A high-ranking cartel leader and his bodyguard were found tortured to death just five weeks after he allegedly ordered a massacre that hunted and killed 15 innocent people in northeastern Mexico.
Edgar Valladares and security guard Juan Miguel Lizardi were discovered Tuesday morning in a pickup truck parked on the side of a road in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. The couple had been beaten before being shot.
Valladares, aka “El Maestrín,” was on the radar of local authorities after he ordered members of the Gulf Cartel’s criminal cell Escorpiones (Scorpions) to carry out the attack on the town of Reynosa, located across from McAllen, Texas. .
Witnesses told authorities that a convoy of gunmen rushed through the Reynosa neighborhoods of Almaguer, Bienestar, Lampacitos and Obrera, randomly hunting innocent bystanders.
Four gunmen were killed in a confrontation with police. Minimum 13 Cartel members have been arrested in connection with the massacre.
Edgar Valladares, leader of the Escorpiones cell of the Gulf Cartel, was found dead Tuesday morning next to his bodyguard in a pickup truck in Reynosa, Mexico. Valladares is said to have ordered the gang to carry out an attack in the Reynosa neighborhoods of Almaguer, Bienestar, Lampacitos and Obrera, killing 15 innocent bystanders.
Authorities in Reynosa, Mexico, recovered the tortured body of Juan Miguel Lizardi (pictured) in a vehicle on Tuesday. He is said to have worked as a security guard for Gulf Cartel leader Edgar Valladares, who was also found beaten and shot.
Jonathan Balderas, who was injured in the shooting and is still in police custody, confessed to investigators from his hospital bed that Valladares had ordered Escorpiones gunmen to destabilize the Gulf Cartel drug zone in Reynosa because of his cell’s internal struggle with a faction known as the Metros.
The Valladares murder was reported a day after the Gulf Cartel factions decided to call a ceasefire.
Police in Tamaulipas state confirmed that the professionally printed banners appeared on Monday in the border town of Reynosa and other towns.
Photos of the banners showed that they were printed with red, white and green letters – the colors of the Mexican flag – and slogans such as “Long live peace!”
State police said four people had been arrested on suspicion of putting up banners on buildings or overpasses in more than half a dozen towns in Tamaulipas.
The banners were signed by three of the main factions in the decade-old battle for land – the Metros, the Escorpiones and the Rojos.
In the Mexican border town of Reynosa, a total of 15 innocent bystanders were killed on June 19 by gunmen aboard a number of vehicles.
Jonathan Balderas (pictured), who was injured in the shooting and is still in police custody, confessed to investigators from his hospital bed that Edgar Valladares had ordered the Escorpiones gunmen to destabilize the Gulf cartel’s drug zone in Reynosa over the internal struggles of his cell with a faction known as the Metros.
Unlike the usual cartel messages, which are often misspelled and accompanied by mounds of bodies or body parts, Monday’s message used polite, almost erudite language and featured a picture of a dove with an olive branch.
“We have agreed to a ceasefire and we declare our solidarity with the people, and with ideological principles compatible with preserving the peace,” read the text of a banner, advocating: “We have families too.”
“The most important thing is that the communities we live in feel safe with it, without any worries,” the banner read. “The Gulf Cartel has principles and its number one priority is peace in the state and the well-being of its citizens.”
The Metros are one of the larger factions of the now splintered Gulf Cartel and they have dominated Reynosa for a long time.
The Gulf Cartel set up several banners in Reynosa and other cities in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas when three cells, Escorpiones, Metros and Rojo, announced a ceasefire
The Office of the Attorney General of Tamaulipas has said the June 19 attack in Reynosa was carried out by members of the Scorpions and another faction of the Gulf Cartel known as the “Cyclones,” both located east of Reynosa, around Matamoros, are established. The fact that similar banners appeared in Matamoros suggested that the Cyclones are on board the pact.
Prosecutors said the two groups attempted to terrorize the people of Reynosa as part of their campaign to challenge the subways’ control of the city.
Turf fighting has become common in Tamaulipas, where remnants of the Gulf Cartel and the old Zetas gang have been battling turf for more than a decade.
The border towns are lucrative routes for drug smuggling and migrants.