Friday 8 February 2013

Jalisco state police arrest four “Los Coroneles” gang members in Tequila - including a police officer

Tequila - normally a quiet town
Jalisco state police have arrested four members of the “Los Coroneles” (The Colonels) gang in Tequila – including a local police officer.

The State Public Safety Commission (La Comisaría de Seguridad Pública del Estado) said that the arrests were made just outside of town on the main Guadalajara -Tequila highway.

Officials reported that the active member of the Tequila police force (Dirección de Seguridad Pública de Tequila) was a woman named Esmeralda Alejandra Ávila Arreguin, 20. The other three arrested were men between the ages of 18-20. All were residents of Tequila.

The four were detained in two vehicles as part of a sting operation. Upon arrest the men were allegedly in possession 50 plastic wrappers containing crystal meth, with the female police officer holding 70 grams of marijuana.

Beside the drugs, officials said that the two vehicles – a Nissan Tsuru and a VW Jetta – had been reported stolen the same day.

During interrogation the four allegedly said that they worked as drug dealers for a man named "El Che", who is in charge of drug distribution for the “El Corona” (The Crown) organization in Tequila. Apparently it was also "El Che" who gave them the Jetta to help with business.

It appears that the police officer Ávila Arreguin’s primary job was to act as a lookout to warn when state police were in town. She was to warn "El Che" as well as Francisco Javier Camarena Camacho, known as "El Búho" (The Owl). The other three arrested also sometimes worked as lookouts, for which they were allegedly paid 1,800 pesos (US$150) a week.

Camarena Camacho was a hit-man for "La Corona" who was arrested on January 29 along with seven additional gang members. This was in response to, and directly after, the murders of the police chief in Hostotipaquillo, his bodyguard and a police officer.

“Los Coroneles” have been hit hard recently.  Additional to the January 29 arrests, on February 5 five arrests were made on the Tequila-Magdalena highway, among them Jaime Hermosillo Castañeda, 26, known as "El Chupón" (The Pacifier), considered the second in command.

For analysis on the evolving structure of criminal organizations in the Jalisco/Michoacán area, see The Crown gang reshapes criminal alliances in Jalisco and Michoacán.

Below is a video with local news coverage of the Hostotipaquillo assassination -

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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