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Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, El Mas Loco, El Chayo Part 1

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Narazio Moreno Gonzalez, El Mas Loco, El Chayo

Written for Borderland Beat by Otis B Fly-Wheel

Narazario Moreno Gonzalez, they call me El Mas Loco, the craziest one, killed twice, never can a nickname have better described the egotistical head of La Familia Michoacan, self proclaimed Saint of narco’s and venerated by his followers as such, he had a hand in descending Mexico’s narcos into a depraved spiral of violence, achieving new levels of barbarity. This indeed is typical behavoir of many fundamentalist religious figure heads. In this article we look at his upbringing and what lead him to become El Mas Loco, his role in cooperating with and then turning on Los Zetas, and his descent into what appears to be psychosis.

El Chayo, El Mas Loco, + or – half a dozen other aliases, or otherwise just plain old Narazario Moreno Gonzalez was born on the 8th of March 1970 in the rancheria Guanajuatillo near Apatzingan, Michoacan, though the USA Treasury Dept Federal Register Volume 75 states that he may have been born in Ario de Rosales, Michoacan, which happens to have a Rural State Hospital, a state which he would later rule over with complete authority usurping the State Government. Extorting all business owners in the state, and later taxing everything and everyone, including square footage of each house, private parties and anything else he could think of he.

Had his own perverse version of altruistic benevolence while providing clinics for drug addicts and other municipal service schemes, he used the rehabilitation time to brain wash those unlucky enough to become part of the rehabilitation scheme, while force drafting them into La Familia Michoacan ranks as also ran halcones and sicarios. This modus operandi of recruitment was copied by other cartels, and led to several high profile massacres when antagonistic cartels visited these ” recruitment centres” and killed everyone present.

Moreno Gonzalez was a very intelligent guy, his La Familia doctrine which was published and mandatory for all his followers to inwardly digest and was a doctrine based on the philosophical musings of John Eldridge, who wrote ” Wild at Heart” a journey into man’s masculinity within Christian culture.

Humble Beginnings

From the humblest of beginnings, the rancheria where he was born according to a census by the Michoacan state government, had neither gas, electric or running water at the time of his birth, El Mas Loco was born into a family of 13 siblings. His father Manuel Moreno at the time of El Chayo’s birth worked on the rancheria and was known for being a philandering alcoholic, his father later used his family connections to become rooted into the State Governments association with La Familia Michoacan.

His mother was a strict catholic, and while he had to endure beatings from his drunken father, the same as El Chapo and many other narco’s from humble beginnings, his mother was the main influence in his early life and was responsible for his discipline. As his father was a drunk, one can only imagine the hardship his mother had to put up with, running a family of 13 children by herself with many rambunctious boys driving her from pillar to post.

El Chayo showed behavoiral problems from an early age and once his father left the family and left only his mother in charge, began to get into fights with the other children on the rancheria. He seemed to relish the chance to test himself against his peers, trying to develop a reputation. He once got into ten fist fights with other children on a single day. It was then that the other children started calling him El Mas Loco, the craziest one, and the nickname stuck with him his entire life.

When he had time to reflect on his own behavoir, he identified with a comic character from the time called “El Kaliman”, whose special power were telepathy and levitation, El Kalimans could also communicate telepathically with animals, and believing this to be true would late come back to bite the young Chayo on his ass. This time alone reading about El Kaliman was the only time he could leave his own violent reality of a tough life in the fields, and getting bullied by all and sundry. El Kaliman also dressed in all white, something that El Chayo would choose to do later in life, still living out his superhero alter ego to remove himself temporarily from the self imposed hell he was later living.

His behavoir escalated to petty larceny, which would not be uncommon in the poverty stricken valley in the Tierra Caliente in which he lived. His mother became increasing desparate in her attempts to get him to reform and become a good catholic member of the community and not follow his fathers example. Once when she found out that he had stolen an animal from a neighbour, after taking him to return the animal and apologise to the owner, she made him make the return journey on his knees with his arms out in a cross formation. It was several miles home, and this event made El Chayo by his own words ” have a love hate relationship with my mother”. He had stolen the animal convinced that he could communicate telepathically with it like El Kaliman.

Its worth reviewing now that he was having trouble even at this early age in separating reality from his virtual world. We are not talking about an invisible friend that an only child may invent. His hard life, and the strong belief in the supernatural in this area of the Tierra Caliente, may have lead to him spending more and more time, as a self defence mechanism, to retreat to his virtual world, where he was so much more than he was in the real world.

Even though he never attended school during his formative years, he had quite an astonishing memory, remembering times, dates, faces, facts like a computer. He taught himself to read and write through his interaction with his favourite El Kaliman comics, and listening to the radio shows of El Kaliman, and El Ojo de Vidrio radio novella on a neighbours radio.

El Ojo de Vidrio was a Robin Hood type character or one could say a less grande version of Jesus Malverde. The robbing from the rich and giving to the poor was something that he identified with strongly and one could venture this influence during his younger teenage years, while he was forming his adult personality, lead to this hybrid El Kaliman/El Ojo de Vidrio psyche.

