Crime and Violence · Transparency & accountability

Former bodyguard of Governor López found dead

An image of bodyguard Frank Armenta Espinoza taken from the video in which he accuses Sinaloa Governor López of alleged ties to the Sinaloa Cartel. Photo: La Pared Noticias
This image of bodyguard Frank Armenta Espinoza was taken from the video in which he accused Sinaloa Governor López of alleged ties to the Sinaloa Cartel. Photo: La Pared Noticias

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.


“Governor López of Sinaloa Accused of Having Ties with Sinaloa Cartel.” Justice in Mexico Project. June 10, 2013.

Redacción. “Aparece muerto Frank Armenta, escolta del gobernador ‘Malova.’” Ríodoce, August 9, 2013.

Redacción. “La muerte anunciada de Frank Armenta, escolta de Malova.” La Pared Noticias. August 9, 2013.

Valdez, Cynthia and García, Juan José. “Hallan muerto a escolta de Malova.” Mileno. August 10, 2013.

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