Martín Arzola Ortega

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Martín Arzola Ortega
Martin Arzola Ortega.jpg
Born1976/1977
Died31 July 2019 (age 42)
Cause of deathHomicide by firearm
NationalityMexican
Other names
  • El 53
  • Ramón Franco Zavala
OccupationDrug lord
EmployerJalisco New Generation Cartel
Criminal charge
  • Drug trafficking
  • Organized crime involvement
  • Possession of military-exclusive firearms
Criminal status24-year conviction (2015); overturned to 4-years and released (2018)

Martín Arzola Ortega (American Spanish: [maɾˈtin aɾˈsola oɾˈteɣa]; 1976/1977 – 31 July 2019), commonly referred to by his alias "El 53", was a Mexican convicted drug lord and former high-ranking leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), a criminal group based in Jalisco. He worked under Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (alias "El Mencho"), the alleged top leader of the CJNG. Arzola Ortega began his criminal career in 1998 as a cargo truck thief and eventually joined the Milenio Cartel, the predecessor group of the CJNG. After several of his bosses were arrested and/or killed, he founded the CJNG with other defectors in the 2010s.

Arzola Ortega was responsible for leading a squad of assassins in multiple municipalities across Jalisco to fight off La Resistencia, a rival group of the CJNG. He used a network of police officers to grant protection to his operations and facilitate his drug-related activities. In 2011, he was arrested by the Mexican Federal Police and charged with drug trafficking, organized crime involvement, and possession of military-exclusive firearms. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison in 2015, and was serving his sentence at the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1, a maximum-security prison in the State of Mexico. He was released in late 2018 and killed in Jalisco in 2019.

Early life and career[edit]

Martín Arzola Ortega, commonly referred to by his alias El 53, was a born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, on 1976/1977.[a][1] He had other aliases like El Gordo (English: Fatty), El Señor (English: The Guy), and El Negro (English: The Black One).[2] Arzola Ortega started his criminal career in 1998 by stealing cargo trucks. He was arrested and sentenced to eight months for this crime. Upon his release from prison, he continued his criminal activity and joined the Milenio Cartel, a criminal group based in Michoacán. While he was in the Milenio Cartel, the criminal group worked closely with the Sinaloa Cartel, a criminal group based in Sinaloa, and specifically with one of their suspected leaders, Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel Villarreal. The Milenio Cartel was headed by Óscar Orlando Nava Valencia (alias "El Lobo"), who had close ties with Coronel Villarreal.[3]

In the late 2000s, several members of the Milenio Cartel were arrested and/or killed by security forces, which prompted an organizational rupture in the criminal group.[4] On 28 October 2009, El Lobo was arrested by the Army in Guadalajara.[5] Several months later on 9 May 2010, security forces arrested Juan Carlos Nava Valencia (alias "El Tigre") and his sister Jacqueline Patricia Nava Valencia in Guadalajara.[6] Later that year, Coronel Villarreal was killed in a clash with the Mexican Army. The power vacuum left by Coronel Villarreal's death prompted an internal war within the Milenio Cartel; on one front, Arzola Ortega, Érick Valencia Salazar (alias "El 85"), and Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (alias "El Mencho") wanted to command the Milenio Cartel. The other front, which sided against Arzola Ortega and his accomplices, was headed by Elpidio Mojarro Ramírez (alias "El Pilo") and Víctor Manuel Torres García (alias "El Papirrín").[7] Arzola Ortega and his faction eventually founded in the 2010s a new criminal group, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG),[8] while the other group of Milenio defectors founded another group, La Resistencia.[9][10]

According to Mexico's Secretariat of Public Security (SSP), Arzola Ortega was the CJNG's assassins' chief in the Jalisco municipalities of Guadalajara, Zapopan, Tonalá, Tlaquepaque, and Tlajomulco de Zúñiga.[11] His role was to lead CJNG assassins against La Resistencia.[12] Authorities believed he was involved in multiple murders across the Guadalajara metropolitan area; these murder investigations accused him of being both perpetrator and mastermind.[13] In addition, he had a network of contacts within Jalisco's police forces that kept him informed of drug sales in local stores.[14] The SSP accused him of being responsible for managing the CJNG's drug distribution in Guadalajara and its extended area.[3][15] He also used the police force to grant protection to the operations of the CJNG.[13] The SSP stated that he reported directly to El Mencho, the suspected top leader of the CJNG. To operate without being detected by his rivals, he used the alias Ramón Franco Zavala.[16]

Arrest and imprisonment[edit]

