“HEARST” for Borderland Beat
An important Sinaloa Cartel – Los Cabreras figure named Gerardo Soberanes Ortiz, alias “El G1”, was arrested in Durango.
El G1 is infamous for allegedly “owning” the Senator of Durango, José Ramón Enríquez Herrera, whose political campaign he helped finance.
G1 is also known to have told a large number of politicians that they owed him allegiance, and not to be “stupid”, always to remember that the “position they held had been won thanks to him.”
At around 7:00 am on Friday, January 20, 2023, Crescencio Sandoval, the head of the Army announced that an operation to capture an important Sinaloa Cartel – Los Cabreras figure was currently being carried out in Durango. He made the announcement during one of the daily presidential press conferences.
Crescencio Sandoval said that
“Early this morning an operation was launched to arrest a financial operator of the Cabrera Sarabia criminal group, part of the Sinaloa Cartel. It involved our ground forces, also air support. The activity is ongoing. It is being carried out in coordination with the federal Attorney General’s Office and other government agencies.
We are still in the process of carrying out this operation. Once everything that has to be done in the domicile where this activity took place is concluded, the detainee will be transferred to the facilities of the federal Attorney General’s Office [in Mexico City].”
He then assured the reporters that they would release more information within the next 24 hours.
Later that day, more details emerged. The Army and the National Guard had launched a joint operation to capture Gerardo Soberanes Ortiz, alias “El G1”, in the dark of night hours in the northern part of Durango City. The soldiers arrived at the residential neighborhood of Cortijo, inside three helicopters and a convoy of vehicles.
A bodyguard of El G1 was said to have been shot in the arm during the ensuing confrontation however the soldier managed to get G1 to surrender.
He was then taken from the residence and put into a helicopter waiting outside, which flew him to the Durango airport. A video of one of the helicopters taking off can be seen below.
History of Los Cabreras
Felipe Cabrera Sarabia and his three younger brothers began working in organized crime sometime in the 1990s. They grew up in the small town of Vasco Gil, in the state of Durango.
The Cabrera Sarabia brothers are:
Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, alias “El 01”
Alejandro Cabrera Sarabia, alias “El 02”
José Luis Cabrera Sarabia, alias “El 03”
Luis Alberto Cabrera Sarabia, alias “El Arqui”
According to a federal press release, the Cabrera brothers started out “initially focused on marijuana planting and cultivation in the mountainous area of the state of Durango.” They quickly began working under Joaquin Guzman, “El Chapo”, and Ismael Zambada, “El Mayo”, of the Sinaloa Cartel.
As their criminal careers developed, their business shifted more towards drug smuggling, specifically of heroin, through Durango and parts of Chihuahua as the drug shipments made their way north to the US.
The Cabrera brothers, however, began to have competition for areas in Durango when another Sinaloa Cartel group called “Los Ms” rose to power.
The Cabrera brothers waged a bloody war against Los Ms, which was led by Mario Nuñez Meza, alias “M10”. The high death toll of this war is likely what drew the attention of federal authorities to the cartel figures in Durango.
In December 2011, El 01 was arrested in Culiacan, Sinaloa, by the Army. His brother, El 02 took over control of the group and continued their drug smuggling operation.
In January 2012, SEDENA Special Forces soldiers began an operation which aimed to arrest El Arqui, one of the lesser known Cabrera brothers, in a remote area of Canatlán, Durango. Their first attempt managed to grab 11 of his hitmen, killing another, however El Arqui and his bodyguards escaped the area during the chaos of battle.
El Arqui fled to a cave nearby and hid out inside it, protected by a number of bodyguards. The soldiers were able to find the cave and they attempted to arrest him a second time but Arqui and four of his hitmen decided to go down fighting. All five were killed in the encounter.
It was shortly after the death of Arqui, that a regional jefe named Gerardo Soberanes Ortiz, alias “El G1”, began to rise within the ranks of los Cabreras.
El G1 had successfully managed the plazas of San Dimas, Pueblo Nuevo and Otaez in Durango for the brothers for the last couple of years, so in mid-2012 they decided to send him to Comarca Lagunera, a region marked in map below.
There he fought to expand Sinaloa Cartel’s territory in Gomez Palacio, Lerdo, Torreón, and places as far as Matamoros.
On February 11, 2013, El 02 was arrested in Culiacan, Sinaloa. El 03 took over leading the group. El 02 was later released from prison under what some might characterize as suspicious circumstances.