Land of the free and the home of the brave

As he became a teenager he moved to Apatzingan, seeking out any work he could get, selling matches, peeling onions and taking out the trash for several vendors. After several years of doing this Moreno Gonzalez decided to head for the “land of the free and the home of the brave” with his brother Canchola, illegally crossing the border. He made his way north to California to Fresno, Palo Alto and San Jose, and while living on the streets, kept his eye out for new opportunities to earn a buck.

In his own words ” I saw people drug trafficking in plain sight, selling weed and that suprised me”. He could see that the purveyors of marijuana were doing so openly and it seemed with pretty much no risk or intervention from law enforcement. This was all the incentive he needed to start his life in drug trafficking.

He started out selling weed in small amounts from local parks, where a constant through put of people would garner no attention. As he made small amounts but was dilligent in his work, he was approached by his local dealer with the offer of more money for protecting drug safe houses. His demeanour of throwing down for any reason led to more confidence and he started climbing the ladder. It soon occurred to him that he could earn much more money by growing the weed himself in the Tierra Caliente, as many were doing, and moving it north to the USA himself.

He set about forming plans and putting them into practise, returning to the “Hot Lands” of Michoacan. He managed to get a work permit that allowed him to transit the border back and forth from Mexico to the USA. He started growing his own weed and having it transported north. Locals at the time noted his womanizing drunkeness, he was definitely following his fathers example at this point, and certainly the modus operandi of many narcos in this respect.

In 1993 when he was 23 his brother who orignally took him to the USA, Canchola, was killed by in an act of treachery and this had a profound effect on him, subsequently 3 more of his brothers were killed adding to the internal rage he had harboured since he was young. The following year proved a watershed in his life when he was attacked during a football match. He was repeatedly kicked and stomped on, on the head suffering severe cranial fracture at the frontal and parietal lobes.

Ioan Grillo in his book Gangster Warlords, has a chapter on Nazario in which he mentions this attack as an important point where he became more violent, but I believe Ioan didnt understand the reason why this attack was so important. He mentions that the psychological trauma is what changed Nazarios behavoir but I believe the real answer is deeper than that and doesnt relate so much to psychological trauma as it does to physical trauma. To substantiate this, his earlier life had been very much one of physical violence, and he had like many who lived this life become enured to psychologial effects as it was an everyday occurence for him.

Nazario had a plate screwed to his skull, to support and allow the fractures to heal. Major physical trauma to the front of the skull normally results in damage to the frontal lobe of the brain which controls emotions among other things.

There have been many medical studies carried out that find that psychopaths have very limited brain function in their frontal lobe compared to normal people. Physical trauma to the frontal lobe can have exactly the same effect.

Focal frontal lobe disorders and violent behavoir

Case studies as far back as 1835 have reported the onset of antisocial personality traits after frontal lobe injury. Such cases typically involve damage to the orbitofrontal cortex, which clinical observation has associated with ” poor impulse control, explosive aggressive outbursts, inappropriate verbal lewdness, jocularity, and lack of interpersonal sensitivity. Such gross dysregulation of affect and behavoir may occur while cognitive, motor and sensory functioning remain relatively intact. Blumer and Benson dubbed this orbitofrontal syndrome “pseudopsychopathy”, based on similarities to psychopathy, a personality type that, as defined by reliable and valid checklist critera, is strongly associated with violence and criminality.

From the date of the head injury forward Nazario in his own autobiography ” They call me the maddest one” states that he began to have violent delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia. All these symptoms are shown by most psychopaths who have developed psychosis. When you couple extreme intelligence with this it can result in an individual that is a severely danger killer in the mould of Ted Bundy among others, who enjoy killing. There are cases to be made for this being typical of other cartel members who often undergo severe initiation beatings including resistance to torture training that will involve being constantly beaten on the head.

Special forces soldiers undergo this same anti torture training, and I expect the GAFE from the Mexican armed forces are the same in this respect. Indeed Zetas recruits specifically mentioned this part of their training, which was brought in by the GAFE deserters who formed the orignal Zetas who became the Cartel del Golfo special forces or armed wing. One could speculate that maybe this training could lead to frontal lobe damage through repeated beatings and could explain the pseudopsychopathy behavoiral traits common to Cartel enforcers and so called Cartel special forces, who seem or are reported to take a peverse enjoyment from torturing and inflicting pain and killing.

To back up this hypothesis, several studies have been carried out on high security repeat violent prisoners in the USA prison system, and over 64% show reduced frontal lobe activity indicating brain damage through trauma, or simply through a lack of supporting structures or congential birth defect.

Moving to Texas and Carlos Rosales Mendoza and the Colima Cartel

After setting up his growing operation in the Hot Lands Nazario moved back north of the border to McAllen Texas. Working under the watchful eye of La Familia Michoacan founder Carlos Rosales Mendoza, Nazario continued to traffic marijuana north of the border. He returned to the USA and set up base in McAllen Texas. At this time, he changed from Catholic to Jehovas Witness.

Carlos Rosales Medoza Founder of La Familia Michoacana

McAllen Texas borders Reynosa Tamaulipas, Nazarios connection with Carlos allowed him to move product through that plaza as Carlos was good friends with and working with Osiel Cardenas Guillen, the leader of the Cartel del Golfo, El Mata Amigos.

