Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Félix Gallardo: The Boss of Bosses - what's he actually like?

Difficulty: 0

Hello, and welcome to Humans of History, where we break down the personalities of historic


If youre interested in the whys and whats of their traits, tastes and influences, this

channels for you.

Today, were profiling Miguel ngel Flix Gallardo.

He was El Padrino, the godfather of all godfathers, the Mexican tzar of cocaine,

the suave mastermind behind the Guadalajara Cartel.

From the mid 1970s to the late 80s, Felix Gallardo built the largest drug empire Mexico

had ever seen.

Using a network of corrupt policemen, politicians and lawmakers, he presided over a multi-billion

dollar enterprise, fostering widespread corruption across Mexican institutions.

But who was Felix Gallardo - really?

Before we take a closer look at Felix Gallardo, the man, lets get that biography in.

10 minutes - hit the clock.

Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo entered the world in January 1946, the son of a modest Sinaloan

couple in Bellavista, three miles from Culiacn, Sinaloa.

Along with his eight siblings, Felix Gallardo spent much of his childhood working the family


For a peasant child brought up in postwar Sinaloa, he received a decent education, even

studying towards a business degree after graduating from high school.

An industrious child, he worked as a travelling salesman, selling cloth and knitting materials

to regional towns on his bicycle.

He would later own a small tire business, but eager to move up the social ladder, joined

the local police force in his late adolescence.

Mainly thanks to his polished language and manners, the young man caught the attention

of the then-governor of Sinaloa, Leopoldo Snchez Celis, who made him bodyguard to

his children.

Eventually, Felix Gallardo became the governors personal body-guard, and the two would become

close friends, both acting as godfather to each others families.

Since the 1940s, Sinaloa had been involved in the illegal trade of opiates and marijuana,

which was protected by the ruling elite and the police.

Through the governors contacts, Felix Gallardo made inroads into the criminal underworld,

and by 1971, was already overseeing drug shipments into the US.

That same year, he received his first arrest warrant for crimes against the public order,

i.e. drug trafficking.

Thanks to his connections with the new governor, he evaded this warrant, the first of 15 throughout

his career.

Using the existing drug routes, Felix Gallardo increased his sales of marijuana and opiates,

rapidly going from petty smuggler to drug lord.

His valuable contacts in politics and the police force allowed him to broker the criminal

underworld and state institutions, making him a major point of call for virtually all

large-scale drug movements in the country.

Felix Gallardo also began smuggling huge amounts of cocaine through Mexico, having realised

its profitability over marijuana sales.

In 1975, Mexicos leading cocaine trafficker, Alberto Sicilia Falcn was captured.

Felix Gallardo capitalised on the power vacuum by using Sicilia Falcns old smuggling

routes, as well as his Colombians contacts in the Medelln Cartel.

By 1977, Felix Gallardo was already one of the most influential drugpins in the country,

passing himself off as a successful entrepreneur with investments in real estate, restaurants,

nightclubs, cattle and so on.

But - he was still subordinate to the top dog, Pedro Avils Prez, aka The Mountain

Lion, Mexicos first large-scale smuggler.

1977 was also the year Operation Condor was launched.

This is not to be confused with Operation Condor in South America, a US-backed campaign

of anti-communist political repression beginning in late 1975.

In Mexico, Operation Condor involved the widescale defoliation of the sprawling poppy and marijuana

plantations in the mountains of Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuaha, with personnel and aerial support

from the US.

The campaign, with the immediate deployment of 2,500 Mexican soldiers and 250 federal

police agents, was a human rights disaster.

Atrocities were committed against northwestern Mexicans, while thousands lost their homes

and were forced to move elsewhere.

It was a watershed moment for Felix Gallardo, just as it was for many drug smugglers of

the day.

The blow incentivised much greater innovation and creativity in the drug world, with far

more sophisticated networks.

Avils Prez encouraged his barons to expand operations throughout Mexico, affording greater

anonymity, and increased harvests.

Felix Gallardo, for one, moved to Guadalajara, Mexicos second largest city, and an ideal

place for traffickers to escape the heat of Operation Condor and buy property.

In September 1978, Avils Prez was killed in a shootout with police in a suburb of Culiacn.

Over the next two years, Felix Gallardo would ramp up operations to a whole new level.

Under the cover of his vast protection network, the man formed an informal coalition of the

countrys main drug plazas, establishing the now-famous Guadalajara Cartel.

