Grenades were tossed. Joel Luna," Garcia said. The shop was co-owned by Fernando Luna, 35 -- Eduardo Luna's older brother. The region sees frequent clashes between the Noreste cartel, which controls a part of Nuevo Leon, and the Gulf cartel, which has been active in Tamaulipas for decades. Other clues would take longer to piece together. She knew him as Eduardo Perez Rodriguez, which authorities believe is another name for Eduardo Luna Rodriguez, the full name of Joel's baby brother, sources close to the investigation say. Joel's mother, Concepcion Rodriguez, is a housewife. First, she told authorities that a man named Juan Saenz-Tamez, a former high-ranking Gulf Cartel capo known as "Commander Pussy," helped recover her brother's body. Authorities believe it may be the gun used to kill Franky. Eduardo Luna's lawyer did not return phone calls and emails seeking comment. The discovery prompted authorities to place a "detainer" on Luna at the Cameron County jail, meaning if he is ever set to be released from custody, federal agents can hold him for possible deportation. "I agree that when it's presented that way, it gives one pause to think about, 'those two things don't go together,' " Garcia said. Once the family fled to Texas, the extended Luna family settled near McAllen. But everything from March 10 -- the day Franky went missing -- was gone. The grisly discovery came at a busy time on the island. About the time Mario Peña was gunned down across the river from his hometown in Texas, multiple accounts indicate that the Luna family was forced to get out of Mexico quickly. And in Joel Luna's arrest warrant, authorities say co-defendant Nestor Manuel Leal told police during interrogations that he, Franky, El Guero and Joel's two brothers were "involved with narcotics trafficking activities by ... the Gulf Cartel" -- but those records don't mention the middle Luna brother. The teenager also said Franky had told him "that he was a Gulf Cartel member and that they would chop off heads.'' Still, even hardened South Texas lawmen long accustomed to cartel violence were surprised by Luna's indictment for murder -- a cartel-inspired beheading no less. Using a portable fingerprint reader from U.S. Joel Luna, a 6-year Border Patrol veteran, was supposed to protect the country from drug trafficking and spillover violence. Battles raged for hours on end. Don't identify anyone, or you are going to get beheaded.'". ReddIt. I am mainly searching for informational videos on the subject, but relevant literature would also be highly appreciated. His lawyer and family members say Joel was born in Texas, and that -- like many kids who grew up along the border -- his parents later obtained a Mexican birth certificate to meet school admission requirements. The extradition of El Hummer has been a headache case for Mexican and U.S. officials. To date, authorities have not charged any of the defendants with arms trafficking. El Hummer was the former plaza boss of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, one of the Gulf Cartel's most lucrative turfs. One of the two guns found in the safe drew immediate attention. Joel was about 12 when his parents sent him to live with Josefina Palomo in Hidalgo County, where he stayed for fewer than two years before moving again with associates of his father, his aunt said. A major wing of the Gulf Cartel -- more a loose confederation than united front by then -- was falling apart. At least, that's what the man who spotted it while boating with his two daughters would tell police. With fall trials expected, authorities say they have turned up the familiar markings of mafia muscle and hardball tactics experts have come to associate with 21st century cartel warfare -- complete with a severed head supposedly secreted off to Mexico to prove a snitch was dead. All five defendants have pleaded not guilty and asked for jury trials in Cameron County. The cartel is currently in a turf battle in the region with its former enforcers-turned-rivals, the Zetas cartel. Since his death, "El Popo" has become a sort of gangster folk legend. Maybe one drank too much, fell in the water and collided with the wrong end of a propeller-driven barge? More than 130 officers employed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection have been caught in alleged acts of mission-compromising corruption -- often by letting drugs, undocumented immigrants or both into the country -- over the past decade. A major wing of the Gulf Cartel -- more a loose confederation than united front by then -- was falling apart. Armed smugglers allegedly associated with the Gulf Cartel were responsible for the onslaught of automatic fire that endangered the lives a Border Patrol Marine