How "The Queen of Riviera Maya" declared war on the drug lord

The queen of the Riviera Maya, the woman who declared war on one of the most wanted drug lords.

How "The Queen of Riviera Maya" declared war on the drug lord
The Queen of Riviera Maya. Image: Agencies

Leticia Rodríguez Lara became famous for unleashing a wave of violence in the tourist destination of Quintana Roo, she is even held responsible for one of the most violent acts in the place and although she is now in a prison, she still remembers how she closed the step to one of the most wanted narco leaders

Her rivals, allies, and media called her "The Queen of Riviera Maya", for being the main drug trafficker in southern Mexico. Her main square (plaza) was in the state of Quintana Roo, where tourist destinations such as Cancun, Cozumel, and Playa del Carmen, preferred by foreign tourists, are located. Leticia Rodríguez Lara had other aliases such as "Doña Lety" or "La 40" and even before her arrest, she was one of the most powerful women in the modern history of Mexican drug trafficking.

Rodríguez Lara was part of the disappeared Federal Judicial Police, which she left to ally with the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera and prevent other criminal organizations from entering the plaza, mainly, the most powerful rival: the Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) commanded by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes "El Mencho".

As part of her work for Guzmán Loera, the design of safe routes in the states of Sinaloa and Sonora was to move the drugs that arrived from Colombia to Mexico and that would later be sent to other countries, mainly the United States. At the same time, she made alliances with local groups in Quintana Roo and decided to separate from "El Chapo" to integrate her criminal organization and later become the head of the Gulf Cartel.

The organization of "The Queen of the Riviera Maya" did business in different markets. She not only dedicated himself to the distribution of drugs but also to human trafficking, prostitution, and money laundering. As a demonstration of its power, in 2015 a video on YouTube showed a member of the Sinaloa Cartel who had been captured by the people of "Doña Lety", in which the man appeared with a hooded man, presumably from the Gulf Cartel

The man described that "Mrs. Lety" forced taxi drivers and street vendors to work with her, under threat of being beaten or disappeared with the help of high-level police officers.

"I had to pay attention because I fear for my life, which is in danger, so she has control of the entire hotel zone, with her people they feel that there is nobody else, they force us, they threaten us ... we do not gain anything, everything is for her, "said the man in the video.

"I am in the hands of the Gulf Cartel and I do not know what happens with me," he said before saying goodbye.

To take over the plaza she had to expel the then feared cartel of Los Zetas, one of the most bloodthirsty in the history of Mexican drug trafficking, famous for dismembering its victims and committing acts of cannibalism, and Los Pelones, an armed wing of the cartel. the Beltrán Leyva. The woman managed to banish the criminal group thanks to the delivery of bribes to the different state police units, who stopped protecting the bloodthirsty criminal organization of Los Zetas, founded by defectors of the Special Forces Aircraft Group (GAFES), an elite corps. of the Mexican Army.

But then another war began and without its allies, the Sinaloa Cartel, this time had to face the CJNG of "El Mencho" who wanted to appropriate the plaza of the Riviera Maya, one of the most lucrative in the country due to the high number of foreign tourists who come to their places year after year. Starting in 2014, narcomantas (narcomessages) began to appear in the state of Quintana Roo, mainly in Cancun, of the CJNG that referred to "Doña Lety" or "La 40".

The confrontation between the group of the "Queen of the Riviera Maya" and the organization of "El Mencho" triggered the violence rates in Cancun where it was common to see bodies dismembered with messages directed to Rodríguez Lara. The dawn of January 16, 2017, the two rival groups inaugurated a new phase of violence in the state when an armed man entered the emblematic Blue Parrot bar where the closing of an electronic music festival that had been held in Playa del Carmen for the last 10 years.

The man fired on the staff of the organization of the event and against the clients of the place who were mainly foreign tourists. The version is that members of the CJNG would have arrived at the place to execute "Doña Lety", but they did not succeed. At least five people died and another 15 were injured. Days later, in front of the seat of the Judicial Power of Quintana Roo, a suitcase appeared that inside had the remains of a person and cardboard stuck in which, according to local media reports, was a message from the CJNG to "La 40".

"Doña Lety" had a weakness: on July 8 of that year her son, Rafael S.R., alias "El Dóver", was arrested in Quintana Roo. From then on, the woman began a constant transit between Cancun and Mexico City, with the intention of finding connections to get her son out of jail. Usually hiding in the states of Tabasco and Veracruz, in the south, and Puebla, in the center, always accompanied by a group of escorts.

One month after the arrest of her son, on August 9, 2017, "Doña Lety" was arrested in the state of Puebla along with three other people. On April 10, 2018, she was linked to criminal case 152/2018 in which she is accused of directing and supervising events related to organized crime with the aim of attacking health. The Attorney General's Office found a few days later 1,500 security boxes where she hid the money through aliases. She is originally from the state of Veracruz, at the time of her arrest she was 48 years old, according to PGR reports.