It wasnt branded as a cartel at the time, but it would facilitate and increase drug

movements between the separate groups respective spheres of influence.

At the top of this syndicate were also co-founders Rafael Caro Quinto and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo

aka Don Neto, both high-ranking veterans in the Mexican drug trade.

Felix Gallardo capitalised on his connections with the Medelln Cartel, at the time the

leaders of the worlds cocaine trade, to smuggle vast quantities of the white powder

into the US.

Through an earlier deal with Colombian drugpin Jos Gonzalo Rodrguez Gacha a.k.a The

Mexican, Felix Gallardo and his partners received around 1,500 dollars for each kilo

of cocaine smuggled into the US.

The Reagan administrations War on Drugs had clamped down on previous smuggling routes

between the Caribbean and Florida.

By the 80s, the Medellin Cartel had become much more dependent on the Mexican routes,

especially as they allowed them to reach new markets in California, Arizona, Nevada and


Felix Gallardos organisation became the infamous trampoline for Colombian narcotics

smuggled into the US via Mexico.

With their newfound bargaining power, the Mexicans also began charging for their smuggling

services not in cash, but in kind.

The Guadalajara cartel carved out new routes for their share of the contraband - about

30 -50 % of all transported cocaine.

Felix Gallardoss cocaine trade raked in an estimated 5 billion dollars annually,

and Guadalajara was still scoring huge profits from the sale of marijuana and heroin.

Felix Gallardo even sat on the board of the Mexican bank that laundered these profits.

One of the Guadalajara syndicates crown jewels was the Rancho Bfalo, a 1344-acre

marijuana plantation in the state of Chihuahua.

Toiled by legions of labourers, and protected by military units, the plantation generated

an estimated 8 billion dollars annually.

In November 1984, over 450 Mexican soldiers defoliated the plantation, causing a loss

of between 3.2 to 8 billion dollars.

It was one of the - if not the - largest marijuana seizure in history.

Needless to say, it infuriated the capos.

Shortly thereafter, the cartel discovered that undercover DEA agent Enrique Kiki

Camarena had infiltrated the plantation completely unnoticed, and had leaked its whereabouts

to the Mexican army.

On the orders of Felix Gallardo and his colleagues, especially Caro Quintero, who was the most

invested in the marijuana business, on 7th of February 1985, Camarena was captured in

broad daylight by policemen on Felix Gallardos payroll.

In one of Caro Quinteros residences, Camarena was tortured for over 30 hours, kept awake

through injections of antiarrythmic agents into his heart, and brutally murdered.

Camarenas body, and that of his pilot, Alfredo Zavala Avelar, were found a month

later, dumped in a shallow grave seventy miles south of Guadalajara.

Outraged, the DEA retaliated with a massive crackdown.

Operation Leyenda was the most extensive murder investigation in DEA history, putting pressure

on the lax Mexican authorities to bring down the culprits.

Caro Quintero and Don Neto were quickly arrested that same year, but Felix Gallardos influence

bought extensive police protection and paid off officials.

He escaped arrest for another four years, operating on a much lower public profile,

but still generating the cartel millions of dollars every month.

In 1989, the new president, Carlos Salinas de Gortar, clamped down on the Guadalajara


Under US pressure - and to improve his own reputation after electoral fraud - he ordered

the arrest of El Padrino.

On the 8th April, 1989, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo was arrested at a friends home

in Guadalajara.

According to his memoirs, he was set up by high-ranking police officer, Guillermo Memo

Calderoni, who had ties to the drug trade.

Felix Gallardo claimed he was interrogated and tortured before he was incarcerated in

Mexico Citys Reclusorio Sur, in its maximum-security wing.

After his arrest, its been said Felix Gallardo supervised the fate of his empire from behind


He still intended to oversee operations, with his family receiving his earnings, but needed

to delegate responsibilities.

Through clandestine phone calls, he allegedly orchestrated a summit meeting at Acapulco

which divided the Guadalajara cartel up among his close associates, creating the Tijuana,

the Juarez, the Sonora, the Gulf, and the Sinaloa Cartels.

Felix Gallardo himself denies this.

He declared that it was the Mexican authorities who had decided to divide the cartel, specifically

the corrupt police agent Calderoni.

It was Calderoni who divided the plaza Felix Gallardo said, he did it to show

off in front of his bosses and then, he never captured anyone else anymore.

