Cartel’s Primary Pot Distributor ‘El Mago’ Shot Dead in Los Angeles

Eduardo Escobedo, aka “El Mago,” the Sinaloa cartel’s top pot distributor, was found dead at age 39.
Cartel
Courtesy New York Post/Instagram

A top member of the Sinaloa cartel responsible for allegedly distributing thousands of pounds of illegal cannabis was shot and killed in Southern California.

Eduardo Escobedo, 39, was found dead Thursday close to the intersection of Rosecrans and Towne avenues in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Escobedo and another man were both killed following a shooting incident.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s office identified the second man who was shot dead as Guillermo De Los Angeles Jr., 47. Escobedo and De Los Angeles died at the scene after sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of shots being fired in an industrial area filled with warehouses. A third man was taken to a hospital close by with non-life threatening gunshot wounds. The third man was not identified.

Police officers and firefighter-paramedics arrived at the scene Thanksgiving morning after the shoot at an industrial property filled with warehouses.

ABC 7 reports that details about the shooting are scarce as officers sort through information. “We have no motive at this time. It appears that there was some type of gathering or party at the location from last night to early this morning,” sheriff’s Lt. Omar Camacho told ABC 7 Eyewitness News at the scene.

ABC 7 reports that details about the shooting are scarce. “We have no motive at this time. It appears that there was some type of gathering or party at the location from last night to early this morning,” sheriff’s Lt. Omar Camacho told ABC 7 Eyewitness News at the scene.

Video footage shows that investigators examined a black sedan that was near the bodies with its front doors open. Forty-foot shipping containers, semi trucks, and a forklift were all located nearby and provided a hidden spot where the crime could take place.

Who is El Mago, and What’s the Connection to El Chapo?

The Los Angeles Times reports that Escobedo is a convicted drug trafficker nicknamed “El Mago,” which is “The Magician,” in Spanish. Escobedo was the primary local cannabis distributor for Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar, the son of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Police believe Escobedo also allegedly put out a hit on a rival trafficker who was shot dead in his Bentley on the 101 Freeway in 2008. Escobedo was never charged in the murder, but his brother and another man were convicted and are serving life sentences.

In October 2013, Escobedo was wiretapped and allegedly recorded speaking with Guzmán Salazar about smuggling over five tons of cannabis through a tunnel under the U.S.-Mexico border, prosecutors said.

Escobedo also allegedly laundered the drug earnings by purchasing exotic cars and shipping them to the cartel’s main hub in Culiacan, Sinaloa.

He served nearly five years in federal prison for conspiring to distribute more than 22,000 pounds of pot and laundering drug proceeds. For reference, 22,000 pounds is the equivalent of 11 tons or 10,000 kilos of pot. He was released in 2018 after serving time.

Then Escobedo eluded capture by police for over a decade. El Chapo, on the other hand, was arrested in 2014 in Mazatlan. In 2019, he was convicted by a jury of being a principal leader of a continuing criminal under his leadership of the crime syndicate known as the Sinaloa Cartel. 

In 2019, El Chapo was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years, and was ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture. The sentence marks the end of a 30-year drug trafficking career that saw Guzmán rise to the top of Mexico’s infamous Sinaloa drug cartel. 

Addressing the court at his sentencing hearing at the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, New York, Guzmán said he had not been given a fair trial and complained about being held in solitary confinement at Manhattan’s federal correctional facility before and during his three-month trial. “Since the government of the United States is going to send me to a prison where my name will never be heard again, I take advantage of this opportunity to say there was no justice here,” he said.

El Chapo’s wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, was released in September of this year from a California halfway house. Aispuro was sentenced in 2021 to three years in prison after pleading guilty to helping her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire. She had faced a minimum of 10 years in prison, but was spared under a so-called “safety valve” provision because she had no prior criminal record, was not considered a leader, and was not personally involved with violence.

Guzman Salazar is one of Mexico’s most wanted men.

Escobedo lived it up on social media in recent years, posting photos with Floyd Mayweather, Al Pacino, and others. He donned attire by Dolce and Gabbana and diamond-encrusted jewelry.

No arrests have been announced by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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