House of Death informant fingers Mexican, U.S. governments

The House of Death informant Guillermo Ramirez Peyro on Aug. 11, 2005, provided testimony, under oath, as part of his deportation removal proceedings before a U.S. Immigration court in Bloomington, Minn.

Narco News just obtained a copy of the transcript of that testimony, which can only be described as startling in parts and puzzling on other fronts.

But it is important to share some of the highlights of that testimony now, so you, kind readers, can put together a few more pieces of the House of Death puzzle.
The case, for those who might be new to Narco News’ coverage of this bloody mystery, involves the torture and murder, between August 2003 and mid-January 2004, of up to a dozen people in a house in Juarez, Mexico, at the hands of narco-traffickers associated with the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes crime organization. Present for many of those murders, and participating in carrying them out by any reasonable standard of moral complicity, was an informant, Ramirez Peyro, who was under the watch of U.S. federal agents and prosecutors.

In this transcript of Ramirez Peyro’s legal testimony — which reads like a macabre screenplay set on a court stage in bucolic middle America — the actors are the informant, Ramirez Peyro; his attorney, Jodi Goodwin; and the attorney for the U.S. government, Kevin Lashus.

(For those new to this story who wish to catch up on the back story of the House of Death and the informant Ramirez Peyro, check out this link: The House of Death. Informant Ramirez Peyro’s under-oath testimony before the U.S. Immigration Court can be found at this link: The Testimony.)

And now, this dark drug-war film — drawn directly from a legal court transcript — is about to begin…..


Goodwin: What will, what will happen to you if you are returned to, to Mexico?

Ramirez Peyro: Well, they, they will kill me or they will torture me and then will kill me.

Goodwin: Who will?

Ramriez Peyro: Yeah, the police, the cartel, the government, it’s all the same people.

Goodwin: Why do you say it’s the same people?

Ramirez Peyro: Because the police works for the cartel.

Goodwin: How do you know this?

Ramirez Peyro: During the three years of working as a investigation [a U.S. government informant infiltrating the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes (VCF) organization], I recorded and I showed that, that the police is under the order and to service the people from the cartel, inclusive this recordings were I would record the conversations that I would have with [VCF lieutenant] Santillan, and he would explain to me the arrangements that they would have with militaries with high executives, high level government people.

Goodwin: The, the arrangements that the cartel had with the military?

Ramirez Peyro: They were militaries, with politics — politicians and with the police, that’s for sure that they are under the orders.

Goodwin: And when you say the police, are there many levels of police?

Ramriez Peyro: Yes, there is three levels, federal, state and municipal.

Goodwin: Which ones are under the control of the cartel?

Ramirez Peyro: All three of them.

Goodwin: You indicated that you have recorded some conversations with Santillan where he explained arrangements that were made with military and politicians. What, what specific arrangements did he tell you about politicians?

Ramirez Peyro: No, that he didn’t precisely, himself, well, the cartel [the VCF] had arrangements with people that were close to President Fox [of Mexico]. He explained to me that President Fox took, took the position to arrange, consult with the cartel from Juarez to — which it, which it means that he was going to attack the, the enemy cartels being from Tijuana and from the Gulf, and then the cartel from Juarez would be operating with this court, you know, without the government being —

Goodwin: This is —

Ramirez Peyro: — on —

Goodwin: — what —

Ramirez Peyro: — top of them.

Goodwin: This is what Santillan told you?

Ramirez Peyro: It's one of the law conversations that we did have. Also, when I did go to Colombia to make arrangement with the Colombians, the plans was to come by sea, and the Mexico's navy, the ships, they're the ones that would get the drugs in the, in the sea - marina - ocean borders, you know, of the national territories. They, yeah, they kept close to what you call ground, firm ground, and the PGR then would fly this drugs to the - to Juarez, the city of Juarez.

Goodwin: So from, from the, from the source of the drugs through the distribution, was all these arrangements made with different government parts?

Ramirez Peyro: That's, yeah, that's the purpose to make arrangements with them so they won't have any losses. So they invite them, you know, to take part of the vehicle, and that way they avoid a war….


Lashus: All right. Other than the [VCF] cartel, who else would be seeking [to kill] you, either here in the United States or anywhere else in the world?

Ramirez Peyro: Well, the government of my country.

Lashus: Okay. And that’s including Vicente Fox’s entire government?

Ramirez Peyro: Yeah, and even if Vicente Fox is ready to leave and if he, he does leave, the militaries and the policemens, they still are the same people.

Lashus: All right. And why do you think that Vicente Fox would be looking for you?

Ramirez Peyro: No, no, not the president. I mean he’s very busy, he’s got allied occupation.

Lashus: I’m, I’m generalizing. Why would anybody with his government seek you to harm you?