Unit in early August, as it policed the banks for drug smugglers and human traffickers along the Rio Grande Valley River, in Texas. Saenz, whose lawyer did not return phone calls, is now serving a 30-year sentence in a federal prison in Beaumont after pleading guilty to laundering $100 million while moving a half-ton of cocaine and 90 tons of marijuana through the United States. Mix. In July 2014, a Gulf Cartel associate and member of the Texas Syndicate gang had a three hour shootout with Texas cops, Breitbart Texas reported. In the spring of 2013, investigators would later learn, Joel's brothers and their families apparently had to flee Mexico in a hurry. Before he was found naked and decapitated days after his 33rd birthday, Palacios Paz -- "Franky" to his friends -- worked at Veteran's Tire Shop in Edinburg, one county over. ", Blood was still dripping from the neck when Cameron County Sheriff's Deputy Ulises Martinez arrived, he would later report. Investigators were also puzzled that stored on Eduardo's phone was a picture of an unusual gun -- a "highly engraved" .38 Super pistol, inscribed with the word "Pajaro," or bird, on the handle, sources close to the probe said. Surveillance camera videos from the tire business weren't much help. Authorities are probing the deaths in Tamaulipas state where large swaths of land are controlled by the Gulf drug cartel. By early May, DNA testing of stains on the walls of the tire shop office turned out to match Franky's blood. Grenades were tossed. Facebook Twitter Reddit Pinterest WhatsApp Email Share Link. Why the two Luna brothers were traveling from Mexico into the United States that June day sits atop a pile of unanswered questions about Joel Luna and his alleged connection to the brutal death of Franky Palacios. After he was found in that white Chevy pickup with his brother Fernando -- by then a murder suspect -- investigators assembled a Luna family tree and began looking into their backgrounds and activities. Both are from Reynosa, where Eduardo and Fernando were born. Inside they found "a large black steel 'SENTRY' SAFE," court records show. Records show it was bought in May 2013 by Concepcion Rodriguez, the Luna brothers' mother. His cousin Maria Lepe called him a "very honest kid" who did his best to care for an ailing, diabetic father. Two of the videos purport to tell the story of his death at the hands of a former ally who supposedly double crossed him and shot him in the back. U.S. authorities later confirmed Peña's death. All are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Mexican drug cartel payback often comes at the end of a fine, sharp cutting instrument, Lucio observed. Often overlooked amid all the violence and chaos they engender is … Jessica Peña offered up two other details that led investigators to believe Eduardo was connected to the Gulf Cartel and its internecine warfare in 2013. Generally speaking, the Border Patrol doesn't include checks of any foreign databases, including criminal records or birth certificates, said agency spokesman Carlos Diaz. During my time I was caught a total of 3 times. Imposing at 6'4" and prone to passionate outbursts about evidence gaps and government overreach, Carlos A. Garcia says Cameron County's case against his client rests on circumstantial evidence at best, along with the unfair inference that Joel Luna must have been up to no good if his brothers were. Joel never forgot about his family in Mexico, helping care for his father until he died in 2011. There were recordings from March 9, 2015, and March 11, 2015. "We're just across the border from Matamoros," he said. Peña told police Eduardo Luna's nickname was "El Pajaro" or "the Bird." Lawyers for the other four defendants, including Joel Luna's brothers, did not return repeated phone calls from The Texas Tribune. "This is a case of guilt by association -- or rather guilt because of his relationship to the people who were arrested [first]," Garcia said. His lawyer said he is not being paid. The nation's largest federal law enforcement agency has long been dogged with questions about loose vetting procedures during and after hiring. Early 2013 was a tumultuous time in the patch of northern Mexico that Joel Luna's two brothers called home. Why didn't federal authorities find his conflicting birth certificates? Jessica Peña's information hinted that Eduardo might have been paying attention to the fallout from her brother's murder. The Luna brothers' cell phones yielded clues and mysteries that, over time, would help investigators flesh out the story of Franky's murder. Check out or new podcast Narco Newz with the latest on the cartels in Mexico. But the fact that investigators are connecting a federal official