Jose Juan Esparragoza Jimenez

The captured son of Sinaloa Cartel leader "El Azul" has testified his father is dead, but his statement is unlikely to stamp out rumors the drug lord is still alive and well, in what could easily build into Mexico's next big narco-conspiracy. 

While pleading not guilty to drug trafficking charges, Jose Juan Esparragoza Jimenez, alias "El Cora," stated that he was the son of the "deceased" Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno, alias "El Azul," reported Excelsior.

El Cora was arrested in Culiacan, Sinaloa on August 20 during a military operation and charged with drugs and weapons violations. According to the Interior Ministry, he belongs to a criminal group in Sinaloa state that produces methamphetamines, and traffics methamphetamines, cocaine, and marijuana to the United States, reported El Informador.

According to El Proceso, El Cora is El Azul's youngest son from his second marriage. The Attorney General's Office has yet to verify this. 

InSight Crime Analysis

News that El Azul had died of a heart attack while recovering from a car accident emerged this June, but his death has yet to be officially confirmed and rumors that he is still alive persist. Following the capture of "El Chapo" Guzman in February, El Azul became one of the Sinaloa Cartel's two remaining leaders -- along with Ismael Zambada Garcia, alias "El Mayo" -- a position that undoubtedly increased pressure from security forces. This could feasibly have prompted the aging drug lord to fake his death to ease the pressure or escape into retirement.

SEE ALSO: El Azul Profile

While these are nothing more than rumors at this time, El Azul's alleged death could become the latest addition to a series of similar narco-conspiracy theories -- at least one of which turned out to be true.

The original story of a drug lord faking his death involves Amado Carrillo -- known as the "Lord of the Skies" for his fleet of airplanes. Carillo's supposed death in 1997 from a reaction to anesthesia after undergoing plastic surgery has never been accepted by many. The rumors have been fuelled by strange occurrences, such as the brutal murder of the surgeons who operated on him.

Since then there have been several other rumored faked deaths, including that of El Azul's one time Sinaloa Cartel partner Ignacio Coronel Villarreal, alias "Nacho Coronel," who supposedly died in July 2010 but is also rumored to be alive and well.  

While the truth behind most of these stories will likely never be known, in the case of messianic drug lord and Familia Michoacana founder Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias "El Chayo," the conspiracy theories proved to be true. El Chayo was reported killed in a gun battle in 2010, but in reality continued to run operations in the state of Michoacan until he was actually killed in a shootout with security forces in March 2014.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

The power of Colombia's elites is founded upon one of the most unequal divisions of land in the world. As of the early 21st century, one percent of landowners own more than half the country's agricultural land.1  Under Spanish rule, Colombia's agriculture was organized on the hacienda...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras is currently one of the most violent countries on the planet that is not at war. The violence is carried out by transnational criminal organizations, local drug trafficking groups, gangs and corrupt security forces, among other actors. Violence is the focal point for the international aid...

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America...

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

In a new report based on extensive field research, InSight Crime and the Asociacion para una Sociedad mas Justa have traced how Honduras' two largest gangs, the MS13 and the Barrio 18, are evolving, and how their current modus operandi has resulted in staggering levels of violence...

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions...

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Faced with the government's failure to rein in the criminals, communities across crime-besieged Mexico have been trying for years to organize effective civic resistance. Michoacan's vigilantes express the most extreme response by society to date, but other efforts have been less belligerent. In battle-torn cities along the...

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

If Uruguay's proposal to regulate the production, sale and distribution of marijuana is properly implemented and overcomes political and economic hurdles, it could be the most important drug regulation experiment in decades.