Chino Antrax (center), Sinaloa Cartel hitman and smuggler, disappeared from his San Diego home and headed to Sinaloa, where he was found murdered.
Borderland Beat, one of the best resources for current and accurate information on Mexico’s bloody drug wars – and its key players – has shut down its website in response to a lawsuit apparently filed by one of the founders of Mexico’s Milenio Cartel who was released from a Kentucky prison in April.
(The Milenio Cartel is widely thought to have evolved into the Cartel Jalisco Neuvo Generacion.)
Borderland Beat’s founder isn’t talking about the suit, he said in a phone call. The website announced the shutdown (look at it as a cached view) the first week of October. It was named a defendant In the loss of privacy suit along with Google and a slew of other news outlets in Mexico. The volunteer website continues to tweet at @borderland_beat, and hopes to relaunch in January 2021
The lawsuit points to stories published in Mexican media in June about the convicted capo being released from prison, and included a photo of Armando Valencia Cornelio that shows he is moving to California and treating for lymphoma – information also available in federal court records.
The privacy violation lawsuit was filed by San Francisco attorney Jeffrey Mendelman in federal court in September, and the plaintiff’s identity is concealed as ‘John Doe.’ In June, Valor Tamaulipeco published news of Valencia’s release and identified the California city he moved to. Borderlandbeat posted the story on its website. The story appears to have originated with Reforma.
A search of federal court records reveals that in the past 20 years, Mendelman has had exactly one other case in United States federal courts, representing Armando Valencia Cornelio on drug trafficking charges in Florida after he was extradited from Jalisco, Mexico .
Documents filed as public record in that case show that Valencia was released from prison earlier this year and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area city of Atherton, ranked as America’s Richest Town for the third consecutive year in 2019. Valencia may have long ties to the Bay Area.
Borderland Beat’s suspension has been deeply felt by those who follow the extraordinary violence of the drug cartels and the corrupt officials they own. Its reporters were among the first to report on the 2014 abduction and presumed murders of 43 teachers from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College in Iguala, a crime that has been linked to the local police working with organized crime.
Borderland Beat was the first news outlet to confirm the death of Chino Antrax, the Sinaloa Cartel hitman and smuggler who, within a month of being released from San Diego’s Metropolitan Corrections Center, disappeared from his San Diego home and headed to Culiacan, Sinaloa, where he was found murdered along with his sister and brother in law.
It’s widely read by U.S. law enforcement – and was founded by a now-retired cop in New Mexico. The website is free and contributions are voluntary – almost all commenters are anonymous and use a pseudonym. Some journalists and stories are from the Mexican media, where crime bosses have killed reporters and bloggers with impunity.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has named Mexico one of the most dangerous places for journalists – with 56 reporters confirmed murdered since 1992.