Crime

Mexico’s Elite Army Group GAIN is Angry with AMLO

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Vanguardia y Aristegui

                        Carlos Loret de Mola reveals that an elite Mexican Army group is angry

The Drug Trafficking Information Analysis Group, GAIN, is an intelligence body within the Mexican Army created in 1995 and that by its nature had been kept away from the searchlights and headlines.

According to Carlos Loret de Mola’s column , published by Vanguardia, there is an elite group that operates almost secretly and their activities are kept under stealth. However, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, AMLO, removed their camouflage and now they are very angry.

That is since the current government decided to exhibit its existence, as part of its political damage control after the failed operation to detain the son of “El Chapo” Guzmán, Ovidio Guzmán Lopez, in Culiacán, Sinaloa last October 17, now known as “Black Thursday” or the “Culiacánazo”.

In an unprecedented event, during the live broadcast of the morning conference on October 31, President López Obrador ordered the Secretary of Defense, General Luis Cresencio Sandoval, to reveal the person in charge of the operation. The name that was released that day was that of Lieutenant Colonel of Cavalry Juan José Verde Montes, who is the national head of the GAIN and as such, supervised the actions from  Mexico City on the day he tried to arrest Ovidio Guzmán . More seriously, internal GAIN data was revealed, their number of elements and what drug lords they caught.

This group specializes in designing and executing operations for the arrest of cartel chiefs and has strict protocols that must be followed in each operation it undertakes. They anticipate situations like the one the military faced when they already had the drug trafficker in their possession: there are plans of what to do when they are surrounded, such as that day in Culiacán, in which the forces of the Sinaloa cartel outnumbered them. Sources of Military Intelligence of the National Defense Secretariat confirm that the protocols were broken that day.

The key was that the head of the GAIN, instead of applying the protocols automatically, asked for instructions from the person who is the most responsible for the security strategy, Secretary of Security Alfonso Durazo . 

According to this story, in the voice of Secretary Durazo he was ordered to suspend the actions and finally release Ovid Guzman. A month away, there is still a three-hour period in the list of events made known by the Army that has not been well revealed: from the moment Ovidio, the son of “El Chapo”, was subdued by the military until the time he was released.

After the political crisis that came upon the federal government, President López Obrador decided that General Sandoval should open the information during the morning of October 31. 

To the surprise of many in the Army, that day the number of GAIN elements, 190 intelligence and 350 intervention, was revealed and it was detailed that 38 members of that body participated in the Ovidio Guzmán detention operation.

It was also reported that since its creation, the GAIN has arrested 663 members of organized crime, 18 of them relevant, and that since the beginning of this administration it has captured 46 criminals, 8 of them relevant, of which identified three: Eleno Madrigal Birrueta, Adrián Alonso Guerrero Covarrubias and Santiago Mazari Hernández ,“El Carrete”, leader of Los Rojos.

In Military Intelligence there is discomfort. 

Not only was the head of the GAIN exposed but details of its operability and number of elements were given, which violates the stealth rules under which these bodies must be maintained for national security. 

The feeling is that to save the politicians, that GAIN was sacrificed, and there is a fear that its elements participating in the operation will be subject to reprisals. According to sources, the breaking of the protocols in such a sensitive operation would imply the imputation of crimes that could lead to sentences of up to 60 years in prison.


From Carmen Arestegui’s Interview: For Spanish speakers use the link at top for the Video version.

“I would like the Secretary of Defense to remember that he represents the entire institution and that first he has to be responsible for his troops and take responsibility for any mistakes they may have,” said lawyer César Gutiérrez Priego, a specialist in Military Law. 

In an interview for Aristegui live, he said that it was unfortunate that during the morning conference last Thursday, October 31, the Secretary of Defense, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, has revealed the name of the person in charge of  the Drug Trafficking Information Analysis Group (GAIN) at the request of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“The one who is a specialist and knows the military laws and regulations is the General Secretary, not the President. While it is true that the President of the Republic is the supreme commander, he is not a specialist in these matters, ”said the lawyer.

