Niece of "El Güero Palma", founder of the Sinaloa Cartel, reported missing

Two women close to the founders and leader of the Sinaloa Cartel Hector "El Güero" Palma Salazar have been reported missing for more than 50 days.

Two women close to founders of the Sinaloa Cartel have been reported missing by authorities in Sonora for at least 50 days. Photo: Sonora Criminal Investigation Agency
Two women close to founders of the Sinaloa Cartel have been reported missing by authorities in Sonora for at least 50 days. Photo: Sonora Criminal Investigation Agency

Cintia Mercedes Romero Verdugo, 52, the mother, and María Jimena Palma Romero, 32, were deprived of their liberty in Ciudad Obregón, according to the Sonora Criminal Investigation Agency.

According to witnesses, the women were last seen on Jan. 29 when they left their home in the Zona Norte neighborhood for a self-service restaurant.

María Jimena Palma Romero is the niece of Héctor "El Güero" Palma, founder of the Sinaloa Cartel, and Cintia Mercedes, María Jimena's mother, is close to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.

Since the disappearance of both women, relatives have gone to the Sonora Prosecutor's Office to report that they have not been located. The only lead the authorities have is a video where mother and daughter were intercepted.



He was arrested by chance and released from a prison in the United States for good behavior. Hector "El Güero" Palma Salazar was considered one of the most violent drug traffickers in Mexico in the 80s and 90s and was a close friend of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.

He was born in La Noria de Abajo, in the municipality of Mocorito, Sinaloa and only studied Primary because of the poverty of his family. The crime soon reached his life, and in his teens, he already stole cars. 

He called the attention of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, the largest cocaine and marihuana drug dealer in Mexico, also known as "The Chief of Chiefs" or "The Godfather", who hired him as a hit man in the 70s and later ordered him to smuggle cocaine in Sonora.

A young Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán also worked for Felix Gallardo in the Guadalajara Cartel, so he became a close friend of "El Güero", who was accused of keeping a drug shipment, so his boss did not It took him revenge.

Towards the end of the eighties, "El Güero" and Guzmán Loera rose in leaps and bounds towards the leadership in the world of drug trafficking with the Sinaloa Cartel, but soon the worst blow came for Palma.

"El Padrino", allegedly ordered to kill the children and the wife of "El Güero", to whom he sent the head of his beloved. The murder, at the hands of Colombian narco leader Rafael Clavel Moreno, of the Felix Gallardo group, removed Palma Salazar from anonymity, because an unprecedented battle between the criminals was created.

"El Güero" built a mausoleum for his family with an estimated value of USD 420,000, in the Jardines del Humaya Pantheon, in Culiacán, Sinaloa. On the roof, there is a painting of his wife and children.

In revenge, he ordered the murder of nine friends and relatives of Felix Gallardo. Some of the bodies presented multiple blows, skull fracture and a burst of viscera.

It was known that the arms of "El Güero" were covered in gold and brilliant. I added the figure of a palm tree, made with emeralds.

A small plane that moved him from Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, to Guadalajara Jalisco, collapsed. When he was convalescing after the accident, the military discovered him in June 1995 thanks to his striking and unmistakable Colt Super 83 pistol.

Mexican authorities sentenced him to seven years in prison at the high-security prison in Puente Grande, Jalisco, for possession of cocaine, drug trafficking, and organized crime.

In the penitentiary of Puente Grande, he coincided with his friend "El Chapo", who had been apprehended in 1993, until January 2001 when Guzmán Loera escaped.

In the company of "El Chapo" and Arturo Martínez "El Texas", he took over the entire Puente Grande prison. The investigation into the escape of Guzmán revealed that the three criminals imposed the rules inside the penitentiary center.

Palma was accused by the Prosecutor's Office of being one of the accomplices of the escape; however, he was acquitted of this charge years later.

In 2007, Palma was extradited to the US and convicted of trafficking cocaine in 2008. He was first sent to a prison in Phoenix, Arizona, where he had contact with other inmates. But once he was sentenced to 16 years in prison and 5 years of probation, he was sent to the federal prison of the State of Colorado, in the center of the United States.

It was ADX Florence, the safest maximum security prison in the country, in which Guzmán Loera could serve a life sentence.

The place is famous for the view that the mountains of Fremont County offer. However, the penitentiary is designed so that prisoners can never appreciate them.

"The worst of the worst in the vast network of American prisons usually ends in ADX, also known as The Rocky Alcatraz," said former prison director Robert Hood in a special report for CNN.

In that place, Palma never saw other inmates. He spent 23 hours a day in his cell and at hour 24 he could see the sun in the sky, through a window in the ceiling. He did not speak English and the guards did not speak Spanish, so "for long periods of time I had no one to talk to," his lawyer Frank Ragen said, according to the Mexican newspaper Milenio.

Some of the inmates in said prison are Eric Rudolph, an American terrorist responsible for the attacks in the Olympic Games of Atlanta in 1996; Zacarias Moussaoui, former member of Al Qaeda who participated in the planning of the September 11 attacks; Ramzi Yousef, considered the "brain" of the attack on the Twin Towers and Ted Kaczynski (The Unabomber), a Harvard graduate who between 1978 and 1995 sent 16 bomb letters to different universities in the country.

ADX Florence has been criticized by organizations defending human rights due to its harsh conditions of isolation.

Palma served 9 of the 16 years in prison of his sentence for drug trafficking. The US authorities considered him to have behaved well during his incarceration and released him on June 15, 2016.

"El Güero" Palma left the prison at age 56, with an inguinal hernia, hemorrhoids, poor vision and several missing teeth, Mexican media reported. He was the second leader of a cartel released from a US jail. The first was Francisco Arellano Félix, in 2008.

He was deported and apprehended in Mexico for the murder of a judicial officer and his escort in the 1990s. He remains in the Altiplano penitentiary, in the State of Mexico.

By Mexicanist