Felix Gallardo spent three years in the Reclusorio Sur, before he was transferred to the maximum

security prison of Altiplano in 1993, at which point his involvement in the trade came to

an abrupt end.

Convicted of murder, racketeering, and drug charges, Felix Gallardo was sentenced to 40

years in prison.

After two decades of appeals, Felix Gallardo was retried for the murders of Kiki Camarena

and his pilot Alfredo Zavala Avelar.

The retrial did not conclude until 2017, when Felix Gallardo was convicted and re-sentenced

to 37 years in prison.

However, due to his declining health, Felix Gallardo was moved to a medium-security prison

in Guadalajara.

Now half deaf, blind in one eye and suffering from vertigo, the godfather of the Mexican

drug trade remains behind bars.

A man of business

Lets get the record straight from the get-go.

Felix Gallardo is not somebody we should be praising.

The same applies for anybody who profits off of human vice and damaging substance abuse.

He both exploited and fostered widespread corruption in a country he claimed to love,

leaving a cancerous culture in his wake - one which plagues Mexico to this day.

With that said, we are here to look at Felix Gallardo the man, and with this, comes an

assessment of some of his natural, objective talents.

Were talking about a man, born into humble beginnings in the agricultural state of Sinaloa

who in the span of twenty years, became the most powerful drug lord in Mexico.

At the height of his power, he was boss to some of the most ruthless and power-hungry

drug lords in the world - men like Joaqun El Chapo Guzmn, the Arellano Felix

brothers, and Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

All three would become powerful capos in their own right, commanding over the Sinaloa, the

Tijuana and the Jurez cartels.

It certainly takes a unique type of man to keep these men in check, a man with a mixture

of qualities that allowed him to build and sustain an empire.

Having spent most of his career in the shadows, much of what we know about him are from testimonies

from his legal defense team, as well as the main prosecutors involved in his downfall.

He also left us with 35 pages worth of memoirs, which while poorly organised, are unique for

the drug trafficking world, and offer a glimpse into his side of the story.

All of its contents should not be taken at face value though.

To begin with, Felix Gallardo possessed singular organisational skill.

He would have worked like there was no tomorrow, building and overseeing intelligence networks,

protection rackets, drug shipments, money laundering, side businesses and property investments.

When he wasnt at work work, he was courting politicians, bankers, police staff

and businessmen at home and abroad.

Naturally, he was the sort of man who liked to be kept busy, a man of projects.

Besides his drug ventures, one of his many side businesses was his investment in some

10,000 heads of cattle, as well as a nearby laboratory for artificial insemination and

the sale of cattle semen around the world.

Even in jail, the man managed to find projects.

Gallardo recounts in his diary how while at the Reclusorio Sur, he was considered a medium-risk

inmate and for his talents, was often put in charge of the other inmates.

The deputy was so impressed by his achievements that he bought Felix Gallardo 5 canvases for

him to pursue his painting, but he also encouraged Gallardo to create other businesses that would

keep the inmates busy.

With the help of an engineering friend, Felix Gallardo and his fellow inmates manufactured

soap and vinyl paint.

The paint proved to be much cheaper than store-bought paint, and Mexican prison administrators were

so impressed with its quality that they bought 10,000 litres of it!

Of course, Felix Gallardo had natural ambition, the kind which helped go from itinerant cloth

merchant to druglord within twenty years.

But, it takes more than ambition to achieve what he did.

Javier Coello Trejo, the controversial deputy attorney general who helped bring down the

capo in 1989, said this of Felix Gallardo in an interview: you cant even begin

to imagine how naturally intelligent he is.

Flix Garza, one of Felix Gallardos later lawyers described him as the sort of man who

you could tell, simply from watching him and hearing him speak, possessed uncanny wit.

And the lawyer spoke with the capo practically one hour every day for years at Altiplano

prison - virtually the only person Felix Gallardo could see on a regular basis.

A ferocious appetite for books would feed this intelligence.

Gallardo claimed he read over 2,000 books by the early 90s - most of them behind bars.

In his younger days, he was interested in mechanics and radiocommunications, and the

police who raided his home found everything from Voltaire, to books on Mexican law, history,

and government.

He was interested in History, particularly Aztec history, but showed great affinity for

figures like Benito Juarez, Nelson Mandela, Napoleon and Mother Teresa.

While he was a free man, according to his lawyer, he sponsored some of the leading Mexican

artists of the era, including Jos Luis Cuevas and Martha Chapa.

