Re-posting a picture I shared in the "Rare Narco Photos" thread.
Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen AKA Tony Tormenta. I was told this was a picture from his daughter's quinceñera several years back.
Story: I saw him once in 2009 at Taqueria Lilia in Matamoros when I was out for dinner. He was in and out in about 15 minutes. As soon as waiters saw him and his men (they were about 6 or 7 total), they got them what they wanted right away before everyone else's food orders. They didn't take our phones or forced us to stay inside until he was done, but no one dared to leave or use their mobiles while we were there. They didn't look at anyone in the eyes and were gone before we finished eating.
I've mentioned this in the forum before but I'll share it again since it's about Tony Tormenta (TT). I used to workout in the same gym as George Cardenas (TT's son) in Seccion 16 neighborhood in Matamoros many years ago. He was a kind guy, didn't come off as pompous or aggressive. I kept my distance and would greet him but that's about it. Lots of cops and gangbangers used to workout in that gym too. I never saw George with bodyguards. I was once told by someone who knew George from Hanna High School (where he attended) that when George wanted to see his dad, TT's own men would cover his head and take him to the undisclosed location. That's how careful TT was at the end of his run. When TT was killed, George moved to Brownsville for good. Never saw him again.
TT was very feared in Matamoros. After El Karis was killed in 2009, TT started extorting businesses in Matamoros, including mine. Guys showed up at my business one morning (they were actually very cordial), and told me they were coming on behalf of "Señor Tormenta". They told us that we could call them if we ever needed anything or if someone ever stole, owed us money or was bothering us. We never did. I think TT and others knew that the Gulf/Zetas alliance was going to break apart sooner or later and were looking to make money some way or another. After TT was killed, they never stopped by again.
That's quite the personal experience probably a 1 st hand 1 on here of being extorted business wise!What kind of a business ( and if that might be a giveaway I understand if you don't answer)?How long did it go on and was it monthly and did it increase?
Wow, MX. You have actually experienced extortion? How was the feeling when these people came by? Were you afraid or pissed off or what did you think?
I have sometimes imagined how it would be like to have some gangsters come by and do the same in my safe corner of the world, and I always imagine that I ask these thugs how they propose I report that quota on my taxes. How do you mix it in your accounting?
How long did it go on and was it monthly and did it increase?
What I can say is that they extorted us about MXN$2,000 on the first weekend of every month. It lasted for about a year and never increased. It wasn't always the same people who stopped by every time but by the way they look and dress you know "it's them".
How do you mix [extortion] in your accounting?
@leChef: Great question. You can do two things.
1. You can either do everything by the book.
So you report all your income minus all legally deductible expenses, then you get your earnings before tax. Over that amount you calculate your taxes. Obviously, extortion payments are not legal deductible expenses, so the Mexican government will consider as if you DID NOT have that expense and will tax you over the income you had as if that expense did not exist. This is because that expense does not have a factura (invoice). It needs to have an invoice to be deductible.
2. You do some sketchy shit.
You can either have someone create a fake factura (invoice) for you for that amount (this is a big industry in Mexico, by the way. Factureros would be a good topic to research on).
With this fake invoice, you can then report the extortion as a deductible expense. But you're technically "defrauding" the government by creating a fake deductible expense. Some would consider this as borderline money laundering, but some business owners see it as a necessity for their businesses to survive. I know others who put together all their personal expense invoices and try to sum up to that extortion amount. And then use that as their deductible expense. One can also simply not report some of your income you received in cash, and use that to pay the extortion money. Since one may not always report the cash, one wouldn't have gotten taxed on it anyways.
The factureros usually charge you like 4-6% of the invoice amount you're requesting to make. So say you had an expense of MXN$100,000 which does not have an invoice, and say you have to pay taxes on it. That can be as high as 30% (i.e. you need to pay the government MXN$30,000). If you make a fake invoice, you can deduct the full MXN$100,000 as a real expense and not pay taxes on it. You will just end up paying the factureros MXN$4,000 to $6,000 for doing the fake invoice.
The problem is that many companies in Mexico do this even if they are not being extorted. They do this to defraud the government and lower their taxable income. That is how many Mexican criminal groups launder their money too (I'm sure @redlogarythm knows more about this topic). But without it, small businesses would not be able to survive.
