Alma Trinidad, a single mother of three who runs a small independent accounting office in Culiacán, Sinaloa, believed in these myths. Then one July day in 2008, her two sons César (then 28) and Cristóbal (then 16) took her car to a mechanic’s shop where a friend of César’s worked to get the emergency break fixed.
Minutes after they arrived, about six drug gang commandoes entered the shop firing AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles with drum magazines capable of carrying up to 150 rounds. César heard the gunfire and thought that a shootout had erupted outside in the street, that if he and his brother hid in the back of the garage they would be okay. “Hide!” he shouted to his brother, “there is a gunfight outside!” As César spun to the left and leapt over the hood of a car, a bullet crashed into his leg. He crawled under a truck parked by the wall and hid behind the front passenger wheel. “¡A chingar a su madre a todos!” he heard one of the gunmen shout, “Kill every last fucking one!”