Also, the fact that he left us with even just 35 pages of memoirs is totally unique for

the drug trafficking world, and he would write and devour books in prison, as well as paint

and make woodcuts to keep himself occupied.

Garza described Gallardos speech as perfectly clear, concise and extremely eloquent, with

a charming, smiley demeanor.

It was partly this charisma and oratory which would have allowed him to develop his network,

smooth-talking his contacts to look the other way or play an active part in his operations.

At six foot two, or 1m89, Gallardo is also impressively tall by Mexican standards; his

presence would have been quite imposing, even if commentators have called him soft-spoken.

Of course, he played the part.

With his businessman persona came the tastes one would normally associate with a businessman.

Felix Gallardo was what some would call suave.

Though not quite the dashing Diego Luna from Narcos, the real Gallardo donned slick suits

and designer clothes, with bespokely made Italian boots.

He liked nice things, but not for effect.

He collected luxury watches, but never wore them.

He had a few sports cars, but rarely drove them.

He drank whisky and brandy sparingly.

His ranch complex on the outskirts of Culiacn was impressive for the time, but in no way


He certainly wasnt one for jewelry, showy sombreros or the type of bling flaunted by

other narcos.

Generally, Felix Gallardo ran the empire like a businessman.

He was cautious, methodical and constantly planned ahead.

Edward Heath, the DEA agent who would eventually help bring the capo down, called Felix Gallardo

smarter than most other traffickers.

He said (He) was a person that didnt necessarily take these crazy chances like

other people have taken.

He was not the type of guy that would answer, for example, violence with violence all the


Journalist Jess Blancornelas seems to agree, callling Gallardo a man of his word, of

deals before shots, of convincing arguments before executions''.

Violence was kept to a minimum in the Guadalajara cartel.

If it occurred, it was generally kept among smugglers.

In comparison, Sinaloan drug lord El Chapo had considerably less restraint.

He would execute his foot-soldiers on-the-spot, no questions asked, if they missed or were

late on a drug shipment.

Felix Gallardo, however, used violence as a last resort.

Compared to his contemporaries, Felix Gallardo operated discreetly, an elusive figure running

the empire from behind the shadows.

His rings of informants kept him, his colleagues and his empire secure, at least temporarily.

He was certainly adept at finding the right police agents to trust - with the later exception

of Calderoni.

Felix Gallardo would also take the time to understand Mexican law.

Garza, for instance, notes one of his clients key attributes was his understanding that

legal battles were won with time and money and buying the loyalty of amparo judges.

In Mexico, an amparo trial is a federal trial where a complainant alleges that the authorities

violated their constitutional rights, making it one of the best legal defenses against

the government.

This bribery and the help of some of the best lawyers in the country allowed Gallardo to

ride off the 14 arrest warrants he racked up in the 70 and 80s.

Returning to the words of Edward Heath: this was not a person who wanted to attract fame

or attention to himself...Theyll go around and call themselves by a particular name...brandishing

guns...he was not like that.

He was one that wanted to control, coordinate, but very quietly.

A Man of Principles: Reading his diaries and memoirs, one gets

the impression Felix Gallardo was socially conscious.

To call him a Robin Hood figure teeters on the edge of falsehood, however, he does seem

to have been guided by some sincere beliefs of social justice and equality.

He stands in the minority among Mexican and other Latin American capos for his social


In his diaries, he revealed the highlands of Mexico are largely neglected; theres

no higher education, no roads, no medical centres, communications or security; theres

no such thing as microcredits for the countryside, aid for agriculture, timber, husbandry or

mining etc. only repression.

He also wrote of how he was profoundly impacted by Operation Condor in 1977, during which

the Mexican military terrorised peasants with electric prods, gouging out eyes, ramming

their heads down toilets, and forcing carbonated drinks and gasoline up their noses.

Perhaps it was this instance seeing the results of Operation Condor, where Mexican

soldiers stripped the population of their lands and farms and many others like it

that fueled Gallardos interest in improving society.

Through the influence of the Guadalajara cartel, Felix Gallardo was a well-known philanthropist,

his efforts staying close to home.

In his eyes, the cartels plantations, as well as its distribution and protection networks,

created jobs for those who needed them.

El Padrino was also the main donor for the library of Sinaloas main university, and

he sponsored various other universities across the country.

Felix Gallardo personally paid the rent for several student apartments in Sinaloa, and

he funded housing for Sinaloan students in Guadalajara and Mexico City.

