‘El Mago,’ drug trafficker linked to son of Sinaloa cartel kingpin, gunned down in L.A.

‘El Mago,’ drug trafficker linked to son of Sinaloa cartel kingpin, gunned down in L.A.

A convicted drug trafficker linked to the Sinaloa cartel who labored for the son of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was gunned down Thursday morning in an industrial stretch of Willowbrook, in accordance with authorities and courtroom data.

Eduardo Escobedo, 39, was one in every of two males killed within the 14200 block of Towne Avenue, in accordance with officers from the Los Angeles Medical Examiner-Coroner and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division. The opposite sufferer was Guillermo De Los Angeles Jr., 47.

Round 8 a.m. Thursday, sheriff’s deputies responded to an industrial space crammed with warehouses, together with a truck yard, pallet storage facility and a church. Escobedo and De Los Angeles died on the scene. A 3rd man was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening gunshot wounds.

“It seems that there was some kind of gathering or celebration on the location from final evening to early this morning,” Lt. Omar Camacho informed KABC-TV Channel 7 on the scene.

A man cuts vegetables.

Eduardo Escobedo in a photograph from courtroom data.

(United States District Court docket exhibit)

Escobedo, whose nickname, “El Mago,” interprets to “The Magician,” served 4 years and 9 months in federal jail for conspiring to distribute greater than 10,000 kilograms of marijuana and laundering drug proceeds. He was launched in 2018.

Raised in East Los Angeles, Escobedo rose to grow to be the first distributor of marijuana in Los Angeles for Guzman’s oldest son, Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar, a prosecutor stated at a 2014 detention listening to. He laundered the proceeds partially by shopping for unique automobiles and delivery them to Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa and the cartel’s stronghold.

Escobedo was additionally alleged to have ordered the dying of a rival trafficker who was gunned down in his Bentley on the 101 Freeway in 2008. Whereas Escobedo was by no means charged within the homicide, his brother and one other man had been convicted and are serving life sentences.

Escobedo was born in the US, his lawyer, Guadalupe Valencia, stated on the detention listening to. He attended Garfield Excessive College, the place he met his spouse, and later graduated from a continuation faculty, Valencia stated.

In July 2011, Escobedo, then 27, was arrested leaving a stash home the place police discovered a ton of marijuana, Adam Braverman, an assistant U.S. lawyer, stated on the detention listening to. Torrance police, which served the warrant, stated the stash home was within the West Adams neighborhood.

In October 2013, Escobedo was caught on a wiretap talking with Guzman Salazar about smuggling greater than 5 tons of marijuana by means of a tunnel underneath the U.S.-Mexico border, Braverman stated. Authorities seized 2.7 tons of hashish from a courier working for Escobedo, in accordance with the prosecutor.

Guzman Salazar stays one in every of Mexico’s most needed males. One in all his prime lieutenants, Néstor Isidro Pérez Salas, nicknamed “El Nini,” was captured by the Mexican Nationwide Guard earlier this week in Culiacan. Justice Division officers are searching for to extradite Pérez Salas, who’s charged in two U.S. jurisdictions with conspiring to site visitors methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine; laundering cash; retaliating towards witnesses; and possessing machine weapons.

Escobedo was additionally serving to Guzman Salazar launder cash by means of the acquisition of sports activities automobiles that had been shipped to Culiacan, Braverman stated. Federal brokers decided that Escobedo used a false title to purchase two Lamborghinis from a dealership in Newport Seaside.

Braverman stated Escobedo was stopped by the Irwindale police driving one of many automobiles, a $175,000-dollar Murcielago. The Lamborghini was bought with a collection of money deposits simply beneath the $10,000 threshold that triggers a financial institution reporting requirement, in accordance with a warrant for the automobile’s seizure.

Brokers listened on a wiretap as Guzman Salazar requested Escobedo to buy a Nissan GTR and make $50,000 in modifications, Braverman stated. Mexican authorities seized the Nissan in Culiacan in 2014, in addition to a McLaren that Escobedo had purchased in California for $175,000, the prosecutor stated.

On the time of his arrest in 2014, Escobedo was residing in a sprawling Granada Hills dwelling with a pool and tennis courtroom. Drug Enforcement Administration brokers searched Escobedo and located him carrying a considerable amount of money, 4 telephones and keys to 5 completely different automobiles.

A father of 4, Escobedo claimed his annual revenue of about $200,000 got here from a enterprise he owned together with his spouse, Worldwide Hair Authority, that imported hair extensions and offered them. Escobedo additionally reported proudly owning a file label, Magic Data Company.

