HomeNewsBriefIs Mayor’s Wife ‘Chief’ of Guerreros Unidos Criminal Group?
BRIEF

Is Mayor’s Wife ‘Chief’ of Guerreros Unidos Criminal Group?

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 FEB 2015 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Mexico’s attorney general has identified Maria de los Angeles Pineda, the wife of the former Iguala mayor and a possible accomplice in the disappearance of 43 students, as one of the leaders of the Guerreros Unidos criminal group.

During a private meeting with senators from the ruling party, Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam referred to Maria de los Angeles Pineda as the “head of the gang,” reported Reforma. The attorney general told senators that since Pineda had been protected as part of the Guerreros Unidos leadership, it had been difficult for investigators to find the evidence necessary to charge her with organized crime.

“However, we did an investigation that included prisons in the United States, where we were able to obtain testimonies that clearly and directly link [Pineda] with the management of the Guerreros Unidos group,” Murillo reportedly stated.

The attorney general also reportedly identified Pineda’s husband, Jose Luis Abarca, as the second-in-command, and linked Pineda’s parents and siblings to the group.

InSight Crime Analysis

Although Excelsior and Reforma have interpreted Murillo’s comments to mean that Pineda is the main Guerreros Unidos leader, it is not entirely clear from his statement whether she is the head of the group or simply part of its leadership structure. Pineda — who has been charged with organized crime but not in the murder of some 43 students who were allegedly killed last September at the hands of the criminal group and at the behest of Pineda’s husband — had previously been identified as the gang’s main political operator.

However, Murillo’s statements do not mark the first time Pineda’s family has been associated with the Guerreros Unidos. In October, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido Garcia stated that Pineda’s brother Salomon Pineda Villa, alias “El Molon,” took over the leadership of the organization after founder Mario Casarrubias Salgado, alias “El Sapo Guapo,” was captured in April 2014.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Murillo’s comments should be treated with caution because he likely has a vested interest in making Pineda appear to be a powerful underworld figure and in further separating the administration from the bloody event that has upended the Mexican government. By his own admission, the Attorney General’s Office has had a difficult time finding sufficient evidence to charge Pineda with organized crime, and it appears that prosecutors have thus far been unable to make charges related to the students’ disappearances stick. If Pineda really was the group’s commander, these problems might seem more understandable.

In a January 27 press release, the Attorney General’s Office explained that the Guerreros Unidos had a clear hierarchal structure in which subordinates received orders directly from their immediate superior — who was usually referred to using only his or her alias — to prevent lower-level members from learning the identities of the group’s leaders.

Pineda and her husband were captured in Mexico City in early November after Murillo identified the couple as the intellectual authors of the September disappearance of 43 student protesters. (For a full recap of the missing students case, click through InSight Crime’s timeline below.)

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

CRIMINAL MIGRATION / 12 SEP 2012

The Zetas are consolidating their territory in Guatemala, moving south from the Mexican border, and now only San Marcos province…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 10 FEB 2017

Mexico's Marines said they had shot and killed a major leader of the Beltrán Leyva Organization, an illustration that state…

MEXICO / 27 JUL 2011

Thousands of Federal Police who have overseen security in Mexico's most violent city for the past year are set…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…