Crime

How an Argentine taxi driver met Los Cuinis/CJNG leader

MX for Borderland Beat from     TN.Com.AR Clarin  Subrayado
Background: Below is a
two-part piece on the latest developments of the case against Gerardo González
Valencia, who is in custody in Uruguay since 2016 for money laundering. He is
suspected of being involved with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and
Los Cuinis, and of running a multi-millionar dollar money laundering scheme in
South America.
Argentina is now
actively pursuing those who assisted González Valencia while he was in Argentina
between 2007–2013. This news was released a few weeks ago in Argentina.***
How an Argentine taxi
driver meet Los Cuinis/CJNG leader.

Marcelo Arias was
driving his taxi through “Galerías Pacífico” in Buenos Aires in 2008.
The economic crisis had returned many customers to the subway and buses, but
Arias knew that in Córdoba and Florida, two parts of downtown Buenos Aires, he
could still get good trips. He never imagined that what began as a usual drive
of two passengers would end with a case against him with penalties of between 5
years and 10 years in prison.
Those who got in the car with him that day were
two relatives of Gerardo González Valencia, a high-ranking member of “Los
Cuinis”, the financial arm of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). They
were the parents of his wife Wendy Dalaithy Amaral Arévalo.

 

On April 17, 2019,
Arias admitted in front of Morón judge Néstor Barral that he was the chauffeur
of González Valencia. Arias was able to describe his boss’ personality:
“Gerardo was a serious man, of few words, because of his appearance one
could tell he was an important person and was well off. I worked with him for a
while until he told me that he would leave the country, but asked me to pick
several Mexican nationals when he called.” And so he did: Arias first took
Francisco Marzio Medina González from the Ezeiza International Airport to one
of the Le Parc towers of Puerto Madero; then he did the same with Pedro Merced
Medina Lizarraga; and also with Julio César Alegre Ortega. These men were
Mexican nationals.

Everything ended up
changing for Arias when the three Mexicans offered him, in addition to
continuing to be his driver, to work in the store (“Corner, mi
lugar”, pictured below) they opened in Puerto Madero. But not only that:
Francisco Marzio asked Arias to use him as a frontman to buy two cars – a
Chevrolet Astra and a Ford Ecosport – because he did not have the necessary
documentation in Argentina to do this. He did the same with a cell phone. The
taxi driver got into deeper waters when the Mexicans used the legal domicile of
the Argentine to register the company, Círculo Internacional SA, on 4 December
2008.

 

CJNG store  in Puerto Madero.

Mexicans operated in
Puerto Madero unnoticed until March 10, 2009, when they were involved in a
traffic accident with Arias’ Chevrolet Astra. The Argentine police asked for
their vehicle documentation, but one of the Mexicans snapped: “In my
country they would already be dead.” That threat led to the current
investigation carried out by Judge Barral and federal prosecutor Sebastián
Basso.
It was quickly
determined that the car in which they were going was in the name of an
Argentine (Arias), who lived in Ituzaingó. That is why the case moved to Morón.
As the case progressed, more interesting data was gathered: the Mexicans had
entered Argentina at the end of 2008. They declared they were visiting as
tourist, but the first thing they did was travel to La Plata to register the
company Círculo Internacional S.A.
The analysis of their
phones also provided interesting information. The DEA determined that from the
telephone of one of the Mexicans (Medina Lizarraga), communications had been
made to a Mexican connected to the Sinaloa Cartel and another belonging to a
person investigated in Los Angeles, California, for laundering drug money.
Argentina
cracks down on businessman
Oscar Calvete Souza, an
Argentine businessman in his sixties, went to court on 15 March 2019. He is
being investigated for his alleged financial ties to Los Cuinis and the CJNG.
Numerous witnesses pointed to Calvete as one of the most trusted people of the
Mexicans in Argentina, especially Gerardo González Valencia, whom he met when
he lived in Mexico. As for Calvete, before Judge Barral and prosecutor
Sebastian Basso, he introduced himself as a simple commercial consultant. To
legally defend himself, he hired Hugo Pinto as a lawyer; Pinto is famously
known in Argentina for handling controversial cases involving powerful figures.

An important lawyer for
an important accusation: Calvete is accused of laundering millions of dollars
from international drug trafficking. The money reportedly reached him through
three Santander Río bank accounts via bank drafts or cash deposits. The money
was then laundered through drug stores (e.g. “Corner, mi lugar”).

‘Quincho Grande’, Gerado’s mansion in Argentina 
The ex-Attorney General
of the United States, Jeff Sessions, announced on October 16, 2017 that
“the Jalisco Cartel Nueva Generación is one of the five most dangerous
transnational criminal organizations on the face of the Earth” along with
the Sinaloa cartel, the Clan del Golfo, Mara Salvatrucha 13 and Hezbollah. The
accuser pointed out: “The CJNG” was founded only nine years ago, but
already has a presence in 75% of Mexico, they traffic at least 5,000 kilos of
cocaine and 5,000 kilos of methamphetamine to our country per month.”
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