This is an excerpt from the book "Miss Narco" written by Javier Valdez Cárdenas:
Carolina's life was marked from his childhood, since he saw his uncle, Lamberto Quintero, a famous and generous local capo, sniffing cocaine. He was on top of a white horse, with that long-sleeved guayabera, also white. Inside a small jar, with a lid that integrated a small spoon, the powder. He had a white nose.
Carolina asked if he was sick. Uncle told him he had a cold. And there was a pason.
Uncles, cousins, narcos. The whole family surrounded by traffickers. It was the seventies, the empire of machine guns roaring up at the funerals. They drink. Her mother, insistent, made efforts to demarcate herself, especially after her husband was shot dead, because of one of her relatives.
He wanted to be away from Rafael Caro Quintero, from Octavio Páez, who practically owned Caborca, in the state of Sonora, and others. He painted the line, although it was not enough.
But the abyss of drug trafficking awaited you. Always, crouching, he waited behind the bushes, past the corner, behind the door, the walls, in the dark look of a nine millimeter, in the hard hands of Carolina's boyfriend.
Héctor was an employee of a parcel delivery company. There he and Carolina met. He was a quiet young man, who did not drink or smoke much less used drugs. But I exchange that gentle look, with a flash of good attention and beautiful words, of those who fall in love with any teenager, when he began to go to Chihuahua, to the pinch of apple. A green apple, leafy, with a sheep's tail: marijuana.
Carolina's father was a good man. Rosalío Caro Páez worked as a secret agent for a state government official. It was an official, a raised politician who kept him there, gathering information on the street, events, meetings. Rosalío gave him the information so that he could take the measures he considered important. Rosalío was a policeman and he was honest. In addition, it had dump trucks, units for transporting construction materials.
Rosalío did not like fights and if he messed with them it was to solve them, as a negotiator or intermediary. That's how he got into the problem his cousin brought. The relative that was narco and got into muddles because he was gandaya: he knew the day, the time, trajectory, everything, when someone of his opponents was going to deliver some cargo of drugs. He surprised them by channeling them, surpassing them in number of gunmen, he kept the merchandise. He did so many times, getting into muddles and also getting into his family. And on that occasion I touch Rosalío.
Several strangers arrived to find their cousin. Rosalío was there, visiting, in that town. He went out to attend them with the intention of talking with them, fixing things, having an agreement. They did not listen. It was evident that they did not want to negotiate, but to adjust accounts to lead and fire, and since they did not find the narco relative, they killed Rosalío. He was 42 years old and his daughter Carolina, only seven, and also brothers, four of them men. Rosalío, who always looked at friends and relatives, had now given his life.
At the death of the father, Carolina's family was adrift ... only one of the uncles, Lamberto Quintero Páez, was in solidarity with them. While others, like Octavio Páez, abandoned them.
Lambert was always in white: that long-sleeved guayabera, to hide the large mole that appeared in his forearm and which had him complexed. He arrived in his luxury van and shouted to Carolina and his brothers to go to the unit box and lower everything they had there, which was for them: milk, eggs, meat, vegetables etc.
In a hurry, when the pantry was over and the refrigerator became cold, Carolina's mother sent you to look for her uncle Lamberto, at her home in the Hidalgo neighborhood in Culiacán, to help them with some money. Lambert in his yard, with his five, six bodyguards, guarded. And the one on his white horse, with its transparent jar and the dust to suck, looked raised, huge, unattainable. But not for your nephews. He took out rolls of bills and handed them over.
Carolina remembers that “he always told us 'have children, give him his mother, tell him that when he is offered, that there is no problem that he does not hesitate to look for me, I will always help them', and so it was, he never abandoned us I can't stop shaking hands. ”
He still remembers that anecdote that Lambert told, between laughter that always ended in laughter, about his uncle Manuel, a narco who was very brave with his enemies and with the federals.
In a confrontation with bullets, the agents demanded from the boss why he shot them with a .45 caliber pistol and he replied: "Because I don't have a .46 caliber."
Lambert was like that, funny, generous and familiar. He had houses for his four women. And he attended to everyone, just like the children he had with each of them. Food, tickets, gifts, cars, parties and whims for everyone. I played with the children and visited them. He loved his wife and their partners.
