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The Lugo Cartel is a drug cartel that appeared in the Season Five episode of Criminal Minds, "A Rite of Passage".


Little about the Lugo Cartel's past is revealed, other than it originated from Baja California, became active in locations near the U.S.-Mexico border, imported numerous amounts of cocaine and black tar heroin between 1990 and 2009, and was responsible for the deaths of, among others, two DEA agents when they closed in on them last year. It is also possible that it participated in a large gunfight against another drug cartel, which resulted in the brutal deaths of ten drug dealers who were decapitated post-mortem and the heads being placed in coolers, which were found on December 4, 2009.

A Rite of Passage[]

At least days prior to the episode, the leader of the Terlingua, Texas branch, Omar Morales, is arrested under the suspicion of discarding three heads of illegal immigrants in front of the local police station. The arrest causes an outrage from the rest of the cartel, eight of whom gather in front of the station and are confronted by Hotch and JJ. Deputies Boyd and Gentry manage to stop the tension from rising and help Hotch and JJ pass through, mocking the men while doing so. Later, Morales would be released when the BAU realize that he isn't the unsub.

Later, Boyd would kill Sheriff Eva Ruiz and mutilate her in a fashion described by Morales earlier so the Lugo Cartel would be framed. When he and Gentry arrive at the cartel headquarters (a garage) to arrest Morales, Boyd snaps and attacks the cartel members present with a Remington 870 before encountering Morales, whom he kills when he attempts to flee after mocking him. The deaths of Morales and the cartel members were the last clue the BAU need to pinpoint Boyd as the unsub, and from there they track him down, immediately shooting him dead when he retaliated violently, somewhat avenging their deaths. What became of the rest of the cartel afterwards is not known.

Known Members[]

  • Omar Morales (presumed branch leader; deceased). Portrayed by Kurt Cáceres.
  • José (presumed branch second-in-command; deceased). Portrayed by Joseph Lucero.
  • An unnamed mechanic (deceased). Portrayed by Eddie J. Fernandez.
  • Eight unnamed members (one deceased). All portrayed by uncredited actors.
  • Numerous other unnamed members in the U.S. and Mexico

Known Victims[]

  • Unspecified dates: Numerous unnamed prior victims
  • 2009:
    • Unspecified date: Two unnamed DEA agents
    • December 4: At least ten unnamed drug dealers (possibly shot; all decapitated post-mortem and the heads put in coolers)