Guillermo Gonzalez Calderoni

Pablo Acosta was killed in a gun battle with the Mexican federal police who trapped him in an adobe house in Ejido Santa Elena, a small river village downstream from Ojinaga.

The federal comandante who led the attack was Guillermo Gonzalez Calderoni. Once his small police force gained control of the village, Calderoni shouted through a bullhorn for Acosta to surrender.

Acosta refused. His last words were, “If you want me, come and get me.”

Calderoni, as the commander was usually called, had a controversial career as a “town tamer” along the U.S.-Mexico border in that he was able to take down a number of high profile drug traffickers, including Gilberto Ontiveros of Juarez.

American federal authorities, however, suspected he played both sides and took payoffs from other crime organizations to leave them alone.

Yet when playing the role of white hat Mexican cop, he was exceptionally effective. After receiving orders to go after Pablo Acosta, he doggedly hunted the Ojinaga drug lord for five months before discovering his hideout in the remote Rio Grande village.

With the collaboration of the FBI, he orchestrated a surprise attack on Acosta by flying his assault force across Texas to the Big Bend National Park. Acosta’s village was just across the Rio Grande from a park ranger station.

A team of FBI agents escorted him in a borrowed U.S. Army helicopter as far as the Rio Grande. The attack force flew over the river and quickly controlled the village.

After a one-hour gun battle, Pablo Acosta was dead.

Calderoni’s police career came to an end six years later when the Mexican government learned he was talking to the FBI about high-level corruption in Mexico, and he fled to the United States after Mexican President Salinas de Gortari ordered his arrest.

 

Ex-Mexican police leader slain – Man gunned down in Rio Grande Valley had been accused of corruption
The Dallas Morning News ^ | February 6, 2003 |
Posted on 2/6/2003, 3:11:50 AM by MeekOneGOP

Ex-Mexican police leader slain
Man gunned down in Valley had been accused of corruption
02/06/2003

The Dallas Morning News

McALLEN, Texas – A former high-ranking Mexican law enforcement official was fatally shot in the head Wednesday morning outside a lawyer’s office in McAllen.

Guillermo Gonzalez Calderoni, 54, was shot once in the left side of his face shortly before 11 a.m. as he sat in his car outside the office of McAllen lawyer Robert Yzaguirre, McAllen police said.

Mr. Gonzalez was once a powerful Mexican federal police commander who fled to this Lower Rio Grande Valley city in the 1990s after Mexican officials accused him of corruption and torture.

Mexican officials demanded his extradition, but in 1995, a U.S. magistrate refused the request.

Police officials declined to speculate whether Mr. Gonzalez’s previous troubles might have contributed to his death.

“There’s a lot of history behind this man apparently, and it could be any number of things,” McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said.

A Mexican business associate of Mr. Gonzalez also was in the car at the time of the shooting but was not hurt.

“We have not established any suspects in the case at this point in time, and neither have we established a motive,” Chief Rodriguez said. “We do not know with certainty how many suspects were involved in the shooting.”

AP
McAllen, Texas, officers investigate a car in which former Mexican federal police commander Guillermo Gonzalez Calderoni, 54, was shot.
Chief Rodriguez said Mr. Gonzalez’s associate was “not providing us with any information that we can develop.”
Chief Rodriguez said Mr. Gonzalez was at the law office to see Mr. Yzaguirre and had just left the office when he was shot. It was not known why Mr. Gonzalez was at the law office. No one at the office would comment Wednesday afternoon.
Once dubbed “the Mexican Elliott Ness” and the “untouchable” by former Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Phil Jordan, Mr. Gonzalez became an intriguing figure on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
In Mexico, the former federal police commander was once known as a fearless fighter who hunted down some of the country’s most notorious drug traffickers, including Miguel Angel Feliz Gallardo – at one time Mexico’s No. 1 drug lord.
He also worked closely with the FBI, which allowed his assault team to fly over U.S. airspace to track down and kill Pablo Acosta in the border town of Ojinaga, Mexico. Mr. Acosta was one of the most sought-after drug lords in the 1980s.
But Mexican drug experts say Mr. Gonzalez’s squeaky-clean profile was a façade. Deep down, authorities said, he was a corrupt officer in cahoots with rival drug lords, representing the likes of Juan Garcia Abrego, an old chum who once controlled the South Texas corridor.
Fired in 1993
In 1993, Mexico’s Attorney General Jorge Carpizo fired him, accusing him of corruption while amassing ranches, homes and vehicles without properly accounting for them. In 1994, Mr. Gonzalez fled to the Texas border where he grew up.
“He came of age at a period when Mexico was awash in corruption, and Calderoni was a very corrupt person,” said Jesus Blancornelas, a crusading Tijuana journalist whose Zeta weekly has campaigned against drug cartels.
Mr. Blancornelas barely survived a 1997 assassination attempt reportedly ordered by the Arellano Félix brothers, leaders of the Tijuana drug cartel.
Mr. Gonzalez was known to travel alone in South Texas and once said he was through with Mexican politics and with chasing drug lords. He was usually jovial with reporters and balked at returning to Mexico anytime soon, at one point telling a reporter, “Mexico doesn’t want me back. I know too much.”
An informant?
Mr. Gonzalez also suggested that he was an informant for the FBI and the DEA.
A DEA official in Washington on Wednesday said, “That I don’t know. But it’s kind of stupid for anyone to make that claim. We couldn’t say whether he was or wasn’t. That’s just part of our policy.”
Mr. Blancornelas doubted that Mr. Gonzalez was recently involved with a drug cartel.
“His killing had more to do with his past, certainly not the future,” Mr. Blancornelas said. “He had too many skeletons in the closet.”

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