El 03 seems to have been unwilling to hand back over the power to his older brother, El 02, because although the brothers are said to lead the group together, many publications allege that El 03 is the real leader of Los Cabreras.
Meanwhile, in June 2020, El 01 was successfully extradited to the US where he currently remains in jail.
Just this week, El 01 pled guilty to heroin trafficking charges in a federal court in Chicago, Illinois.
The Senator, El G1, and The Power Behind the Politicians
In February 2022, the highly-regarded news publication EME-EQUIS reported on documents they received, leaked from an Army intelligence investigation into Durango politicians involved in organized crime.
The investigation in question took place in December 2020 and the documents were leaked to reporters Óscar Balderas, from EME, and Luis Cárdenas, from MVS Noticias.
The intelligence documents allege that a young and aspiring politician named José Enríquez Herrera ran into some trouble early into his career, while he was serving as Secretary of Health for the state.
Well, one of the biggest responsibilities Enríquez Herrera was put in charge of was the construction of 16 new hospitals, however, one important hospital, the Hospital de Especialidades, ran out of money in the middle of construction.
Lucky for Enríquez Herrera, a generous benefactor was able to step in and lend him the money he needed to complete the project. This benefactor was Sinaloa Cartel’s El G1.
G1 would go on to help, according to the documents, finance Enríquez Herrera’s future political campaigns including his run for mayor of Durango City, which he lost in 2013, but later won in 2016.
In July 2016, Mayor Enríquez Herrera summoned a number of politicians and government officials from the PAN, PRI and Movimiento Ciudadano political parties to a “work meeting” at the aforementioned Hospital de Especialidades.
When all the invitees had gathered at the hospital, Mayor Enríquez Herrera introduced them to his “friend”, Gerardo Soberanes Ortiz, alias “El G1”. Many attendees presumed that they were being introduced to “one of the main financiers of his political campaigns.”
After the gracious introduction, El G1 “took the floor and, in a ‘threatening and arrogant’ manner, told those present not to ‘be stupid’ and to remember that the positions they held -in one way or another- had been won thanks to him. So they owed him allegiance.”
Introductions such as these may be quite common, the only difference with this one in particular is that Alma Leticia Reyes Guerra was in attendance.
Mayor Enríquez Herrera had apparently forgotten that Alma Reyes Guerra, the mayor of San Dimas, had just recently watched her father be kidnapped and killed by cartel hitmen in the middle of his mayoral campaign.
In the wake of her father’s death, Alma Reyes Guerra chose to take his place, running for mayor in his stead. She won the election at the young age of just 23, becoming the youngest mayor in the history of the state.
Alma Reyes Guerra chose to report what had happened and who was introduced at Mayor Enríquez Herrera’s meeting to the relevant authorities. Her testimony about the meeting is likely a major reason why the Army chose to investigate Mayor Enríquez Herrera years later, in 2020.
Mayor Enríquez Herrera would go on to run for senator and win the position. He served as a senator for the state of Durango from 2019 to February 2022 and then won re-election and currently serves as one of Durango’s three senators.
A number of other government officials have been investigated for their ties to El G1. For more information, please see the EME-EQUIS article.
Current Figures/Structure of Los Cabreras
El 02 and El 03 are said to be direct reports under El Mayo and his successor, Mayito Flaco.
Under them is said to be three main lieutenants,
Gerardo Soberanes Ortiz, alias “El G1”
Region: Comarca Lagunera
Abelardo Díaz Valdez, aliases “El Avestruz” and “El Ostruz”
Region: Sierra de Durango
Ezequiel Ruacho Valles, alias “El Toluco”
Some financial operators under El 02 & 03 are said to be named:
Candelario Beltrán, aliases “El Grande” and “El Cande”
Region: Sierra de Durango
Edgar Limón Ortiz, alias “El Limones”
Region: Comarca Lagunera
El G1 and El Limones are said to work closely together.
Codigo Rojo Laguna claims that the two men are “responsible for the sale of the drug known as Cristal, the theft of vehicles, the collection of quotas, extortion, Kidnapping of businessmen, money laundering, card cloning, scams to obtain bank credits in the name of third parties and forced disappearance.”
History Sources: Federal Press Release About Arrest of El 01, US Treasury Chart on Cabrera Brothers, The Daily Mail, The Bones of Geronimo , Valley Central, TV Notas, Proceso Digital, BBC, El Siglo de Durango, Reuters