sworn to secure the border to a Mexican cartel hit job -- executed on U.S. soil -- worries him a great deal. That in and of itself is not evidence of any criminal act.". Concepcion had bigger dreams for Joel -- and for the whole family by extension, according to Concepcion's sister, Josefina Palomo. On Nov. 4, 2015, investigators arrived at the home of Joel Luna's mother-in-law, Maricela Villanueva, with a search warrant. Investigators called his denial "deceptive" because three other people pegged him as the owner of the safe, records say. Investigators had seen that name before, in pictures on Eduardo's cell phone, inscribed on an unusual gun. The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas operated under the name of “The Company.” Costilla-Sanchez became the leader of The Company for several years following the arrest of Osiel Cardenas in 2003 and before Costilla-Sanchez’s arrest in September 2012. Gulf Cartel Executes Los Zetas Member. Nor have prosecutors ever alleged that Joel was at the tire shop on the day of the murder, Garcia stressed. Villanueva told investigators it belonged to Joel Luna. But he notes the safe itself "wasn't found in my client's possession" and that the government has the burden to prove it was Joel's. During the hiring process and every five years the agency looks at financial information, such as "unexplained affluence," but he didn't say how deep into family members the checks go. A third, possibly garbled and using improper syntax, said Franky "is going around saying and your brother sells drugs." He was reportedly killed in Mexico on March 19, 2013. Case. Court records indicate Eduardo Luna's wife lived in the home. He served in Iraq and earned a number of honors, including the coveted Expert Infantryman Badge. In no time, authorities came to suspect that tire repair wasn't the only thing going on there. But Franky's phone appears to have gone dead at 4:27 p.m. Battles raged for hours on end. "I represent Mr. Luna. All three of the Luna men, plus two others who worked at the tire shop, have each been charged on four counts, including capital murder and drug trafficking. The Honduran national had worked there for several years and often slept on a couch in the front office. But authorities recently discovered a Mexican birth certificate for him, issued in Reynosa, Mexico, three years after his birth was reported in the United States. Ruvalcaba's husband Carlos worked at Sam's Club and had seen Joel and Eduardo Luna buy the safe there. The safe and its contents are harder to explain, Garcia conceded. "Of all the cases I've prosecuted, murder case, etc., this represents a step higher," Garza said. A little more than a month later, on June 24, 2015, Eduardo Luna, Nestor Manuel Leal and Aaron Rodriguez Medellin were arrested at the tire shop. Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the investigation say that in March of 2013, Joel told the agency he'd been warned his family in Mexico was in danger unless he helped move drugs for the Gulf Cartel. All of which would sound familiar to anyone versed in Gulf Cartel etiquette had it not been for one late-breaking and quite unexpected development: the alleged involvement and eventual arrest of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. I mostly operated within the states, but from time to time I would smuggle from Mexico. And by last summer, they had arrested four of Franky's tire shop associates on murder and drug trafficking charges. Roberto Nájera Gutiérrez, “La Gallina”, head of the Gulf Cartel in Yucatán Among its alleged best-known members in Yucatán, Roberto Nájera Gutiérrez appears, detained in January 2013, to fulfill an arrest warrant issued by a judge in Chiapas, where he was accused of murder. The personal documents sitting alongside a big bag of cocaine and piles of cash? But when a Border Patrol agent winds up in jail awaiting trial on murder charges, it raises a few questions. The money was used, she said, to buy a house in San Juan. How did the agency allow one of its own to stay on the job months after his two brothers were arrested for murder, and more than two years after he alerted them to a Gulf Cartel threat against his family? Investigators hadn't known what to make of the news stories about Saenz they found on Eduardo's cell phone after Franky was killed. "She's scared.". Authorities would make the same argument to seize another Luna family home a few miles away. It surprised no one in his family when he joined the Army after graduating from Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School. I was an active drug smuggler for a period of 6 months. The identity of the brother isn't specified. Tumblr. Close • Posted by 13 minutes