El Primito”, “El Chuy”, and “Escorpión 2”, ten days before clear evidence shows forces of “El Vaquero” present in General Francisco González Villarreal, San Fernando.

The eastern part of the San Fernando municipality became a warzone in October 2019 and the San Fernando Faction moved vehicles from Carboneras to Barrancón, likely a reference to the town of El Barrancón del Tío Blas.

Five days later, fighting between the San Fernando Faction and “El Vaquero” was said to be taking place in Barrancon and Carboneras, extending into Mezquital.

As the war continued over the following weeks, a message against “El Vaquero” and the Matamoros Faction was signed by Grupo Sierra, “Escorpión 2”, and “El Chuy”, among others.

Amidst rumors that “El Chuy” was being aided by a corrupt member of the military, confrontations between “El Vaquero” and the San Fernando Faction extended into 2020 and a video from that April which was mentioned in Shadows of El Contador should be seen as a continuation of this war.

In late June 2020 it was said that after a meeting between “El Chuy” and “El Primito”, members of the San Fernando Faction were being sent to aid the Los Metros Faction in their fight against the CDN. In late October 2020, “El Contador” was released from prison and a major offensive in Carboneras took place days later. At this time “Escorpión 2”, who was said to be hiding in San Fernando after being run out of Matamoros, was once again mentioned in association with “El Chuy”.

In November 2020, it was alleged that state police officers and members of the marines had been corrupted by the San Fernando Faction and the Los Metros Faction. Two months later, in January 2021, the United State Border Patrol, in conjunction with the Tamaulipas state government, released a list of ten most wanted cartel members, among them was “El Chuy”. Following the public fallout from a major offensive by the Matamoros Faction against the Los Metros Faction in Reynosa in June 2021, a “truce for peace” was announced a month later between these warring factions. While the San Fernando Faction was not directly mentioned, banners were hung in San Fernando and Méndez implying they, along with the Los Metros Faction, had reached a ceasefire with the Matamoros Faction

Rumors that “El Primito” and the Los Metros Faction were receiving support from the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG, Jalisco Cartel New Generation) circulated for years. In April 2021, it was alleged that a brother of “Escorpión 2” was working with the CJNG and would potentially bring the San Fernando Faction into an alliance with them. César Augusto “El Truko” Verástegui Ostos, an official since October 2016 under Tamaulipas governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, was rumored since at least November 2021 to be planning to potentially support an effort by the CJNG to gain access to southern Tamaulipas. “El Truko”, who declared himself a candidate for governor in early 2022, was reported in late March 2022 to be providing protection to the San Fernando Faction via state government officials and the mayors of San Fernando, Burgos, and Cruillas. Days later, it was said that the Los Metros Faction remained closely aligned with the San Fernando Faction citing “mounstros” armored vehicles traveling through Méndez to China and General Bravo, Nuevo León as proof. It should be noted that with the seizure of armored vehicles in China and San Fernando in August 2022, one can see similar designs to vehicles used by the Los Metros Faction that were allegedly received from the CJNG. Furthermore, it was in this timeframe that the San Fernando Faction began to be referred to as Zetas Vieja Escuela (ZVE) online based on historic information that did not take into consideration the evolution of the area.

By mid-August 2022, it was alleged that the CJNG made an incursion into Soto La Marina, which was controlled by Pablo Misael “El Mezqui” Ramos Lara, code name “Pantera 24”, leader of the Centro Faction of the CDG. Thereafter, the Matamoros Faction attacked the Centro Faction and took control of its territory while “Pantera 24” fled to San Fernando where he received refuge from “El Chuy”. It should be noted that government reports from the prior month focusing on “El Chuy” lists him as the leader of Los Sierra.

Reports emerged in March 2023 that unspecified cartel members had destroyed parts of state highways in the municipalities of Jiménez, San Carlos, Burgos, San Nicolás, and Méndez. While most online comments blamed the Hidalgo Faction of the CDG, others would point out the presence of the San Fernando Faction in these areas and claimed they had done so in an effort to impede movement of the Matamoros Faction.

A meeting allegedly took place in mid-April 2023 between “El Chuy”, “El Truko”, and active members of the Tamaulipas state government in which the expansion of the San Fernando Faction into Ciudad Victoria and Mante was discussed.

