Héctor Luis Palma Salazar

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Héctor Luis Palma Salazar
Hector Luis Palma Salazar.jpg
Born
Héctor Luis Palma Salazar

(1940-12-25) 25 December 1940 (age 79)
Other namesEl Güero (Blondie)
Occupation Drug lord
Employer Sinaloa Cartel
Known for drug trafficking
Height1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Spouse(s)Guadalupe Leija Serrano
Partner(s) Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán
Notes
First arrest: 1978 in USA
Second arrest: June 23, 1995 in Mexico

Héctor Luis Palma Salazar (a.k.a.: "El Güero Palma") is a former Mexican drug trafficker and leader of the Sinaloa Cartel alongside Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. [1] Palma was arrested on June 23, 1995, and extradited to the United States, where he served a jail sentence until June 2016. He was then deported back to Mexico in June 2016, when he was charged with a double murder in 1995, in Nayarit.

Contents

Early life and career

Jesús Héctor Luis Palma Salazar was born in Noria de Abajo, Mocorito, Sinaloa, Mexico, in the mid 1940s. [2] He began his life of crime as a car thief and eventually worked as a gunman for Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, under the umbrella of the Guadalajara Cartel. [3] Palma rose up the ranks, and along with Abelardo "El Lobito" Retamoza Machado and Gallardo, became a co-leader of the cartel. He was associated with Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.

Following the loss of a large cocaine shipment which was blamed on El Chapo and Palma, El Lobito was killed but Palma spared. Following El Lobito's death, Palma contacted and created an alliance with Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán of the rival Sinaloa Cartel. [4]

Palma splintered from the group, which was handed down to Gallardo's nephews in Tijuana, who later formed the Tijuana Cartel (also known as the Arellano Félix Organization). [5] Palma, along with a Venezuelan trafficker named Rafael Enrique Clavel, the one-time boyfriend of Palma's sister Minerva Palma, began operating their own cartel.

First arrest

In 1978, Palma was arrested in Arizona for drug trafficking and sentenced to eight years in a U.S. prison. Upon his release, he discovered his wife, Guadalupe Leija Serrano, had run off with Clavel and taken her and Palma's two children.

Clavel forced Guadalupe to withdraw US$7 million from a bank account and later decapitated her and shipped her head back to Palma. The two children, Jesús and Nataly, were taken to Venezuela and dropped off a bridge named Puente de la Concordia, on the border with Colombia.

Soon afterward, Clavel began working for Gallardo in the Tijuana Cartel. In retaliation, Palma executed Gallardo's lawyer and Clavel's three children. [6]

Palma returned to trafficking, this time within the Sinaloa Cartel, sharing leadership with Adrián Gómez González and El Chapo. [7]

Second arrest

Palma was arrested in June 23, 1995, after a 12-seat Lear jet he was flying on to attend a wedding party crash-landed. He was traveling from Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, to Guadalajara, Jalisco, when the jet was diverted and unable to locate a new landing strip in time. Palma survived the crash-landing and was later arrested by Mexican military officers; he originally evaded capture by traveling in full uniform as a Federal Judicial Police (PJF) officer complete with identification and an armed caravan of PJF personnel. [8]

After serving nine years in a U.S. maximum-security prison, Palma was extradited back to Mexico in June 2016, when he was charged with a double murder of police officers in 1995, in Nayarit. [9] [10] He is currently incarcerated at the Altiplano Prison, near Mexico City.

Kingpin Act sanction

On 2 June 2003, the United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned Palma under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (sometimes referred to simply as the Kingpin Act) for his involvement in drug trafficking, along with six other international criminals and three entities. [11] The act prohibited U.S. citizens and companies from doing any kind of business activity with him and virtually froze all his assets in the U.S. [12]

Corruption

Palma had managed to insert himself into the depths of the Mexican Federal Judicial Police (PJF), evading detection by posing as one in complete uniform, with identification, and traveling in a heavily armed caravan of PJF officers. It was later discovered he was able to evade capture by staying at the home of the local police commander. [8]

The corruption within the police force has been documented to have spread to the judicial system. By bribing judges, the Sinaloa Cartel has repeatedly evaded prosecution. In 2004, 18 men were arrested in possession of 28 machine guns, 2 hand guns, 223 magazines, 10,000 rounds of ammunition, 12 grenade launchers, 18 hand grenades, smoke grenades and bulletproof vests. The men were set free by Judge José Luis Gómez Martínez, who said there was no evidence they were part of any criminal organization. [13]

See also

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References

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  2. Ramírez Yáñez, Jaime (13 February 2007). "El Güero Palma y 50 kilos de cocaína". Milenio (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
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  9. "PGR colaboró con Fiscalía de Nayarit en investigación contra 'El Güero' Palma". Excelsior (in Spanish). June 16, 2016.
  10. "'El Güero' Palma arrives in Matamoros, Tamaulipas". El Universal. 15 June 2016.
  11. "DESIGNATIONS PURSUANT TO THE FOREIGN NARCOTICS KINGPIN DESIGNATION ACT" (PDF). United States Department of the Treasury. 15 May 2014. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  12. "An overview of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act" (PDF). United States Department of the Treasury. 2009. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
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