By David Amoruso for Gangsters Inc.
If you are an inmate and want to flaunt your influence behind bars, what do you do? Well, one Mexican crime boss got himself a $2,000-dollar cat and tattooed it with a pirate flag and bald eagle, because… Well, Narcos Mexico, I guess.
All kidding aside, the tattoos do have meaning. They signal membership in the Los Mexicles gang. The cat, an expensive Sphynx breed known for its lack of fur, used to belong to the gang’s leader: Ernesto Alfredo Piñón de la Cruz.
Nicknamed “El Neto,” De la Cruz and his gang terrorized Ciudad Juarez working with the Sinaloa Cartel. He was a blunt instrument, used by the cartel to unleash untold violence and execute any other tasks it handed him and his crew.
- READ: Kingpin Style: Sinaloa Cartel bosses walk out of prison where they awaited extradition to U.S.
De la Cruz happily obliged and was eventually connected to 30 kidnappings. Among his victims was a judge, because, again, Narcos Mexico. But unlike his “jefes” in the cartel, “El Neto” did not enjoy the same protection. So, in December of 2010, prosecutors through the book at him and he was sentenced to 224 years in prison.
Behind bars, his influence grew. To show this, he got himself the hairless cat and gave it tattoos. Gang members probably had to restrain the cat as they put the tats on its body, but hey, they’ve heard worse screams. All things considered, giving a cat a tattoo is probably one of the nicest things some of them ever did in their life.
Though having this lovely cat was nice, “El Neto” still preferred life outside prison walls. His associates felt the same. They wanted him back out on the streets running things. So, to usher in the new year, on January 1 of 2023, gang members attacked the prison. Ten guards were killed and between 20 to 30 inmates, including “El Neto,” escaped.
Authorities in Mexico, however, were not about to let him go. The hunt was on and four days later they found his hideout in Ciudad Juarez. He wasn’t about to go back to his cell, though. A shootout broke out. After quiet returned to the neighborhood, Ernesto Alfredo Piñón de la Cruz lay dead. He was 33.
His cat, meanwhile, was still in prison.
After the daring prison break, authorities decided to crack down on the inmates and corruption there. They swept the cells for contraband and found exactly what you’d expect to find in a corrupt institution: A mechanical bull, $1,000-dollar sneakers, scores of speakers, and a secret tunnel used to smuggle all that stuff in.
- READ: Mexico’s “El Padrino” of Narcos, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, leaves prison after serving 33 years
But most surprising of all, they found the tattooed cat. It was taken in by an animal rights organization and held at a secret location. Several people applied to become the new owners of the pet. After a screening, the cat was placed with one lucky person, couple or family.
Unfortunately, they won’t be able to show it outside, media reported. Authorities fear the cat might be targeted by rivals of Los Mexicles. It might be kidnapped just to annoy rivals.
Such is life in Mexico. A country dominated by wealthy drug cartels and ultra-violent gangs. Narco cat is now a thing.
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