El Duro - Los Zetas kidnapper - sentenced to 90 years
By Syreeta Palme
A Mexican court has sentenced a kidnapper of the Los Zetas cartel linked to the top leaders of the Gulf Cartel in Mexico to 90 years in prison.
Known in criminal hells like El Duro or The Hard One, Joel Reyes Cruz spent several years traveling along the highway that links Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, to the metropolitan region of Monterrey in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon. Along this road, El Duro and at least two of his goons abducted dozens of victims, including women and children. Many victims were killed even after paying a ransom. The boss of the dreaded cartel is linked to numerous rapes of the women he kidnapped.
Many rape victims have refused to appear officially in court for fear of reprisals.
This week, a state judge in Tamaulipas sentenced Reyes Cruz and two of his henchmen to 90 years in prison for the abduction of a woman and her 11-month-old daughter in June 2018.
According to information in the file obtained by Breitbart Texas, El Duro and several of his men stormed a party in the town of Hidalgo and took the woman and her child. After a large-scale operation, the Mexican army managed to rescue the woman and arrest the Reyes Cruz cell.
Since then, a judge has condemned the group which has been in prison since that time. Prosecutors have tried to convince more of his victims to come forward, but many fear future reprisals.
The man known as El Duro fled after a recent clash with a commander of the Gulf Cartel known as Eloy “El Licenciado” Flores Trevino. El Licenciado is one of the leaders of the Pedro J. Mendez armed column – a Gulf of Cartel cell masquerading as a vigilante group and recently met with representatives of the federal government.
El Duro has also been linked to the kidnapping and murder of a Mexican soldier named Aristides Gaspar Cruz Mortagon. El Duro reportedly kidnapped the soldier with his stepfather as they traveled along the highway to Monterrey. Authorities found the soldier’s body in an open field near Hidalgo. The fate of the other man remains unknown.
Police records revealed that El Duro had three sons who are all linked to organized crime. His eldest son Jorge “El Black Reyes Escobedo became the family business and rose through the ranks of Los Zetas which were part of the Gulf Cartel until the end of 2010. During his stay, El Black married the daughter of Antonio Ezequiel “Tony Tormenta” Cardenas Guillen – one of the leaders of the Gulf cartel who died in a violent shootout in Matamoros in November 2010. Unknown gunmen killed El Black in June 2013 in Ciudad Victoria, in a crime that still hasn’t been resolved.
El Duro’s second son, Jovanni “El Durito”, Reyes Escobedo, also worked as a member of organized crime until his assassination in December 2013. A third son known as El Guero is still missing.