One of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman's closest allies, Hector “El Guero” Palma, was released from the Atwater Maximum Security Prison in California this Saturday and sent to immigration hold for deportation, the U.S. federal jail bureau confirmed.
As soon as he arrives to Mexico, the powerful and very dangerous drug trafficker will resume his career in organized crime, according to Mike Vigil, a former DEA official, whose statement was confirmed to teleSUR by Sinaloan journalist, writer and narco issues expert Javier Valdez.
“However, I don't believe there will be more violence when he returns to Mexico ... the question is whether he will work with El Chapito, or another group,” said the author of various books, including “Narco Orphans” or “Huérfanos del narco.”
Ivan Archivaldo “El Chapito” Guzmán is the son of the world’s most powerful drug trafficker El Chapo, who is currently awaiting extradition in a jail in northern Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez, which borders with El Paso, Texas.
Valdez said that El Chapito has taken partial control of the Sinaloa Cartel, a drug trafficking organization that the DEA and other security agencies say is responsible for providing most of the cocaine, heroin, crystal and marijuana consumed around the world.
In the early 1990s, before El Chapo was arrested and jailed for the first time, Palma, also from Sinaloa, co-founded the Sinaloa Cartel with Guzman.
Together they waged a bloody war against the Tijuana Cartel that the Sinaloan Arellano Felix brothers founded and controlled.
However, as is usual among drug traffickers from Sinaloa, the Sinaloa and Tijuana cartels helped each other out when it came to business.
Julio “El Tio” Martinez, a drug trafficker working with a high-level Sinaloa Cartel operative known only as “Aquiles," told teleSUR on Wednesday that in the early 2000s, El Guero and the Arellano Felix brothers collaborated to smuggle tons of cocaine across Tijuana to San Diego.
“After successfully crossing the shipment to a house in Chula Vista on Orange Street near Palomar, each parted their own way,” he recalled.
El Guero Palma | Photo: Reuters
According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons, Palma, who is also believed to have founded the Pacific Cartel, will be released Saturday after nine years in prison for drug related crimes.
Palma was captured in June 23, 1995, after the Learjet he was travelling in crashed. He survived the crash and initially managed to evade arrest, but the injuries he sustained forced him to hide out in a home where he was later detained.
The United States extradited him in 2007 and since then, he has been at the Atwater high security prison in California.
A judge handed him down a 16-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking.
Palma has been linked to former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, according to a federal investigation in Switzerland, which was conducted after Paula Castañon, wife of Raul Salinas de Gortari, tried to withdraw US$8 million from a bank in the European country, according to a La Jornada article published Oct. 14, 2000.
Palma is feared in Mexico because he has proven to be very lethal with weapons, according to El Tio.
“In fact, the story behind him is that he witnessed the assassination of his father and he vowed to kill the hitmen responsible for it ... he was about 15 at the time ... he is about 56 now .... anyway, he actually did kill each and everyone of them by the time he was about 18 and since then became a hitman himself for other powerful drug traffickers before becoming a leader.”
Mexico's federal Attorney General Arely Gomez recently told reporters that they were trying to find out if there were pending accusations or investigations against El Guero, but Valdez said, “he has none.”