Narco-ballads shared on social media in recent years praise the exploits and subsequent capture of a violent drug lord responsible for the murder of a respected journalist in Mexico.
Known in the criminal underworld as “El 80,” Carlos Arturo Quintana was leader of “La Linea” — the armed wing of the New Juarez Cartel in Chihuahua. He is currently sitting in a U.S. detention facility awaiting trial on drug trafficking conspiracy charges. Even though Mexican authorities arrested him in 2018, it was not until August 2022 when U.S. authorities were able to extradite. At the time of his arrest, Quintana was listed as one of the FBI’s Most Wanted. Court documents indicate a trial date of October 24, however, the process could be extended. If convicted, he faces 20 years to life in prison.
In Mexico, most drug lords tend to have one or more narco-corridos or ballads praising their exploits, threatening their rivals, or bragging about their luxurious lifestyles. These songs also can provide insights into criminals and their operations.
On platforms like YouTube, two songs focus on Quintana. One can be found on a channel by Aldo Márquez Trejo and is called “El corrido del 80,” which tells of the 2018 arrest.
Another narco corrido called “The capture of 80” on the Compa Gejor channel is apparently related to a failed operation to arrest the criminal in Cuauhtémoc. In the song, Quintana delivers a threat to those who “stirred up the hornet’s nest.”
In addition to the allegations listed by the U.S., in Mexico, Quintana is accused of planning the murder of the journalist Miroslava Breach in March 2017. According to federal authorities, there was already a record of his criminal activities dating back to 2009, when he was identified as the head of “Los Linces.” He led a shootout in which 21 people died in Villa Ahumada in Ciudad Juárez. For the following seven years, he dedicated himself to bribing police officers in the counties of Bachíniva, Buenaventura, Cuauhtémoc, Guerrero, and Namquipa.
A turf war between El 80 and César “El Cabo” Gamboa Sosa brought heat from authorities. The standoff was for control of trafficking routes and drug sales in northwestern Chihuahua. Quintana ordered the final blow on March 20, 2017, when three of his hitmen killed El Cabo.
During his criminal career, El 80 even clashed with his former bosses. According to authorities, El 80 is the mastermind behind the murder of Jesús Luján Weckman, a high-profile businessman in Chihuahua who was Quintana’s boss and the head of La Linea in Jalisco. The death of Lujan allowed Quintana to expand his territory.
Throughout his criminal career, El 80 had the protection of high-ranking municipal police officers, including Héctor Martínez, Jesús Hinojosa Rascón, Pedro José Bencomo Bustillos, and his cousin Elier Daniel Gutiérrez Quintana, deputy director of the Police in the Municipality of Namiquipa. Over time, each of those officers were arrested.
Killing a Journalist
In March 2016, a report published by Miroslava Breach uncovered that her mother-in-law, Silva Mariscal Estrada, was about to be nominated as a candidate for mayor of Bachíniva by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for more than 70 years. The names of other politicians linked to the drug trafficker who he intended to have appointed in top government positions in the northwestern area of Chihuahua were also uncovered and exposed by Breach. Cartel gunmen shot and killed Breach in March 2017. Since the murder, several cartel members and a mayor were jailed for the crime.
Editor’s Note: Breitbart Texas traveled to Mexico City and the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Nuevo León 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 “Dharma Fernández” from Baja California and “C.P. Mireles” from Tamaulipas.
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