There has been a lot of talk of Choix and Northern Sinaloa lately. Currently the area is at the center of the cartel wars. With gun battles raging, mass exodus of civilians from their homes, the area harkens back to towns such as Meir or Saric. Ghost towns, whose residents had to flee for fear of death; those who haven’t left yet stay inside, only venturing out if necessity. Abandoned homes dot the landscape, homes which had been passed down generation after generation, inhabited now only by ghost of the past. Gunmen roam the hills, these men bring the devil with them. Those who have left, leave behind their culture, their history, their lives, everything they knew. America doesn't like these stories, it shocks most who become aware. As this nightmare continues the people of the Sierras can only watch as the outlaws battle it out, with federal forces in the middle.
The man thought to be at the center of it all, is Chapo Isidro, he has been a character of interest for some time now. Many wish to know how one man has been able to bring so much hell upon the Sinaloan Cartel. The answer is not as simple as one would think, its a complex tapestry of what remains of the Beltran-Levya Organization. Many of the leaders of los mazatlecos have been killed or arrested recently. It is not yet clear how the group may recover from these loses but because they work closely with los zetas, it is difficult to discount this group. So the question is who are the Mazatlecos?
Los mazatlecos are one of the largest groups working under the Beltran-Levya umbrella. Los mazatleco’s took their name from their place of origin, Mazatlan, located on the southern coast of Sinaloa. The city has long been prized by traffickers for its geographic location and its thriving port. Mazatlan is one of busiest ports in Mexico. Los Mazatlecos were at the direct service of El Mochomo before his arrest in 2008. Since his arrest it is believed their loyalties have shifted to that of Hector Beltran-Levya. The groups influence stretches from Sinaloa to the state of Nayarit and could be considered the largest and strongest cell operating under the Beltran Levyas as well as one of its last.
The mazatlecos leaderships came to light after the arrest of one of its patriarchs Geovany Lizarraga Ontiveros, who was arrested in Los Mochis in May of 2011. The group attempted a daring rescue but failed and were repelled by elements of the military.
Marcos Lizarraga Ontiveros the brother of Geovany was also arrested in May. Geovany Lizarraga Ontiveros was thought to have given him control over distribution for the entire state of Sinaloa for the Beltran-Levya Organization. He was taken to Mexico City to be tried for connection to organized crime and distribution of drugs.
Since this time much has happened to the group and its ability to operate. Fighting has been long standing since since 2008 when the federation split. Recently though, violence has become a full fledged battle for control of the lucrative drug producing area known as “The Golden Triangle.”
Gonzalez Penuelas Jesus or “El Chuy” Gonzalez is thought to have taken part in the fighting that has been raging in Northern Sinaloa. There was a rumor that he may have been killed in the fighting but there has been no official confirmation to substantiate this claim. It is thought he took over the Batamote plaza after the arrest of Jose Luis Lizarraga Ontiveros Juan Manuel. He is said to control distribution in the area of Batamote, working very closely with Chapo Isidro. He was there with Chapo Isidro at the shoot out at Saric with El Gilo and his men. El Chuy and El Nacho Gonzalez were feared through out the area for for killing and torturing many Sinaloan gunmen by their own hands.
Patron Sanchez Juan Francisco or “El H2” controlled a cell of Los Mazatlecos in the state Nayarit. Juan Francisco is one of the most feared and respected lieutenants working under Chapo Isidro. He was revered by those who knew him, he earned the respect of Hector Beltran-Levya quickly. He was most infamous for his attack against a group of gunmen at the disposal of the Sinaloa Cartel. The attack which was a cleverly executed ambush which destroyed a convoy of well armed, Sinaloan gunmen, leaving some 25 dead Sinaloans dead. He lost four men, the message was clear, El H2 was a man who knew what he was doing. The operation was a humiliating defeat for Chapo Guzman and Mayo Zambada and displayed los mazatlecos as fearless and ruthless as ever, some of the most feared sicarios in Mexico.
He was thought to have died in a gun battle off federal highway 15, near Tepic, a city he had waged a war to obtain, against Roger Armando Lopez Magellan throughout 2010 and 2011. While rumors persist, it is likely he is still very much alive since there has been no official confirmation of his death. If he did in fact die his brother was thought to have been the one next in line to replace him. His brother Jesus Ricardo Sanchez was arrested in the city of Tepic on July 24, 2012.
Carlos Fernando Romero Bakir was the head of Isidro sicarios until his arrest in July 2011. He is one of the few of this group to post numerous photos of himself on the internet. He was a trained killer responsible for the deaths of numerous law enforcement officials and rivals. He is also held responsible for the deaths of two innocent girls from Los Mochis. He was arrested in 2009 on weapons charges but was strangely released from prison in 2010. He was rearrested in July 2011.
Pachero Samaniego Jesús Miguel “El Pecas” also a top leader of a cell out of the city of Los Mochis was arrested in Ahome. Many in town feared retaliation from the group since it has garnered the reputation for brazen rescue attempts and mayhem. He was arrested on weapons charges and then was sent to Mexico City to await further charges related to drug taffiking and sales in collusion with los mazatlecos. He was the most sought after of the group immediately after the arrest of his boss Geovany Lizarraga Ontiveros, at least according to the authorities.
Samuel Lizarraga Ontiveros ''El Tortillero'' is considered the groups leader along with Chapo Isidro. He controls much of Mazatlan and is the patriarch of the clan since Geovany Lizarraga Ontiveros arrest. He is thought to hold significant power over both local and state officials in the coastal city.
Avalos Sanchez Jose Saba El Guero-Saba Works directly under Samuel Lizarraga Ontiveros ''El Tortillero'' in Mazatlan. He is considered the top enforcer for El Tortillero.
While the group has sustained many casualties in the current struggle for northern Sinaloa, one can not discount them. They are fearless, they are rough and even upon capture the chance for a violent backlash is great. Los mazatlecos have defied those who discounted them and have lifted the Beltran-Levya Organization from the ashes. Without the backing of los mazatlecos, Hector Beltran-Levya would have most likely lost his war with la Barbie. With los mazatlecos in Sinaloa and Nayarit, and what remains of los gilos in Sonora, los zetas have gained a foothold in their enemy’s home turf. While los zetas are being bombarded by federal and military forces, Chapo’s biggest fear may not be the government but the remnants of the once thought to be washed up Beltran-Leyvas.