Daniel Arizmendi López

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Daniel Arizmendi López (born 22 July 1958) is a convicted Mexican kidnapper. In 1998 Susan Ferriss of the Cox News Service wrote that Arizmendi was "Mexico's most notorious suspected criminal".[1]


He was originally a police officer in Morelos.[1] He began involvement in crime in the mid-1980s while he was a police officer.[2] From 1996 until 1998 he was responsible for at least 18 kidnappings in Mexico. He often liked to sever the ears of his kidnapping victims.[3] Because of this, he got the nickname "El Mochaorejas" ("The Ear Chopper").[4] He often sent the severed ears to the families of his victims.[5] Officials from the police assisted him in his kidnappings.[3] Through the ransom of his kidnappings he had collected over $40 million U.S. dollars.[6]

On August 19, 1998 Mexican authorities announced his capture.[5] He was captured in Naucalpan, Mexico State in Greater Mexico City.[1] On the day of his arrest, he confessed to murdering four people.[3] Inside Arizmendi's house police found an altar to Santa Muerte.[5] Police authorities allowed Arizmendi to bring a figure of Santa Muerte to prison, resulting in widespread press attention.[4] Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar, the Mexican attorney general, stated that information originating from plea bargains of gang members in prison and legal wiretaps were used in the capture.[3]


The character Daniel "La Voz" Sanchez in the 2004 film Man on Fire is based on Arizmendi López,[7] and the character Aurelio Sanchez is based on Aurelio Arizmendi López, the brother of Daniel Arizmendi López.[8] Just like the real Arizmendi López, "La Voz" believes in Santa Muerte. Kevin Freese of the Foreign Military Studies Office stated that "it appears that the allusion" of the fictional Sánchez brothers with the real Arizmendi brothers "escaped the comprehension of much of the audience."[7]


  1. ^ a b c Ferriss, Susan. "Ear-cutter Arizmendi Lopez arrested near los Angeles" (Archive). Cox News Service at Laredo Morning Times. Wednesday August 19, 1998. p. 2.
  2. ^ Information Services Latin America (ISLA). Information Services Latin America, 1998. p. 19. "CSM JUL *3 1998 3066 MEXICO CITY Brutal reputed kidnapper Daniel Arizmendi Lopez was a handsome police officer when he began his life of crime in the mid- 1980s. As a onetime cop gone bad - very bad - he symbolizes the tares[...]"
  3. ^ a b c d DePalma, Anthony. "Mexico Says It Has Kidnapper Who Cut Wealthy Victims' Ears." The New York Times. August 19, 1998. Retrieved on May 15, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Martín, Desirée A. Borderlands Saints: Secular Sanctity in Chicano/a and Mexican Culture (Latinidad: Transnational Cultures in the United States). Rutgers University Press, December 19, 2013. Page unstated (Google Books PT180).
  5. ^ a b c Chesnut, R. Andrew. Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint. Oxford University Press, January 3, 2012. ISBN 0199764662, 9780199764662. p. 16.
  6. ^ Chesnut, R. Andrew. Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint. Oxford University Press, January 3, 2012. ISBN 0199764662, 9780199764662. p. 15.
  7. ^ a b Freese, Kevin (Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, KS). "The Death Cult of the Drug Lords Mexico’s Patron Saint of Crime, Criminals, and the Dispossessed" (). Foreign Military Studies Office. Retrieved on May 15, 2014.
  8. ^ "La industria de secuestro en México es tan lucrativa que no caerá, según un experto" (Archive). Agencia EFE at La Voz (Arizona Star). October 3, 2010. Retrieved on May 15, 2014. "Su historia sirvió al director hollywoodiense Tony Scott para el filme "Man on fire", protagonizado por Denzel Washington y ambientado en el Distrito Federal. Los secuestradores se llamaron Daniel, como "el Mochaorejas", y Aurelio, como su compinche."