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Fausto Soto Miller, the chef who ended up cooking for the drug trafficker

Soto Miller has always maintained that the process against him is illegal (Photo: Special)
Soto Miller has always maintained that the process against him is illegal (Photo: Special)

In 1998 he was tried and sentenced to 40 years in prison for crimes against health; criminal association; and collection and carrying of weapons reserved for use by the Army. Since then He is confined in the Federal Center for Social Readaptation Number 1 "El Altiplano", popularly known as "Almoloya", for its location in this municipality of the State of Mexico.

The path that led to Fausto Soto Miller due to organized crime took place between frying pans, stoves and seafood. His case has been controversial because his defense has always presumed torture by Mexican Army soldiers to obtain information about the Tijuana Cartel.

In 1992, Benjamín Arellano Félix would employ Soto Miller as a personal cook. Back then, both lived in Tijuana, the base of operations of the same name cartel and one of the most powerful mafias in the American continent.

For a salary of between USD 1,000 and 1,500 per month, the cook would become chef of the criminal organization, according to ministerial testimonies to which the newspaper agreed Reform.

The Arellano Félix family that dominated drug trafficking in Tijuana (Photo: ARCHIVE / CUARTOSCURO)
The Arellano Félix family that dominated drug trafficking in Tijuana (Photo: ARCHIVE / CUARTOSCURO)

Ten years earlier, in 1982, the cook would have met "Comandante Lo" (alias of Benjamin) in Culiacán; because the capo went to eat with his brother Eduardo at the seafood restaurant where Soto Miller cooked. The location would be located on Avenida Colón No. 577 in the capital of Sinaloa.

In Tijuana, chef Soto Miller was working at the "Boca del Río" restaurant when he was recruited.

In this establishment the "Special Steak a la Miller" was served, according to the journalist Jesús Blancornelas of the weekly Zeta.

"It was a gangster restaurant," said journalist Jesús Blancornelas.

Later it would be known that "Boca del Río" was acquired by Jesús Labra, the "Chuy", (financial operator of the Arellano Félix), as a gift to Guillermo Salazar Ramos, commander of the Federal Judicial Police in the Baja California municipality.

The gift of "Chuy" Labra would be for the favors and protection of the Tijuana Cartel; according to Guillermo Valdés Castellanos in his book "History of drug trafficking in Mexico".

Chuy Labra was sentenced to 40 years in prison in the United States (Photo: special)
Chuy Labra was sentenced to 40 years in prison in the United States (Photo: special)

"Chuy" Labra was arrested in 2002 and later extradited to the United States, where he is serving a 40-year sentence imposed in 2008.

While in February 2006, Salazar Ramos was sentenced to 15 years in prison for being responsible for crimes against health in the role of acting public servant. The officer allowed the illegal transportation and introduction of cocaine and marijuana from Colombia, according to a statement from the then Attorney General's Office (PGR).

Fausto Soto Miller reportedly pointed out that his oldest contact with someone from the Arellano Félix family was in 1973, when he met Eduardo. This alleged meeting occurred in the courtyard of the Álvaro Obregón school, near the old Autonomous University of Sinaloa.

The foregoing follows from a ministerial declaration of September 27, 1996 and that, According to Soto Miller, he signed after being tortured and under an allegedly irregular legal process. Part of the statement was published by the San Diego Reader in October 1997.

In 1973, Eduardo Arellano Félix was in high school and the future seafood cook would be 12 years old and studying the fifth grade of primary school., as published by San Diego Reader.

Benjamín Arellano Félix, one of the chef's clients (Photo: Special)
Benjamín Arellano Félix, one of the chef's clients (Photo: Special)

Eduardo would be the link for the cook to access the Arellano Félix family. According to the 1996 statement, Fausto resumed his friendship with Eduardo in 1978; and in 1980 he would meet Francisco, the oldest of the brothers.

From the official declaration it can be calculated that Fausto Soto Miller would have been born in 1961. But in the consignment of his sentence, the newspaper Reform He reported that the “Chef” was 40 years old in 1998. Hence his probable birth in 1958.

According to these versions, the "Cook" would currently be between 59 and 62 years old.

Soto Miller He was linked to the execution of Dr. Ernesto Ibarra Santés, sub-delegate of the PGR in Tijuana. The ambush of Ibarra Santés was allegedly ordered by the Arellano Félix, as the agent declared that he was close to arresting the capos.

Ibarra Santés was killed along with three people while traveling on Insurgentes Avenue in Mexico City, on September 14, 1996.