Full scale war broke out between the San Fernando Faction and the Matamoros Faction at the end of April 2023, with it initially claimed that the CJNG was providing support to the San Fernando Faction. On May 10, 2023, “El Chuy” was reported by some sources to have been arrested but this was a case of mistaken identity derived from the initial pictures of the arrest that appeared online. It was claimed at the time that “El Chuy” was hiding in Veracruz, although an interrogation video from June indicated that “El Chuy” was in Monterrey, Nuevo León.

As the war continued, a source claiming to cite intelligence sources indicated that “El Truko” was sending support to San Fernando from Ciudad Victoria and Mante, as well as seeking to take control of the Padilla municipal government via his political allies.

In late May 2023, it was claimed by one source that “El Chuy” and the San Fernando Faction had fully merged with the Los Metros Faction. By October 2023, the San Fernando Faction was said to have been actively fighting in Jiménez and Abasolo. The following month a series of messages emerged online, allegedly from “El Gaby Sierra”, who had been negotiating with Tamaulipas governor Américo Villarreal Anaya via state official Hector Joel “El Calabazo” Villegas González; among the claims made was that the marines were working with “El Chuy” against the Matamoros Faction and “El Primito” was also meeting with “El Calabazo” via Eduardo “El Mofles” Pérez González.

Dead bodies were left in Ejido Emiliano Zapata in December 2023 with a message against “El Chuy” in which it claimed members of the CJNG and MZ were working with him and an interrogation video of these individuals appeared online the following day.

A week later messages were left in Río Bravo, San Fernando, and Méndez against government forces and were signed by CDG Grupo Metro, ZVE, Cártel Jalisco, and MZ Cártel de Sinaloa. The validity of this message has been questioned as MZ is a reference to Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada García, who is engaged in war with the CJNG, particularly in Zacatecas.

At the time of this writing, “El Chuy” remains leader of the San Fernando Faction, which remains at war with the Matamoros Faction; while it appears that the fighting is reaching a stalemate some sources claim that the San Fernando Faction is making major gains towards Valle Hermosa and the Jiménez/Abasolo region.

Sierra 4: El Pawa

Felipe de Jesús Alonso Olmedo, nicknamed “El Pawa”, which is alternately spelled “El Pagua”, was born in Tampico according to one source. It was claimed that “El Pawa” was once a CDG member in Río Bravo who joined with “los mugrosos”, likely a reference to Los Zetas, before returning to the CDG. Thereafter, “El Pawa” joined Los Sierra, where he received the code name “Sierra 4”.

In May 2019, two months before the arrest of “El Ganso”, “El Pawa” was identified as a kidnapper alongside the Navarro Guerrero brothers in San Fernando, who was connected to the municipal president via at least two individuals.

Female associates of “El Pawa”, some of his underlings, and his accountant were also identified. Two other female associates of “El Pawa” were identified in September 2019 and said to be hiding in Reynosa. It was in this timeframe that sources claimed that the real name of “El Pawa” was Carlos de la Cruz.

A shootout, possibly with the Matamoros Faction, allegedly took place on the night of August 4, 2019, during which “El Pawa” was said to have been injured.

A week later, “El Chuy” was first reported to be head of plaza in San Fernando and in the following days “El Pawa” was said to be an underling of his in charge of extortion and kidnappings and/or head of operations for the San Fernando Faction with numerous individuals under his command.

A month later, “El Pawa” was listed among the individuals working under “El Chuy” and “El Primito”. In October 2019 “El Pawa” was identified as one of the principal collaborators of “El Chuy” and “Escorpión 2”, with his charging extortion and conducting kidnappings in San Fernando once again mentioned.

At that same time he posted a message online promising to “clean” Carboneras and Barrancon of enemies.

It was said that police officers captured “El Pawa” on July 17, 2020 but he was released after they took his money. In January 2021 “El Pawa” was listed among ten most wanted cartel members by the United State Border Patrol and the Tamaulipas state government, with his name listed as Humberto Alejandro Uribe Mendoza. Eréndira Citlalick, said to be the wife of “El Pawa”, was arrested in San Fernando on February 4, 2021. After members of the San Fernando Faction were arrested on March 27, 2022, “El Pawa” sent a group of gunmen to threaten police officers, who released them. 

