How the DEA Got a Cartel Queen to Flip

BORDERLAND BEAT — After leaving her life laundering money for top cartel leaders, Pilar found herself running out of funds necessary to keep up her luxurious lifestyle—and then the DEA came knocking.

It was late in the day in mid-December 1991 that Detectives Morris and Hughes drove up in their unmarked white van to the little house in Boca where Pilar had moved with her two children after her husband went off to prison.

Their knock on the door was answered by Pilar’s housekeeper, who said her employer was out for the evening. Morris didn’t tell her who they were, a common police tactic, meant to give the subject as little advance information as possible, but said they’d be back the next day. While standing there, he peered past the housekeeper into the dining area to get some hint as to what this lady might be like. He saw a glass china cabinet displaying an extensive collection of Lladrós, which he’d seen before in upscale Hispanic households—cutesy porcelain figurines and flowered bowls that were manufactured in a little town near Valencia, Spain.

“You could tell by her things that she was well-off,” he recalls. Probably one of those Boca princesses, he thought at the time. This meant she’d be stuck-up and snippy toward people with less money, a pain in the ass to interview, very likely to call in a lawyer at the first whiff of trouble.

BRAVO ALBERTO BARRAGAN ALIAS ‘EL GAVILÁN’, ALLEGED LEADER OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR IN GUERRERO ARRESTED — MILIENIO

PIEDRAS NEGRAS PRISON FUNCTIONED AS A LOS ZETA’S SLAUGHTERHOUSE, CONFIRMS A WITNESS — BLB

NORTHEAST MEXICO SEES ERUPTION OF VIOLENCE — INSIGHT CRIME

MEXICAN DRUG LORD’S ATTORNEY RIPS GOV’T’S HANDLING OF ESCAPE RUMORS — FNL

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