Braverman stated brokers suspected Escobedo was utilizing the hair firm’s accounts to launder drug cash, pointing to a $50,000 wire switch from a person named Harvinder Singh. Scotland Yard, the London police pressure, arrested Singh and his associates, who had been delivery cocaine from Mexico to London on British Airways flights, Braverman stated.

After pleading responsible to conspiring to distribute marijuana and launder cash, Escobedo was sentenced to 57 months in federal jail.

He was by no means charged in a homicide that despatched his youthful brother to jail.

In 2008, police discovered a bullet-riddled silver Bentley Continental GT crashed on the middle median of the 101 freeway in downtown Los Angeles. Jose Luis Macias, 25, was slumped behind the wheel. A bullet had gone by means of the again of his head.

Nicknamed “Huerito,” Macias labored for the Arellano Felix group, a Tijuana-based cartel that rivals the Sinaloans. Macias’ pals usually obtained into fights with Escobedo’s brother, Andy Medrano, at a Pico Rivera nightclub referred to as El Rodeo, in accordance with an appellate determination that summarized the proof in Medrano’s trial.

Within the early morning hours of Dec. 12, 2008, Macias was at a competition for the Virgin of Guadalupe on Olvera Road when he obtained right into a battle with Medrano and a pal, Michael Aleman, a witness testified. Safety guards broke it up.

Macias was ready at a crimson gentle in his Bentley when two males approached the automobile on foot, a witness testified. The witness, a stranded motorist ready for a tow truck, noticed muzzle flashes erupt in fast succession, as if from computerized weapons. The Bentley made a U-turn and sped towards the freeway.

Police suspected Escobedo had ordered the killing. In response to a search warrant affidavit reported by The Occasions in 2009, detectives believed he and Macias had been engaged in “an influence battle” over management of trafficking networks.

On the 2014 detention listening to in federal courtroom, Braverman stated Los Angeles detectives suspected Escobedo “ordered the murder to happen.”

“Our understanding is that particular person was a rival drug trafficker driving in that Bentley,” he stated.

Detectives arrested Escobedo in 2011 and questioned him in regards to the murder earlier than letting him go. Valencia, his lawyer, stated Escobedo was subpoenaed to testify, however was informed by a prosecutor he wasn’t being referred to as as a witness within the trial. His brother and Aleman had been convicted of Macias’ homicide and sentenced to life phrases.

After his launch from federal jail in 2018, Escobedo opened a series of eating places and meals vehicles referred to as Benihibachi, in accordance with a movement his lawyer submitted to terminate his probation early. The movement included {a photograph} of Escobedo sporting a shirt with the restaurant’s emblem, chopping a bath filled with onions.

His lawyer, Ezekiel Cortez, urged the choose to see the great Escobedo had completed after leaving jail. “As a society, you acknowledge that they listened. You acknowledge individuals who turned their lives round,” Cortez stated at a listening to. “You acknowledge individuals who reduce their ties, as on this case, with former very dangerous associations.”

“Mr. Escobedo proved to the entire phrase that he reduce his ties utterly,” Cortez stated. “And he acquired some dangers.”

Calling Escobedo “an unlimited success,” U.S. District Choose Dana M. Sabraw agreed to terminate his probation early. “Free from these influences,” Sabraw stated of Escobedo’s ties to drug traffickers, “you’re a very productive, fantastic human being.”

Nonetheless, Escobedo flaunted his opulent life-style on social media lately. He posed for pictures with Floyd Mayweather and Al Pacino. He wore flashy tracksuits by Dolce and Gabbana and sported a diamond-encrusted Richard Mille watch. One {photograph} confirmed Escobedo holding a duffel bag full of cash. In one other, he embraces a member of the Mexican Mafia whereas holding a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne.

In a corrido, or ballad, titled “El Mago,” the group Edicion Especial sang that Escobedo had modified for the higher. “A very long time in the past it was completely different,” the tune goes, however right this moment he has “los gringos” consuming at his Japanese eating places. He thinks usually of his brother, “the one who’s in jail.”

Investigators haven’t disclosed a motive for the killings. Camacho didn’t instantly return a request for remark.

De Los Angeles had been launched from federal jail in December 2022, courtroom data present. A member of the 18th Road gang referred to as “Unhappy Boy,” he served 10 years for distributing methamphetamine.

After Escobedo’s dying Thursday, the group Enigma Norteno put out a ballad referred to as “El Mago Merlin.” Escobedo nonetheless hangs out in East Los Angeles and fears nobody, the tune goes. He baptized the kid of Guzman Salazar, the kingpin’s son, and acquired his “compadre” a white Lamborghini Huracan for his birthday.

“The dream,” the singer says, “has come true.”

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