The Altiplano prison, where the cook is serving his sentence (Photo: Reuters)
The Altiplano prison, where the cook is serving his sentence (Photo: Reuters)

Nine months later, on June 21, 1997, Reform published that IBarra Santés "was part of the police-military network that protected drug trafficker Amado Carrillo Fuentes," El Señor de los Cielos "".

The accusations were from the same PGR, which presented an audio recording of 6 and a half minutes where Ibarra Santés was heard in a conversation with General Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, and in which they referred to Carrillo Fuentes as the "friend" that the presented.

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Gutiérrez Rebollo had already been dismissed four months earlier, in February, after initiating a preliminary investigation (SCGD / CG1 / 007/97) for covering up the "Lord of the Skies".

Together with his collaborators, Horacio Montenegro Ortiz and Javier García Hernández; the "General of Heaven" would be accused of crimes against health (in its modality of promoting the transportation of cocaine), bribery and against the administration of justice; Reforma reported back then.

While serving his 40-year sentence, Gutiérrez Rebollo, a former Commissioner of the National Institute to Combat Drugs, died of cancer problems in 2013, as reported Infobae Mexico.

Fausto Soto Miller would cook for Benjamin Arellano Félix until the murder of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, which occurred on May 24, 1993 in the parking lot of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla international airport in Guadalajara.

Soto Miller endorsed the version that Posadas Ocampo had died in a crossfire between El Chapo Guzmán and the Arellano Félix (Photo: file)
Soto Miller endorsed the version that Posadas Ocampo had died in a crossfire between El Chapo Guzmán and the Arellano Félix (Photo: file)

It would be the "Chef" who would have expressly declared the initial version supported by the PGR: that Posadas Ocampo died the victim of a crossfire in a confusion where the Arellano Félix sought to liquidate Joaquín el "Chapo" Guzmán.

So it was established in criminal case 76/2000-III, brought in the Tenth Criminal Court of the Federal District (now Mexico City federal entity) which Blancornelas agreed to.

After that event, the pressure to capture the Arellano Félix increased. And the cook had to keep a low profile, since his bosses were identified as those responsible for the death of the religious.

From 1993 and until March 10, 2002, the PGR had arrested 46 alleged members of the Tijuana Cartel. Between leaders, hitmen and operators.

In July 1993, Soto Miller would go to Guadalajara and buy a trailer where he would sell cakes and hamburgers. From January to October 1994 he would dispatch in front of the Chapala church.

Later, he would travel to the capital where his friend Alejandro Hodoyan had asked him to meet his brother Miguel Alfredo. He went to Mexico City and in the restaurant "La Tablita", in Polanco, he met Ramón Arellano Félix.

In Polanco, the cook returned to his trade and returned to Tijuana with his new boss two weeks later.

The "Chef" cooked for Ramón until November 1994, When he returned to his cakes and hamburgers business in Guadalajara, he stayed there for 5 months, until April 1995.

He was called again to the capital from where he moved to Tijuana and from there, he returned to Acapulco for the Easter holidays along with Ramón Arellano Félix, his gunmen and part of the capo's family. The "Chef" would cook for all of them.

After the break, in July, Soto Miller would have asked brothers Ramón and Benjamín Arellano Félix for money to establish a restaurant. And he continued cooking for the leaders of the Tijuana Cartel until December 95 ', when he returned to Guadalajara.

In July 1996, Soto Miller returned to cook for Ramón in Guadalajara, when he sought to liquidate Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

The assassination of Carrillo Fuentes, like that of other enemies, was planned at the Polanco meeting in 1994.

The Arellano Félix reportedly obtained information on the departure from Guadalajara of "Señor de los Cielos" with an escort of soldiers in the service of General Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo.

As a consequence, Ramón had led a confrontation in that Jalisco city on July 22, 1996.

Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, Mexico's drug czar, was accused of protecting Amado Carrillo (Photo: AP)
Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, Mexico's drug czar, was accused of protecting Amado Carrillo (Photo: AP)

Two soldiers and a civilian died in the fight on Vallarta Avenue. This, according to the version of Alfredo Hodoyan, a member of the Tijuana Cartel clandestinely detained by soldiers of the Mexican army on September 11, 1996. And who, supposedly, provided the data that would lead to the capture of the cook and other hitmen.

"In this shooting, among others, Alfredo Hodoyan Palacios and Fabián Reyes Partida, who were traveling in a black suburban type van, which they later hid in a security house of Ramón Arellano, located on Bogotá street in the neighborhood, would have participated Providencia ”, reported The day in 1997.