He took pains in new conquests, as in business, drug movements, money as the result of so much transaction.
Lambert was a friend and partner of Pedro Aviles and Heliodoro Cázares Laija, "El Culichi", and enemy of the Lafarga, a family that was competing in the local drug trafficking business.
It was they, the Lafarga, who persecuted and riddled him in the vicinity of El Salado, along the Mexico 15 highway, that January 28, 1975, in Culiacán. Lambert responded to the attack but was badly injured and was transferred to a private clinic, Santa María, where he died hours later, according to reports from the PGJ of Sinaloa.
The response of Quintero's partners was no less violent. In one of those days 10 people were shot dead. The sides shared bullets and bursts, but also dead.
When Carolina was still a child, she saw her lacerated, dwarfed and sad life, for the loss of her father, and for the contrasts: her poverty that led them to ask for money to pay for electricity and water, and to eat what she sent them his uncle Lambert, and the wealth of his relatives, some of them close by, whose children burned the 20-peso banknotes, just out of the market, to light up Christmas and New Year's Eve.
At the beginning of the eighties, Carolina arrived at age 17 and went with her brothers and mother to a wedding in Caborca, in the northern part of the state of Sonora. The boyfriend was Miguel Caro Quintero, Rafael's brother, the bonnet boss, who had growing power in the northwest of the country.
On the tables, covered with white tablecloths, with lace, there were soft drinks, aluminum tanks to preserve ice cubes, beers, bottles of whiskey and tequila, and generous portions of cocaine. The white powder was there, on the table, as if it were snack or drink, snack, ornament, cookies or pate. The guests acted without dissimulation: in plastic bags or envelopes that they themselves made with pieces of paper or cardboard, they used the plate, took a little with a spoon, filled their small tanks and went to the bathroom or the patio to inhale.
The party was in a huge place, inside a hotel. The hotel, the gas station, the middle town and other businesses were one of the uncles: Octavio Páez. The next day was the post-wedding and the family took the opportunity to celebrate a baptism. They were all on a ranch near the city, also owned by the capo.
The godfathers, who were in the business like most of the attendees, summoned everyone present to the traditional “godfather bolus”. They took out bags and suitcases. They shoved hands and bales of dollars emerged. They unpacked the packages and threw them into the air. The bills fell dancing to the rhythm of the wind. Some remained with other bills and fell faster. And the assistants threw themselves to the ground, pushed, broke stockings and scraped to reach 10 and 20 dollar bills.
Carolina saw the scene. He wanted to run, also jump into the prey of banknotes, rebatinga of his own cavity. But it stopped. It seemed unworthy, humiliating. She felt disgusted, brought to her mind the pain of having lost her father, the shortcomings, her mother's work in order to continue having house and food, and the turned faces of her uncles when they came to them to ask for support. “'I'm not going to keep those beggars dogs,' said one, and I heard him from outside the house we had come to ask for some sugar.”
And then he wanted to jump. Roll over, fight, push and bite if necessary. Catch one, two, three, four bills. Taking them to his brothers, his mother. And show them triumphant, shake them, feel yours, her and her family, and have to eat tomorrow and the past and maybe next week. He wanted and stopped. He said inside that no. And I compare the rebatinga with a lawsuit of dogs. Mangy, hungry and miserable dogs.
In December of that year, as if to crush the wound and slap the famine, he saw his cousins in the celebration before Christmas dinner. The children released clothes and some brought a hat. They acted as capitos, like their parents, owners, kings, demigods of power and money. They stood like them, talked, repeated their gestures, ordered and brought, just like them, bills overflowing their front bags. And again the scene: one of them, proud, erect and presumptuous, took out a package of tickets. They were 20 pesos. They lit them with a lighter. And then they lit the popcorn, hunt and crackers with the fire of the bills.
Carolina wanted to take them off, get the tickets. Avoid burning their hopes in front of her.
Carolina has traced in his memory the day his uncle Octavio approached him. Very close, distance from bee. I take advantage that Carolina's mother was several meters away and would not listen to him.
“He told me that if I wanted all that it could be mine. My uncle Octavio extended his arm and pointed forward, to the sides, pointed to the territories, fruit trees, the planting of corn, tens, hundreds of head of cattle, land and more land. ”Carolina thought it was for his father , who had been shot dead because of his uncle, and that was a way of wanting to give him back.
The lord was around 50 years old and the control he exercised in the region was unobjectionable. The wind had its name. The politicians knelt. The businessmen crossed themselves in their path.
And he said to me: "Do not walk with that commoner." In his opinion, his nephew Hector was not going to give him what she deserved. And instead, with his uncle he would have everything at his feet, what his eyes saw and beyond, but he had to go live with him to Caborca, Sonora and be his wife. One of them.
His mother remained absent. Not even noticed. She looked at him without gesturing. He felt nauseous, shame, terror. Your uncle. Uncle of her boyfriend. He who stole drug from others, gandaya and cheater. It was the same. Carolina could not answer. He said nothing. He fell silent.
The city began to grow on the banks, houses multiplied and new subdivisions appeared. The pavement does not reach or reach, the asphalt barely covers some roads. The cobblestone remains, remains, transcends: so it is in Tierra Blanca, very close to the rivers, receiving the families that descended from the mountains, who emigrated to Durango, from nearby towns such as Mocorito and Badiraguato, fleeing from the destruction operations of unnerving army, leaving the mountains where pines and fresh air abound, but there is no future.
They were the times of Pedro Avilés, the "Culichi", Lamberto Quintero, Rafael Caro Quintero, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, Alfonso Cabada, Manuel Salcido, who were nicknamed the "Cochiloco", and Ernesto Fonseca, among other capos. Dark times. Violent times.
The cases of intentional homicides totaled around 6,000 during the government of Antonio Toledo Corro and according to human rights organizations, 3,700 in that of Francisco Labastida Ochoa.
In Tierra Blanca, the capos and their families were concentrated. The narcos, the hitmen, operators, sellers, there, because it is close to the mountain, because the road communicates quickly to one of the exits of the city. All there, in a colony of streets with river stone carpet: round stones, geometric, almost the same size, aesthetic and idiot….
The mansions house the drug traffickers and their families. The shootings are concentrated in this sector of Culiacán. There they grab, bump into the streets and shoot. They are challenged from car to car, they bloody the cabins, the foil of the LTD, the leather seats on the driver's side and the co-driver. There are no “lifts” or kidnappings. The city at the time was of homicides, abductions and rapes, but there were codes of honor, golden rules that no one should break at the time of the murders and executions: not women or children.
The houses in Tierra Blanca are mansions, bunkers, safe spaces: they have passageways that communicate with other properties, hiding places for wives and children, to store money and drugs, basements for doom.
The anger was between them and between them they managed. The rest of the city spaces, cinemas and shopping centers, the new subdivisions and the old city, remained alien, near Tierra Blanca, but far from so many shootings and their bloody balance.
“Héctor arrived with a melon,” says Carolina. That's what they called the young people a million pesos. It was his first pay, his profit, after several months in a foreign land, in the planting of the grass.
They had six years of beautiful courtship, enmielado of courtesies, affections and attention. He spent half the year with them, hands clasped, hugging her tenderly. The other half disappeared to devote to the cultivation of enervants. Six months in the mountains. Hector decided to spend that money on fixing his mother's house. Until he chose to marry Carolina in 1988.
A year later they had a girl, with whom he became so fond that he was not encouraged to leave her to go to the wedding of some friends and relatives in Guadalajara. Those were men who were in business. He had to attend, close deals, make public relations, have friction, look forward. But the baby cried so much that he decided to stay at home. The next day he read in the newspapers and knew that he had been saved.
The guests were at the house of the boyfriend, named Macario Quintero, who went out for a moment to make some purchases. They were ready for the wedding. They lived together and prepared for the party, when the police arrived. Those inside the house were laid on their stomachs, handcuffed and with their hands behind. Each new guest who arrived at the residence was thrown on the ground and handcuffed. For some reason the boyfriend did not return. The news in the newspapers said that among the detainees was a “heavy” drug trafficker.
Hector went crazy. It was not enough not to have been there and to have been saved from the police operation and its arrests. The news caused him an overflowing anxiety, a despair that occupied his entire body.
