Justice in Mexico

Family Claims “El Padrino” is Being Mistreated in Prison

Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo. Photo Credit: U.S. DEA http://www.justice.gov/dea/fugitives/la/felix-gallardo.htm

03/22/11–In an open letter to the Mexico’s top police official, the family of Miguel Angel Félix Gallardo, also known as the “godfather” or “El Padrin0” of Mexican cartels, claims that he is being mistreated while in prison. He was arrested in 1989 and sentenced to 40 years in prison for charges of drug, bribery, and weapon offenses. He was in charge of the Guadalajara cartel, which at the time was considered the most powerful organized drug cartel in Mexico, and is also seen as a precursor to the Sinoloa Cartel. The Guadalajara cartel also aided in the training of many of the key players in organized crime groups today.

Addressed to Public Safety Secretary Genaro García Luna, Félix Gallardo’s wife and children stated that he is not receiving the medications needed for his ailments, which include cataracts, deafness, ulcers, and a hernia. They also complain that he has been segregated and isolated from other inmates for over three years and has been prohibited to partake in the physical sports and educational activities offered by the prison. They claim he has been kept in unhealthy conditions where there has been odors, humidity, darkness, and a lack of ventilation. The family also stated that Félix Gallardo was punished for having cigarettes in his cell, even though they are sold in the prison to inmates. The family alleged his visitation rights were taken away for four months.

García Luna’s office had no comments following the letter’s publishing in Mexico City’s newspaper, which ran almost a full-page in length.


Associated Press. “In Open Letter, Mexican Drug Lord’s Family Claims He is Mistreated in Prison.” The Washington Post. March 22, 2011.

Associated Press. “Mexican drug lord’s family: He’s suffering in jail.” Forbes. March 22, 2011.

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