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Former MLB player with family ties to the old Gulf Cartel wants to be mayor in Tamaulipas

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Pictured above is old-school Gulf Cartel financial operator Carlos Resendez Bertolucci (sometimes spelled Bortolousi). This is the first picture of Resendez on the web. The picture was retrieved by Borderland Beat from print archives in Nuevo Leon.

Ismael ‘Rocket’ Valdez Alvarez, a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player, just announced that he will run for mayor of Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, under the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA). ‘Rocket’ Valdez was born in Ciudad Victoria and grew up playing in the local minor leagues before he made it into the Dodgers as a pitcher. He played in the MLB from 1999 to 2005.

‘Rocket’ Valdez is married to Karina Resendez, nephew of Carlos Resendez Bertolucci, former “financial brain” of Gulf Cartel during the era of Juan Garcia Abrego (19841996). Resendez managed millions of dollars for the Gulf Cartel and was responsible for paying corrupt Mexican officials on the cartel’s payroll.

The former baseball player owns one of the biggest gyms in Ciudad Victoria, in addition to having investments in real estate, construction, and horse-breeding.

In addition to ‘Rocket Valdez’, Luis Torre Aliyan, relative of former Tamaulipas Governor Egidio Torre Cantu, is running in the in the same party. Other candidates have also entered the race: Eduardo Gattas, who participated in the 2018 mayoral elections, and Enrique Yanez Reyes, who owns a tortilla business in Tamaulipas.

‘Rocket’ Valdez got involved with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) after he left the MLB. However, he retired from politics for several years.


Juan Garcia Abrego became the leader of the Gulf Cartel in 1984 following the murder of rising capo Casimiro Espinosa Campos (“El Cacho”). Garcia Abrego was the nephew of the smuggler and local political kingpin Juan N. Guerra, widely regarded as the founder of the early Gulf Cartel.

Resendez was Garcia Abrego’s top financial operator. In 1994, Resendez Bertolucci was arrested and charged with drug trafficking and money laundering. However, in a little less than a year, he was released due to lack of evidence. Garcia Abrego’s triggermen tried to kill him on three occasions.

Resendez asked the Mexican government for protection but was unsuccessful. To safeguard his life, he left Mexico and was welcomed as a protected witness under the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Resendez revealed everything he knew about García Abrego and his criminal enterprise. His testimonies, alongside with those of former Gulf Cartel money launderer Oscar Lopez Olivares (“El Profe“), were crucial for the investigation that led to Garcia Abrego’s arrest in 1996.

It is unknown if Resendez was able to stay in the U.S. for the remainder of his life. El Profe, who also testified against Garcia Abrego, returned to Mexico in the late 1990s after he was not granted permanent residency. Borderland Beat spoke to El Profe’s family last year and received information that he passed away in 2014 from natural causes.

Sources: La Jornada; Silla Rota; El Norte print archives


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