That afternoon, when he was browning, he drank his first beer and disappeared. He returned insane, with his nose dusty and the band playing. That was how it was until dawn. Music, coca and beer. Until bewitched.
He thought to get rich by dealing drugs. He thought about that and finishing the dust by flirting all night, paying the drum, buying and buying beer until the 110 thousand pesos he had in one day were spent, from the afternoon or evening, until the early hours.
Carolina saw it and did not know it. He was not the same as holding his hand when they walked peacefully. But then she unknown herself.
She went with her daughter, for months. Hector was driving, heading north, when they were stopped at a Federal Judicial Police checkpoint. Hector's hands were shaking when he was asked to come down. He got out of the car, sculpted it carefully, asked him some questions. Another policeman looked at the woman with the baby in her arms. I covered her because I was breastfeeding her. The policeman looked inside, without moving anything.
They let them pass, Hector released. The baby stopped breastfeeding. Carolina felt more. He touched with his right the small bulk of a kilo of weight, wrapped in plastic attached to his skin with adhesive tape. He brought it in the belly, wide. It was heroine.
Hector became an alcoholic, drug addict, drug salesman, trafficker and mequetrefe. He liked to scream. Make noise. He entered his house screaming, knocking on the door, furniture, opening and closing drawers, the mother lying to everyone and no one.
In 1989 Carolina became pregnant for the second time. After living in her mother's house, they went to the house he had built with illegal money.
Héctor worked with a drug dealer named Ramón Meza, who was selling drugs for kilos. He was a musician, narcocorridos interpreter, very famous. He came and went from Caborca, to carry and bring merchandise. It was lost for weeks, months. And he came back with a fortune. To spend it on bacchanalia.
He invested part of his earnings by building compartments, "Nails", in the trailers so that the merchandise was not found by the police. They covered these compartments with carbon paper. That way, he thought, it would not be detected by US customs chambers.
Hector started yelling at Carolina and hitting her. She, scared, was returning to her mother's house, seeking refuge. He sued him for domestic violence before the System for the Integral Development of the Family (DIF), but they did nothing to him. And he went to Nayarit, with some relatives before he returned.
Resolved, Carolina asked for a divorce. Argument before him and in front of the Family Judge who no longer wanted to be with him, who beat him and mistreated him. He said he didn't want that situation for her or for her children. He laughed and sent her to the fuck. She hired a lawyer to represent him and bring the lawsuit. He, laborious and echón, used his conqueror gifts, and ended up eating shaken fish and seafood with that lawyer in a nearby port.
Although he was not good-looking, he had his blows of "tongue", of good talkative, boastful, who solved everything by talking, convincing and teaching money. Buying everything.
In 1990 Carolina had her son. Hector went to do a 'little job' to the United States and the following month she gave birth. When he returned he brought a new car of the year. It was a limited edition, special, luxury Buick, with the Olympics logo on the seats. He saw his family almost sideways and went to visit one of his girlfriends. He gave the vehicle to the lady but promised to deliver it later. He had a son with her. He took her to his house, when Carolina was not there, and offered him housing, but to wait until it was finished and furnished.
So he went on, coming and going, between punches, slapping, threats and coca. Gone of the mind. Gone, become an orate. An ogre lived in Hector's body. A monster that emerged when he walked Santiago, coco.
He contacted people from Tijuana. They agreed that they would facilitate the job and did work together. They gave him false identification, another name and even social security card. He was successfully wearing 'chiva' attached to the body, under the shoes, inside the tennis, in the hollows of the soles, in the socks.
Family members saw him sick. They learned about Carolina's blows and all the hells and convinced him to enter a rehabilitation center in San Luis Río Colorado, where he was held for four months. On December 12, he returned, promising himself and everyone, including his wife, that he would work honestly. They believed him. But before one month was over, he became entangled again with bottles and dust. And pregnant Carolina again.
That afternoon Héctor returned with a group of friends, all from his club. He saw her outside his house and threw a bag of meat for roasting. She got upset and yelled at him. Hector shoved her and began to hang her. A neighbor saw them and shouted at her. They took Carolina to the hospital because she felt her abdomen hard, had colic and contractions. Hector came with flowers and speeches for his forgiveness. And he forgave him.
