“MX” for Borderland Beat; TY to “Anonymous”
Luis Alberto Blanco Flores, alias “El Pelochas”, “M-28″, and/or “Metro 28″, one of the highest-ranking Gulf Cartel members in recent years, was sentenced to 11 and a half years in prison for aggravated extorsion and organized crime involvement, the Tamaulipas Prosecutor’s Office confirmed.
In addition to his sentence, judicial authorities ordered him to pay a MXN$41,745 fine and MXN$115,300 in reparations.
“El Pelochas” belonged to Los Metros, a faction of the Gulf Cartel with presence in Rio Bravo, Reynosa, and La Frontera Chica border areas. Through deaths and betrayals he was promoted and became second in command in the criminal structure.
He had the task of defending the plazas against Los Ciclones, another Gulf Cartel faction based in Matamoros, and against the remnants of the old Zetas group.
He was captured in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, on August 2018. At the time of his arrest, “El Pelochas” was one of Mexico’s most-wanted men and there was a 2 million peso (USD 104,806) bounty for his capture.
“El Pelochas” began his criminal career with the Gulf Cartel as an halcon [lookout] and went on to become an assassin. He was assigned Rio Bravo municipality.
He was arrested on July 23, 2010 in Brownsville, Texas, for illegal entry to the United States. A month later, on August 6, he appeared before the federal court, with Rick Canales as lawyer.
At the hearing, which was attended by his mother and wife, “El Pelochas” could not contain his tears in front of Judge Ronald Morgan. On September 22, he pleaded guilty to illegally entering the United States. He regained his freedom at the end of the year by paying bail of more than US$25,000 and returned to Tamaulipas.
He remained inside the Gulf Cartel and returned to the United States where he was once again arrested.
On June 5 of the following year, El Pelochas was deported at 1:15 p.m. after an international flight from the city of Atlanta, Georgia, to Mexico City. Authorities detained him since he had an arrest warrant issued by the First District Court in the state of Tamaulipas for drug trafficking.
In Tamaulipas they could not prove his drug trafficking charges, so he regained his freedom.
Once in Mexico, he joined Juan Carrizales, alias “El 98″, who worked under Juan Manuel Loza Salinas, alias “El Comandante Toro”, leader of Los Metros faction.
|El Pelochas taken into custody during his 2018 arrest in Monterrey
|El Pelochas was taken to prison in a helicopter
Gulf Cartel infighting
In Tamaulipas a power war was unleashed inside Los Metros in the late 2010s, between Humberto or Steven Loza Méndez, alias “Betito”, nephew of “El Comandante Toro” and Jesus Garcia “El Güero Jessi”.
Petronilo Moreno Flores “Comandante Panilo” and “El Pelochas” supported “El Betillo”.
“El Güero Jessi” was an operator who had all the confidence of “El Comandante Toro”, since he was entrusted with the Reynosa plaza while he took refuge in Nuevo León. While he was in Nuevo León, he took refuge in one of the houses of “El Commander Panilo.”
In May “Comandante Panilo” also sought leadership in the Gulf Cartel and marked his distance from “El Betillo”, the latter was left with only the support of “El Pelochas”.
“El Betillo” and “El Pelochas” agreed to remove “El Güero Jessi” and “El Comandante Panilo” from the road to assume the leadership of Los Metros.
In June 19, 2017, “El Pelochas” allegedly abducted and executed “El Güero Jessi”.
Inside Los Metros circulated the version that “Comandante Panilo” had stolen money from the wife of “El Comandante Toro”.
“Comandante Panilo” retreated and organized his men to face “El Betillo” in Reynosa and “El Pelochas” in Rio Bravo.
On August 22, 2017, elements of the Mexican Army intercepted a commando of hitmen from Los Metros who transported stolen fuel in Valle Hermoso and Río Bravo, which was headed by “El Pelochas”, who managed to escape.
“El Comandante Panilo” was set up and killed. Los Metros called for a meeting and when Panilo arrived he was executed.
“El Betillo” was killed in January 2018, and both “Comandante Panilo” and “Pelochas” were eventually arrested the same year.
Sources: Reforma (paywall); Borderland Beat archives
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