In a play on his own cartel nickname, Felix Gallardo was known as the godfather of Sinaloa

Universitys law and political science departments between 1984 to 1989.

His actions were not just limited to students and universities.

Hospitals benefitted from his patronage, and he even owned a pharmacy.

Gallardo also subsidized construction and husbandry, providing agricultural aid to the

people of Sonora, Sinaloa and Jalisco.

By his own account, Gallardo was so powerful that he was often called on to act as a sort

of vigilante figure, in true godfather fashion.

In his diary, he wrote about a particular episode in 1986.

While he was reading the morning paper, he read a headline that a family of seven in

Mazatln had been butchered while watching television even the family cat had been


Before leaving his home, Gallardo was intercepted by his wife, asking him if he wanted breakfast.

He showed her the article and said, Who could possibly eat with that on their mind?

Im going to sort this out.

When he arrived at his office, Gallardo summoned his most senior police chiefs, demanding I

want those responsible for this massacre, whoever they are, and I want them alive and

in jail within 72 hours.

A manhunt ensued at all levels of his intelligence network, from policemen to hairdressers, doctors

to taxi-drivers.

True to his word, the assassins were eventually found and incarcerated.

When the capo interrogated the assassin, he asked him the reason for the most baffling

part of the whole crime: why did you kill the cat?.

The assassin replied it could be a witness in the afterlife.

Prosecutor Coello Trejo claimed that Felix Gallardo was difficult to interrogate because

he didnt fully see himself as a criminal.

In his own words, he and his associates didnt kill or rob or impoverish Mexicans like many

politicians did.

His involvement in the drug trade was all business.

He believed he was acting within his moral rights, even if he was outside the law.

He didnt create drug abuse or the market for drugs.

He was simply an entrepreneur supplying a demand, created by the same foreigners

that brought him down, meanwhile taking advantage of a corrupt sociopolitical system that predated


When journalist Diego Enrique Osorno asked Felix Gallardo about his political views,

El Padrino said he thought capitalism was only useful if it provided jobs and equality.

When capitalism devolved into excess wealth and the abuse of workers, it was no longer

a social good.

With regard to socialism, he stated that he supported any collective association designed

with equality and fairness in mind.

Felix Gallardos humanitarianism may have been partly influenced by his religious beliefs.

According to several sources, he was a devout Catholic.

His parents were also Catholics who fought in the Cristero War, a 1920s uprising of Catholic

Mexicans in response to anticlerical legislation widely viewed as atheistic.

Felix Gallardo had a relative who was blessed by the pope, and he even met Pope John Paul


This moment was captured in a photograph, which he had framed during his confinement

in the Reclusorio Sur.

Felix Gallardo also exchanged letters with Pope John Paul II, and later, Pope Benedict,

requesting blessings for his family.

According to Coello Trejo, the capo also heavily subsidised the Catholic Church in Mexico.

Even from behind bars, he would send candles for the funerals of people in his circles;

on one occasion, he bought a mortuary just to close it because he felt the owners were

overcharging for their services, exploiting the grief of family members.

Taking all this into consideration, you could make the case that these offerings were designed

for the social good, with no strings attached.

Gallardo placed special importance on education and employment, for example, as means to tackle

crime and delinquency.

His philanthropy could well have been PR stunts, perhaps designed for eventual recruitment,

or they could have been genuine.

The big irony, of course, is that he himself fostered a climate where crime and delinquency

ran rampant, while supplying substances that destroy lives and stunt communities.

Still a Murderer?

Even looking at what could be considered positive attributes a sense of social justice,

philanthropy and so on the truth still remains: Felix Gallardo is in prison for the

murder of a federal agent.

The question of Kiki Camarenas brutal assassination looms large.

Did Felix Gallardo order it?

The answer is, we dont know for sure.

Or, at least there dont seem to be any published sources truly substantiating it.

Its generally agreed he was involved in his capture.

As for Camarenas torture and murder, theres a big question mark.

Gallardo flatly denies it, as do his lawyers and his family.

Some have pointed to other atrocities connected to Felix Gallardo to present him as a man

capable of great evil, and therefore easily a main suspect for Camarenas brutal murder.

One such crime is the massacre of the family of high-ranking drug smuggler Hector El

Guero Palma.

After Palma was caught stealing a drug shipment, Palmas wife was seduced by a paid hitman.

After eloping with her and taking her children, the hitman killed and decapitated her.

Her head was sent to Palma in a coolbox.

