Guillermo Gonzalez Calderoni

Pablo Acosta was killed in a gun battle with the Mexican federal police after they 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.”

Mexican federal police commander Guillermo Gonzalez Calderoni (left) with Carlos Salinas de Gortari, president of Mexico from 1988 to 1994, in this undated photo.

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. Calderoni’s attack force flew over the river and quickly took control of 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.

He remained in the United States, but despite warnings of the danger, he lived on the border in McAllen, Texas, where he operated a trucking business.

He was assassinated on Feb. 5, 2003, after he got into his car following a visit to an attorney’s office. A gunman walked up to the window and shot him in the head. The crime remains unsolved.

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