Exclusive: Mexican Narco-Gun Runner Avoided Arrest, Death by Working with Numerous Rival Cartels

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Breitbart Texas / Cartel Chronicles

An alleged Mexican drug lord managed to operate for years by working independently with most major cartels. His downfall was the murder of a politician that sparked a turf war in the southern and eastern parts of the country.

Breitbart Texas obtained a series of intelligence files and law enforcement documents that reveal Itiel “Playa” Palacios Garcia, an alleged drug lord with a large sphere of influence. He maintained informants in top law enforcement agencies and also used ports of entry to move AR-15s and .50 caliber rifles into Mexico. Weapons were sold to highest bidders in Guanajuato and Mexico City. Buyers included the narco-terrorist organization known as Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion.

The 38-year-old Palacios claimed to be a wealthy businessman involved in politics and national security circles. While authorities tie him to CJNG, the intelligence show Palacios working in an independent fashion involving the Beltran Leyva Cartel, Sinaloa Cartel, Gulf Cartel, Zetas, Arellano Felix, and smaller groups in the south. According to authorities, Palacios allegedly negotiated large drug shipments from Central and South America.

In early September, Mexican authorities arrested Palacios in Guanajuato for the criminal investigation 760/7903/2019 over the murder of Congressman Juan Carlos Molina Palacios from Veracruz. At the time of his arrest, Itiel Palacios was riding in an armored SUV with several armed bodyguards. Gunmen previously killed Molina at his ranch in Veracruz in 2019. According to confessions from captured gunmen, Palacios was the mastermind behind the murder. Law enforcement sources also revealed that Palacios is under investigation for the murder of Francisco “El Rey de Huachicol or King of Fuel Theft]” Guizar Pavon, who was related to the murdered congressman.

In 2018, Breitbart Texas reported on an increase in the smuggling of weapons from Texas, through Nuevo Laredo, and eventually to Mexico City. The story followed the arrest of three smugglers by detectives with the Nuevo Leon State Investigations Agency (AEI) who seized seven .50 caliber Barret rifles and drugs in the town of Salinas Victoria. The weapons were hidden in a Hyundai with Michoacán plates PRN-9458 and a tractor-trailer with plates 764-DL-6.

The case revealed the smugglers had paid protection fees to local cartels in central Mexico, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, and Michoacán.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at bdarby@breitbart.com.     

Tony Aranda from Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project contributed to this report

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