The rise and fall of Trinidad Olivas Valenzuela, AKA El Chapo Trini within the Beltrán Leyva cartel in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora

Trinidad Olivas Valenzuela was a member of the Beltrán Leyva family and operated in Ciudad Obregón, where he recruited young men.

Long before his violent demise in 2017, Trinidad Olivas Valenzuela, widely recognized as ‘El Chapo Trini,’ had etched his name into the annals of drug war infamy. Originating from Sinaloa, he had become an unsettling figure in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, where he had taken up residence for several years.

Trinidad was not merely a passive resident; he led the Beltran Leyva group’s operations in the area, turning neighborhoods into hotbeds of criminal activity.

The 35-year-old trafficker had been on the radar of military intelligence since 2010. Establishing his base in a southern sector of the Cajeme municipality, he took control of one of Ciudad Obregon’s most dangerous neighborhoods, marked by a staggering number of executions. In an interview with Diario la Verdad, it was revealed that ‘El Chapo Trini’ was not above employing minors as hitmen, recruiting youths as young as 15 to carry out operations in southern Sonora.

Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad, better known as 'El Cadete'
Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad, better known as ‘El Cadete’

The Associate and the Adversary

As the right-hand man to Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad, popularly known as ‘El Cadete,’ he exercised dominion over Ciudad Obregon. Yet, despite a nickname reminiscent of Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, Trinidad was far from an ally to the Sinaloa Cartel. He and his cohort, Los Beltrán Leyva, were direct adversaries of Guzmán’s organization and their armed faction in Sonora, Los Salazar.

The Salazar cartel now reigns over Ciudad Obregon and extends its influence over the southern part of the state, enveloping cities like Navojoa and Guaymas. ‘El Chapo Trini,’ in his time, had been so audacious in establishing his control that rival groups were provoked into hanging banners throughout the state, accusing him of being a primary kidnapper and murderer in the region.

Adding a layer of complexity to Trinidad’s narrative is his purported relation to Alfredito Olivas, a regional Mexican singer from Ciudad Obregon. Alfredito has been conspicuously absent from performing in his hometown for a considerable period.

Banner against 'El Chapo Trini' in Ciudad Obregón
Banner against ‘El Chapo Trini’ in Ciudad Obregón

El Chapo Trini’s Death

The end came abruptly for Trinidad on the night of July 12, 2017. Around 23:45 hours, he was dining at a Zapopan, Jalisco, food stand named ‘Tacos and hot dog Sonora style.’ Unknown attackers in a BMW X6 van and a Mercedes Benz took his life, wounding a 48-year-old woman and a 7-year-old girl in the process. Trinidad succumbed to his injuries en route to the hospital, while the woman and child survived, sustaining injuries to the abdomen and thigh, respectively.

The brutal execution of ‘El Chapo Trini’ marked the end of an era, a chapter in the grim chronicles of narco-violence that have scarred Ciudad Obregon and southern Sonora.