ago. Department of Homeland Security investigators recently uncovered that it was … It looked to him like the head "had been cut off with one swift motion with a fine sharp cutting instrument.". A trial will eventually examine whether Joel Luna was involved in his brothers' supposed drug trafficking and the death of Franky Palacios. He has a U.S. birth certificate indicating he was born in San Juan, Texas, on May 20, 1985, which would have been found during his initial vetting process with the Border Patrol. But when he poked the floating mass with a pole, he discovered otherwise. CBP also declined to answer any questions about the memo and what actions it might have taken in response, if any. Northeast Cartel (Los Zetas) (CDN): Juan Gerardo Trevino Chavez "El Huevo" Fernando Martínez "Comandante Werko" Armed Wing: The Troop From Hell (La Tropa Del Infierno) Gulf Cartel (CDG) Evaristo Cruz Sanchez "El Vaquero" Nueva Plaza Cartel: Erick Valencia Salazar "El … Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. The word "Pajaro" was embossed on the handle. But those things being together don't make someone part of a killing. After Eduardo Luna's mugshot flashed across TV screens in South Texas in connection to Franky Palacio Paz's murder, Jessica Peña told U.S. detectives she had met him several years before in a Tamaulipas border town across from Rio Grande City. It … Joel Luna apparently was so worried about the incident that he alerted his Border Patrol supervisors in Texas. Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date; Gore Video Rival Cartel member Decapitated after Interrogation. Inside, authorities found a trove of documents and contraband including Joel Luna's commemorative Border Patrol badge, his work station password, documents related to his credit union account and medical excuse paperwork. Franky Palacios was killed because he knew too much, they say. A federal judge Tuesday handed a life sentence to a high-ranking Gulf Cartel boss who in 2011 showed up on the banks of the Rio Grande, fleeing fighting in Mexico. Why not link to the article instead of copying and pasting the whole thing? Registering at Goreforum is quicker and more easier than ever - and it's free! The message is, 'Don't squeal. Gunfights erupted in broad daylight. The Gulf Cartel is using stealth tactics more commonly that involve people driving old work trucks and dressed as road workers to patrol their turf in the day. ifWe teach your customers the secrets to getting traffic from one of the world's biggest websites without breaking the bank. According to Josefina Palomo, the Luna brothers' aunt, some manner of urgent threat was made against the family in Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas, during a baby shower the Luna family was holding for the upcoming birth of Fernando Luna's third child. In 2008, he was arrested and has been in prison ever since. "The army and police largely have been bystanders. More than two years later, El Popo's sister would claim that Eduardo Luna was the double-crosser who shot and killed her brother. Roxana Ruvalcaba told police she believed Joel "had a large amount of bulk United States Currency" inside the safe. They also discovered $89,000 in cash, more than a kilogram of cocaine, 17 grams of meth, a scale, measuring spoons and "a ledger documenting the sales of narcotics and firearms and ammunition," his arrest warrant says. It was a 1911 style .38 Super pistol, a model frequently associated with cartel assassins, gold plated, highly engraved and stamped with "Cartel del Golfo" on one side and the likeness of Saint Judas on the other. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Investigators traced him there after finding a missing person report filed on March 14 by his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Martha Sanchez, who said she hadn't heard from Franky since Tuesday, March 10, six days before he was found. Honorably discharged from the Army in 2008, Luna entered on duty with the U.S. Border Patrol in 2009, and in a few years was working at a highway checkpoint an hour north of the border in Hebbronville. Fernando and Eduardo Luna lived with Joel at first, sources close to the investigation say, and court records indicate they later moved into separate houses near his home. The murder of a businessman related to the top leadership of the Gulf Cartel is expected to trigger a new wave of violence. Investigators couldn't find the man's head, and there were other suspicious cuts on the body. Fernando Luna's wife lived there; she has since been deported to Mexico, court records show. Homeland Security Investigations, police quickly matched the prints to Jose Francisco Palacios Paz. "This cartel pistol with the bad guy's name on it should not be with the badge of a border patrolman, you're right ... those things don't belong together. Garcia acknowledges there are cell phone calls between Joel and his brothers around the time Franky was allegedly killed at the tire shop. Over the ensuing weeks, the investigation led authorities on a meandering journey through the Gulf Cartel's internal bloodletting, featuring tales of a supposed double-crossing cartel hitman, a U.S.