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Municipal Police Officer Arrested Was the Leader of 'La Empresa' in Chihuahua City

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“MX” for Borderland Beat

Mauro Mendoza Bailón (“El Mendoza”) is currently facing trial for murder.

Mauro Mendoza Bailon (“El Mendoza”), a municipal police officer in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, was the local leader of a criminal group known as La Empresa.

One of his main duties as gang leader was to maintain control of the crystal meth distribution and sales in Chihuahua. Most of the drug sale spots were located in the southern part of the city. El Mendoza ordered his triggermen to kill rivals who tried to sell drugs in his turf.

According to evidence presented by the State Prosecuto’s Office (FGE), El Mendoza is believed to be behind the kidnapping and murder of Luis Carlos Arroyo Lerma (“El Golo”), an Uber driver who also distributed drugs without his approval. El Golo was kidnapped on 20 July 2020 and found dead hours later.

El Mendoza had several drug dealers and triggermen on his watch. His closest associates were a lady simply known as Blanca O. and a man known as Jorge Alberto M. H. (“El Cabe”). They were responsible for selling methamphetamine in Cerro de la Cruz neighborhood in southern Chihuahua city.

The FGE confirmed that El Mendoza was arrested on 15 April 2021 following an extensive investigation involving a network of corrupt police officers. The investigation shows that more than a dozen officers from different police corporations in Chihuahua city work for La Empresa or other rival gangs, to whom they provide protection, sell drugs for, capture or kill opponents, and collect drug proceeds.

Borderland Beat analysis

La Empresa emerged in June 2018 after gang member Rene Gerardo Garza Santana (“El 300″) had a disconnect with several leaders of La Linea and Los Aztecas, two groups once allied to the old Juarez Cartel. Cartel bosses Eduardo Ravelo (“El Tablas”) and Juan Arturo Padilla Juarez (“El Genio”) considered that El 300 was getting out of line and trying to take over more street drug spots in Ciudad Juarez. When confronted, El 300 and his close associate Luis Gerardo Mendez Estevane (“El Tio”) deserted and formed La Empresa.

René Gerardo Garza Santana (“El 300″) is the founder of La Empresa, one of the deadliest gangs in Chihuahua. His trial for a triple murder is currently underway. 

As violence rose in Ciudad Juarez, law enforcement efforts against La Empresa, La Linea, and Los Aztecas increased. Ravelo was arrested in June, and El Genio was killed two months later. El 300 was arrested in November 2018, but he continued running La Empresa while imprisoned at the Ciudad Juarez federal penitentiary. He then formed an alliance with Los Mexicles, once allied to the Sinaloa Cartel, and gained support of their leaders Jesús Eduardo Soto Rodríguez (“El Lalo”) and Luis Elías Cardoza Santiago.

In Chihuahua city, the cartel dynamics have a slightly different twist. In early 2021, a Ciudad Juarez newspaper reported that much of the violence in this city was driven by a gangland dispute between Gente Nueva on one front and La Empresa and Los Aztecas on the other. Gente Nueva gets support and reinforcements from Parral, a municipality close to the border with the state of Durango. There is also information that Gente Nueva works with a faction known as Los Salguieros. 

La Empresa is currently headed by Omar Alejandro Garza Santana or Omar Alejandro Chávez Santana (‘El Nomo’, The Gnome), and two individuals simply known by their aliases ‘El Saavedra’/'El Menos’ and ‘La Guera’.

Sources: El Heraldo de Chihuahua (1); (2); (3); (4); (5); (6)El PunteroMunicipio de Chihuahua; Borderland Beat archives


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