Arturo Beltrán Leyva, “El Barbas”, drug trafficking capo, made a final attempt to avoid his capture and death as he was surrounded by federal forces last December.
But his final and desperate move failed.
On December 16, at approximately 2:15pm, twenty five members of the Navy Special Forces descended by rope from helicopters hovering above the towers of the Altitude residential complex in Cuernavaca.
Fifteen minutes later the Navy brought the Army into the operation, asking for military assistance in order to establish a perimeter around the neighborhood, although they would not disclose any further details regarding their objectives…
“El Barbas,” the most violent capo of recent years, had at his side Jesús Nava Romero “El Rojo,” the young Gonzalo Octavio Araujo Zazueta, son of the deceased trafficker Gonzalo Araujo Payán, “El Chalo,” and another four loyal companions…
At 6:00pm, when the buildings had already been taken and occupied, “El Rojo” called one of his bodyguards, nicknamed “El Tuntún,” who was drinking beers with some friends in Chilpancingo.
With “El Gusano” and Ricardo Antonio Pérez Soto, the assasin climbed into a black suburban and drove at high speed to a secure house in Tepoztlán, where they loaded an arsenal of weapons and immediately headed to Cuernavaca.
Another call made that afternoon went out to Jesús Basilio Araujo “El Pollo,” perhaps the bloodiest executor that the Beltran Leyva Cartel had in Morelos and Guerrero. Basilio was relaxing at his house in Jiutepec.
His men were the first to arrive at the residential complex, two hours after the call, and through grenades from a property owned by the Red Cross. It was the beginning of the battle.