-born narco turned folk legend and a major mafia capo nicknamed "Commander Pussy" now locked up in a federal prison in Beaumont, Texas. Joel mostly grew up Reynosa, at least through elementary school -- and after that on weekend visits. Murder investigators would report two years later that "information discovered inside Joel Luna's personnel file where he worked" are now part of the government's case against him. Although he held ties with Matamoros, the Gulf Cartel's bastion, Isassi was based in Tampico and helped cement the cartel's presence in southern Tamaulipas. Luna was there and denied knowledge of the safe. Hey, Reddit! (Loren Elliott/Reuters). Drug lords were locked in a fierce internal battle for control of the major smuggling corridors in Tamaulipas, which borders Texas from Brownsville to Laredo. In profiling the “Gulf cartel,” one of Mexico’s most powerful organized crime groups, this study analyzed the cartel’s power in the international system, the effects globalization has had on its operations, the threats it poses to the state, and the obstacles the state faces in … Gus Garza, the lead prosecutor, declined to go into the evidence blow-by-blow but expressed confidence in the indictments. "We believe this is a clear case of 'you've got the wrong guy.'". Joel's achievements were a source of pride for the extended family. Palomo said she still doesn't know exactly what happened, but the family fled and her sister -- the Luna brothers' mother -- has not returned to Mexico since. The silence was "not like him," she told police. Photograph Weapons . They came to him for help and a place to live -- and he obliged, sources close to the investigation say. Joel Luna's South Texas lawyer, Carlos A. Garcia, said his client had nothing to do with Franky's death and had no involvement in the drug trafficking business prosecutors are pinning on his brothers. The Gulf Cartel is using stealth tactics more commonly that involve people driving old work trucks and dressed as road workers to patrol their turf in the day. When investigators showed up at Veteran's Tire Shop the day after the body was found, they identified at least three people who worked there: Aaron Rodriguez Medellin, 23, whom everyone called "El Guero;" Nestor Manuel Leal, 19, and Eduardo Luna, 25. "Back then you could get (U.S. residency) papers through little children," Palomo said, so her sister gave birth to him in San Juan. That house on Sendero Street in San Juan, bought in June 2013, would later be seized by Cameron County on the grounds that it was "purchased with money which are proceeds of a drug trafficking organization comprised of the three Luna brothers, Fernando, Joel, and Eduardo." The U.S. Border Patrol issued a statement after his arrest saying Luna would be placed on administrative leave. "The Luna brothers were involved in a drug trafficking organization, and Franky was going to rat them out," said Gus Garza, a Cameron County assistant district attorney and lead prosecutor on the case. The site may not work properly if you don't, If you do not update your browser, we suggest you visit, Press J to jump to the feed. The region is regularly the scene of clashes between the North West cartel, which controls part of Nuevo Leon, and the Gulf cartel, which has been present in Tamaulipas for decades. It was the pistol pictured on Eduardo's phone, bearing Eduardo's supposed nickname. He'd gone farther than his brothers in school. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the interesting community, Looks like you're using new Reddit on an old browser. "What his brothers may have been involved in or did or didn't do, have nothing to do with his behavior or what he is accused of in this case.". A video has emerged of the Zetas drug cartel sawing a man’s feet and then arms off while he is still alive and mocking him: ... recruiting former soldiers to create the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel; eventually begins to recruit members in active service of the 15th Infantry Battalion in Tampico, belonging to the 8th Military Zone, located in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. According to court records, Martha Sanchez's' 13-year-old son told investigators he saw "stacks of dollars brought