21 | NOV | 2019
Who's El Tortas? Mexico City's most notorious drug lord
El Tortas is a notorious drug lord who controls Mexico City – Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Who's El Tortas? Mexico City's most notorious drug lord

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He began his criminal career and 12, by age 15 he had already murdered and kidnapped someone

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On Sunday, June 16, a truck was wandering Insurgentes Avenue in Mexico City. It stopped in Flores Magón and the unthinkable happened: men got off the vehicle and spread human body parts. They then placed a message directed to Jorge Flores Concha, better known as “El Tortas”, a 42-year-old man, whose criminal career began on his youth. It was a war declaration.

Many things are known about Roberto Moyado Esparza, “El Betito”, who is in prison: he began his criminal career by stealing luxury watches. Drug dealing, kidnaps, human trafficking, and obviously, murders, made him escalate within the Unión de Tepito, the biggest cartel in the capital. He then replaced Francisco Javier Hernández “Pancho Cayagua”, who was murdered on October 11, 2017.

Nevertheless, a character stepped onto the stage to fight El Betito for the territory: El Tortas, the leader of the Anti Unión de Tepito.

Jorge Flores Conchas was born on November 23, 1976, in the Morelos neighborhood. He began his criminal career when he was 12, along with his brother, El Chori, and his cousins, Los Flores, say his friends.

They grew up together, Jorge sold stolen objects in the Tepito market.

Since he was a child, his favorite food were tortas, that's the reason behind his nickname.

People who grew up with him have agreed to talk to us. They say Jorge grew up in the streets, rather than at home. At 14 he had guns, money, and motorcycles to move around the city. He mostly focused on vehicle theft.

At 15, El Tortas, his cousins, and his uncles moved to the Ciudad Azteca neighborhood, in the State of Mexico, where they were hiding after murdering someone. Then they came back to Tepito.

In 1994, the criminality level of Los Flores increased, among them Jorge, and their main criminal activity was robbery with violence, which was the reason why El Tortas was sent to prison in 1996.

Instead of discouraging him, El Tortas operated an extortion network from prison, through phone calls. After being released, he started kidnapping people along with his cousins, which sent four of them and his brother to prison.

El Tortas' family members are still in prison for kidnapping a PRI member.

Jorge Flores wasn't in the house where they kept the victim. “He was partying”, they say, and he fled to Puebla, but he was arrested there after robbing a carriage of valuables in 2000. He went to prison for three years.

Upon his return to Mexico City, El Tortas allied himself with Ricardo Andueza Velázquez “El Miraviones”, from Iztapalapa. Together, they led a criminal band that kidnapped and robbed banks and stores for over 10 years.

He extended his criminal domain to all the corners of Mexico City, he strengthened his crime group, their finances, and their allies inside the police forces, as well as in prison and even the inmates.

Together with El Miraviones, El Tortas was arrested once again in 2015, for kidnapping, yet the authorities managed to save them alive in a restaurant in the center of the city.

But in less than two years, he was free. He returned to kidnapping, robbery with violence, and even extortion and drug dealing in prison and in the streets, according to federal sources.

El Tortas added many more names to his list of enemies: Los Zetas, the Juárez cartel, and the Beltrán Leyva. Official reports claim that his enemies offered up to MXN $2 million for his head.

His stay in prison for kidnapping in 2015 allowed him to stay alive, as he, along with his cousins, controlled the prison and enjoyed protection.

According to federal intelligence, some of his collaborators: operators, police officers, and prison personnel, were murdered in the streets and exhibited with messages from the cartels, attributed to the Juárez Cartel and Los Zetas.

The sources explain that inside prison, El Miraviones, El Tortas, and his cousins orchestrated the kidnaps.

After spending one year in prison, El Tortas was freed in January 2017 and he created the Anti Unión de Tepito.

According to Mexico City's authorities, El Tortas is dedicated to his businesses, he's married, and studied secondary school.


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