“Char” for Borderland Beat
This article was translated and reposted from https://jorgefernandezmenendez.com/wpfront/
On the hunt for El Nini
WRITTEN BY JORGE FERNÁNDEZ MENÉNDEZ
One of the most wanted targets by Mexican and US authorities is Nestor Isidro Perez Salas, nicknamed El Nini, who is currently a plaza boss in Culiacan, Sinaloa. He is also the head of a particularly violent cell, nicknamed “Los Ninis,” and reports directly to Iván Archivaldo Guzmán El Chapito, although he is increasingly autonomous.
He does not usually leave Culiacán, for fear of being detained by federal authorities or being killed by rival groups. He has three security circles and an immediate support force made up of numerous hitmen, similar to the protection that Iván Archivaldo has, independently of that provided by the Culiacán Municipal Police and officials from the three levels of government.
El Nini has been directly involved in many violent acts. He was arrested for the first time on November 23, 2013, accused of illegally carrying a firearm for the exclusive use of the Army, at a cattle fair in the city of Culiacán. He was immediately released. Three years later, on September 30, 2016, on El Chapito’s orders, his cell of hitmen attacked military personnel in Culiacán, in the attack six of his hitmen were killed.
Later, on October 17, 2019 and January 5, 2023, he participated and ordered his cell to attack military installations in Culiacán, following operations for the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán López, El Ratón. The first event was the Culiacanazo, the second was the arrest of El Ratón in Jesús María.
On June 24, 2023, in the town of El Tamarindo, military forces secured six pickup trucks, two of them cloned (as National Guard and SEMAR); they also intervened three properties owned by El Nini where they found weapons and tactical equipment.
On October 24, 2023, El Nini ordered one of his hitmen, Juan Andres “N” alias El Chango, together with Culiacan Municipal Police and his criminal cell, to kidnap and murder six young people who were later left lifeless, cruelly tortured, in Tamazula, Durango, among them a minor of only 13 years of age. None of them had any connection to organized crime.
Just last November 4, El Nini, with corrupt Transit and Municipal Police agents, tried to kidnap a couple of teachers in Colinas de San Miguel de Culiacan, just because they were suspicious, only the intervention of the National Guard and the Mexican Army prevented them from being kidnapped. The couple of teachers, in fear of being kidnapped, resorted to the Federal Authorities in order to recover their vehicle, which was stolen by the same municipal authorities who stopped them to supposedly perform a routine check in the parking lot of the “Galerias San Miguel” Shopping Mall in Culiacan. The same municipal police officers, after violently stealing the vehicle from the teachers, took the car to the Municipal Transit and Traffic Department, refusing to hand it over to its owners, whom they summoned to another location in the city, in order to kidnap them with impunity. Warned by the teachers, the kidnapping was prevented by the military forces.
In fact, Isidro Perez Salas’ distrust and fear of being captured by the federal authorities is so great that he has ordered the Culiacan Municipal Police, as well as his informants and hawks, to stop, search and identify any civilian vehicle they find questionable, and in case the people in it resist, to deprive them of their freedom, torture and execute them.
Nini’s cell keeps a low public profile, but they are very violent and work with municipal police officers who also provide protection to Ivan Archivaldo. Among his main collaborators in the police is agent Juan Antonio “N” alias “Juanito” and Jose Luis “N” alias “H2”, who provide information to the Ninis about the police officers who do their job honestly, in order to take them down, as well as transport the hitmen and weapons aboard their patrol cars to avoid being arrested.
Part of the violence in Culiacán is due to the fact that El Nini has long been at odds with Miguel Ángel Gaxiola Quintero El Ruso, a relevant operator of the Mayo Zambada faction, and they are in constant dispute for territorial control of Culiacán.
The Federal Government decided to send and deploy military troops from the Army, Air Force, National Guard and Mexican Navy to contain and minimize crime and delinquency in Sinaloa, a violence that has skyrocketed with murders, disappearances and kidnappings generated by Ivan Archivaldo and Nestor Isidro Perez Salas El Nini. For its part, the U.S. government is offering a reward of three million dollars for any information leading to the capture of El Nini, considered, along with Los Chapitos, the main drug smugglers, especially fentanyl, into the U.S. The U.S. government is offering a reward of three million dollars for any information leading to the capture of El Nini.
In the Chapitos’ organization chart, El Nini is second only to Chapo’s sons, and it has not even been ruled out that he could create another criminal faction of his own within the same cartel to compete with Chapitos or even Mayo Zambada. It is said that he has the support of many members of the cartel and even of people from a foreign agency. For the federal government, he is now one of its main targets.