Ramirez Peyro: Okay. Just to show, to show the rest of the people that you shouldn’t show evidence against the narco traffic and if you — if somebody does that, you’ll end up dead.

Lashus: So you, you believe the Mexican government seeks you in retaliation for your assistance in the Santillan case?

Ramirez Peyro: Of course, yes.


Lashus: All right. You testified that you are manager for drug distribution in Mexico.

Ramirez Peyro: Yes.

Lashus: And I also know that you were involved in the management of transporting drugs from Mexico to the United States.

Ramirez Peyro: When?

Lashus: When you were working for ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement].

Ramirez Peyro: Oh, yes, yes.

Lashus: And again we’re talking hundreds of thousands of pounds. Marijuana and cocaine. And hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Ramirez Peyro: I’m, I’m sorry. Not, not hundreds of thousands of pounds, but really thousands of pounds.

Lashus: Okay. Thousands of pounds of cocaine and marijuana and also cash. You had, you had to transport, manage the transportation of the money?

Ramirez Peyro: Yes, sir.

Lashus: Were you involved in any harming of people?

Ramirez Peyro: Yes, yes. I did have the supervision that the bodies would be buried. Yeah.

Lashus: Were you involved in actually harming the bodies?

Ramirez Peyro: No. No, the assassins, the ones that do the killing were the policemen.

… Lashus: But, but my question was you were not involved in the killing of those people [at the House of Death].

Ramirez Peyro: I repeat. And if involved means that I was present, yes, I was. If involved means that I hit him, and I asphyxiate him, then that’s not.

… Lashus: You bought the duct tape?

Ramirez Peyro: Yes.

Lashus: You bought the lime [for the dead bodies]?

Ramirez Peyro: Yes.

Lashus: You bought the hydrogen peroxide?

Ramirez Peyro: No. That was bought by Santillan.

… Lashus: What’s not clear is whether or not you held Fernando’s [the first House of Death murder victim’s] legs down while he was being murdered. Because you told us that you did not —

Ramirez Peyro: I didn’t hold him. When they grab him, they told me, lay him down. But they had him, one from one side and the other one from the other side. The only thing I did was grab hold to pull his legs so he could lay down. It was not necessary, it was only three of them already on top of him. And, and that was also clear.


Lashus: Did you tell your — the ICE officers that you were aware that Mr. Santillan had ordered the deaths of people associated with the [VCF] cartel?

Ramirez Peyro: Yes.

Lashus: Did you tell them before, right before it happened?

Ramirez Peyro: Yeah, several occasions. For example, in one occasion in Chicago, and Santillan talks to me, so I could send the boy there to open the house [the House of Death in Juarez] and me being in Chicago with the agents from ICE, and they knew because I authorize for them to hear my phone conversations. And besides that, I told them what’s going on, and in El Paso they were listening my phone calls.


Lashus: All right. You’re concerned about those police who are corrupt that work for the [VCF] cartel. Is that right?

Ramirez Peyro: Well, that was part of my worry —

Lashus: Well, and —

Ramirez Peyro: — my concern.

Lashus: — you’re worried about, you’re worried about the cartel using the legitimate government to enforce an order to kill you.

Ramiez Peyro: Yes.

Lashus: But you know that, I mean, it’s against the law to assassinate people in Mexico.

Ramirez Peyro: Yeah, but I also know that they don’t live up to the law in Mexico.

Lashus: Because they’re —

Ramirez Peyro: Don’t —

Lashus: — corrupt?

Ramirez Peyro: — comply with the law. And personally, that’s a sad reality of my country.

... Lashus: At the beginning of your testimony you today, you said that the [VCF] cartel, the police and the Mexican government is all the same group.

Ramirez Peyro: Yes, unfortunately, yes.

Lashus: You don’t think that there is any legitimate enforcement of the drug laws in Mexico?

Ramire Peyro: No, unfortunately, all the police organizations in Mexico, they are corrupted.

Lashus: But your not — Santillan was talking about the army. He’s talking about Fox. We’re talking about everybody.

Ramirez Peyro: Yes, yes.

Lashus: So there’s no legitimate enforcement of the drug laws in Mexico?

Ramirez Peyro: Well, what they do is they associate themselves with the cartel, in this case, with the cartel from Juarez, and in effect they do attack the rest of the cartels.

Lashus: So the —

Ramirez Peyro: There is persecution — prosecution against drugs. I mean there is, which have the cartels that they’re not affiliated with the government.

Lashus: It’s selective enforcement?

Ramirez Peyro: Yeah. They have to decide, I mean, they can’t associate with every one of them.

… Goodwin: Did ICE allow you to continue with your investigations of the, the Juarez cartel after you had already told them about people being killed?

Ramirez Peyro: Yes, of course, yes.

Goodwin: So they knew about the murders, but the investigation still continued?

Ramirez Peyro: Yeah, I was informing them as I was getting to know things.


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