“Morogris” for Borderland Beat

The kidnapping triggered a large operation involving municipal, state, and federal forces (image credit: La Verdad de Juárez)

Members of La Empresa, a gang based in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, abducted three National Guard (GN) members under the mistaken assumption that they were involved in human trafficking.

Investigators say they were likely mistaken for polleros or coyotes, a slang term for human smugglers.

The GN members were released several hours later. However, sources offer conflicting accounts regarding the condition of the GN officers.

Diario de Juárez reported that they were “severely beaten,” yet it did not indicate that any of their injuries were life-threatening. In contrast, an official communication from the GN stated that they were found unharmed.

According to the official report, the incident transpired on Friday afternoon within the Pradera de los Oasis neighborhood. During this time, a group of individuals entered a dwelling where four people, including the officers, were present. The assailants subsequently abducted the three officers, leaving the fourth individual at the scene. This individual alerted the authorities of the kidnapping.

The federal officers who were taken captive are Diego Yael M.E., Fernando G.E., and Alfredo A.H. All three of them are affiliated with the GN’s Anti-Kidnapping Coordination Unit.

During the weekend, investigators discovered an abandoned va in the parking area of a store which they say was used in the kidnapping incident. The vehicle in question is a red Chevrolet Tahoe without license plates. Prosecutor’s experts arrived at the scene to process evidence such as fingerprints and other traces left inside the truck.

So far, no arrests have been made.


La Empresa is one of the largest gangs in Ciudad Juarez. It emerged in June 2018 after Rene Gerardo Garza Santana (alias El 300) had a disconnect with several leaders of La Linea and Los Aztecas, two groups once allied to the old Juarez Cartel.

El 300 was arrested in November 2018, but reportedly continues to run La Empresa’s prison factions. He reportedly formed an alliance with Los Mexicles, once allied to the Sinaloa Cartel, and gained support of their leaders Jesús Eduardo Soto Rodríguez (alias El Lalo) and Luis Elías Cardoza Santiago.

The suspected leader of La Empresa is currently Omar Alejandro Garza Santana or Omar Alejandro Chávez Santana (alias El Nomo), the half brother of El 300.

On May 2023, La Empresa leader Jesús Gabriel Piñón (alias El Marra) was killed with some of his relatives outside a gas station in southern Ciudad Juarez. Investigators said that members of his own cartel carried out the hit, and that El Marra was involved in human smuggling operations.

As of July, Gilberto Loya Chávez, the Secretary of State for Public Security (SSPE), asserted that human trafficking had emerged as the predominant catalyst behind the majority of homicides occurring in Ciudad Juárez.

This signified a departure from prior years when authorities contended that much of the violence stemmed from rival gangs vying for control of street corners to peddle heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

Sources: El Financiero; Diario de Juarez (1); (2); (3); (4); El Heraldo de Juarez (1); (2)Narco Politics by Ioan Grillo

Background sources: Borderland Beat archives; El Tiempo; Diario de Juarez (1); (2)