On 13 July 2011, the Mexican Federal Police (PF) arrested Arzola Ortega in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga following a large operative conducted by the PF in the Guadalajara metropolitan area that was launched to apprehend him.[17] At the crime scene, authorities found a .38 Super handgun, an Uzi 9 mm, radio communication equipment, and several unspecified documents.[18] Arzola Ortega was arrested alongside an accomplice, Erick José Alcázar Limón (alias "El Niño"), who was responsible for transporting money derived from illegal activities, and identifying members and safe houses owned by La Resistencia to Arzola Ortega.[19] Once in custody, Arzola Ortega was handed over to the Subprocuraduría de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada (SIEDO), Mexico's former organized crime investigatory agency, to determine his legal status.[20] The SIEDO confirmed that Arzola Ortega and Alcázar Limón had active arrest warrants that were issued on 25 August 2011.[21]

On 19 July 2011, a federal judge granted Mexico's Office of the General Prosecutor (PGR) a 40-day preventative arrest against Arzola Ortega for organized crime and illegal possession of firearm charges.[22] He was kept under the PGR's custody during that time. This measure also extended to his collaborator Alcázar Limón.[13] Once the preventative arrest concluded, a federal judge ordered both men to be transferred to prison on 5 September 2011. The judge confirmed that a trial against them would begin after the transfer concluded. Arzola Ortega was sent to the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1 (also known as "Altiplano"), a maximum-security prison in Almoloya de Juárez, State of Mexico. Alcázar Limón was transferred to the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 5 (also known as "Oriente"), a maximum-security prison in Villa Aldama, Veracruz.[23]

On 28 March 2018, several inmates at Altiplano, including Arzola Ortega, protested to the Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the Consumer (PROFECO) for the price increase of potato chips, hygiene products, and paper in the prison's store.[24] In the complaint, the inmates stated that since October 2017, a Cheetos bag of 255 grams (9.0 oz) used to cost MXN$42 (US$2.2) and increased to MXN$60.50 (US$3.2); the price of a Doritos bag went from MXN$48 (US$2.55) to MXN$62 (US$3.3). The inmates and their families also complained that prisoners had no other option but to buy the junk food offered at the prison's store because of food shortage and poor diet options offered by the prison.[25] They said it was unfair that the prison was "monopolizing" the prices and selling them goods at whatever price they wanted.[26]

Conviction and release[edit]

On 9 December 2015, Arzola Ortega was sentenced to 24 years in prison by a federal court based in Toluca, State of Mexico.[27] His charges were organized crime involvement, drug trafficking, and for being in possession of military-exclusive weapons.[28] The accomplice who was arrested with him, Alcázar Limón, had the same charges and received a 13-year conviction. In addition, Arzola Ortega received a minimum wage sentence of 600 days, meaning that he would have to pay MXN$34,878 (US$2,055) in fines. Alcázar Limón received a 300-day minimum wage sentence, which equaled to MXN$17,439.00 (US$1,028) in fines.[29] The court confirmed that when Arzola Ortega was arrested, his defense team issued multiple case revision requests and writs of amparo. Several courts received the requests made by his defense, but none of them were granted in his favor. With this result, the court in Toluca decided to render a solution and issued the sentence.[30]

In 2017, the PGR began a legal process to seize properties owned by Arzola Ortega, Alcázar Limón, and other suspected CJNG members and strawpersons. According to court files, Arzola Ortega and Alcázar Limón owned two properties in Guadalajara that authorities suspected were acquired from drug proceeds. The first one was in Cruz del Sur neighborhood, and was valued at MXN$1.78 million property; the second property was in Vicente Guerrero neighborhood and was valued at MXN$876,250. The other suspected CJNG members that the PGR tried to seize properties from were José Serna Padilla (alias "El Zopilote"), Julio César Chávez López (alias "El Antiguo"), José Bernabé Brizuela Meraz (alias "La Vaca"), Lorena Sánchez Rodríguez,[b] César Cazarín Molina (alias "El Comandante Tornado"),[c] and Rubén Oseguera González (alias "El Menchito").[33]

In September 2018, Arzola Ortega was released from prison.[34] The reasons for his release were not publicly known at the time,[35] but federal authorities confirmed after his death that Arzola Ortega's defense team appealed the sentence when it was officiated. In 2016, a court ordered the case to be revisited. An appeals court magistrate rejected the judge's verdict in 2018 after considering that the PGR did not have sufficient evidence against Arzola Ortega, thus reverting the 24-year sentence.[34][36] The only criminal charge Arzola Ortega kept was illegal possession of firearms, which was a four-year conviction. Since he had already been in prison for more than four years, he was released.[34]

