Pubdate: Wed, 29 Jul 2009
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2009 El Paso Times
Author: Diana Washington Valdez


EL PASO -- A former ICE informant who faces deportation was a law 
enforcement officer in Mexico who quit his job to work in the drug trade.

As Guillermo Eduardo "Lalo" Ramirez Peyro described it in federal 
documents, life in the Juarez drug cartel consisted of dirty cops 
smuggling drugs, sudden kidnappings, double-crossings, acts of 
revenge and gruesome murders.

Ramirez, a former Mexican federal highway police officer, was a DEA 
informant until he was busted in New Mexico, allegedly while bringing 
drugs across the border.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency that started 
in 2003, began to use him as an informant. Ramirez alleges his work 
led to the successful U.S. prosecutions of 50 people, including 
Heriberto Santillan Tabares (known in Mexico as Humberto Santillan 
Tabares), a high-ranking cartel member. ICE officials won't say how 
many cases Ramirez helped solve.

During former U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton's tenure, the U.S. 
Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas moved Santillan's 
2005 trial to San Antonio. Santillan agreed to plead guilty to 
drug-trafficking charges and was not charged for any of the slayings 
he allegedly ordered in Juarez. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

According to government indictments, Ramirez gave U.S. agencies a 
wealth of information about the Carrillo Fuentes drug organization.

After leaving the highway department, documents said, he worked with 
Colombian drug dealers, helping to fill orders for drugs destined for 
Juarez, Mexicali, Tijuana, Culiacan and Guadalajara. Later, he worked 
under Santillan for the Carrillo Fuentes cartel. Along the way, 
documents show, he met Arturo "Chaky" Hernandez, a notorious enforcer 
for the Juarez drug cartel, who is serving a prison term in Mexico.

Ramirez said Rafael Munoz Talavera had recruited people from the 
state of Coahuila state to help him topple the Carrillo Fuenteses, 
who were from Sinaloa state.

Munoz, whom the DEA considers an original founder of the Juarez drug 
cartel, was wanted by U.S. authorities in connection with the seizure 
of 20 tons of cocaine found in 1989 in a Los Angeles-area warehouse. 
He was found dead in Juarez in 1998. Ramirez said around this time, 
the Carrillo Fuentes organization ordered the kidnappings of about 70 
people in and around Juarez.

Brothers Amado and Vicente Carrillo Fuentes took over the Juarez 
smuggling corridor in 1993, after Rafael Aguilar Guajardo was 
murdered in Cancun.

Before his death, Aguilar, a Juarez native and federal police 
commander, was the Juarez cartel kingpin. He lived in a house with 
his family in West El Paso.

The informant said he also met Miguel Loya Gallegos, a Chihuahua 
state police commander in Juarez, who trafficked drugs and carried 
out hits for the cartel, according to a federal government document.

In the document, Ramirez mentioned a "big brother" guesthouse in 
Juarez that cartel leaders used for meetings to settle accounts and 
plan kidnappings and murders. The address was omitted.

During his involvement with Santillan and Loya, Ramirez said he was 
sent to a house in Juarez where a lawyer named Fernando Reyes Aguado 
was to be killed so that Loya could steal drugs from him.

The lawyer "began to struggle with the (state) judicial police, and 
they asked me to help them get him to the floor," Ramirez said. "They 
tried to choke him (with) an extension cord, but this broke and I 
gave them a plastic bag and they put it on his head and suffocated him.

"I asked the judicial police if they were sure Fernando was dead, 
upon which (one of the policemen) took a ... shovel and hit him many 
times on the head until he was sure that he was dead."

Ramirez, who was wearing a wire and recorded the 2003 murder for ICE, 
received $2,000 from Santillan as payment for him and others to bury 
the bodies. Eleven more murders occurred during his ICE mission 
related to Santillan, Loya and the Juarez house. He also received 
$220,000 from the U.S. government for his services as an informant, 
according to documents.

U.S. authorities indicted other alleged co-conspirators of Santillan, 
including Ismael Bueno, 52, of Hereford, Texas; Jesus Rodriguez 
Rodriguez, 37, of Durango, Mexico; and Homero Nevarez Montoya, 24, of 
Chicago, who are in U.S. custody.

Loya was indicted in absentia, along with Edmundo Castillo Flores, 
51, of Torreon, Mexico; Jesus "Chato" Delgado, 41, of El Paso; Chris 
Sepulveda, 24, of El Paso; Arturo Bustillos, 39, of Horizon City; 
Miguel Loya Gallegos, 35, of Juarez; and three men only identified as 
"Julio," "Ramon" and "Manuel Lujan."
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