"Senor de los Cielos" Second Season Begins

"Senor de los Cielos", Telemundo's series, based on Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes, also known as "Lord of the Skies", starts its second season tonight. In the series, his name is Aurelio Casillas.

Although Carrillo Fuentes supposedly died on the operating table in 1997 while undergoing plastic surgery to change his appearance, he rises from the dead in the second series and returns to reclaim his business, his family and his assets. Also "returning from the dead" this season is his chief mistress and fellow drug trafficker, Monica Robles.

The network will be all Senor de Los Cielos all night. At 7pm ET, there will be a program “En La Sombra del Narco,” "a one-hour special about the reach of Mexican and Colombian drug cartels into US territory." One of those interviewed will be Juan Diego Espinoza Ramirez, alias El Tigre, the Colombian trafficker and boyfriend of Sandra Beltran, who was an early link between the Colombian and the Mexican traffickers.[More...]

From 8 to 10 pm, there will be a two hour recap of season one. Then at 10 pm, the network will air the first episode of Season 2.

The show will air Monday to Thursdays. On Xfinity, you can watch with Spanish captioning. Using an antenna to watch over the air, you can view it with English captions.

Mun2 TV has the entire first season with English subtitles (not just captions.) You can watch on their website or on You Tube. I read somewhere it will rebroadcast the first episode of season 2 tomorrow night, with actual English subtitles, but that could be wrong.

It looks like this season will be much darker than the first season, with Aurelio spiraling out of control. I'm not sure it will be fun to watch. His new enemy will be "Chema" who began appearing in the final episodes of Season I. Chema's character is reportedly loosely based on El Chapo.

I have already watched the entire first season twice, with English subtitles, and the first episode of Season 2, as well as the preview episode, "El Capitulo Secreto." (They seemed to me to be the same.) Which is a good thing since I wouldn't want to miss the new episode of El Capo 3 at 8pm.

El Senor de los Cielos is more like a novela or soap opera, while El Capo is an action series. There is good acting in both and a lot of action. What makes El Senor de los Cielos compelling for me is that like Pablo Escobar: Patron de Mal, is that it is loosely based on real life figures, many of whom have been charged in the U.S., so I can read their true stories in court decisions, as well as news accounts.

How realistic is it that Amado Carrillo Fuentes did not die in 1997 and is still alive? A few weeks ago I was reading the 2010 federal sentencing transcript of Jesus Manuel Fierro-Mendez (Case No. 07-125, Doc. 885, Southern District of Indiana, available on PACER.) Fierro-Mendez was a corrupt Mexican police official on the Sinaloa payroll, who cooperated with the U.S. in exchange for a lighter sentence. (He was actually the Comandante in the Puma drug strike force in Juarez.) During the sentencing hearing, his lawyer, who is from El Paso and says he has represented many cartel members, tells the judge:

MR. HILL: Amado Carillo is not dead. Everybody thinks he's the Lord of the Skies, that guy? He's not dead. He has CIA protection. Everybody knows that. I mean, you know, third-graders know that.
THE COURT: Is he still in Mexico?
MR. HILL: No, ma'am. He's here.
THE COURT: In the United States?
MR. HILL: Yes, ma'am, with $13 billion. And at the same time, his brother, Vicente, who took over the cartel there, had a stepson that was involved in it. They called him Hota-elay (phonetic) or Cinco. His name is Jose Luis. Supposedly they killed him a month ago but, you know, they have been -- all these murders have been like killing the cockroaches and then getting around to the eggs. but they go down to these out-of-the-way places and they recruit people who make a dollar a week or something, and they bring them in and they become the new Juarez cartel people. They're just fodder, cannon fodder.
THE COURT: Right. I know. I hear you.

Attorney Hill tells the court he has represented drug traffickers for 38 years, including the first drug lord to come over from the Juarez area and "most of the major drug lords from the northern part of Mexico." Then there is this exchange:

MR. HILL: May I say one thing, Your Honor?
THE COURT: Yes, Mr. Hill.
MR. HILL: You know, what all of you need to realize is that mordida, bribery, corruption is a way of life in Mexico from the bottom to the top. The president -- every president is involved in the drug business as is every governor, as is everybody over there. The people who assume power over there by election or by hook or crook, they are all involved in the drug business. That -- I told one of my secretaries 25 years ago, I said, "Mexico's going to be a worse problem for us than Columbia ever was." I saw it coming 25 years ago. I've known it because you can buy your way out of anything over there and everybody gets a cut and everybody gets paid. The heads of the military -- the military right now is under Joaquin Guzman, Chapo Guzman. The military works for the Sinaloa cartel; whereas -- I mean, it's just -- it's -- you can't even imagine. That country, from bottom to top, everybody is on the take. Everybody's involved in it. That's just the way life is over there.

And I don't think we -- people over here really realize that. They think "Oh, President Calderon is trying to do all these things for" -- you know, to get -- what happens is the drug dealers will say "Okay, we'll give you this or this" to appease them, to satisfy them, you know, to let them wet their beak. So that way, it looks like they're really doing something. They're not doing anything......And, you know, you either -- you either cooperate over there and you play their game or they kill you. That's just the way it is.
THE COURT: That's my impression, too, Mr. Hill.

Fierro-Mendez was sentenced to 324 months, reduced to 108 months in 2013, following his testimony against other drug traffickers in El Paso. During that testimony, he testified that he and other members of the Sinaloa cartel fed information to ICE about rival cartels, with the approval of "El Chapo." That is just what Jesus Vicente Zambada-Neibla claimed in his recent Illinois case, except in Zambada-Niebla's case, the information was fed to the DEA.

Coincidentally, one of the unnamed informants in the Zambada-Niebla case claims that he attended a meeting in 1994 at a ranch with Amado Carrillo Fuentes and Zambada-Niebla's father, Ismael Zambada-Garcia (Government's Motion to Admit 404(b) Evidence, Case No. 09-cr-00383, Document #136, Filed: 11/10/11):

In approximately 1994, according to CW-A, CW-As primary contacts within the Sinaloa Cartel were Ismael Zambada-Garcia and Amado Carrillo-Fuentes, now deceased. At a 1994 meeting at a ranch near Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, CW-A, Zambada-Garcia, and Carrillo-Fuentes discussed a plan by which DTO-A (Drug Trafficking Organization A) would begin to send loads of cocaine by go-fast boat from Colombia to Quintana-Roo, Mexico, near Cancun. Specifically, Zambada-Garcia and CW-A agreed that the Sinaloa Cartel would receive loads near Cancun and transport the cocaine received to New York City where it would be returned to DTO-A. As payment for transporting the cocaine, the Sinaloa Cartel was to receive 45-percent of each load, with the remaining 55-percent given back to DTO-A in New York. The loads would be transported by a single go-fast boat which could carry between 1.4 and 1.7 metric tons of cocaine.
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