The hitman who fell prisoner because of Instagram

The Chino Anthrax is a story that mixes drug trafficking with the Instagram social network.

The urban legend tells that José Rodrigo Aréchiga Gamboa, "El Chino Ántrax", was a regular on social networks, mainly on Instagram, where he published photos of his luxuries and excesses as well as allegedly raffling cars, cell phones, and designer glasses in exchange for followers.

A native of Culiacán, in Sinaloa, as a teenager he was a gang member who became famous for being effective in street fights for dominating neighborhoods such as Las Margaritas.

That reputation as a good fighter came to the ears of one of the founders of the Sinaloa Cartel, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, who immediately recruited him into the criminal organization where he went from gangster to hitman to became the boss's trustee and friends of their children. In particular, he developed a close relationship with Serafín Zambada, the youngest son of "El Mayo".

Aréchiga rose to fame in 2008 when he became the leader of "Los Ántrax", one of the armed groups of the cartel. He himself chose the name inspired by the Iraq war.

In 2009, with the arrest of Vicente Zambada Niebla "El Vicentillo", eldest son of "El Mayo", he positioned himself better in the power structure of the cartel. Over time he also left the neighborhood behind and became fond of international travel and luxuries. In a video on social networks, he is seen in a fight Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas where he briefly appears in a video with the socialite Paris Hilton.

In his Instagram account he was dressed as the famous British spy James Bond, but he also showed his trips to Arab countries such as Dubai, European nations such as Spain and France. When he was not traveling, he showed his photos lying on the bed drinking expensive brands of liquors and surrounded by musical groups that played live in his bedroom. The latest update, shortly before the New Year of 2014, Aréchiga shared congratulations from the 'Los Ántrax' band for the holiday season.

Image: Youtube screenshot
Image: Youtube screenshot

In 2012, internal struggles between groups operating for the cartel intensified and casualties for "Los Ántrax" were increasing. Their leader was already in the sights of the United States authorities so it was necessary to remove their founder from the scene to keep him safe.

"El Chino Anthrax" was stopped in Amsterdam, Holland, on December 30, 2013, when arriving on a flight from Mexico. The tracking of his Instagram account allowed the US authorities to coordinate with their European counterparts to notify them of the arrival of Aréchiga.

When he arrived in Holland, the police were already waiting to arrest him. Months later, in July 2014 he was extradited to the United States, where he was wanted, for trafficking in cocaine and marijuana thanks to the collaboration of gangs like Los Nitro in southern California.

He is currently facing a 10-year prison sentence. No charges were ever filed in Mexico.

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