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Cartel hitman reveals in new book how he almost killed “El Chapo”

July 17, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Cartel hitman reveals in new book how he almost killed “El Chapo”

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Martin Corona is remorseful for all those people murdered during his reign as an executioner for a bloodthirsty Mexican drug syndicate.

His apology comes in a new book “Confessions of a Cartel Hitman” explaining his crimes in shocking detail. Martin Corona was released from a federal prison in 2014, 12 years after he snitched on his fellow members of the violent Arellano Felix Organization.

Corona’s knowledge resulted in multiple arrests that destroyed the AFO hierarchy.

The cartel hitman confessed to personally killing eight victims — several of whom were from the same family — and taking part in other violent acts. The AFO, which inspired the film “Traffic,” was known for its brutal atrocities.

In 1993, Corona was recruited by David ‘Popeye’ Barron, a member of California’s Logan Heights street gang turned notorious hitman for the Arellano siblings, Benjamin, Ramon, and Javier.

Corona had saved Ramon’s life during a failed Sinaloa Cartel hit a year prior.

Confessions of a Cartel Hit Man,” by Martin Corona with Tony Rafael. (DUTTON)

Corona, armed with an AK-47, single-handedly fought off 40 killers dispatched by rival boss Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman to murder everyone in a nightclub in Puerto Vallarta.

He used his free hand to push Ramon out of a bathroom window.

Afterward, he began shooting at El Chapo at an airport in Guadalajara — but missed, and instead killed Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo, a high-ranking prelate in the Catholic Church in Mexico.

The public outcry drove the AFO undercover, though Barron’s Death Squad was very much active. He instructed Corona specifically where to push a knife into “a bound man screaming for his life.”

Although an earlier assassination attempt on top Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes failed, the AFO kept going after him. The cartel reportedly had a hit team inside the Mexico City hospital where Fuentes died while having cosmetic surgery to conceal his identity in 1997.

Mexican drug lord Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman was extradited to the United States, according to a report by the Mexican government on Jan. 19, 2017. (MARIO GUZMAN/EPA)

Barron’s Death Squad was trained with the Mexican federal police, and often sported Federal uniforms.

His first kill on U.S. soil was a Sinaloa members who owned beauty salons in Tijuana. When Corona knocked on the door of her home in California, the woman’s daughter believed the man, who was wearing jeans and “nerdy glasses” was safe, and let him inside.

Martin Corona and two others shot five rounds into the mom’s head but spared the daughter’s. They bolted only to find out from a newspaper that they left behind $500,000 inside of a closet.

On Corona’s next assignment, the group scaled the walls of a compound in Tijuana, binding the first family they found — a man, his wife, and their 5-year-old twins.

At the main residence, Corona held an infant and several other children while Barron killed the homeowner. Corona, in a slight displayed of compassion, permitted the wife to breastfeed her baby before she was stabbed to death.

Benjamin (l.) and Ramon Arellano Felix, who Martin Corona was tasked to protect. (HO/REUTERS)

During that time, Ramon Arellano asked Barron to kill a man named Ronnie Svoboda in a conflict over a woman. Corona either wasn’t in on the kill in Tijuana — or doesn’t own up to it.

However, he caught the next job after Svoboda’s sisters Ivonne and Luz went to authorities about the murder. I

Corona cornered the two in an alley in San Diego after they got into their vehicle. Dresses with an Afro wig and sunglasses, he snuck up on them.

He shot three bullets into Ivonne’s head, and Luz was hit in the chest. He then realized Luz was pregnant as a young girl yelled from the backseat.

Both sisters survived the assassination attempt, although Ivonne suffered significant brain damage. Corona wrote that shooting a pregnant woman and frightening a child left him tortured.

One month later, though, he held the same little girl, Luz’s 9-year-old, at gunpoint while Barron killed her father.

David Barron-Corona (El Popeye), head of the AFO “death squad.” (HANDOUT)

Corona said that a seven-man group dressed in uniforms raided a house in Tijuana to kill Luz Svoboda’s husband.

The killers was ordered to take the man’s child and her grandmother into a bathroom.

“You aren’t going to kill me, are you?” the frightened child asked.

“No, Mija,” the assassin responded. “I’m not going to kill you. Nobody else will.”

Instead of following directions to tie her up, Corona let the child hold onto the rope.

“When we leave, you can let go and call for help,” he told her.

Corona maintains that he was prepared to kill any of the men — including Barron — if a move was made to hurt the girl or her grandmother.

At one point, he walked away from the hostages into the bathroom where the killer had taken the girl’s dad. The man was in the tub, covered with a sheet.

An early assassination attempt on rival drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes failed, the AFO kept after him. (AP

He then heard a “disgusting, cracking, squishy noise from behind.”

Barron had shot the first of several blows to the man’s face with a sledgehammer.

The little girl and her grandmother weren’t hurt — though the child had gone through her second family ordeal under Corona’s orders.

Corona and his second wife were expecting their first child and were going make a fortune if they had a boy; Ramon proposed $1 million to be the godfather for a namesake child.

When Corona’s daughter was delivered, he was living with his wife in San Diego. In his final conversation with Ramon, he quit the Death Squad while pledging to never turn on the AFO.

Ramon invited Corona to enjoy a cruise on his yacht. Corona knew that if he went, he would be thrown overboard.

In 2000, Corona started a long discussion with Special Agent Steve Duncan of the Justice Department in California. The arrests that followed his stories of AFO savagery demolished the cartel’s leadership.

Corona is now living on supervised release, guarded by the U.S. government. He gives speeches to police officers across the country, explaining the tactics of the now obsolete AFO Cartel.

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