Death[edit]

At 16:20 hours on 31 July 2019,[37] Arzola Ortega was killed by gunmen inside a Carl's Jr. restaurant in the Plaza Galerías mall in Zapopan.[38][39] According to police reports, two assailants went inside the restaurant to kill Arzola Ortega, who was eating with his aunt and nephew. After killing him, one of the gunmen began shooting at the rest of the people inside the restaurant. The customers took cover under the tables while the gunmen shot at them. Several people were wounded in the attack.[40] María Luisa Aguirre Solís, the wife of Governor of Nayarit Antonio Echevarría García, was coincidentally eating with her two children in the same restaurant.[41] When the shootout began, her bodyguards responded to the attack and killed one of the assailants.[42] Jalisco authorities stated that the bodyguards killed the assailants to protect the lives of the people inside the restaurant.[43] The following morning, a lady who identified as Arzola Ortega's wife reclaimed the body at the Forensic Medical Services (SEMEFO). She confirmed that Arzola Ortega was 42 years old. The other person who was killed at the scene remained unidentified; he was not carrying any identification and no family members came forward to claim his corpse.[44]

Jalisco's security coordinator Macedonio Salomón Támez Guajardo told the press that law enforcement officers were on alert for any possible violent reactions from organized crime groups.[45]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ His date of birth was calculated based on his age (34) at the day of his arrest, 15 July 2011.[1]
  2. ^ Both José Bernabé Brizuela Meraz and Lorena Sánchez Rodríguez were originally identified by other sources as members of La Línea, a gang of the Juárez Cartel.[31]
  3. ^ He was also known as Iván Cazarín Molina and Víctor Hugo Delgado Rentería. He also had an alternate alias, "El Tanque".[32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Policía Federal capturó a 'El 53', líder de cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 15 July 2011. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011.
  2. ^ Castillo, Gustavo (20 July 2011). "Arraigan a El 53". La Jornada (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 27 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Policía Federal detiene a Martín Arzola Ortega alias 'El 53', identificado como uno de los líderes de la organizacion delictiva denominada 'Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación'" (in Spanish). Secretariat of Public Security. 15 July 2011. Archived from the original on 12 March 2013.
  4. ^ de Mauleón, Héctor (1 June 2015). "CJNG: La sombra que nadie vio" (in Spanish). Revista Nexos. Archived from the original on 5 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Detención de Óscar Orlando Nava Valencia (a) 'EL LOBO', líder de la Organización delictiva 'LOS VALENCIA'". Mexico City: Mexican Army. 30 October 2009. Archived from the original on 20 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Caen dos hermanos del cártel de los Valencia". El Economista (in Spanish). 11 May 2010. Archived from the original on 9 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Surge otro cártel en Jalisco". El Diario de Juárez (in Spanish). 9 March 2012. Archived from the original on 29 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Cae fundador del Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación". Zócalo Saltillo (in Spanish). 10 March 2012. Archived from the original on 29 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Diversifica 'Mencho' mercado del narco" (in Spanish). Mexico City: Zócalo Saltillo. 31 January 2014. Archived from the original on 26 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Cae uno de los líderes del cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación". SDP Noticias (in Spanish). Notimex. 15 July 2011. Archived from the original on 27 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Cae uno de los líderes del cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación". La Crónica de Hoy (in Spanish). 15 July 2011. Archived from the original on 27 September 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Cae Martín Arzola Ortega, alias El 53, jefe del CJNG". Blog del Narco (in Spanish). July 2011. Archived from the original on 19 August 2011.
  13. ^ a b c Fierro, Juan Omar (19 July 2011). "Arraigan por 40 días a Martín Arzola Ortega, alias 'El 53', fundador del Cártel de Jalisco 'Nueva Generación'". MVS Comunicaciones (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 24 January 2018.
