Juan Nepomuceno Guerra Cárdenas (July 18, 1915 – July 12, 2001) was a Mexican crime lord, bootlegger, businessman and smuggler who founded the Gulf Cartel, a drug trafficking organization. He is often considered the "godfather" of U.S-Mexico border cartels.[2]

He began his criminal career in the 1930s by smuggling alcohol from Mexico during the Prohibition in the United States. He later diversified to other cross-border smuggling activities. He is the uncle of Juan García Ábrego, once's Mexico's most-wanted man.

Early life and career

During the 1930s he began smuggling whisky across the Mexico-United States border through south Texas. Through shrewd political connections he had fostered, Nepomuceno Guerra was able to control all the contraband moving across the Rio Grande. [3] In the 1970s, his nephew Juan García Abrego began utilizing those connections and developed the organization into a drug cartel primarily dedicated to the more lucrative business of smuggling cocaine.[4]

According to news sources, despite allegedly founding one of the largest drug cartels in Mexico, Juan Nepomuceno Guerra never spent more than "a few hours in jail" for his crimes.[5]

He died of respiratory disease.[2]


On June 18, 2015, the Governor of Tamaulipas Egidio Torre Cantú inaugurated a street under his name, "Juan N. Guerra", in Reynosa, Tamaulipas.The street was inaugurated along with seven others and is located in the working-class neighborhood Reserva Territorial Campestre.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Figueroa, Yolanda (1996). El Capo del Golfo: vida y captura de Juan García Ábrego. Grijalbo. p. 324. ISBN 970-05-0666-5. 
  2. ^ a b Peralta González, César (12 July 2001). "Falleció el fundador del cártel del Golfo". El Universal (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 16 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  3. ^ https://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DEFDF1539F93AA35751C0A960958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all
  4. ^ Castillo García, Gustavo (15 March 2003). "La historia del cártel del Golfo". La Jornada (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 16 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Dillon, Sam (9 February 1996). "Matamoros Journal; Canaries Sing in Mexico, but Uncle Juan Will Not". New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Honran con calle a fundador de Cártel en Reynosa" (in Spanish). Saltillo, Coahuila,: Zócalo Saltillo. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2015.