MCALLEN, Texas — The capture of three top Mexican drug cartel bosses on the U.S. side of the Texas border helps to illustrate the irony of how even narco’s seek refuge from the violence in Mexico.
The recent arrest of Jesus Francisco “Comandante Paquito or Comandante 77” Martinez Ramirez marks the third top ranking leader of the Gulf Cartel to be arrested in Texas since October. A similar exodus of drug lords took place in October 2011 during a period of heavy infighting within the Gulf Cartel when four top commanders fled to Texas illegally to avoid a certain death at the hand of their rivals.
Martinez, who is in the country illegally, remains in federal custody without bond on money laundering charges, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas show.
For his capture agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration got assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Law Enforcement Emergency Regional Response Team (LEERT), which is a regional tactical team made up of various local police departments. For the arrest, LEERT members arrived in armored vehicles as the approached the house and moved in quickly prepared for a fierce fight.
“We prepare for a firefight and expect resistance from this type of high risk fugitives,” said Juan Gonzalez, the Police Chief of San Juan and the Commander of the LEERT. “Our answer is to overwhelm them with force and coordinate the arrest with local state and federal agencies. We cannot give them an opportunity to use their tactics on this side of the border to get a quick reaction force like they do in Mexico which would allow them to get extracted by their group.”
The charges stem from a house in the border city of Mission, Texas that was purchased in cash and placed under the name of another woman in order to hide the fact that Martinez is the house owner. The court documents identify Martinez as a high ranking member in the leadership structure of the Gulf Cartel
Martinez was born and raised in one of the poor neighborhood in Reynosa where he joined the ranks of the Gulf Cartel at a young age and in a matter of years climbed his way to neighborhood commander and then to being in charge of Reynosa for the criminal organization, a Tamaulipas law enforcement official who spoke with Breitbart Texas said.
Martinez’s flight to the U.S. is partly due to a hostile takeover of the area by a group of older Gulf Cartel member who have sided with some of the original Zetas and are looking to regain control of the area in order to keep things quiet, the official said.
“The younger guys had been heating up the plaza,” the official said referring to a term used to describe drawing attention to the organization. “They had been kidnapping, extorting and fighting each other.”
As previously reported by Breitbart Texas, just a week before Martinez was caught Orlando Roberto “Comandante Boris” Rodriguez another Gulf Cartel commander turned himself in to authorities in Rio Grande City. A Texas law enforcement official who spoke with Breitbart Texas said Rodriguez was more than cooperative with authorities as he sought refuge from his rivals in Mexico.
In October, Breitbart Texas broke the story of the arrest of Gulf Cartel boss Juan “Panochitas” Saenz Tamez who was arrested in Edinburg at a house from where Martinez managed to elude capture.
Follow Ildefonso Ortiz on Twitter @ildefonsoortiz