“HEARST” for Borderland Beat
Two Mexican Marines went missing in March 2022 after they acted as personal security for a Mexican senator during a private dinner hosted at a restaurant in Mexico City.
Now, leaked messages (published by El Universal yesterday) which are alleged to be from the US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, revealed what DEA intelligence has gathered about the guests at this private dinner, which apparently included a second senator and a Cartel del Noroeste financial boss who had been wiring him million dollar bribes for months.
And then, the revelation that the last person seen with the Marines on the night of their disappearance was this same CDN boss. Now the accused senators claim the leaks are fakes and also accuse the US of interventionism with Mexican politics, saying the US to violating Mexico’s sovereignty.
February 26, 2022
The Vice President of the Mexican Senate, a senator from the state of Zacatecas named José Narro Céspedes, traveled to the city of Acapulco, Guerrero, to host a political conference called “National Meeting of the Municipalist Fraternity of Mexico”.
The conference involved a series of closed door meetings to “discuss important challenges to achieve the so-called Fourth Transformation of Mexico, such as the electrical reform and the National Guard.” He was photographed, in images like the one seen above, meeting with the mayor of Acapulco, Abelina López Rodríguez.
March 2, 2022
A letter, alleged to be from Senator José Narro Céspedes, is sent to the mayor of Acapulco, Abelina López Rodríguez. The letter requests some bodyguards be assigned to protect him.
An excerpt of it reads as follows:
“On the occasion of the celebration of the event called ‘Revocation of Mandate’, to be held in Mexico City, I request you, if there is no inconvenience, to assign me public security personnel under your charge, in civilian clothes and with organic weapons, to act as escorts for my personal protection, from the 3rd to the 6th of the current month and year. With no other particulars and hoping to count on your valuable support, I send you my best regards”
Senator José Narro Céspedes would later deny that he made this request. In his denials he has been careful not to state that the signature at the bottom of the letter was forged, rather – he simply denies that he made this request. Publications like Milenio and EMEEQUIS.
Later on, on May 30, 2022, Narró admitted in an interview with an investigator that he did make this request for bodyguards “in writing dated March 2, 2022, sent electronically,” according to El Universal.
March 3, 2022 – 10:00 pm
Acapulco’s head of Public Security, Lt. Serrano Perez received a call from mayor Abelina López Rodríguez. In this call she requests that he assign a few personnel to act as bodyguards to Senator José Narro Céspedes.
Lt. Serrano Perez would later state that he was not in Acapulco when he received this call from the mayor – he was actually in Mexico City too, for an unrelated business trip.
Lt. Serrano Perez was accompanied by his driver and two bodyguards, whose names were Óscar Manuel González Andrade and Victoriano Rodriguez Zurita.
Óscar Manuel González Andrade was an active-duty Marine. A number of documents establish that Óscar Manuel González Andrade was assigned to work as Lt. Serrano Perez’s bodyguard. Documents also corroborate that Victoriano Rodriguez Zurita, a non-active duty former Marine, was assigned to work as Lt. Serrano Perez’s bodyguard.
Lt. Serrano Perez agrees to her request and two official documents (SSP/02363/2022 and SSP/02367/2022) are filled out and submitted in which he assigns his own two bodyguards to protect Senator Narro Céspedes from the dates of March 3 until March 6, 2022.
March 6, 2022
According to Lt. Serrano Perez’s statements, Senator Narro Céspedes gives the two bodyguards access to an 2018 Audi Q7 SUV, which has a Morelos license plate bearing the number PZK-885-C. Senator Narro Céspedes denies he gave them access to said vehicle.
Later that night, Senator Narro Céspedes posted a photo to his twitter account. This tweet has since been deleted but has been referred to by a number of reputable news outlets. This picture allegedly depicted a dinner meeting he was having at the restaurant Cambalache Oasis, which is located in the Coyoacán neighborhood of Mexico City.
The photo allegedly appears to show that CDN figure El Gerry and Senator Américo Villarreal Anaya, from the state of Tamaulipas, were dining with Senator Narro Céspedes. When it later emerged that El Gerry was more than just a wealthy campaign donor from Guerrero, Senator Villarreal Anaya stated that he did not know all of the men. He stated “they arrived and asked for a photo after greeting Senator Narro”.
