Top 10 Craziest Things Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo Has Done

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Top 10 Craziest Things Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo Has Done

VOICE OVER: Callum Janes WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
This infamous crime lord did some pretty bad stuff. For this list, we'll be looking at the most unbelievable, violent, and notorious things that drug lord Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo has done throughout his life. Our countdown includes Starting the Guadalajara Cartel, Partnering With the Medellín Cartel, Trafficking From Prison, and more!
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Top 10 Craziest Things Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo Has Done


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Craziest Things Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo Has Done.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most unbelievable, violent, and notorious things that drug lord Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo has done throughout his life.

What do you think of Gallardo’s actions? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Starting the Guadalajara Cartel

The roots of the Guadalajara Cartel are quite interesting, indeed. Gallardo attempted a straight life as a young man, studying business in college and working for Mexico’s Federal Judicial Police. However, he quickly fell for the allure of crime and started mingling with rich drug traffickers. He worked under drug lord Pedro Avilés Pérez, helping to arrange corruption deals with state officials. However, Pérez was later killed in a shootout with the police, leaving a power vacuum within the organization. Gallardo took over with some partners and relocated the operation from Sinaloa to Guadalajara. And with this, the world-famous Guadalajara Cartel was born.


#9: Monopolizing the Drug Trade

If there’s one thing Gallardo was good at, it was running a cartel. His intelligence and business acumen are undeniable, and he was quickly able to monopolize his country’s illegal drug trade. He mostly did so by allying with Colombia’s cartels and smuggling their cocaine into America. They were able to fanagle massive profits from the deal, and it’s estimated that the cartel was bringing in upwards of $5 billion on an annual basis. They also operated massive marijuana plantations, essentially taking complete control of the pot and narcotics operations in Mexico. If drugs came from there, chances are they were handled by Gallardo’s Guadalajara Cartel.

#8: Establishing a Massive Trafficking Network

The Colombian cartels trusted Guadalajara because they had established an excellent trafficking network that was essentially cop-proof. The authorities were bearing down on the Colombians’ drug routes, primarily in the Caribbean Sea. To ensure that their cocaine reached America, the Colombian cartels worked with Guadalajara through a man named Juan Matta-Ballesteros. Matta and the Guadalajara Cartel were successful in smuggling drugs into America, and they did so through unpatrolled routes and corruption. The cartel had ties with the DFS, the Mexican Federal Security Directorate, and the intelligence agency turned a blind eye to the smuggling. In fact, some members of DFS were actively involved in the cartel’s operations.


#7: Partnering With the Medellín Cartel

Perhaps the biggest connection that Gallardo made was with the Medellín Cartel. While Gallardo also worked with the competing Cali Cartel, it’s his Medellín connection that’s most impressive. Perhaps the most notorious drug cartel of all time, Medellín was both a smuggling and terrorist organization that brought in upwards of $60 million per day. It’s most well known for its founder, Pablo Escobar, who’s arguably the most successful - and scandalous - drug smuggler in history. And while “Narcos: Mexico” depicts Gallardo and Escobar meeting in Colombia, experts believe that the two drug lords never actually met in person. That was mostly just an excuse to get Wagner Moura back.


#6: Running an $8 Billion Pot Farm

We mentioned before that the Guadalajara Cartel operated massive pot farms, but let us reiterate - these were massive pot farms. Perhaps the most famous was Rancho Búfalo, which was located in the northern state of Chihuahua. This was an enormous plantation spanning 2,500 acres and bringing in annual profits of $8 billion. This plantation was able to operate under the protection of the DFS - the same intelligence agency that turned a blind eye to the cartel’s smuggling operation. To say they were corrupt is a bit of an understatement. As prosperous as Rancho Búfalo was, it was eventually burned to the ground by the DEA. Unfortunately, this act would have dire consequences…


#5: Obtaining Political Protection

One must understand that this type of extensive operation is impossible without widespread corruption. Gallardo had friends in high places, and many of them were paid to look the other way. We’ve spoken about the DFS, but they certainly weren’t acting alone. Then-President José Portillo did little, and his administration has long been criticized for being corrupt. All this allowed Gallardo and his cartel to work unimpeded, and it speaks quite highly to Gallardo’s power. Even when Gallardo was suspected in the death of DEA agent Kiki Camarena, his political protection allowed him to remain free. At least for a while…


#4: Owning the Police

Gallardo had complete control over the country’s corruption. When he was finally arrested in 1989, the entire house of cards came crumbling down and the widespread corruption was revealed for the world to see. And it was messy. Over 100 police officers deserted Mexico immediately after Gallardo was arrested, fearing retribution. Chiefs of municipal and state police were thrown in prison, and the house of Sinaloa’s Public Security Director was seized. Virtually all levels of authority were corrupt, going all the way up to the federal level. As the State Judicial Police would later say, “the police body [was] completely infiltrated by narcos.”

#3: Splitting Up the Cartel

Realizing that his massive operation was an easy target for the authorities, Gallardo decided to split it up. Essentially, a large group of smaller cartels would be harder to bring down than one major organization. As the authorities closed in on his operation, Gallardo brought all the top narcos to a house in and effectively split the Guadalajara Cartel into smaller sub-cartels. Territories were given to various bosses, including Gallardo’s nephews. Both the Sonora and Sinaloa cartels were created from this fracturing, and both became major drug traffickers within Mexico. While Sonora was dissolved in 2007, Sinaloa continues to this day and remains the country’s most dominant and powerful cartel.


#2: Trafficking From Prison

Steel bars didn’t stop Félix Gallardo from being the most powerful man in Mexico. Following his arrest in 1989, Gallardo was initially sentenced to forty years in prison. However, he was able to speak to his associates by using mobile phones, and he effectively continued to run the cartel from prison. However, Gallardo was sent to a maximum security facility in 1993, and it’s here that his story ends. Without his phone, Gallardo lost control over the other narcos, and he was left to age in prison. In 2019, Gallardo requested to spend the rest of his sentence at home owing to his failing health, but this request was denied.

#1: Kiki Camarena

Remember how we said there were consequences for burning down the pot farm? Well here they are. Kiki Camarena was a DEA agent who was quickly exposing not only Gallardo’s operations, but the rampant corruption throughout Mexico. After helping to destroy the farm, Camarena was abducted on February 7, 1985 - allegedly on the orders of Gallardo himself. He was taken to a house and tortured for thirty hours before he was killed. His body was found wrapped in plastic almost one month later. The DEA launched Operation Leyenda in response, and investigators named Gallardo as a prime suspect in the kidnapping. He was arrested four years later on a variety of charges, including the kidnapping and killing of Kiki Camarena.
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