from Reynosa, Mexico" and had seen "marijuana inside play station games at the tire shop." It's where they think Franky -- about to rat out a drug trafficking operation with links to the powerful Mexican Gulf Cartel -- met his end. Why did Eduardo have photos on his phone of newspaper stories describing the 2014 capture of a man who used to be a high-ranking Gulf Cartel member known as Comandante Panochitas, or "Commander Pussy?". There's no way to independently verify Jessica Peña's claims, and she declined to be interviewed by The Texas Tribune. "The army and police largely have been bystanders. Until then, investigators hadn't known there was a third Luna brother, much less what he did for a living. Luckily, the body still had hands. With the Gulf Cartel gaining the upper hand in Reynosa, the fate of a city of 500,000 inhabitants now seems to be in the hands of a pudgy-faced … Tumblr. Franky's cell phone records, obtained by investigators, proved more useful: They showed many ingoing and outgoing calls on March 10 -- especially with co-worker Medellin, whom called Franky numerous times that day, a source close to the investigation said. "It's just kind of the way that they handle people," he said. The prison holds members of five criminal groups, including the Gulf Cartel, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel, Camberos said. Fernando wasn't there but was found the same day crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. "We believe that's what led to his demise and to his beheading.". It's not clear if Fernando Luna authored the messages, or merely forwarded them to his brother. He worked under Juan Carlos de la Cruz Reyna (alias "El JC"), a former state police officer. Text messages in Spanish were sent the day before Franky went missing from Fernando's phone number to Eduardo's phone, and they alerted police to a possible motive. But what about the Border Patrol badge? Joel was drawn to ROTC, and in high school commanders took him under their wings, giving him rides back and forth to class, Palomo recalled. "They take revenge that way.". Though records and interviews indicate they fought a lot, sometimes quite violently, when sheriff's deputies told her they'd found Franky's headless body floating in the bay, Sanchez threw herself on the bed and began crying, according to court records. And then there's the "Pajaro" gun -- possibly the murder weapon. While that's a tiny fraction of the total number of agents, report after report has suggested the known cases may be the tip of the iceberg. Available in English and Spanish, focused on the international, organized criminal networks that sustain themselves through narcotics, smuggling, and violence, Press J to jump to the feed. Don't finger anyone. His dad was a cook. It didn't take long for investigators to place Franky at the Veteran's Tire Shop the afternoon before he apparently was killed. Get out!' What was that doing in there? The Tribune requested Luna's urgent memo from U.S. Customs and Border Protection under a Freedom of Information Act Request, but the agency blocked its release, citing law enforcement and privacy reasons. They don't make them part of a criminal organization. Gunfights erupted in broad daylight. Another warned that "at any moment he is going to snitch on you," court affidavits indicate. The gunman, Joaquin “El Cruzador” or the “Crosser” Cibrian, managed to wound two local police officers and barricaded himself in a house. Gore Videos: 0: Tuesday at 11:28 AM: Gore Video Los Zetas Dismember a Man from the Northeast Cartel: Gore Videos: 0: Tuesday at 10:36 AM: Gore Video Murdered by cartel in Tamaulipas: Gore Videos: 0: Jan 23, … In a statement recorded on police dash cam video, he told detectives "that the safe did not belong to him and that he had never seen it before in his life." "My sister said they had to had to run out of there," she said. Jessica Peña told investigators that Eduardo "shot her brother in the back several times to steal two million dollars from the Gulf Cartel that her brother was guarding," according to affidavits cited as evidence that cartel money was used to purchase homes in the United States. Another girlfriend said he had boasted of smuggling immigrants into Texas. The author deserves more respect than this. Hours after Franky quit using his phone, cellular phone records -- including tower pings -- indicated that Eduardo Luna and Nestor Manuel Leal drove to Port Isabel, just across the causeway from South Padre Island, and called Fernando multiple times during the drive. It was March 16, 2015, the frenzied start of Texas Week, when thousands of spring breaking college students descend on Padre to guzzle from beer bongs and get rowdy.