A Marine Known as ‘El Marino’ Has Allegedly Started His Own Cartel

Carlos Enrique Martínez Cuesta formed the criminal group after spending time both in the armed forces and the Sinaloa Cartel, leaked documents say.

A former Mexican marine and ex-lieutenant for the infamous Sinaloa Cartel drug lord Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada is forming a new cartel, according to a series of official documents leaked by a hacker group. 

Carlos Enrique Martínez Cuesta, known as “El Marino” or “El 5,” recently parted ways with the Sinaloa Cartel, where he served as one of the most trusted men under El Mayo, one of the original founders of the legendary crime group he ran with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, who is now serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison. 


“Martínez deserted the Mexican Marines where he served as the driver for the leader of the 6th Naval Region in Colima,” the report added

The documents allege that due to differences between two Sinaloa Cartel factions—one led by El Mayo and the other by El Chapo’s sons, known as Los Chapitos—Martínez chose to go it alone, and formed a new group named “Los Exiliados” (the Exiled), according to the official documents leaked. 

Martínez is currently operating in the coastal city of Manzanillo in the state of Colima, according to the authorities. The city’s port is one of the major entry points for illegal precursors coming from China to produce synthetic drugs like methamphetamine and fentanyl, both of which are a cash cow for the cartels. 

Mexico has already a history of former military members forming their own criminal organizations. The Zetas, one of Mexico’s most ruthless cartels and now almost extinct, was formed mostly by a group of former soldiers with specialized training. 

The leaked report, named “targets” and dated August 2022, includes an email exchange between an active Mexican Army commander in Colima and his peer in Mexico City. The email contains six top priority criminals for the Mexican authorities, including Martínez, whose full name and face are included. 


Martínez is now one of the Mexican government’s priorities for arrest. Others included in the documents are Juan Carlos Valencia, known as “El Tres” and Julio Alberto Castillo Rodríguez, both related to the leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, known as “El Mencho.” 

The report was leaked after a security breach at Mexico’s Defense Ministry, and published by a group called Guacamaya. The hack is one of Mexico’s biggest, and is composed of more than 4 million confidential documents, mostly emails, from inside the Mexican government. 

Other information from the leak previously revealed that Mexico’s military sold hand grenades and tactical equipment to drug cartels. 

“On May 31 2019 a military member offered 70 hand grenades to an operator of a criminal organization at 26,000 pesos each (roughly $1,300),” the leaked document showed. “The criminal organization confirmed the payment for eight [grenades] that were handed over at Atlacomulco, Mexico State.” 

The hack last month released more than six terabytes of confidential information revealing criminal organizations, confidential military tasks, and personal information on Mexico’s president.