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Investigators Say 'El Chueco' Was Responsible for the 2019 Disappearance of Zacatecas Merchants

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“Morogris” for Borderland Beat

According to Chihuahua Attorney General César Jáuregui, the Zacatecas merchants who went missing on 2019 were murdered by José Noriel Portillo Gil, also known as “El Chueco.” This conclusion comes after the discovery of their skeletal remains last week.

Jauregui reported that the remains are currently in the processing stage to confirm the identity. However, all indications strongly suggest that they belong to Juan Antonio Martínez Parra, Rubén Flores Cisneros, and Javier Muñoz Pérez. They went missing on October 31, 2019.

El Chueco was a notorious criminal leader who operated in the Urique area in Chihuahua state.The Sinaloa Cartel (CDS) – Chapitos affiliated member became one of the most sought-after criminals in Mexico after he killed two Jesuit priests in Urique in 20 June 2022.

Additionally, he was reportedly involved in the death of American teacher Patrick Andrew Braxton.

El Chueco was killed last March on a road leading to the municipality of Choix, Sinaloa.

The kidnapping
Javier Muñoz Pérez (aged 29), Juan Antonio Martínez Parra (aged 19), and Rubén Flores Cisneros (aged 17), from the municipality of Tepechitlán, Zacatecas, went missing on October 31, 2019, in the town of San Rafael, located in the municipality of Urique.

The three young Zacatecans were involved in the trade of blankets and textiles. They had been selling these products, especially in the mountainous area, for two years prior to their disappearance.

Following the disappearance, the families of the three young individuals filed a complaint with the Zacatecas Attorney General’s Office on November 9, 2019. Five days later, they reaffirmed the complaint before the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office.

According to the disappearance report, the merchants left their hometown of Tepechitlan on October 17, traveling in a 1991 Toyota pickup truck. The truck was green and had Zacatecas license plates. They arrived in Chihuahua on October 18. The last sighting of them was in the town of San Rafael on the last day of the month.

The relatives of the merchants sought assistance from “Justicia para Nuestras Hijas,” an organization that supports cases of missing persons, to help with the investigation of the three disappeared young people.

In collaboration with the Chihuahua State Search Commission and the Western Zone Prosecutor’s Office, search operations were initiated in Bahuichivo and later extended to San Rafael, both located in the municipality of Urique.

Additionally, a search was underway in a mine located in the municipality of Guazapares. The family received messages indicating that the merchants might have been taken against their will to work on a ranch in Monterde, an area that has experienced displacements due to cartel violence. Furthermore, search efforts were also conducted in the Bocoyna area.

During the period from September 2021 to February 2023, over a thousand people disappeared in the state of Chihuahua. None of them have been located. According to data from the State Attorney General’s Office, out of this total, 998 cases involve men and 202 cases involve women.

Look Back on Any El Chueco Stories You May Have Missed

(Articles written by “HEARST”)

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