Mario Vallarino says that there is no glory in death. The heavily tattooed ex-cartel member should know first-hand, since he spent years as a violent hitman, carrying out grisly murders.
“In either killing or being killed. It’s always ugly,” Vallarino told the Daily Mail. “Being a killer is made to look glamorous from the outside.”
Vallarino and another former hitman named Israel Hinosa the desperation that leads to a life as a career killer, and how the lifestyle slowly turns normal people into ruthless killers for the criminal underworld.
The promise of easy money comes at a steep moral price.
Hinosa was deported to Mexico from California. Desperate for money, he resorted to cartels in order to make ends meet.
Hired on by the Sinaloa Cartel, he spent four years kidnapping innocent people, threatening families, establishing turf via violence and committing murder.
His life as a hitman for the cartel began after he was kidnapped by rivals to his cartel. He was tortured for days while the kidnappers tried to blackmail his family in the United States for money.
When he was finally left naked and bleeding in an alley, he was thirsty for revenge—something his friends in the cartel were happy to offer, but at a price. Hinosa had to pledge to work for them from then onwards.
This began the downward spiral of murder.
“I got revenge, which felt great in the moment,” Hinosa said. “But then I became the cartel’s slave.”
Forced to carry out heinous crimes, the cartel would bribe its members with drugs as rewards for good work. Hinosa himself quickly became addicted—in part to numb himself to the horrible violence he was asked to take part in.
“I would collect the money and punish anyone who didn’t pay,” he said. “I didn’t want to think about the terrible things I was doing. It got to the point where I was injecting myself with heroin, crystal meth and tequila instead of water. I just didn’t want to think.”
He has even been forced to take out his own friends.
The powerful connections of the cartel kept Hinosa out of prison.
After four years in the cartel, Hinosa’s drug addiction forced him into rehab. There he found faith in God and found a religious sanctuary close to the Mexican border. He now works with other migrants as a volunteer at the shelter, with people like Vallarino who share similar stories to him.
He hopes to turn his life around, and to help others who are desperate like he himself once was.