For this reason, he considered that the Secretary of Defense “ hastened to give the name of GAIN, and since he put their  lives at risk and that of the  families and I believe that the right thing would have been to respond to the President of the Republic: ”Señor President, the person in charge of the failed operation that happened in Culiacán is the General of the Diploma Division of General Staff Luis Crescencio Sandoval González, since he is responsible for the Secretariat of National Defense.”

Gutiérrez Priego noted that within the Army, according to the feelings of the people with whom he lives, which he claims are from the troops, ie officers, leutienents and generals, they feel betrayed by the secretary.

“They say that the obligation of the General Secretary is to put his chest to defend his subordinates because they say that a good commander of the first thing he cares about is for them and that loyalty is not only from the bottom up but from the top down, ” explained.

He claimed that if he were a lawyer for the military officer in charge of the Drug Trafficking Information Analysis Group (GAIN), he would argue that his integrity as a defense element was jeopardized. In addition, he would expose all the leaks that were made to the press regarding the photographs of the same day of the operation. “Who leaked that information, for what reason? There was a debate on social networks with people who said it was Ovid, I told them no, that I had the truthful information that whoever is in those photographs was an Army officer who was kidnapped, ” he said.

“At the outset there  were violations of the military obligations of the head of the GAIN , it is true that he took attributions that did not correspond to him and hastened the procedure to give outstanding results, citing the words of the Secretary of Defense, the folder of investigation could be due to disobedience, ” he explained.

The lawyer specializing in Military Law said that in order to exempt him from responsibilities “ we would have to know who gave him the order, through whom the order arrived , what was the form of communication that was being carried out. A reconstruction of the facts would have to be done, it is impossible that we can do it because we are not going to say to Ovid ”hey, will you allow us your house so that we can do a reconstruction?’ ”.

To carry out a reconstruction of facts, he said, “it would be necessary to use the same videos that are available and that now, for national security reasons, they are them restricted and immediately, I, as a defense lawyer, the first thing I would do ask: ‘They know what , confidential information was conveyed, in the sense that they gave my client’s name , the activities that he carries out and still today, wanting to accommodate him and wanting to rescue the situation, they say he was not in Culiacán, that he is in Mexico, and only they need to find the address where they are. I think it was awkward.

On the other hand, he dismissed the version in which they say that neither the Secretary of Defense nor the Security Cabinet were aware of the operation to detain Ovid Guzman. “That part of the story has not even been explained well,” he said.

However, he acknowledged that it was very important “to see the transparency that the Ministry of Defense had , which we had never seen in history, but I think that it has not been used to really explain what happened. I still have many doubts about what happened in the operation. ”

Among his doubts, the lawyer stressed that despite the fact that the security and defense authorities claim to have had no knowledge of what was going to happen in Culiacán on October 17, now “they make a chronology of time and talk about what was done collaborative trades, deployments of troops, that these same troops had an indicated date of how the work had to be done and the follow-up that had to be given. ”

“Obviously the GAIN staff had to have moved from Mexico City to Culiacán,” said Gutiérrez Priego and added that ” they did know that there was an investigation, that there was an operation and that they told me they did not know exactly what was being carried out to execute an arrest warrant, I find it illogical because there is a saying within the Army where they say that ” the leaf of a tree of a military unit does not move without the secretary of the Defense ”.

He added that except for the investigations currently carried out by both the Military Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office , being a matter of national security, from the outset it was perceived that “there was a problem and a lie.”

“There is a first report given by Secretary Durazo where he gives a totally different version, which was conducting a patrol. From there there was already a problem and a lie. If the Secretary of  Defense’s information was hidden, then it is the responsibility of the Secretary of the Defense, nobody can jump the bars much less in the military field, ” he said.

In addition, “at the time they wanted to execute the arrest warrant and the famous document that never came – the search warrant – because obviously Secretary Durazo, his advisors have not explained this well because it is seen in the video that Ovid Guzman leaves the address and surrenders and at that time they are detaining him, not retaining, as he tries to play with the words “.

“Simply put, the protocols that I see are not those normally used by the special groups of the Secretariat of National Defense. Input on uniforms, vocabulary management. The military officer is very obvious when he speaks, the type of vocabulary is very different from that used by a police officer, ” Gutiérrez Priego said.

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