Mexican officials: Ex-drug cartel hitman ‘El Chino Antrax’ killed in Sinaloa

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José Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa, aka “El Chino Ántrax,” is seen in an undated photo provided by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
José Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa, aka “El Chino Ántrax,” is seen in an undated photo provided by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

A former top hitman for Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel who spent time in a U.S. prison has been identified as one of three people found dead in Sinaloa state over the weekend, according to the state attorney general’s office.

Forensic experts from Mexico’s federal attorney general’s office are in Culiacán to verify the homicide victim was in fact José Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa, who was known by the nickname “El Chino Antrax.”

Gamboa had skipped probation in San Diego on May 6 before his body was found Saturday along with two others inside an abandoned SUV.

The other two bodies are his sister Ada Jimena and his brother-in-law Juan Guillermo Garcia, according to the state agency.

Arechiga Gamboa and his relatives were visually identified by family members this past weekend, according to Sinaloa authorities.

Given that the U.S. government is actively looking for him, the state is cooperating with both Mexico City and U.S. consular authorities to ensure they got the right man.

Arechiga Gamboa was a top enforcer for the Sinaloa cartel during Mexico’s drug wars in the late 2010s, according to experts. They believe his hit squads were responsible for numerous assassinations of rivals from the Arellano Felix, Carrillo Fuentes and Beltran Leyva drug trafficking organizations.

But his proclivity for flaunting his wealth on social media made him a target for authorities, and he was arrested in the Netherlands seven years ago. TorchStone Global security expert Scott Stewart says he could’ve spent life in prison on drug charges once he was extradited to the United States. Instead, he got seven years, was credited for time served and released on probation March 3.

Stewart said the light sentence likely had to do with Arechiga Gamboa cooperating with the U.S. government on other ongoing investigations against the cartel.

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