Roberto Beltrán Burgos, known as ‘El Doctor’, led a life of contradictions. He was a lieutenant of the notorious drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, yet simultaneously, he was a successful salesman of Omnilife dietary supplements, a company owned by the late Jorge Vergara, former president of Club Chivas de Guadalajara.
His involvement in diverse activities blurred the lines between legitimate business and criminal enterprises.
A Double Life: Business and Crime
Burgos was not only a part of the legitimate business world; he also played a significant role in the illegal drug trade. According to Anabel Hernandez‘s book “El Traidor,” Burgos had unofficial duties that included managing the movement of cocaine through Mexico to its primary consumer, the United States. He also held shares in the Guadalajara football team, adding a layer of complexity to his profile.
Involvement with Law Enforcement and Corruption
Burgos had access to sensitive information, including anti-drug strategies of the defunct Federal Police and operations planned by the Navy, a testament to his deep infiltration into law enforcement.
He was privy to the details shared by the DEA with Mexico, and had documents detailing the identities of federal support commanders, according to testimony from Zambada Nieblas.
The Downfall of ‘El Doctor’
Despite his insistence on being a mere businessman unrelated to drug trafficking, statements by Vicente Zambada revealed the truth. Mexican authorities likened his role to that of Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, alias ‘El Mochomo’, who was serving a life sentence in the United States.
In May 2009, Burgos was captured in Culiacán, Sinaloa, where authorities seized firearms, a Hummer SUV, and over 245,000 dollars.
A Surprising Release
In a surprising turn of events, after five years of imprisonment, a federal judge in the State of Mexico ordered Burgos’ release on October 21, 2014. Julio César Gutiérrez Guadarrama, Fifth District Judge for Criminal Proceedings in Toluca, cited a lack of evidence linking Burgos to the Sinaloa criminal group.
Burgos faced charges of organized crime, possession of cocaine for commercial purposes, money laundering, and carrying a firearm for exclusive army use, but the PGR failed to establish his connections conclusively.
Burgos’ story represents a striking example of the blurred lines between legality and illegality and the complexities involved in prosecuting those who operate within both realms.