Consider they would have to pay
- 16% value-added tax
- 20-30% income tax.
You just lost almost half the income you made.
How was the feeling when these people came by? Were you afraid or pissed off or what did you think?
I was mostly afraid because they also know where you live and who your relatives are. In turfs they control, they usually study their targets and know what routes you take to go home, when you leave your house to go to work, where you like to workout, etc. But I had friends who've had it much worse. A friend of mine had to close down his business entirely and leave everything overnight because he had both Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel asking him for money once these two groups broke apart.
Also, is Hanna High School the preferred place to send narco-kids? I noticed also Big Momma had her kids sent there.
From what I know, Hanna High School is the public school with the closest ties to Matamoros, for whatever reason. A lot of Hanna students still live in Matamoros (like the private school Saint Joseph Academy, where a lot of local influential families send their children).
@negro cdn has moved more into nuevo leon the areas around general bravo and dr coss so they attack cdg from there that's how they got close to camargo , both miguel aleman and camargo have highways that go straight to cdn territory in nuevo leon. Cdn attack's would come in from the west that's why all the fights would be in the outskirts of m.aleman but now they coming in from the south . The fight was in comales a town south of camargo i don't think it reach camargo
Yea a buddy of mine had a cell phone store in la puerto rico , but when they killed karis tt men let him know the quoata amount funny thing is karis never charged quota before but my friend started paying the quote every month to avoid anything happening to his family
@Negro Torro: You are correct about Hanna High School. I think that Brownsville’s Country Club and some of the nicer neighborhoods on Ruben M. Torres road all fall under Hanna’s school district. Juan García Abrego used to own a house at Country Club for many years.
@956sg: Interesting, thank you for sharing. Tony Tormenta (TT) apparently had several safe houses there and in Seccion 16 which is quite close. The worst era for Matamoros in my opinion was when TT was plaza boss. Lots of businesses were extorted and many people were kidnapped. That’s when a lot of people fled to Brownsville and elsewhere. The guy was also apparently a hot-head, hence “Tormenta” (Storm).
@J: Good idea. I am actually working on a research post with redlogarythm about extortion and how businesses in Mexico deal with them. I was thinking about including my observations as a small business owner, but a personal essay style piece would be very interesting too so thanks for the idea.
I meant the Tony Tormenta at the taqueria, but you could fold it all into that. That visual is pretty arresting, include a bit about extortion, a chronicle of his death, the preceding gun battle that paralyzed Matamoros. and just living under the chaos of the Tamps drug wars.
What i never understood was when karis was alive there were some sections he had alot of people but yea when he got killed shit hit the fan tormenta did change it up . I bumped into the tormenta kids at the antros but i belive was the middle one nobody messed with him due to his daddy
Tormenta was crazy. Heard stories that he was a cocaine addict too. Oddly enough, he did bring some form of “order”, though. Growing up in Matamoros I remember that every weekend there was always some beef between neighborhood gangs (like La 20, Los GDM, Los PR, Cangris, you name it). If you were from a certain neighborhood you always had to watch your back in some nightclubs. Then Tormenta took command and was able to cool off some of these groups. Do you happen to know / remember the name of some of these neighborhood gangs? It’s been a long time.
BTW, which of Tormenta’s kids did you see? I know George would frequent nightclubs a lot (like Eclipse, Bigos and Irish). As far as I know he wasn’t in his dad’s hustle but was respected and no one messed with him like you said. Lots of Tormenta’s crew would go to Wild West discotheque. That place has been a narco-favorite since the early Zetas days.
Historically typing, Cerralvo N.L has been the stronghold of Z now CdN since 2007. That includes municipios like General Trevino, Agualeguas, Paras and Sabinas Hidalgo and all little towns in those municipios. Recently CdN took Los Aldamas and I would even say Dr.Coss and Los Herreras. Wouldn't be surprised China and General Bravo CdG groups are either forced to Reynosa or Monterrey. CdN for some reason gained traction, I heard from some family that CdN have also taken CD Mier, Los Guerra and even Miguel Aleman. That would explain why Camargo, Comalez, China, General Bravo are the Frontline for CdG. Between Comales and Pena Blanca theirs a town called El Brasil, some old folks were saying all the town homes got tagged by El Noreste.