“MX” for Borderland Beat; TY to “stevectpa”
|Businessman Adrian Elizondo Reyna (pictured) was murdered in the Monterrey metropolitan area last week. The police say he was a Gulf Cartel money launderer|
Police sources confirmed over the weekend that Adrián Elizondo Reyna (aged 27), a businessman killed last week in San Pedro Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leon, was a Gulf Cartel money launderer. Nuevo Leon state authorities are investigating if the man was killed by members of his own cartel after mismanaging their money laundering fronts.
Investigators say that moments before he was killed he received a phone call from them asking him to meet at an undisclosed location. As he left his home in Fuentes del Valle neighborhood to meet with them, unidentified sicarios walked up to him as he sat in his vehicle and shot him from point-blank range. Elizondo Reyna was killed instantly.
San Pedro Garza Garcia municipality is an affluent enclave of the Monterrey metropolitan area. Considered Mexico’s wealthiest community, it has one of the highest per capita incomes in all of Latin America. The brazen murder of Elizondo Reyna was an unusual occurrence in this municipality.
Elizondo Reyna was the owner of a car dealership that was used as a money laundering front for the Gulf Cartel. The police confirmed that they are investigating the murder as a drug-related case.
Elizondo Reyna’s family had confirmed ties with organized crime. Back in 2009, his father and brother, identified as Alberto Elizondo Sepúlveda and Alberto Elizondo Reyna, respectively, were arrested along with six members of an organized crime cell that operated in Santiago, Nuevo Leon. His father was a supervisor of the Monterrey Municipal Police up until his arrest.
According to the Mexican Army, among the 6 detainees was Raúl Salinas García, nicknamed “El Ruly” or “L-13”, originally from Reynosa and head of the group.
His code name “L” was an abbreviation of Los Lobos, a Gulf Cartel faction originally based in Nuevo Laredo. It was once headed by Hector Manuel Sauceda Gamboa, alias “El Karis”, former Reynosa plaza boss.
The evening the murder occurred, mayor Miguel Treviño del Hoyos confirmed that the State Attorney General’s Office had important evidences against the perpetrators. “We have evidences identifying [them],” he said, “and the Prosecutor’s Office will be giving information on the investigations”.
|When Elizondo Reyna saw his assassins, he tried to escape through the passenger seat. However, he was killed before he could step out of his vehicle.|
About 40 meters (131 feet) from the murder scene, right at the corner of Fuentes del Valle Street and Calzada, there is a C-4 police camera, in addition to others located above the traffic lights. Authorities did not confirm if they have seen the recordings yet. The police confirmed that the businessman lived nearby and likely knew his assassins.
Elizondo Reyna was killed in front of his home. Several of his relatives arrived at the murder scene shortly after the attack. Although first responders cordoned the area to prevent people from accessing the crime scene, one of Elizondo Reyna’s relatives was able to get to where the body was before he was removed by state agents.
Borderland Beat analysis: Monterrey and the Gulf Cartel
Traditionally, the Gulf Cartel has held a stronghold in the Monterrey metropolitan area through important business ties. Their old-time leader, Juan Garcia Abrego, owned several properties there and was arrested in its outskirts in 1996. His successor, Osiel Cardenas Guillen, was less interested in Monterrey but continued to hold ties through envoys.
|San Pedro Garza Garcia is a suburb of the Monterrey metropolitan area. As Mexico’s richest municipality per capita, it is home to various millionaires and large corporations|
With close to 5 million inhabitants, the metropolitan area includes the municipalities of Monterrey (the state capital), Apodaca, Garcia, General Escobedo, Guadalupe, Juarez, San Nicolás de los Garza, San Pedro Garza Garcia, Santa Catarina, and Santiago. It is about two and a half hours from the U.S.-Mexico border crossings in Laredo and Roma, Texas, making it a lucrative smuggling route for narcotics.
But Monterrey’s appeal extends beyond drugs.
The city is widely considered the most important financial and industrial center in northern Mexico. It is home to several foreign and national corporations, and has a stable and growing small-and-medium business ecosystem. A large amount of U.S. dollars flow in and out of Monterrey, making it an ideal place for money laundering.
Several drug cartels have been reported in the area, including various Gulf Cartel factions, the Northeast Cartel, and even remnants of the Beltran Leyva Organization.
Security experts say that the Monterrey area, specifically San Pedro Garza Garcia, has been considered a “neutral” ground or haven for large-scale drug traffickers – a place where they could send their families to be safe from the mayhem found elsewhere in Mexico. But this pax mafiosa has not always been respected by all drug cartels.