That child was born badly. He has learning problems. It does not hold. She believes that everything originated in that incident. It was the balance of that frustrated roast beef.
When Carolina still had to rest, or have sex at least in the forty days after delivery, stay that way, rest and take medicine as part of a long treatment, Hector came up with a party with his relatives. At night, he took her by surprise, put his fingers in his mouth reaching his throat. He drowned her ... raped her.
Hector was absent for a few hours. Carolina felt bad, with a sore throat, humiliated. He returned and put a gun on his forehead. "What does it feel like," he asked. "It feels."
As he could, Carolina was released and spoke to the police. When the patrol arrived, the gendarmes stayed outside. He, inside, beat her, insulted her. Carolina and the children screamed. Outside the agents just looked at each other.
She came out, bloody, halfway and demanded. He emerged victorious, with a nine millimeter on the right. He insulted them. He told them "Go to hell," and the cops left.
“I like guns, but I don't know how to use them.” Carolina talks about the nine millimeters and her eyes sparkle. It is not the look of the murderer, but of our daily narco, of his narco. “The weapon is very pretty. I like it. I like it and it scares me because I don't know how to use them. They are dangerous."
Someone of confidence told Carolina to do the same, to grab the gun and put it on his chest or head ...
That night he arrived and as soon as he opened the door he struck Carolina with a crosshead. She was bleeding from the head, from above the ear. He pulled out the hand he kept behind, which he held on his back. He pointed.
He turned yellow. White. His eyes went out. “He told me 'No, Carolina', and I answered 'How not'. And I asked him 'to see what it feels like, what it feels like to be pointed at you with a gun, to put it in your heart.' '
Both calmed down. One of the children saw the scene and took advantage of an oversight to take the gun and store it under a basket in the yard.
In his stubbornness, Hector put God and the devil in the blender of his life. Heading to the children's party, he told his eldest son to carry the cardboard package in which the gift was going. The package had a bun and was lined with colorful wrapping paper.
The girl was moved because carrying the gift meant that she would also deliver it to the party. The mother warned Hector not to involve them, but the father just told the girl, whatever happens, don't let go, don't give it to anyone, until I tell you. ”And on the way, With the children in the car, they were stopped by a police and army checkpoint. He and Carolina were lowered. The children stayed inside, while the agents checked Hector, Carolina and the car without much effort. The girl stood still, with hard, wooden arms and wooden feet. "Everything is fine," shouted one of the uniformed men, and they let them go. When they arrived at the party, Hector took the gift from his daughter. He said "I'm coming now", and went to get good wool for a kilo of coca.
When the girl grew up, she wanted a 15-year-old party. I wanted and not. He told his mother that he better not, because his father was probably going to get drunk, he was going to make a fuss, to hit him.
Better not. But his father promised him he would behave. And he did it ... during the party.
In the end, he wanted to grab Carolina's truck. She refused. Already drunk and with several masons in his nostrils, Hector grabbed her by the hair, and shook her hard, drawing blood from her head.
In January 2002, Carolina went to Nayarit for five months. And began to futurear. He looked for work in the government and got it. He saw the house he had built and did not assume it as his. He got a loan and bought a house of social interest, on the banks of the city. He expanded it, put garage, railings, fence and kitchen.
Héctor emigrated to the United States. Their scandals reached beyond borders. A sister of his, who was from a religion, called him and put him in rehab. It was a drastic method: neither beer nor soda nor coffee. Just pray.
Hector returned and remained at peace for a few months. His costume vanished when they were lost and transformed back, falling from Santiago and with frozen jaws, locked by the alkaloid.
In a new attempt, his daughter put him to another rescue center for addicts. He went to the sections in the evenings: he arrived at five in the afternoon and returned at 3 in the morning, to accompany him, and he saw how they gave soup to patients who in the sections, which were 12 hours, nodded or They fell asleep. He must stay that way, awake. And his daughter, with him.
"For you to see," the specialists, the administrators of the rehabilitation centers and supposed therapists told them, "what your wives, their mothers, their siblings and children feel when you do not arrive at home, at night or early in the morning, because they are drunk, drugging, addicted. ”
Another opportunity asked Héctor. Carolina forgave him again. He almost killed her again. Drunk and drugged, he asked for the keys to the truck and she refused. Then, he threw the unit thiner and before he set it on fire Carolina threw the keys.
