JUAREZ, MEXICO - Sicario... the assassins for the cartels. Yami Virgin and Photojournalist Brian Sanchez take you just on the other side of the Mexico/U.S. border to Juarez for something never seen before on television - the take down of a Sicario.
"They pretend they aren't looking at you. But they're on the cell phones reporting our every turn. Telling them we are coming," said Commander Zuany Portillo.
"We need more participation, more people being vigilant in those neighborhoods where a majority of the homicides take place. And we need the cooperation of the national guard," said Attorney General Jorge Nava Lopez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Juarez is located just on the other side of the border from El Paso, Texas. It’s the second largest bi-national metropolitan area with 2.7 million people. On one side of the border, one of the safest cities in the United States. On the other side, more than 1,500 murders last year alone, some by people who are known by one name.
"Sunday alone we had 13 homicides. That's why we decided to get the operation going," said Commander Portillo.
Commander Portillo runs the armed branch of the attorney general's office. Jorge Nava Lopez is the attorney general of Chihuahua northern sector. After a few weeks of surveillance, an investigation is about to put behind bars a major player in the violence that plagues this country.
Commander Portillo gets a break. They stop a hummer coming out of the house they've been watching, check the driver's ID and realize that this is their target's driver. One group will go to the house. Commander Portillo goes to the address of the driver they just stopped.
"The problem here,” the commander says, “are the distances between the places."
Now they must rush to get to the stash house before they are warned. As we get closer, an officer points out their lookouts. As we go up the hill into Anapra, they show us how hard it is to get in the right spot.
"We need to back up. They have no radio signal up here because of where it is located. Maps say it’s a street and when you get here, surprise... it’s not a street."
GPS can't keep up with the changing dirt roads and shanty homes built and destroyed every day.
"So what you are seeing right now, they already stopped the Hummer away from here, but the address the driver had was from here. This area known as Anapra. So you can see without showing her face, we stayed in the vehicle so they don't have to worry about us. That is the house."
"They believe this is a safe house - not only for drugs. They're telling the neighbors to get in their house, but as you can see, they're still outside. It is believed this is also a safe house for Sicarios."
While they're going in, we stayed behind to put on bulletproof vests. We are down on the ground because the engine block is down there to help protect us from stray bullets. The intelligence team went in, followed by SWAT, followed by Commander Portillo. This is an everyday thing here, he was telling us. They do five to six of these a month.
Once they have the information, they start planning. There's a lot of barb wire, high fence and you can't see inside. They believe it's a safe house, and we are told there's lot of cocaine, heroin and meth.
We just were told they grabbed one of the major drug dealers here in Juarez. The man in the house told them they knew we were coming.
"All the lookouts, as we were coming from the border to here, told them we were coming.”
As we rode along with them, they served a search warrant on a yellow house and found a person in the backyard. In another house, two people were detained. They found one gun and two pounds of pot. One of those detained moves large amounts of drugs through Juarez Plaza, where cocaine, pot, heroin and the biggest one, crystal meth, make their way into the U.S. They say between all of the agencies, they stop 200 kilos of crystal meth.
We were allowed in the house where they found a bulletproof vest and some guns. It smells like feces inside. Commander Portillo tells us immigrants are stashed here until they can cross into the U.S.
"More than 80% of the guns they find here come from the U.S. The money mostly comes from the U.S. Here, guns and money go south. Drugs go north," said Commander Portillo.
"For you, was this a victory today?" Yami asked.
"Yes," said Commander Portillo.
Now Commander Portillo must head back and debrief the attorney general on their victory. He will see what information they can get from the Sicario.
Next Monday on Fox News at 9, hear firsthand from a Sicario how he rose in the ranks in one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico -- and why his cartel kills those who sell meth.