In a symbolic and unexpected gesture, Ismael El Mayo Zambada Garcia, the Sinaloa Cartel’s head honcho, marked his presence at the funeral of his wife Margarita Lopez Imperial’s brother, Eliseo Imperial López. The incident came to light when a photograph of a wreath with a ribbon inscribed “From Ismael Zambada” emerged on various social media platforms.
Mourning the loss of a cartel figure
The funeral was held in Culiacán, Sinaloa. Eliseo Imperial López, while being the brother-in-law of the infamous El Mayo, had another significant connection to the cartel. He was the father of Eliseo Imperial Castro, more widely recognized as Cheyo Ántrax. Cheyo is believed to be the last person who led the notorious armed faction of the Sinaloa Cartel, Los Ántrax.
Sources claim Eliseo Imperial’s passing was due to natural causes. The prominent musical group Grupo H-100 officially confirmed the death and expressed condolences. Jasiel Felix, the group’s lead vocalist, took to Instagram, saying, “Fear music and Grupo H-100 regret the passing of Mr. Eliseo Imperial López. We extend our sincere condolences and a big hug to all his family, friends, and close ones. Our sincere prayers for his eternal rest.”
The cartel’s musical ties
Grupo H-100, rooted in Culiacán, has a track dedicated to Ismael Zambada Imperial, alias El Mayito Gordo, another son of Zambada García. El Mayito Gordo currently faces prosecution in the US on charges related to drug trafficking.
A portion of the song dedicated to him states, “I am not rich, gentlemen, nor have I sought fame because I am only the son of Mr. Mayo Zambada. And because of El Mayito Gordo, all the people call me. I’ve never been one for trouble, but if there’s trouble, I don’t get out of it because all my affairs have always been taken care of by me and also with my cousin Eliseo, nicknamed Cheyo.”
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The intricate web of cartel relations
News reports suggest Ismael Zambada García’s nephew had strong ties to his cousin, Mayito Gordo. When Ismael Zambada Imperial was apprehended in November 2014, the then-leader of Los Ántrax was reportedly present but evaded capture.
Known solely as an operator for El Mayo Zambada, Cheyo Anthrax assumed control of the cartel’s armed division following the apprehension and eventual execution of Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa, alias El Chino Anthrax. He has been in the crosshairs of Los Chapitos, the offspring of Joaquin Guzman Loera, and stands accused by the US of involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering schemes.
US authorities take action
In 2016, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified Cheyo Anthrax as a senior figure in Los Ántrax. He was implicated in assisting the Sinaloa Cartel and its top-tier members.
OFAC’s acting director, John E. Smith, released a statement, saying, “The drug trafficking and money laundering activities of Eliseo Imperial Castro and Alfonso Lira Sotelo serve to expand the Sinaloa Cartel’s influence in California.” Furthermore, OFAC charged Eliseo Imperial Castro with aiding his uncle, Ismael Zambada Garcia, and the broader operations of the Sinaloa Cartel.