Carlos Rosales Mendoza was a bit of an enigma and like the CJNG started LFM as a vigilante element against drug trafficking. He was born in Guerrero. He eventually changed to become a drug trafficker himself, in the same way that CJNG started out as MataZetas.

In 1994 Nazario was starting to come to the attention of the DEA and they went to work on arresting and charging him for drug trafficking. He was arrested and brought before the Texas District Court for drug trafficking, later in 2003 the US Govt indicted him for drug trafficking ” 5 tons or more of Marijuana”, added him to the Kingpin list, which prompted him to flee back to Mexico.

According to the CRS report for Congress in 2006, the fledgling LFM were a small organization working for the Cartel del Golfo and trained by Los Zetas. The fledgling LFM were due to wrest control of synthetic drug production and smuggling from the then dominant in Michoacan, Colima Cartel headed by the Amezcua brothers, Jose, Luis and Adan.

Amezcua Brothers, Colima Cartel

These three brothers were known as ” Los Reyes de Methamphetamines”, importing large amounts of precursor chemicals and were working under the banner of the Federation and were under the private scrutiny of the young and mostly unknown at the time El Mencho.

When the Federation split, the Cartel del Golfo, Los Zetas, LFM, LFM made an all out assault backed up by Los Zetas to depose the brothers and take over the lucrative market for Crystal Meth production and export to the United States of America. When the brothers were arrested by Mexican authorities the Sicarios working for the Colima Cartel went to work for El Mencho and formed the new backbone of his own fledgling MataZetas/CJNG.

Nazarios mental state at this time was deteriorating rapidly. He decided to distill and enforce the essence of the doctrine started by Rosales Mendoza, through the writings of John Eldrige and made it mandatory for all LFM employees to study and live by the philosophical writings and ideas in “Wild at Heart”. Eldrige wrote about mens innate love of weapons, combat and hunting, ” Aggression is part of the masculine design: we are hardwired for it”, “if we believe that man is made in the image of God, then we would do well to remember that the Lord is Warrior”,taken from Exodus 15:3.

Once LFM had control of Michoacan, Rosales, he and El Chango Mendez set about transforming LFM, launching a statewide propaganda campaign designed to win hearts and minds before his master plan came into effect. Their plan was to extort everything and everyone in the entire state, while telling them they were doing it for their own good. They decided they could do without Los Zetas, when they had the infrastructure in place to run the state of Michoacan, and set about declaring war on them, convincing all that they were an invading army from the Gulf, and that they were Michoacans liberators who would use their own divine purpose to clear out these invaders, playing on the deep rooted religious belief of the majority of people from the Tierra Caliente.

If Los Zetas never saw this coming they should have done and taken steps to stop it before the need for reciprocation became evident. LFM launched an offensive against Los Zetas, they had been trained by them, and knew all their operatives, their safe houses and support personnel. Killing with impunity in a grotesque manner while leaving cartulinas which declared the deaths Divine Justice. This was 2006 and in an infamous and grotesque incident they beheaded five supporters of Los Zetas, sent 20 men with the heads to the Sol Y Sombra dancehall, fired above the crowd, told everyone to lay down and threw the heads onto the dance floor. They left a cartulina stating that this was “Divine Justice”. With this split, El Chayo sought out support from the Sinaloa Cartel, flipping and being sensible enough to realise that if the Cartel del Golfo and Los Zetas launched an all out offensive against him that he would need allies as he didnt have the numbers, at that time to repel them.

It was shortly after this incident that Felipe Calderon, who was from Michoacan launched his war against drugs. Starting with Michoacan his own state that was just four hours from the countries capital city.

LFM realised that there were huge profits to be made not only by the manufacture of synthetic drugs like Crystal but also buying cocaine from the Columbians.

As El Chayos plan came into effect, he realised that through extortion of the whole state, and a forced take over of the Iron ore mining in the state he could pay for precursors and cocaine without using any profit from previous drug deals. He moved around Apatzingan carrying a bible everywhere, and dressed in white like his childhood hero El Kaliman, giving sermons which were a mixture of bible quotes, quotes from John Eldrige and his own thoughts.

He spoke to the common people about how he would use his power and money to make their lives better and about the many civic amenity programs he would put in place, and like a politician in the run up to election day, said what the people wanted to hear, that they were not just a resource to be used by the state government, and that they mattered.

People began to speak about him as a prophet, and a protector of the ordinary man. Sheep will always need a shepherd. He ran several news paper advertisements:


“Eradicate from the state of Michoacan kidnapping, extortion in person and by telephone, paid assassinations, express kidnapping, tractor-trailer and auto theft, home robberies done by people like those mentioned, who have made the state of Michoacan an unsafe place. Our sole motive is that we love our state and are no longer willing to see our people’s dignity trampled on.”

To all readers of Borderland Beat you will probably recognise the statement above as being copied and run out as propaganda by every cartel in existence in Mexico, if you replace Michoacan with another state.

Coming Next in Part 2, LFM grow exponentialy, the books El Chayo wrote, his two deaths and the formation of the Knights Templar

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