According to Senator Narro Céspedes’ statements, the two bodyguards, accompanied by a third person whose identity is redacted, entered the restaurant in order to act as security within the space; however he dismissed them for the night, saying he didn’t need them to act as security for him anymore.
At 8:00 pm that night, the two bodyguards reported “no news” during a check in with their boss, Lt. Serrano Perez, according to EME.
According to later statements made by Lt. Serrano Perez, the last known location of the Marines, according to cell phone tower pings, was on Laguna de Zempoala Road, where they were presumably driving the aforementioned Audi SUV.
The newspaper EJE Central alleges that the Marines in the SUV “were intercepted by a commando at the height of Tres Marías”, on the Mexico – Cuernavaca highway.
March 7, 2022
Lt. Serrano Perez officially reports to higher ups that the two bodyguards, accompanied by the aforementioned redacted third person, were now missing.
Mexico City’s Attorney General’s Office created a missing persons report for El Gerry, stating his last known location was on Alba Street in Coyoacán, Mexico City.
During the afternoon, Lt. Serrano Perez manages to establish contact with Senator Narro Céspedes. He asks the Senator about the whereabouts of the missing Marines. The Senator responded that the last time he saw them he told them “they should rest” and travel back to Acapulco the next day. (Source)
March 11, 2022
Lt. Serrano Perez sends a letter to the Naval Base Command stating his version of events, such as when the Marines were assigned to the Senator. (Source)
March 14, 2022
The US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, sends a confidential message to the US DEA, the Treasury Department, the Justice Department and Homeland Security (among others) in a document called MX TOPKK 389 ID AI P60. (Source)
March 30, 2022
Ken Salazar sends a second message to the same group, as a follow up. Both of these letters were notifying the agencies of a possible explanation for the disappearance of the Marines based on information from DEA sources. For the sake of clarity, we’ll not dive into what these two letters said yet, but we’ll return to them later in this story. (Source)
May 11, 2022
Investigators from the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) formally request that Senator Narro Céspedes speak to them to give details about his version of events.
May 16, 2022
Senator Narro Céspedes sends a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of the Navy, and President Lopez Obrador’s Chief of Staff to inform them that he would be speaking to SEMAR. Note: Not the FGR, but SEMAR.
“I allowed myself to comment that at no time have I had, nor do I have, in my charge personnel from the Mexican Navy who were assigned to me by the Head of Public Security of Acapulco, Guerrero, to act as bodyguards to protect my safety.”
May 30, 2022
Senator Narro Céspedes responded to the investigators’ questions. His responses appear to contradict themselves or, at the very least, lean heavily into wording technicalities.
When he was asked to name all the security personnel who had ever served as bodyguards, the Senator did not include the names of the two Marines.
When he was asked if he had any personnel assigned to act as his security during any point between March 1 and March 7, 2022, the senator responded: “I did not have any type of personnel or bodyguard commissioned to my service.”
But then later, he stated that he wrote a request to the mayor of Acapulco for bodyguards, “for my personal protection, in the period from March 3 to 6″. (Source)
July 02, 2022
During a day of public activities in Acapulco, the mayor was asked about the two missing Marines.
Mayor Abelina López Rodríguez said “Everything I did was within the law, which is to say that I did not send any Marines, that I did not sign anything – that I do not know anything. That is all I can tell you.”
She continued and said “I don’t want to talk about anything else in regards to the investigation, all I can tell you is that I did not authorize anything”.
This directly contradicts the two documents submitted by Lt. Serrano Perez which stated outright that he was assigning his bodyguards to protect the Senator because he received a call from the mayor on March 3, 2021, at 10:00 pm. (Source)
July 23, 2022
It became public that a week earlier Lt. Serrano Perez submitted his resignation as head of Public Security of Acapulco. At the time the newspaper El Sol, wrote that “At the moment, the reasons why Maximiliano Serrano Pérez left office are unknown, however it transpires that the case of the disappearance of two sailors who were made available to the senator by Morena, José Narro, may be one of the causes , in addition to the violence that continues in the port.”