“El Pawa” appears to have been at the forefront of the war between the San Fernando Faction and the Matamoros Faction as he was said to be in charge of both the operations and defense up until his arrest on May 10, 2023 in the Las Fuentes neighborhood of San Fernando along with his bodyguard Jorge Emilio López Olivo and Jorge Hernández Vega.

Sierra 10: El Honduras

The man nicknamed “El Honduras” appears to have been once a member of Los Zetas as songs dedicated to him mentioned that he had previously fought in Veracruz and Zacatecas, as well as previously working under “El Coyote”. It is possible he joined Los Sierra as “Sierra 10” after they joined with the former ZVE members to become the San Fernando Faction. 

A post from May 2019 mentions “El Honduras” among the individuals that attended parties thrown at a house that belonged to “El Pawa”.

In August 2019, a month after the arrest of “El Ganso”, it was said that “El Honduras” was with “El Pawa” during a shootout.

A song dedicated to his death was released in November 2020, indicating he was killed at an unspecified time prior.

Sierra 18

Apparently named Martin and married to a woman named Juliana, he was a member of Los Sierra, where he was given the code name “Sierra 18”. A song dedicated to him from July 17, 2020 mentions his prior fighting against the Matamoros Faction subgroup Los Espartanos, which was associated with “El Vaquero”, as well as in Miguel Aleman against the CDN subgroup Tropa del Infierno.

“Sierra 18” was briefly arrested on March 27, 2022, however a group of gunmen was sent by “El Pawa” to threaten the police officers, resulting in his release.

A song was released on November 1, 2022, dedicated to his death, but the circumstances of his passing were not mentioned.

Sierra 3: El Puma

Cristino Ramírez Hernández, nicknamed “El Puma”, was born in 1996 or 1997 and was a member of Los Sierra, where he was given the code name “Sierra 3”. “El Puma” was mentioned in association with “El Pawa” in May 2019, two months before “El Ganso” was arrested.

In August 2019 he appeared in an organization chart of the San Fernando Faction, were he was listed under the command of “El Pawa”. In September 2019, “El Puma” was listed among individuals working under both “El Chuy” and “El Primito”.

A post from May 2020 claimed that “El Puma” had been arrested by the marines after “El Pawa” gave them his location.

The following month, a post discussing “El Chuy” sending members of the San Fernando Faction to fight the CDN also mentioned his arrest, while stating that “El Primito” of the Los Metros Faction was placing the San Fernando Faction members on the front lines of battles, resulting in several notable loses.

While it is unclear how long “El Puma” was imprisoned, by May 2022 he was once again an active member of the San Fernando Faction and would later be reported to have become head of plaza in Burgos, Cruillas, and Méndez. On the first day of that month a state police officer was killed in Periquitos; while the gunmen escaped, a vehicle was left behind in which a kidnapped man, rumored to be an immigrant smuggler, was found. “El Puma” was arrested on October 24, 2022 following a shootout with officials and was reported to have been responsible for kidnapping the immigrant smuggler and killing the police officer in May. He died on November 10, 2022 from injuries sustained during his arrest. 

Sierra 14: El Pumia

“El Pumia”, also known as “El Pumilla”, was a brother of Cristino “El Puma” Ramírez Hernández and a member of Los Sierra, where he was given the code name “Sierra 14”. A picture of an individual known as “El 14” was posted in May 2019, but it is unclear if this was “El Pumia”. 

It was said that “El Pumia” was among the members of the San Fernando Faction that were sent in 2020 to aid the Los Metros Faction in their war with the CDN and he was killed sometime before June 27, 2020.

A month later, a song dedicated to his death specified he died in Comales fighting the Tropa del Infierno, opening up the possibility his death occurred during a major battle that took place there on June 7, 2020.

Sierra 9

A member of Los Sierra with the code name “Sierra 9” began his criminal career following his father’s death according to a song dedicated to him, which also mentioned that his brother joined Los Sierras as “Sierra 21”. In October 2023, “Sierra 9” was reported to have been killed near San Fernando in a shootout with police officers. Various weapons belonging to the San Fernando Faction members were seized thereafter.

