A California cartel sicario murdered dozens of people, and a new book says he almost got away with it

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat   TY Gus Source

Note: I recall this case.  The self-identified  hitman for Sinaloa added that he cleaned society of scum as well.  Like child abusers.  He is one of those characters that fuel nightmares more than the I.D. channel or Borderland Beat.  For me anyway. Chivis
Jose Manuel Martínez was born and
raised in California and blended in easily among the farm laborers of
California’s San Joaquin Valley where he lived a modest and unassuming life.
But in stark contrast to the adoring and dedicated family man he appeared to
be, there was an evil flipside that allowed him to pursue a frightening line of
work as a hitman and enforcer for a Mexican drug cartel—a
wicked profession that he carried out with such precision and technique that he
went undetected for decades and claimed the lives of dozens of victims.
Martinez tracked one victim to
one of the wealthiest corners of America, a horse ranch in Santa Barbara, and
shot him dead, setting off a decades-long manhunt. He shot another man, a farmer
right in front of his young wife as they drove to work in the fields. The widow
would wait decades for justice. Those were murders for hire. Others he killed
for vengeance.
“The Devil’s Harvest” by Jessica
Garrison is a captivating true crime story of unbelievable terror that
shockingly spanned nearly four decades in California’s central coast and
valley. Garrison is an investigative editor for Buzzfeed News and spent more
than a decade as a reporter at the Los Angeles Times. This is her debut nonfiction
Garrison asked Martinez why he
had murdered so many people and how he had gotten away with it for so long? How
he could “kill without remorse” and sometimes “even relish” it, while at the
same time be so kind and generous with his own family. Martinez “paused for a
moment, and then he laughed ruefully. It’s a long story.”
In June 2013, Martinez was
arrested for the murder of Jose Ruiz and eventually confessed to killing three
dozen people in a murderous crime spree that crisscrossed numerous states
between 1980 and 2011. In California, he pleaded guilty to nine counts of
murder and was sentenced to life in prison and received similar sentences in
other states. Most of his crimes were related for Mexican drug cartels, but he
also killed out of revenge and pure anger. He claimed that all of his victims
deserved to die because many of them had abused women or children.
So how did Jose Martinez manage
to evade law enforcement for so long? According to Garrison, he was a sly,
savvy character who knew how to circumvent a systemically prejudiced and often
narrow-minded criminal justice system: If you killed the right people, people
who were poor, non-white, and who didn’t have anyone to speak up for them, you
could literally get away with murder. Well, almost get away with murder.
“The Devil’s Harvest” is a
must-read for any true-crime aficionado and is a story that desperately needed
to be told. It is well-researched and detailed—a riveting in-depth narrative
that explores the complexities and failures of the criminal justice system.
Jose Martinez murdered without consequence for decades. He left a trail of
death and devastation within the migrant farm communities of California’s
central valley, a community that was left reeling and pleading for justice that
went unanswered for way too long.
“Year after year, Martinez
operated with impunity. In Tulare County, where he lived for decades, officials
suspected him of murder after murder and yet never charged him. Next door Kern
County, where he also lived for a time and committed several murders, has one
of the highest murder rates in California and one of the lowest murder-solve
rates in the nation.”
Garrison’s years of investigative
reporting adds credibility to the narrative and thoroughly details how law
enforcement was able to track down and eventually capture Martinez, but she
also controversially scrutinizes the failures that allowed the Mexican drug
cartels and a psychopathic madman to roam free for decades: shockingly killing
without most people ever hearing about it.