Mexican feds, US officials seek to verify death of fugitive cartel hitman ‘El Chino Ántrax’

Border Report

Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa, a.k.a. “El Chino Ántrax.”

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Forensic experts from the Mexican Attorney General’s Office are in Culiacan to verify the identity of a murder victim found Saturday along with two others inside an abandoned SUV.

The Sinaloa Attorney General’s Office has identified the body as that of Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa, a reputed drug trafficker and hitman who skipped probation in San Diego on May 6. The other two bodies are his sister Ada Jimena and his brother-in-law Juan Guillermo Garcia, according to the state agency.

Arechiga Gamboa, also known as “El Chino Ántrax,” and his relatives were visually identified by family members this past weekend, according to Sinaloa authorities. Given that the U.S. government is actively looking for him, the state is cooperating with both Mexico City and U.S. consular authorities to ensure they got the right man.

“Late on Sunday May 17, relatives of the victims went to the (state authorities) to officially identify (the bodies). Also on the 17th of May, the Medical Forensic Service of the (Federal) Attorney General was allowed access to the installations to effect their forensic determinations regarding José Rodrigo ‘A,'” Sinaloa state officials said in a Facebook post.

The state is also collaborating with U.S. consular and diplomatic authorities, the post said.

Arechiga Gamboa was a top enforcer for the Sinaloa cartel during Mexico’s drug wars of 2006-2010, according to experts. They believe his hit squads were responsible for numerous assassinations of rivals from the Arellano Felix, Carrillo Fuentes and Beltran Leyva drug trafficking organizations.

But his proclivity for flaunting his wealth on social media made him a target for authorities, and he was arrested in the Netherlands seven years ago. TorchStone Global security expert Scott Stewart says he could’ve spent life in prison on drug charges once he was extradited to the United States. Instead, he got seven years, was credited for time served and released on probation this past March 3.

Arechiga Gamboa absconded on May 6 and probably headed back to Mexico once he was promised he wouldn’t be harmed, said Stewart, who added that it’s clear his light sentence had to do with cooperating with the U.S. government on other ongoing investigations against the cartel.

Stewart says either Sinaloa cartel boss Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada lied to him or someone high up in the organization, such as jailed former drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s sons, disagreed and took him out.

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