Big Wheels

By Christopher Zoukis

So much cocaine was being moved by the Mexicans that they had difficulty storing the cash.  There were literally boxcars of money.  In other words, everything was just peachy.  But then Gallardo had an idea.  Rather than being paid in cash, he could demand payment in product, cocaine.  And that’s just what he did.  The Colombians didn’t balk.  They couldn’t.  They had no choice in the matter.  Florida was too risky.  The DEA was seizing shipments left and right. 

Overnight, Felix Gallardo and the Sinaloan gang became cocaine kings.  They weren’t just couriers anymore.  Now they were players, moving their own product as well as that of the Colombians.  The Sinaloans went from the minor leagues to the major leagues in a single leap.  In the drug trafficking world, Felix Gallardo transitioned from the role of supporting actor to movie star.  The DEA began keeping close tabs on Gallardo, elevating his position on their Christmas Wish List. 

Gallardo was a criminal, but no one had ever accused him of being stupid.  He knew the DEA lusted for him.  They wanted him dead or in prison.  Gallardo, attempting to lower his exposure, moved his family to Culiacan.  As soon as he arrived, he called for a high-level meeting.  All the Big Wheels of the various gangs in Guadalajara showed up.  Gallardo informed the gang leaders that he was stepping out of the limelight.  He was still the Boss of Bosses, and they still had to pay tithes.  Gallardo wasn’t giving up his rightfully due share of the profits.  Only now, instead of being both the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, he would simply be the CEO.  Day-to-day operations would be handled by territorial leaders.  In other words, Gallardo was delegating authority.

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