April 26, 2008

Meth-ican restaurant entrepreneur

El Chico Loco
Juan Humberto Castillo-Alvarez, ringleader of the Los Krazy Boyz Estherville, Iowa, gang that murdered 15-year-old Gregory Sky Erickson in 1997 over an unpaid drug debt, received his sentence yesterday at the Clay County Courthouse in Spencer, Iowa, according to The Daily Reporter. Castillo-Alvarez immediately fled the country after his number two man, meth idiot Luis Lua, murdered Erickson rather than simply "punish" him with two severe beatings.

Castillo-Alvarez fled to Mexico City, generally regarded as one of the largest and most corrupt cities in the world, but against all odds he was eventually captured there in 2006 and returned to Iowa for prosecution. He is the tenth and final member of the gang to be prosecuted and convicted.

Back in the mid nineties I was working in Estherville for awhile and had lunch at the Mexico Lindo restaurant that Castillo-Alvarez owned and operated. At that time restaurants owned by real Mexicans were still a rarity in northwest Iowa. Juan Humberto himself waited on me. He was a personable guy, the food was good and the prices were fair. I didn't know he had a pistol or two hidden in the ceiling tile. I also didn't know that you could get a side of Mexican weed or meth with your takeout order of tacos and enchiladas. I planned to go back the next time I was in town.

Sky Erickson was one of a kind according to local legends. In the words of his mother, Joni Ketter, "Sky was really a very cool kid. He was incredibly bright and had this magnetic personality that just drew other people to him."

Too bad the Krazy Boyz were drawn to him and too bad the cops arrested him in possession of some weed and $728. And too bad the criminal justice system tried to make an informant out of him and were unable to protect him from loco Luis. And why couldn't someone have come up with $1400 to pay off his drug debt? This is one of those stories that, if you were to dig into it, would probably reveal incompetence and failures far beyond the crimes of young Sky.

I remember reading an anonymous quote in 1997 from someone presumably higher up in the system, "There's plenty of blame to go around."

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