Dec. 23, 2022

Las Poquianchis

Las Poquianchis are one of the most prolific killers in Mexico and the deadliest group of sisters. 

Early Life

The Gonzalez Valenzuela sisters were born in El Salto Jalisco, and would later be known as Las Poquianchis. The four sisters, from eldest to youngest were, Delfina born in 1912, Maria del Carmen born in 1918, Maria Luisa born in 1920 and Maria de Jesus born in 1924. Some sources state Maria Luisa was the youngest with Maria de Jesus being older than her. Other sources say they were born in 1910 (Delfina), 1921 (Luisa), and 1922 (Maria de Jesus).

Their father Isidro, was a shopkeeper who later became chief of police. Their mother, Bernardina was extremely religious, to the point of instilling a cult like worship to Catholicism in her daughters. Both parents were abusive in their own ways. Isidro was an alcoholic and sexist man, who abused his power as chief of police. He would force the sisters to watch as he tortured the people he arrested. He would beat his daughters and had strict rules for them. He regularly used the cells he had access to, as chief of police, to punish his daughters. 

Carmen (the eldest) in her attempt to leave this dysfunctional and abusive environment, got together with a man who was much older than her and tried to run away. This made her father Isidro furious, and he found her, yanked her by the hair, hit her and dragged her to a cell, where he incarcerated her, due to her indecent behavior. He went on with his normal shift, during which he unjustly shot a man. He went on the run after this, hiding out in different ranches across Jalisco and left Carmen in jail. She remained in jail for 14 months. She was released by an older man, but only with the promise that she would marry him if he released her. 

Some accounts vary here, by some accounts, the family fled their hometown together, in others, the sisters were left to fend for themselves while their father was in hiding and this prompted them to add on the Valenzuela to Gonzalez, to dissociate themselves from their father. 

Carmen then married a 50 year old grocer but he left her when she got pregnant, during this time, she was also a sex worker and concubine. She then met another much older man, Jesus "El Gato" Vargas and they opened up a cantina, but it was unsuccessful because El Gato spent any profit they had on alcohol. This was still a regular and perfectly legal canteen. Delfina, inspired by Carmen, decided she would do the same, only she opened a brothel. 

Las Poquianchis and Their Horrible Crimes

Delfina opened her brothel, in El Salto, Jalisco. This was disguised as a regular canteen and because there was less regulation away from the big cities, this made it easier to operate her illegal brothel. She had girls from ages 12 to 15 kidnapped from nearby cities and forced them to work for her. Many of her customers were police officers, military officers, soldiers and politicians. In 1948, due to stricter laws, she was forced to close her brothel and she then moved it to San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco and named it, El Guadalajara de La Noche. 

This is were the other 3 sisters began helping with the business. They were in charge of the kitchen and collecting cash, then Carmen took it upon herself to sell makeup, clothes and other personal objects to their employees. She sold these items it at an insane price, making their workers indebted to them, essentially forcing them into indentured servitude. 

2 weeks after opening Guadalajara de Noche in San Juan de los Lagos, Delfina had enough money to move her brothel to San Francisco del Rincon, Guanajuato, where brothels were legal. Here they bought a brothel that had belonged to a man whose nickname was El Poquianchis (this was then given to the sisters). 

Once this brothel was successful, Maria de Jesus took two of the girls imprisoned by Delfina and opened a brothel La Casa Blanca, in Leon, Guanajuato, which she did through bribes (both money and sex). She had the same kind of clients that Delfina did, as well as the local priest. 

To have enough girls for the brothels, they kidnapped or tricked girls from all over Jalisco, Guanajuato, even other states like Michoacán & Zacatecas. Aside from just taking them off the streets, they told girls they would be working as maids, even had the consent from parents. Once the kidnapped girls arrived at the brothels, they were raped, showered in freezing water, drugged and then put to work that same night. 

Once girls reached the age 25, they were considered too old and were sent to a Verdugo (a man that tortured), who beat them and then starved them to death. 

The sisters had many rules, they did not allow any kissing, any sexual acts between the girls, any anal sex, if a client requested it, they were banned from the brothel and some sources say they were killed. The sisters had surveillance on the girls, to ensure this didn't happen and if it did, the girls were punished heavily. They were forced to kneel with bricks in their hands, they were beaten with a bat that had nails attached to it, and they were starved. 

In 1963, brothels became illegal and the sisters moved their brothels back to Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco. Here, is where their downfall began. 

The Downfall of Las Poquianchis

Delfina's son, who helped them torture and control the girls, El Tepocate, got into a bar fight at a nearby bar and was killed. Delfina attempted to shoot her son's murderer but missed. This angered officials in the town and they wanted to arrest Delfina. Delfina went into hiding in Guadalajara and police raided Maria de Jesus' brothel, where all the girls and Maria were kept in for a day, and they escaped at night, to hide in a house owned by them in San Francisco del Rincon. The girls were forced to stay there for 8 months, during which they were starved. Many died from starvation and sickness. 

On January 6th, 1964, the sisters began to feel cornered by police and moved the girls to Rancho San Angel, a location that had been previously used for torture and burying bodies. 12 days after this, one girl, Catalina Ortega escaped and went to the police. The police officer that took the report was a client of theirs, but they listened anyway. The sisters denied all charges, but upon inspection, police found 90 bodies. They were arrested, but moved to a prison in Guanajuato, due to the threat of lynching. 

Only 3 sisters were arrested, the youngest, Maria Luisa, had left the business after 10 years, but upon hearing of her sisters arrest, she traveled to Guanajuato to see them. She was then arrested, accused of Satanism & Brujeria (neither was real). 

Due to errors during the investigation, many of the people that helped Las Poquianchis were released. El Capitan, Delfina's boyfriend, that did the killing & torturing, was told at 76 years old, that he would be released, but then died of a heart attack from the news. In 1978, while in jail, during some construction, a bucket of cement fell on Delfina, killing her. Maria de Jesus was released after her sentence was over, remarried and went off the grid. Luisa received the shortest sentence, but ended up in a mental hospital, where she died.