Two weeks later, the two children, aged 5 and 4, were thrown off a 500-foot bridge in


The hitman filmed it and sent the tapes to Palma.

Rumours circulated that Felix Gallardo masterminded the killings.

Palma, as well as El Chapo, certainly had no doubt the capo was behind it.

That said, there doesnt seem to be much evidence to support this.

The execution order was also attributed to the Arellano Felix brothers, leaders of the

newly created Tijuana cartel.

The brothers had violent, psychopathic track records, and they would soon be at war with

Palma, El Chapo and the Sinaloa cartel.

They may be much likelier culprits, but that doesnt exclude Felix Gallardos involvement

in the murders.

Regarding the assassination of Camarena, several details have emerged that cast some doubt

on how guilty he really is.

He has repeatedly claimed that he did not think he should be freed from prison, but

he still reiterates his innocence with regard to Camarenas torture and death.

This is something Gallardo has done since the beginning.

In his memoirs, he relates that shortly after his arrest, when he met Edward Heath, Gallardo

professed his innocence and said youve all said Im crazy, but Im not crazy,

I deeply regret the loss of your agent.

He also cites Ted Heath as a witness to the torture and abuse he sustained under Coello

Trejos orders, who reportedly prevented him from providing evidence that would prove

his innocence.

Then again, a guilty drug lord would say something like that wouldnt they.

But he may not be too off the mark.

Gallardos lawyer made an official statement that only one of the three main capos was

behind Kiki Camarenas torture and murder.

Even though the lawyer was bound by confidentiality, and could not reveal the identity of the true

culprit, he still denied Gallardos involvement.

If he was telling the truth, that means that either Rafael Quintero or Don Nesto was fully

behind Camarenas execution.

Whether or not Gallardo is responsible for Camarenas death really depends who you


According to former DEA agent Hector Berrellez, all of the capos were present at the house

while Camarena was being tortured.

Mike Vigil, former DEA Chief of International Relations, claims Rafael Quintero was involved

in the torture and delivered the final blow.

However, he is certain that Felix Gallardo was behind the murder, saying: He's a psychopath

and would continue his destructive ways if he were ever to get out of prison.

On the other hand, director Tiller Russells Amazon documentary, the result of 14 years

worth of research surrounding Camarenas death, reveals it was one of the torturers

who delivered the final blow, not Rafael Quintero.

As for Kikis widow, Mika Camarena, she stated in an interview that she believes that

those who were responsible for her husbands death have been apprehended.

Other commentators have said that Felix Gallardo would never have ordered Kikis murder,

that he knew full well the implications this would have on Mexican relations with the US,

as well as the security of his drug empire.

There is certainly scope for skepticism of the Mexican justice system at the time.

Felix Gallardos trial was widely believed to have been politically motivated, to maintain

good relations with the outraged officials in the US.

So, do the authorities have the wrong guy?

Most likely, no.

Theres probably much more that we do not know and/or thats still classified in official


In any case, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo was tried and sentenced as the intellectual

author of Kikis torture and death.

He was once again convicted in 2017 and remains behind bars.

Final thoughts:

Miguel Angel Felix was a one-off in the Latin American drug trade.

Though in no way a figure worth celebrating, theres no hiding that he was an efficient,

ambitious and clear-sighted pragmatist who ran his empire like a business mogul.

His charm, wit, and eloquence were instrumental in building and sustaining an organisation

that did not need frequent violence to run like a well-oiled machine.

He was especially resourceful in exploiting the contacts hed made first in the police

force, then in politics.

With his ties to the Colombian cocaine trade, and overseeing of the various drug plazas

in Mexico under one umbrella, the product kept flowing northward.

He would build the largest syndicate the country had ever seen, but it would all come crashing


Outrage over Kiki Camarenas murder in 1985 ended the protection Gallardo had fostered

around himself and his empire for years.

His downfall four years later exposed how deep Gallardos influence and pockets ran,

while shedding light on the corruption in the Mexican police force and government.

Gallardos arrest ended any hope that the different cartels could coexist.

The Guadalajara cartel divided into smaller cartels, but without the Guadalajara umbrella

to keep the dissonant voices in control, the factions violently fought over influence and


The Pandoras box of the Mexican cartels had been opened.

The bloodshed and violence of the Mexican Drug War plagues the region to this day, with

no end in sight.

The Description of Félix Gallardo: The Boss of Bosses - what's he actually like?