July 25, 2022
Abelina López Rodríguez, the mayor of Acapulco, states that Lt. Serrano Perez resigned from his position only because he was being promoted by the Marines to an important position so he could no longer fulfill his duties. The news site Bajo Palabra ran the headline “Maximiliano Serrano leaves the SSP of Acapulco without explanation, mayor invents a story” (Source, Source, Source)
July 27, 2022
Senator Narro Céspedes posted on twitter the following:
“My respect and solidarity with the families of the Marines.
They were never in my charge. Anybody that knows me, knows that I never travel around with bodyguards.
My responsibility is to explain the facts before the Attorney General’s Office and I did just that.”
August 4, 2022
A federal hearing was held in which Senator Narro Céspedes was questioned by a panel made up of Mexico City prosecutors, federal prosecutors and SEMAR authorities.
After leaving the hearing, the Senator spoke to reporters, commenting that
“The Marines were never in my charge. If you check If you check my agenda, which is generally public, I never attended an event, as they say I was going to do, called Revocation of Mandate.
Those marines were never working under me. They never arrived. I briefly saw them there, but I never requested they be there. They arrived accompanied by another person.”
August 22, 2022
Senator Narro Céspedes tells reporters that he has formally filed two complaints about the intelligence leaks which revealed aspects like the documents filed by Seranno Perez and the alleged electronic communication which documented Narro Céspedes asking the mayor for bodyguards.
He also restated that:
“We never requested the Marines – the Marines were never under our responsibility and the vehicle they were seen in [...] is a vehicle that we never had knowledge of, nor is it our property, nor do we have anything to do with it”.
September 19, 2022
El Universal writer Hector Mauleon published an article covering the disappearance of the Marines. In his article he reveals the identity of one of the men at the dinner party to be Gerardo Teodoro Vázquez Barrera, alias El Gerry, a fact not previously made public.
Hector Mauleon also published a document which is alleged to be the messages that US Ambassador Ken Salazar sent on March 14 and March 30.
The alleged messages share what DEA intelligence discovered about El Gerry and Américo Villarreal Anaya, the Tamaulipas senator (now governor elect) from the dinner meeting: that El Gerry had wired approximately $7 million dollars into a bank account belonging to the senator’s son, Humberto Villarreal Santiago between the months of September 2021 and January 2022.
Following the story running in various press outlets on September 19, Narro took to twitter to clear his name. He has tweeted and retweeted several times denying the allegations, and accusing journalist Hector Mauleón of falsifying the documents in conspiracy with Tamaulipas governor Cabeza de Vaca.
At at 3:56 PM on September 19, 2022, Narro tweeted a photo of him in an unrelated meeting with Ken Salazar from earlier that day with the caption:
“The right wing has endless imagination to lie against the #4T, even creating confidential ‘cables’ which of course, are FALSE. We met with the US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, and confirmed the falsity of these leaks. We will take action.”
Later at 7:09 PM he tweeted:
“The conservative right of our country likes to invent novels about transnational drug traffickers. We invite those conservatives to closely follow the trial of García Luna in New York, the true capo at the head of our country’s security in the time of Felipe Calderón.”
September 20, 2022
At 11:14 PM, he tweeted: “The lies of Cabeza de Vaca and Mauleón fall to pieces. They are desperate because their corruption in Tamaulipas is up and they know that justice is coming for them. We repeat: lies do not happen here. I share a video from @NachoRgz” He then linked to this video
At 11:14 PM, he tweeted:
“The lies of Cabeza de Vaca and Mauleón fall to pieces. They are desperate because their corruption in Tamaulipas is up and they know that justice is coming for them. We repeat: lies do not happen here. I share a video from @NachoRgz”
He then linked to this video
At 11:38 AM on September 20, 2022 he tweeted:
“Mauleón, we understand that you’re upset. We didn’t expect anything less, your soap opera lows have been revealed. The days of the 4th Transformation are transparent: headlines, lies, slander. Goodbye to the eye-catching headlines, welcome free press.”
Senator Narro then held a press conference in which he said that “As fundamental proof, they present the evidence of US agencies. And now, through the interventionism of the U.S. or of these bodies, they want to do justice in the country, violating a little bit the national sovereignty.” (Source)
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