The next day Carolina went to the Public Ministry. I denounce him for injuries, death threats, car theft and property damage. The Attorney General's Office determined that she and her children needed security, which is why they were assigned escorts and police surveillance.
Hector, according to Carolina, insisted, in the midst of a doubtful regret, he said he did not want to lose his wife or children. And they, the relatives who previously helped him and who had now given up in the face of so many recurrences, replied that it was too late: "You already lost them."
Hector was getting worse every time. Few people wanted to do business with him. His reputation as problematic, irresponsible, echón and drug, I leave out of play. As a trafficker, having thousands and millions of pesos, he had declined to a mere addict. A troubled, heavy, pungent and mouthful drug.
Carolina and her children had a good relationship, but the discussions were not lacking. The children were psychotic, altered. It is the inheritance of a father like Hector, the living testimonies of so many aggressions and frustrations. In the middle of a dispute, the young daughter announced to her mother that she was better off with her father. But at night, in the house where Hector put other men with whom he got drunk and they flirted, she did not sleep. He locked the door and remembered that his mother did not sleep either when he was in similar circumstances. The daughter remained crouched, hidden, locked, shaking, rocked in her bedroom. And he better came back.
The same happened with the eldest son, who wanted to stay with him for a while, but he returned with his mother when his father was about to hang him.
A group of agents in the area of intentional homicides intercepted Hector. They executed against him an arrest warrant for attempted murder, injuries, threats. He was surprised, moved his people, talked to his contacts, tried to bribe them. But nothing turned out. Nobody paid attention to him. He talked on the phone with his daughter, telling him he was going to change, to ask his mother to grant him forgiveness, not to be left in jail, that he would sign everything including divorce. The daughter told the mother. Carolina didn't believe anything, but so much insistence and her daughter's intervention disarmed her. And he neglected: that Monday of 2008 he went to the penitentiary and signed the pardon. Hector left, thanked and left. She realized, then, when he fled from there, that he had not signed her divorce or anything. That he had lost again.
Héctor was around, Pululando. His friends were drug addicts and not traffickers. They walked with pennies, without bills, in an old and faded truck. He wanted to run over Carolina and his mother, but the unit crashed with stones that were near the sidewalk and widened. The drug addicts managed to get out of there in regrets, between his fury and that look injected with reds, coffees and purples. And the scare of Carolina and her mother.
Carolina keeps her job and her children, who study and work. Sell flowers on Mother's Day, carnations and chrysanthemums on the Day of the Dead, Christmas toys and clothes when winter comes.
He doesn't want anything with the narcos. They are not his or her world. Perhaps from his past. He was left with the memory of his three brothers shot dead, one of them apparently, on the orders of his wife who, ambitious, wanted to keep the money that he did not deny him.
His uncle Octavio Páez was killed by a bullet nephew, for betrayals, debts, drugs, agandalles and lies. "And some of his daughters ran away, shouting 'I don't want to be rich, I don't want money, I want to be poor', when there were police and army operations to arrest his father, in Caborca."
His uncle Rafael Caro is in jail (now free), in the Maximum Security prison of La Palma, in the State of Mexico. Lamberto Quintero is dead. And others are detained, shot dead or running away.
Carolina maintains her therapy sessions. That is why he does not cry, even if it seems to be drowning. Holds the gaze and recovers the voice. “One learns from everything. It was a very hard stage that of living with an alcoholic person, a puncher. It is an ordeal. It is degrading, debuting.
“I was used to living well, in exchange for those blows. Both chingadazo could have killed me. ”
And remember with a half smile the 10 thousand dollars spent on purchases in the United States: clothes, shoes, jewelry, perfumes.
"But one very expensive pays how well lived." He paid a high price. And he keeps paying. His remains appear in that sore nostalgia. It seems the remains of her, what remains, what is perceived and projected. But she knows herself a hero. And who knows its history thus locates it. A national hero in the homeland of his home, of himself, his home, his children. Because, he says, he came back from an ordeal. He pierced the fire. Or, rather, he rose again.
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