Man who hunts murderous Mexican cartels says it’s pure ‘adrenaline’

(FILE PHOTO by Getty)

Meet “Capache,” a former cartel hitman turned vigilante who now hunts down and eliminates the same murderous thugs and villains for whom he used to work.

“Capache was once a sicario for the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), which recently eclipsed the Sinaloa Cartel — Chapo Guzman’s old outfit — as Mexico’s largest criminal syndicate,” The Daily Beast reported in a profile of Capache published Sunday.

“Then, about two years ago, Capache switched sides to oppose CJNG and its allies. He currently serves with an autodefensa [self-defense] force that has taken the law into its own hands in the name of combating political corruption and organized crime.”

Over the past few years, these militias, if you will, have become a staple throughout Mexico. Their rise coincides with a brisk surge in cartel-linked crime.

Just a couple weeks prior to the publication of The Daily Beast’s profile, dozens of innocent men and women were killed after an attack on a bar in the city of Coatzacoalcos:

Source: KABC

According to numbers cited by InSight Crime, a non-profit that specializes in tracking organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean, over 17,500 people were killed in Mexico from January through June alone. This represents a five percent increase from the same time period in 2018.

Moreover, last year the Latin American nation’s murder rate clocked in at 29 per 100,000. This marks a whopping 75 percent increase from the murder rate recorded in 2015.

Enter men like Capache.

“When a community is no longer protected by a sovereign state, the contract between the government and the governed is effectively broken,” Robert Bunker, a professor at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, said in a statement to The Daily Beast.

“At that point local citizens who are being robbed, raped, and who are living under the constant fear of bodily injury and death have the option of either fleeing, joining the local crime groups oppressing them, or standing up and taking matters in their own hands as vigilantes.”

Capache chose the latter option, and he’s loving every minute of it.

“I feel good about the work I do,” he said. “It’s not easy, and you have to watch your back. But I’m proud of it. I’m defending people who can’t defend themselves. I’m fighting back. The police don’t do anything against the cartels. So if we don’t, who will?”

Granted, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador isn’t happy about these vigilante groups’ efforts. His preferred strategy for stopping the cartels appears to be telling cartel members to “think of their mommies” …

When asked by The Daily Beast how he feels when in the middle of a firefight against his former cartel colleagues, Capache said, “I feel nothing but adrenaline.”

“When I ask if he likes the adrenaline he confesses he does but says it’s also ‘depressing when your friends get hurt or killed,'” the left-wing outlet noted. “He glances away from the open windows to look me straight in the eyes. ‘But your friends’ pain also helps you keep fighting,’ he says, ‘because it makes you hunger for revenge.'”

But revenge doesn’t come easy, in that you can’t be any geek off the street — you gotta know what you’re doing. And in Capache’s case, he knows exactly what he’s doing thanks to the very same cartels that he now hunts.

As an former initiate with Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), he “received general infantry-style training, including small-unit tactics, target practice with assault rifles, belt-fed machine guns and grenade launchers, and field-stripping weapons while blindfolded.”

He was also forced to undergo trials such as being forced to undress beneath wasp nests.

“Then they [the drill instructors] hit the nests with poles or rifle barrels until the wasps came out to attack us,” he said to The Daily Beast. “You had to stand there for 10 minutes and without moving at all. If you moved or screamed they beat you for it, so it was better just to take the pain.”

Of course, these trials were just preparation for the “final exam,” which he said involved “cutting people up a special way.”

“Recruits took turns administering a specific, byzantine series of stabs and slashes to a live victim — usually a thief or petty criminal the cartel deemed deserving of such punishment,” The Daily Beast reported. “The first series of ordered knife cuts was meant to torture for information without killing. Then to strike fatal blows. And at last to cut up the body by hand for disposal.”

“You knew they would kill you if you refused,” Capache reportedly said when asked about those who refused to take the exam. “It was a way to prove you were loyal to the cartel.”

So what inspired him to switch sides. Being captured by the other side.

Instead of killing him, however, the United Front of Community Police of Guerrero State vigilante group decided to give him a chance to turn his life around — and he took it.

“At first Capache helped train the vigilantes’ fresh members, passing on what he’d learned in Jalisco about tactical maneuvers and weapons training,” The Daily Beast reported.

“He also took part in open battles in the mountains against a regional mafia said to be allied with CJNG, called the Cartel del Sur. Eventually he was sent back to Chilpancingo, as part of several elite squads assigned to FUPCEG’s clandestine limpieza [cleansing] program.”

Going from murderous cartel thug to cartel-killing vigilante warrior is impressive. But for every action, there’s oftentimes an equal and opposite reaction. Such, sadly, is the case here:


You can’t save them all …


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