Police reported that on September 27, 1996, he was flying over the Providencia neighborhood in Guadalajara by helicopter. and, coincidentally, "they observed two vehicles in a partially covered garage that corresponded to the description of the cars used by the capos in the July 22 confrontation."

"So they saw Fausto Soto Miller run out of the house, asked for reinforcements and the suspect was apprehended”, Details the report“ Abuse and homelessness: Torture, enforced disappearance and extrajudicial execution in Mexico ”, published in 1999 by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

"The agents reported that, when they arrested him, Soto Miller spoke of the illegal content of the warehouse and his own participation in the Arellano Félix gang”Adds the sentence in criminal case 105/96 of the First District Court for Federal Criminal Proceedings in the State of Mexico.

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However, the cook's version highlights that his arrest was on September 12, 15 days before the date reported by the authorities.

During the two weeks that the “Chef” had been subjected to torture and temporary enforced disappearance, his relatives searched for him in vain.

“One of the soldiers connected cables to my toes and turned on the power. Later, he hit my heels with a board. The second person questioned and threatened me. They also tortured me by putting rags on my face, suffocating me and pouring water on my nose and mouth to drown me, applying at those moments increasingly strong electric current ”; Soto Miller wrote in a letter from prison for the report of Human Rights Watch, on October 10, 1997.

Featured as a triggerman or bodyguard for the Arellano Felix; the seafood cook was questioned by the military for the July 22 confrontation. He was also flown to the state of Sinaloa to identify drug trafficking residences.

Evidence from another case corroborated Soto Miller's version.

"In the trial of General Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, Sergeant Vicente Ruiz Martínez stated that, on September 12 and 13, 1996, he was in Guadalajara, where he collaborated in the surveillance of several detainees.

"On September 14 they sent him to Mexico City and he returned the following day; although, instead of staying in Guadalajara, he was immediately ordered to travel to Culiacán, Sinaloa.

"In his statement on these events, he recalled that one of those who had been detained in the Fourth Company and who answered to the name of Fausto Miller was taken on the plane he was traveling on," according to the HRW report.

Although Ruiz Martínez's statement is dated March 1997, the authorities did not consider it for the benefit of the "Chef".

Judge Humberto Venancio Pineda did not want to admit as evidence the judicial documents of the Rebollo case that indicated that Soto Miller had been detained since September 12, in part because the statements were not made before him; HRW reported.

Venancio Pineda rejected the cook's denial of his statement. Instead of observing clarity in the due process, the judge argued that "there was insufficient evidence in the case to prove the retraction."

Army officials that Soto Miller identified as participants in his arrest and subsequent torture denied the facts in court and the judge cited his denials in the sentence.

"Regardless of whether or not Soto Miller is linked to a drug cartel, all evidence suggests that his version of the temporary enforced disappearance and prosecution on fabricated charges is correct", Indicated at the time the organization HRW.

When the military handed the cook over to federal agents of the Public Ministry, on September 27, 1996; PGR officials forced Soto Miller to sign a prepared statement that he was not allowed to read.

"The detainee did not have a lawyer present when he was forced to sign the statement.

"In their place, 'trusted people' were present, as contemplated by Mexican law. However, the "trusted persons" were employees of the Attorney General's Office; none of whom responded to subpoenas to explain what happened during the period in which the declaration was signed ”; He referred in an interview to HRW, Héctor Sergio Pérez Vargas, official defender of the “Chef”.

The judge who sentenced Soto Miller did express concern about the torture version. He ordered an investigation, but the Public Ministry said it found no evidence.

From prison, the cook would start a legal battle who sought to show the irregularity of his legal process.

Three years ago, in December 2017, The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued Report No. 166/17 on Petition 365-09 by Fausto Soto Miller.

In that document, The IACHR decided to declare the cook's petition admissible regarding his irregular process, torture, and enforced disappearance.

As has been reported, the case of the "Chef" of the Arellano Félix is ​​based on disputed versions.

It is possible that your statement dated September 27, 1996 contained some less controversial or compromising key. For example, he would have stated that his parents had 12 children.

Above the rest, it is known that Soto Miller will serve a sentence until 2038, when he is 77 or 80 years old.

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Sam Conley is new to online journalism but she is keen to learn. She is an MBA from a reputed university. She brings together relevant news pieces from various industries. She loves to share quick news updates. She is always in search of interesting news so that she can share them as well to Sunriseread's readers who could enjoy them with their morning coffee.

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