08/21/13 – Frank Armenta Espinoza, the bodyguard of Sinaloa Governor Mario López Valdez, was found dead on August 9 near Culiacán, the capital of the state of Sinaloa, According to the Sinaloa Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado, PGJE), the body was beheaded, wrapped in a sheet, and showed signs of torture. Armenta has been the subject of ongoing discussions about the governor’s involvement with organized crime.
The death of Armenta marks another step in the dramatic series of events that began with his kidnapping on June 4, 2013. Soon after Armenta was kidnapped, videos surfaced of him accusing and detailing Governor López’s alleged involvement with the Sinaloa Cartel, as well as his conversations with various government officials pertaining to organized crime and other elicit activities. (Click here for more details on Armenta’s kidnapping and allegations against the governor).
While the source of the video remains unconfirmed, Governor López, commonly known as ‘Malova,’ continues to deny the claims Armenta made regarding his ties to the Sinaloa Cartel. The governor instead argues that his bodyguard was under threat to make such allegations and that the video was a drug cartel’s attempt to destabilize public opinion on the government’s actions against organized crime. Although nothing has been proven, if the accusations in the video are found to be true, it would reveal government officials who have been actively involved in serving the interests of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel.