How 'Narcos: Mexico' compares to the real life of Juan José Esparragoza Moreno aka El Azul 'The Blue One'

In real life, Esparragoza Moreno was a member of the DFS police agency, and who later headed the Juárez Cartel and rose to become the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel


                            How 'Narcos: Mexico' compares to the real life of Juan José Esparragoza Moreno aka El Azul 'The Blue One'
Real vs reel: Juan José Esparragoza Moreno aka El Azul (Netflix)

'Narcos: Mexico' uncovers the dirty, dark world of drug cartels and by the end of Season 1, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna) escaped after Kiki Camarena's brutal torture and murder.

His partners, Rafael Caro Quintero (Tenoch Huerta) and Don Neto (Joaquín Cosío), were taken behind the bars, and that's when Juan José Esparragoza Moreno aka El Azul (meaning, The Blue One) became one of his trusted partners. 

In real life, Esparragoza Moreno was a member of the DFS police agency, and who later headed the Juárez Cartel and rose to become the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. He worked alongside Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán, once considered Mexico's most-wanted drug lord. The show follows a similar trajectory and ends with Félix's arrest, after which El Azul assumed the responsibility of dividing the plazas into individual cartels.

However, his arrest after the Camarena murder was skipped from the show. In March 1986, authorities arrested Esparragoza Moreno in Mexico City under the direction of the DFS police commander Florentino Ventura. Even though he never admitted to his involvement, a federal judge sentenced him to seven years and two months behind bars. El Azul was finally released in 1993 and while he was in prison, Félix Gallardo was arrested at his home in Guadalajara in April 1989.

Fermin Martinez as Juan José "El Azul" Esparragoza Moreno (Netflix)

It was Félix who called for an organized crime summit in Acapulco, Guerrero, where the Guadalajara Cartel's territories were divided. The Arellano Félix brothers and other drug traffickers formed the Tijuana Cartel; in Chihuahua state, the Carrillo Fuentes family formed the Juárez Cartel; and the Sinaloa Cartel was run under the traffickers Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, Héctor "El Güero" Palma, and Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.

It was only after El Azul was freed, did he join the forces of the Juárez Cartel. Initially, he worked as the operational chief and later became the second-in-command, just behind Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Not just that, he was a business partner of Don Juanjo as well. 

Under the list of Mexico's 37 most-wanted drug lords, El Azul was wanted by the United States Department of State under its Narcotics Rewards Program with a $5 million bounty and by the Mexican government with a $2 million bounty. 

On 7 June 2014, there were reports that Esparragoza Moreno, aged 65, died of a heart attack following a car accident some days earlier. However, there was no confirmation on it and sources disagree on the exact location of his death; some say he died in Mexico City, while others suggest it may have been in Guadalajara. A few days later, an intelligence report said he may have died at a hospital in Culiacán but there are still doubts circling around the real story.

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