It should be mentioned, however, that “Sierra 9” was spray painted in Alfredo V. Bonfil in May 2024, opening up the possibility that he did not actually die.

La Burbuja

Jorge Alberto Banda Delgado, nicknamed “La Burbuja” and “El Gordo Banda”, was born in Valle Hermosa according to a source that also claimed that he had been imprisoned in Santa Adelaida for a time. “La Burbuja” was mentioned in September 2018 in connection to drug dealers in San Fernando.

He was listed as an accountant under “El Chuy” in August 2019 in an organization chart of the San Fernando Faction. His status thereafter is unclear.

El Guero Camarón

José Guadalupe Flores Silguero, nicknamed “El Guero Camarón” and “El Camarón”, appears to be a native of San Fernando.

Facebook comments mention that he served time in prison in Tamaulipas and a very similar but not identical name appears among a group of extortionists that were arrested in San Fernando in July 2015. Authorities believe he was involved in a kidnapping that took place on March 18, 2018. Although there does not appear to be any direct references, it can be logically assumed that he was either a low level member of Los Zetas or, at the very least, they allowed him to conduct kidnappings in this timeframe.

In the absence of a code name, it is unclear if “El Guero Camarón” was a member of Los Sierra or merely associated with them as members of the San Fernando Faction. Regardless, he was denounced on May 7, 2019 for charging extortion fees and “El Guero Camarón” appeared in an organization chart of the San Fernando Faction from August 2019 in which he was listed as being under the command of “El Pawa”.

“El Guero Camarón” was once again denounced as an extortionist in September 2019, with it also said that he lived in Ejido Division del Norte and was a known kidnapper. “El Guero Camarón” was allegedly detained by police officers alongside “El Pawa” on July 17, 2020 but they were released.

Nine days prior, a 14 year old boy was kidnapped in a San Fernando park; after twice paying ransom money without him being released his parents began to publicly seek information as to his whereabouts. “El Guero Camarón” was arrested September 10, 2020 on a dirt road in Méndez and was reported to have been involved in the kidnapping of the boy, to whom he was possibly related. 

El Nico

Juan Nicolás Cintora Robles, nicknamed “El Nico”, is said to have at least two siblings: a brother nicknamed “El Mon” and a sister, Maria “La Chaparra”. “El Nico” is sometimes confused for another notable cartel member from San Fernando, Nicolás Amaro “El Nico Roy” Roy Martínez, due to a similar nickname. 

While “El Nico” is mentioned in a post from May 2019 discussing individuals that attend parties thrown at a house that belonged to “El Pawa”, it is unclear if he was an official member of Los Sierra. “El Nico” appeared in an organization chart of the San Fernando Faction from August 2019 in which he was listed under the command of “El Pawa”. The following month, “El Nico” is listed among individuals that worked under “El Chuy” and “El Primito”.

In September 2019 it was alleged that “El Nico” was arrested by the marines after “El Pawa” failed to answer his calls for backup.

If this is true, it appears that his imprisonment was relatively short as a message against “El Nico” from “El Vaquero” and the Matamoros Faction appeared online in March 2020 and months later he was referenced as “El Nico de Carbonera”.

Based on these two facts, it can be assumed that he was a major part of the fighting between the San Fernando Faction and the Matamoros Faction that took place there in this time frame. Even so, he may have been among the members of the San Fernando Faction that were sent to fight the CDN, as a post from late June 2020 discussing them mentioned that he was injured the same day that “El Pumia” was killed.

On May 25, 2021 a candidate for municipal president in San Fernando was attacked by armed men, allegedly by individuals working under “El Nico”.

Said to have been head of plaza in Méndez, with the revived war against the Matamoros Faction “El Nico” was alleged to be in charge of fighting in the Periquitos area.

“El Nico” was blamed for an attack on federal officials in May 2023, state officials in July 2023, and police officers in December 2023.

A CDG message, likely from the Matamoros Faction from July 2023 denounced “El Nico”.

As the war continues with the Matamoros Faction, “El Nico” is believed to be an increasingly important part of the San Fernando Faction and he may have taken the place of “El Pawa” as head of operations.