  14. ^ "SIEDO obtuvo arraigo por 40 días contra dos presuntos colaboradores del 'Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación'" (in Spanish). Government of Mexico. 19 July 2011. Archived from the original on 31 October 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  15. ^ "El infierno desatado". Proceso (in Spanish). 10 March 2012. Archived from the original on 29 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Cayó líder del 'Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación'". Univision (in Spanish). 15 July 2011. Archived from the original on 18 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Tras larga búsqueda, policías federales detienen a 'El 53'". El Informador (in Spanish). 16 July 2011. Archived from the original on 27 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Detienen a 'El 53', líder del Cártel de Jalisco". Sin Embargo (in Spanish). 15 July 2011. Archived from the original on 31 October 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Capturan a presunto líder de cártel de 'Jalisco Nueva Generación'". Animal Político (in Spanish). 15 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016.
  20. ^ "Cae el 53, líder del cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación". La Razón (in Spanish). Notimex. 15 July 2011.
  21. ^ "Condenan a dos líderes del Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación". Proceso (in Spanish). 9 December 2015. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017.
  22. ^ "Dan 40 días de arraigo a 'El 53'". El Informador (in Spanish). 20 July 2011. Archived from the original on 31 October 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  23. ^ "Encarcelan a líderes del cártel de Jalisco". Excélsior (in Spanish). 5 September 2011. Archived from the original on 31 October 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  24. ^ "Capos se quejan ante Profeco por precio de papitas". SDP Noticias (in Spanish). 28 March 2018. Archived from the original on 28 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Protestan capos detenidos... ¡por precio de papitas!". El Diario de Chihuahua (in Spanish). Reforma. 28 March 2018. Archived from the original on 28 March 2018.
  26. ^ "Secuestradores y capos del narco se quejan del alto precio de tienditas de Altiplano". La Crónica (in Spanish). 28 March 2018. Archived from the original on 27 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Emiten sentencia condenatoria de 24 y 13 años de prisión a Martín Arzola y Erick Alcázar" (in Spanish). Mexico City: Procuraduría General de la República. 9 December 2015. Archived from the original on 28 July 2018.
  28. ^ Castillo García, Gustavo (10 December 2015). "Sentencian a 24 años de cárcel a uno de los fundadores del CJNG". La Jornada (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 14 December 2015.
  29. ^ "Dan 24 años de cárcel a 'El 53', fundador del CJNG". El Siglo de Torreón (in Spanish). 9 December 2015. Archived from the original on 31 October 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  30. ^ "Un juez federal sentenció a dos integrantes del CJNG a 24 y 13 años de cárcel, así como multas por más de 51 mil pesos". López-Dóriga Digital (in Spanish). 9 December 2015. Archived from the original on 27 September 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  31. ^ "Cae líder de 'La Línea' en Colima" (in Spanish). La Parada Digital. 29 May 2013. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  32. ^ Hernández, René (19 November 2015). "Cae por tercera vez 'El Tanque' del CJNG" (in Spanish). La Crónica de Hoy. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  33. ^ Martínez, Jorge (26 October 2017). "Aplica PGR ley de extinción de dominio al Cártel Jalisco". Milenio (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 31 October 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  34. ^ a b c "'El 57', jefe de sicarios asesinado en Jalisco, logró tumbar sentencia ante falta de pruebas de la PGR". Grupo Multimedios (in Spanish). 1 August 2019.
  35. ^ Martínez, Jorge (31 July 2019). "Identifican de manera preliminar a un fallecido en la balacera". Milenio (in Spanish).
  36. ^ Martinez, Jorge (1 August 2019). "'El 53', el jefe de sicarios del CJNG que 'libró' el penal de Almoloya". Milenio (in Spanish).
  37. ^ Ortega, Román; Chávez, Víctor; Chávez, Elizabeth (31 July 2019). "Balacera en Plaza Galerías deja dos muertos". El Occidental (in Spanish). Organización Editorial Mexicana.
  38. ^ Ortega, Román (31 July 2019). "Ejecutado en restaurante era fundador del CJNG". El Occidental (in Spanish). Organización Editorial Mexicana.
  39. ^ "Confirman identidad del hombre contra quien iba dirigido el ataque en centro comercial de Zapopan". Notisistemas (in Spanish). 1 August 2019.
  40. ^ Ibal, Elizabeth (31 July 2019). "[Video] Uno de los agresores, tras el crimen habría disparado contra los comensales". El Occidental (in Spanish). Organización Editorial Mexicana.
  41. ^ Martínez, Jorge (31 July 2019). "Queda en medio del fuego cruzado esposa del gobernador de Nayarit". Milenio (in Spanish).
  42. ^ "'El 53' o 'El Negro': uno de los muertos en Plaza Galerías de Zapopan sería integrante del CJNG". Infobae (in Spanish). 1 August 2019.
  43. ^ "Esposa del Gobernador de Nayarit, ilesa tras reacción de escoltas". La Razón (in Spanish). 31 July 2019.
  44. ^ "Reclaman cadáver de 'El 53', uno de los dos muertos de tiroteo en Zapopan". El Informador (in Spanish). 1 August 2019.
  45. ^ Ortega, Román (1 August 2019). "Confirman la muerte del 53 en balacera de Plaza Galerías". El Occidental (in Spanish). Organización Editorial Mexicana.

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