Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican States of Tamaulipas and Coahuila to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities. The writers would face certain death at the hands of the various cartels that operate in those areas including the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas if a pseudonym were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by “JA Espinoza” form Matamoros.
MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas– Panic has spread through this border city and as citizens begin to learn about a rash of kidnappings where Mexico’s Gulf Cartel has begun to target innocent people as a way to make quick money. The fears have worsened since some of those victims have not survived the ordeal despite the ransoms having been paid.
Tamaulipas state officials have been silent as the kidnappings continue to grow. While an official number of cases is unknown, sources consulted by Breitbart Texas stated that in recent weeks, the kidnappings have occurred about once every three days. The Matamoros Mayor Leticia Salazar has called for attention to the case and requested the help of the Tamaulipas government
The large scale ransoms and extortion of well known families has spread terror among the citizens not only of this border city but also in Brownsville, Texas, where many American citizens fear for their loved ones in Mexico.
Social media pages have spread disinformation by trying to claim that the kidnappings are tied to a gang of Colombian kidnappers. Sources consulted by Breitbart Texas have revealed that the kidnappings are in fact tied to the current leader of the Ciclones faction of the Gulf Cartel, Odon Azua Cruces, better known as “Gordo Cherry” or Fat Cherry.
As previously reported by Breitbart Texas, Gordo Cherry recently took over the Ciclones faction of the Gulf Cartel which rules the border city of Matamoros. Cherry’s climb to power came after the capture of the long time leader of the faction Angel “Orejon or Ciclon 7” Prado was captured by Mexican authorities in Matamoros.
In the past, before working in Matamoros, Cherry worked for the Gulf Cartel in the Mexican port city of Tampico where he spread fear and chaos as he began a massive wave of kidnappings and extortions targeting innocent civilians.
Breitbart Texas consulted with sources outside of law enforcement with direct knowledge of criminal activity in the area. Those sources have confirmed that Cherry has given explicit orders to the cartel gunmen known as “estacas” to comb the city looking for businessmen and wealthy people to kidnap, rob and extort.
In these last few days, there have been four kidnappings. Even though the large ransom sums have been paid, some of the victims have lost their lives. The cases have gone unreported since many families fear the deep-rooted corruption in Mexico that has allowed cartel members to have eyes and ears in law enforcement agencies at all levels.
One of the most shocking cases deals with the kidnapping of 50-year-old Sonia Gonzalez, a successful business woman with an impeccable track record. She was kidnapped and tortured. The family was asked to pay a large ransom but the money did not guarantee her safety as the Pena Gonzalez family continues to mourn their loved one.
Two other families who have asked to remain unnamed are in a similar situation as they await for the return of their loved ones — law abiding businessmen also kidnapped by cartel gunmen.
The most recent kidnapping deals with the wife and daughter of union leader Juan Villafuerte Morales. Villafuerte is the current leader of a powerful union of manufacturing plant workers in this city. Cartel gunmen kidnapped the man’s family out of their house in the Villa del Parque neighborhood on the city’s east side.
According to information provided to Breitbart Texas by individuals close to the family the kidnappers broke into their house on Wednesday shortly after 7 a.m. They took the woman and her daughter. In this particular case, authorities responded by deploying a massive search and rescue operation that included helicopters and military troops on the ground. The effort appears to have failed. By noon, Villafuerte had received a large ransom demand from the kidnappers. About 12 hours after the kidnapping, both the woman and her child were released and the family went into hiding on the U.S. side of the border in Brownsville.