Drug Trafficker Thought American Hiker Patrick Braxton-Andrew Was an Undercover Agent, Shoots Him

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
November 20, 2018US News
Drug Trafficker Thought American Hiker Patrick Braxton-Andrew Was an Undercover Agent, Shoots Him
Patrick Braxton-Andrew, a North Carolina teacher, was killed while traveling in Mexico on Oct. 28, 2018. (Chihuahua State Governor's Office)

A teacher from North Carolina who disappeared in Mexico in October has been found shot to death on Nov. 17.

Mexican news outlets El Sol de Mexico and El Diario reported that he may have been mistaken for an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent in Urique.

On Oct. 28, Braxton-Andrew “crossed paths with a drug trafficker from the Sinaloa cartel and was killed,” reported El Dario.

Javier Corral, the governor of Chihuahua, said on Nov. 15 that Braxton-Andrew is believed to have been killed in a “cowardly and brutal” manner by a member of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

A well-known drug trafficker in the region, Jose Noriel Portillo Gil, is from the same cartel. Corral’s post did not explicitly indicate whether Gil or another drug cartel member had killed Braxton-Andrew.

Followers of the drug trafficker Gil believed Braxton-Andrew was an undercover agent because he had shown avid interested in the local culture, and asked many questions when he was travelling in Urique, according to the Herald of Chihuahua.

Gil is well-known to the local people for overseeing “the transfer of drugs in the region through the … armed wing of the Sinaloa Cartel,” the newspaper reported.

Corral said in his Facebook post that any suspicion that Braxton-Andrew was trying to buy drugs was “absolutely false” and that he was a “totally innocent person.”

Body Believed to Have Been Transported

Braxton-Andrew’s body was found on Nov. 17 with the help of canine tracking teams, according to El Diario.

Autopsy results showed that the 34-year-old Spanish teacher had died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to a press release from the Chihuahua state government.

The Herald of Mexico reported that Braxton-Andrew was shot with a 9mm caliber gun.

The release said that his body was found about a mile away from the road leading to the village of Guapalayna to Las Lajas in Urique. Urique is a former mining village at the base of one of the many canyons that make up Mexico’s Copper Canyon National Park.

The officials believe Braxton-Andrew’s body was placed there because the area had already been searched prior to the discovery of his body. This is nearly four miles from where he was last seen, according to InfoBAE.

Furthermore, while Braxton-Andrew’s body had traces of reddish dirt and pine leaves, officials had found his body resting on a stony surface with lack of vegetation.

On Nov. 15, Braxton-Andrew’s family shared on Facebook that he had been killed by a criminal organization.

“Based on information provided by the Chihuahua State authorities, it is with great sadness that we announce that Patrick died on October 28th at the hands of a criminal organization that operates in the area where he was traveling,” the Facebook post read.

“Patrick died doing what he loved—traveling and meeting people. Join us in celebrating his life as he would want us to do. We will always remember Patrick and his joy for life. We love you PBA.”

The family later wrote to Twitter on Nov. 18 that it was a sense of relief that his body had been found.


Braxton-Andrew’s visit to Mexico began when he left North Carolina on Oct. 24. He arrived in Urique around Oct. 26-27 to hike in the Copper Canyon.

Childhood friend Russell Miller told the Associated Press that Braxton-Andrew was an avid runner who had traveled extensively in Latin America. Braxton-Andrew had expressed to Miller that he was really excited to take in the beauty of the canyon.

Braxton-Andrew was last seen on Oct. 28 afternoon near Urique village in Mexico, according to a Facebook post from his family. His parents had themselves last contacted him on the same day around 2:50 p.m.

“He left his hotel for a walk and was last seen near a ranch that approximately 2.5km from the village,” the Facebook post read.

He was meant to meet his younger brother Kerry in Mexico City late afternoon on Oct. 30 to attend the Day of the Dead celebrations but did not show up, his father wrote in a post on Facebook late Oct. 31.

The family flew to Mexico two days after they realized he was missing, according to NBC News.

Braxton-Andrew was a part-time eighth-grade Spanish teacher at the Woodlawn School in Mooresville—a private school.

He was also tutoring Spanish and other subjects, The Charlotte Observer reported.

After learning of his passing, the school posted a message on Instagram on Nov. 16.

“You taught us to live life to the fullest, and your life will continue to inspire us,” it said.

On Nov. 16, the town of Davidson flew its flags at half-staff in memory of Braxton-Andrew.

The Town of Davidson is flying the flags at half-staff in memory of Patrick Braxton-Andrew.

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Town of Davidson, NC — Town Hall‎‏ في الجمعة، ١٦ نوفمبر ٢٠١٨

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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