I’m the one who gives orders here. Ask for whatever you want, I’ll give it to you.
Those were the words of José Luis Gutiérrez Valencia to his fellow inmates during a party captured on video inside the maximum-security prison Puente Grande in Jalisco.
Also called “El 77” and “El ojo de vidrio” (glass eye), Gutiérrez is best known as Don Chelo and since his imprisonment in 2010 is seen as having been the real prison warden due to the control he exercises.
Grupo Milenio obtained a copy of the video that shows inmates freely enjoying themselves at a party organized by the prison kingpin. The celebration was held on a Sunday afternoon between December 2015 and March 2016.
The video shows Don Chelo surrounded by men toting fanny-packs, two of them at the ready to tend to his every need.
It’s family day so women and children are present. Whisky flows. Cell phones are everywhere. Music plays. Someone goes up on stage to dedicate a poem to to his bro, Chelo.
Then the star attraction, Los Buchones de Culiacán — a norteño band famous for its narcocorridos or narco-ballads, takes the stage.
Don Chelo rises to his feet and the band plays his requests. In between songs, a member of the band addresses the prisoners.
“First of all I want to say that I’m grateful to my buddy Chelo, to my buddy Chava and to the whole team. This is for everyone, all the new people and for the Nueva Generación who gave us their friendship. Los Buchones de Culiacán are friends too. Long live the Jalisco Nueva Generación!”
Rapturous applause ensues.
Later in the video Don Chelo says, “Nobody gets out of here. I do whatever I want here. I respect the government so you respect me. I will always do my own thing.”
At one point the “boss” and his inner circle adjourn to a separate room adorned with religious paraphernalia to feast on tacos.
No guards are seen throughout the two hours of footage.
When arrested in Puerto Vallarta in 2010, Gutiérrez Valencia was in possession of an arsenal of weapons including a grenade launcher, an AK-47 and several other firearms.
He also had a significant quantity of white powder (presumably cocaine) and according to the Jalisco Attorney General’s office, 46,200 pesos in cash with which he attempted to bribe the arresting officers.
The arrest was related to an earlier grenade attack on police that resulted in one officer being injured and a police vehicle being damaged.
At the time authorities alleged that he had been part of the Sinaloa Cartel.
However, he now runs the prison on behalf of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and in fact his daughter is the girlfriend of Rubén Oseguera, son of CJNG boss Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera.
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán escaped from the federal prison located in the same penitentiary complex in 2001.
The Milenio newspaper reported in September 2015 that the Puente Grande prison was self-governing.
An official report seen by the newspaper indicated that inmates controlled the majority of prison stores, managed the flow of prohibited substances, controlled the area reserved for conjugal visits and allocated prison cells.
The report also revealed, according to a former inmate, that Don Chelo was the prison boss.
The latest report from the National Human Rights Commission awarded the prison a rating of zero under the criterion, “Absence of inmates that exercise violence or control over the rest of the prison population.”
The state government has changed prison management over the past three years, most recently on April 6.
Gutiérrez Valencia is currently facing charges of corruption of minors, firearm possession, drug offenses and bribery.
Source: Milenio (sp)