Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo

Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo Biography
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Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo Biography

Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (January 8, 1946) was born in Culiacán, Mexico. Drug dealer, known as the Chief of Bosses or the Godfather. Gallardo was one of the most prominent figures in the drug trafficking business in Mexico. Allied with drug traffickers Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha and Ramón Matta Ballesteros, expanded the drug industry in Mexico, passing the drug from Colombia to the United States. Before being one of the most important drug traffickers of the 20th century, Gallardo, served as a police officer in Sinaloa, becoming bodyguards of the family of the then governor of the State, Leopoldo Sánchez Celis, with whom he had a close relationship. Subsequently associated with Pedro Aviles Pérez, known as the Lion of the Sierra. After the death of this, Felix was in charge of the Guadalajara Cartel, together with Rafael Caro Quintero and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo.

Early years

He was born in a middle-class family and grew up in one of the suburbs of Culiacán. At the end of the basic studies, he enrolled in a commercial career which he did not use since he decided to focus on the police career. After enrolling, he began working at the judicial police in Sinaloa. A short time later he was assigned the protection of the state government house, a task in which he excelled for his skill and talent.

After some time Félix Gallardo, he won the trust and support of Leopoldo Sánchez Celis, then govern the State, who hired him to protect his family. The relationship of Sánchez and Félix Gallardo was strengthened over time, so much so that Sánchez, was the godfather of the wedding of Félix and María Elvira Murillo, also, Felix and his wife were godparents at the wedding of the governor’s son, Rodolfo Sánchez with Theolenda López Urrutia.

Gallardo and Don Pedro

In the years as a family escort, he was recruited by Pedro Aviles Perez, nicknamed the Lion of the Sierra or Don Pedro, who hoped that Felix Gallardo was his contact with the political class of Sinaloa, a role he played for several years. At that time, Don Pedro was one of the strongest figures in the drug business, associated with the Italian-American mafia trafficked heroin and marijuana to the United States. By the end of the 1970s, Aviles began moving his operations center to Guadalajara under pressure from the action of the US government and competition for the drug market. However, before settling in Guadalajara he was killed on September 15 of 1978; so taking advantage that everything was ready in Guadalajara, Felix Gallardo, founded along with Caro Quintero and Fonseca, the Guadalajara cartel.

Guadalajara cartel

After the death of Avilés, Gallardo was in charge of his business in Guadalajara, accompanied by Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo (Don Neto) and Rafael Caro Quintero (Narco de narcos), as well as Manuel Salcido Uzueta, (Crazy Pig), Juan José Quintero Payán (Don Juanjo), Pablo Acosta Villarreal (El Zorro de Ojinaga) and Juan José Esparragoza Moreno (El Azul); working alongside these, Gallardo began a new stage of the drug business in Mexico.

In the first years as Chief Felix, he expanded the Avilés network, who at that time had established an agreement with the Honduran drug dealer Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros, who shortly thereafter connected the cartel with the Colombian drug dealer Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, known as the Mexican, for his love of tequila and mariachis. By that time, Gacha had lost his link in Mexico, Alberto Sicilia Falcón, who was learned by the police towards the end of the 1970s. After losing his link Gacha visited Felix at his residence in Altata, where the two of them established an agreement for drug trafficking from Colombia. Since then the Guadalajara Cartel was in charge of the transportation of Gacha’s drug to the United States, handling the routes that communicated Mexico with the neighboring country. Also, it was at that moment when Felix learned how Colombian cartels passed the drug in small planes.

The pact with Gacha consolidated the cartel that had been expanded its operations and greatly increased its profits, to the point of being compared to the Medellin cartel. In the following years, the business of Félix Gallardo continued to grow, which was evident to the DEA, an American agency that had several agents based in Mexico, who carefully followed the cartel’s movements, especially its boss, who was included in the archives of the agency in 1979. By the 1980s, Félix Gallardo was one of the most wanted men, without really being persecuted, since he moved easily in Mexico. Appearing in celebrations and events, as a prominent businessman who owns numerous restaurants and clubs.

Godfather operation

In 1982 the DEA conducted the Padrino Operation, through which they sought to catch the members of the Guadalajara Cartel. The first to be attacked was Ernesto Caro Quintero, who seized 8,500 tons of marijuana found in the farm he had in Buffalo. This operation was led by the agent Enrique Kiki Camarena, who was killed shortly after along with Alfredo Zavala Avelar, a retired military officer. Their death had targeted the cartel that has been relentlessly pursued ever since.

Three years after the operation began, the leaders Caro Quintero (April 4, 1985) and Ernesto Fonseca (April 7, 1985) were captured. In April 1989, Felix Gallardo, Chief of Chiefs, was captured. After the capture, he spent more than two decades in prison without a conviction, which was established in 2017, the year in which he was sentenced to 37 years in prison, a sentence he is serving in Puente Grande.

The life of this drug trafficker has been represented in the Netflix Narcos: Mexico series, a continuation of the first part of the series that delves into Colombian cartels. The role of Félix Gallardo is played by the renowned actor, Diego Luna. Throughout the thirteen episodes of the show, the story of the creation of the Guadalajara Cartel, a pioneer in the transportation of large quantities of drugs from Colombia to the United States, is told. This character has inspired the creation of various narcocorridos such as the song the End of the World and Félix Gallardo from Los Tigres del Norte.

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