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California Set To Release Original Cartel Boss From Prison

Photo: REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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The founder of El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel, who ordered the murder a Roman Catholic cardinal, is getting out of California federal prison after his 1995 arrest.

Jesus Hector Palma Salazar co-founded the Sinaloa Cartel with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in the 1980s. Palma is known as “El Guero Palma” for his blonde hair. The cartel kingpin was only caught because he was in a plane crash near Guadalajara and subsequently found refuge in the home of a corrupt federal cop.

Before landing behind bars, Palma had a miserable and tragic personal life because of his criminal activities. Due to a long-running war between the Guadalajara Cartel and the breakaway Sinaloa Cartel, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, also known as “The Godfather,” made a point of going after Palma’s family.

Felix sent a Venezuelan associate, Rafael Clavel Moreno, to seduce Palma’s second wife in 1989. Once he had fooled her into thinking he truly loved her, Clavel convinced Palma’s wife to run away with him and Palma’s children to San Francisco.

Once they were safely in the U.S., Clavel convinced Palma’s wife to take $7 million from Palma’s U.S. bank account. After Clavel got access to the millions in cash, he beheaded Palma’s wife in San Francisco. Palma found out about his wife’s death by decapitation when the Guadalajara Cartel delivered her head to him.

Clavel kidnapped Palma’s kids after murdering their mother and took them to Venezuela. While in Venezuela, Clavel pushed the children off a bridge to their deaths.

Palma ordered hits on four cartel operatives he found out had been involved in massacring his family. Not long after Clavel murdered Palma’s children, he landed in a Venezuelan prison where he was stabbed to death.

After his family’s deaths, Palma had absolutely no mercy in ordering cartel killings which resulted in the 1993 murder of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo who was gunned down with a machine gun in front of the Guadalajara Airport.

Palma is expected to attempt to regain control of the Sinaloa Cartel. Due to El Chapo’s incarceration and likely extradition to the U.S., there is currently a power vacuum in the cartel’s leadership.

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