Posts Tagged los zetas

Mexico’s Zetas Are Not Finished Yet

Mexico’s Zetas Are Not Finished Yet is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Scott Stewart and Tristan Reed

During the question-and-answer portion of our quarterly Mexico Security Monitor webinar, we were asked a question pertaining to the current status of Los Zetas. The question was something to the effect of: “Some Mexican media outlets and analysts claim that Los Zetas have been dismantled as an organization and are now little more than a ‘ragtag operation.’ Why do you disagree with that assessment?”

This question apparently came in response to our quarterly cartel report (an abbreviated version is available here), in which we wrote that despite the leadership losses suffered by Los Zetas, including the arrest of their leader, Miguel “Z-40” Trevino Morales, there were no signs that other leaders were challenging the current leader and Miguel’s brother, Omar Trevino Morales. We also wrote that we believed Los Zetas have maintained their operational capabilities in terms of drug smuggling and other criminal activity, and that they have retained the ability to defend their operations and to continue conducting offensive operations deep in their rivals’ territory. Read the rest of this entry »

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Los Zetas Kingpin Captured

From PBS:

“The Zetas were involved in 20 different criminal activities,” George Grayson, an expert on the Zetas and professor of government at the College of William & Mary, said. “Extortion, smuggling, torture, possible harvesting of human body parts. You name it, the Zetas did it.”

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MS-13 and Los Zetas Join Forces

From DangerRoom:

Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, became El Salvador’s deadliest gang through force of numbers and the power of the handgun — while inking some pretty crazy tattoos. Now if they weren’t deadly enough, the gang is transitioning into adopting heavier weapons while teaming up with Mexico’s Zetas.

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Infographic from Borderland Beat

Borderland Beat

Disclaimer: there is some misinformation in the graphic.

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Mexico’s Presidential Election and the Cartel War


By Scott Stewart

Mexico will hold its presidential election July 1 against the backdrop of a protracted war against criminal cartels in the country. Former President Vicente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN) launched that struggle; his successor, Felipe Calderon, also of the PAN, greatly expanded it. While many Mexicans apparently support action against the cartels, the Calderon government has come under much criticism for its pursuit of the cartels, contributing to Calderon’s low popularity at the moment. The PAN is widely expected to lose in July to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which controlled the Mexican presidency for most of the 20th century until Fox’s victory in 2000. According to polls, the PAN has lost credibility among many Mexican voters, many of whom also once again view the PRI as a viable alternative.

In our effort to track Mexico’s criminal cartels and to help our readers understand the dynamics that shape the violence in Mexico, Stratfor talks to a variety of people, including Mexican and U.S. government officials, journalists, business owners, taxi drivers and street vendors. At present, many of these contacts are saying that the Calderon administration could attempt to pull off some sort of last-minute political coup (in U.S. political parlance, an “October surprise”) to boost the PAN’s popularity so it can retain the presidency. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mexico Security Memo: Confusing Reports of a Battle in Matamoros

Mexico Security Memo: Confusing Reports of a Battle in Matamoros is republished with permission of STRATFOR.”

Zetas Raid or Rescue?

Around 5 a.m. on June 17, simultaneous firefights reportedly broke out between elements of the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels in several locations in Matamoros, Tamaulipas state, a Gulf stronghold. The Mexican military has confirmed that a gunbattle did indeed take place in the Colonia Pedro Moreno area but has not confirmed media reports of additional firefights in the Mariano Matamoros, Valle Alto, Puerto Rico and Seccion 16 neighborhoods. The military also has not confirmed a reported gunbattle in the rural area of Cabras Pintas, where six Mexican soldiers are said to have been killed.

Details of the confirmed firefight remain unclear, but from all indications, a large movement of Zeta forces into a Gulf stronghold did occur, and it suggests a heightened operational tempo in the war between these two cartels. In the coming months, this increasing violence is likely to continue in Gulf-held Reynosa and Zeta-held Monterrey as well as Matamoros. Read the rest of this entry »

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Protective Intelligence Lessons from an Ambush in Mexico

Protective Intelligence Lessons from an Ambush in Mexico is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By Scott Stewart

On the afternoon of May 27, a convoy transporting a large number of heavily armed gunmen was ambushed on Mexican Highway 15 near Ruiz, Nayarit state, on Mexico’s Pacific coast. When authorities responded they found 28 dead gunmen and another four wounded, one of whom would later die, bringing the death toll to 29. This is a significant number of dead for one incident, even in Mexico.

According to Nayarit state Attorney General Oscar Herrera Lopez, the gunmen ambushed were members of Los Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel. Herrera noted that most of the victims were from Mexico’s Gulf coast, but there were also some Guatemalans mixed into the group, including one of the wounded survivors. While Los Zetas are predominately based on the Gulf coast, they have been working to provide armed support to allied groups, such as the Cartel Pacifico Sur (CPS), a faction of the former Beltran Leyva Organization that is currently battling the Sinaloa Federation and other cartels for control of the lucrative smuggling routes along the Pacific coast. In much the same way, Sinaloa is working with the Gulf cartel to go after Los Zetas in Mexico’s northeast while protecting and expanding its home turf. If the victims in the Ruiz ambush were Zetas, then the Sinaloa Federation was likely the organization that planned and executed this very successful ambush.

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23 year old U.S citizen, cartel hit man for Los Zetas, arrested in Reynosa, Mexico

23 year old U.S citizen and alleged Los Zetas gang member, Joseph Allen Garcia

“A 23 year old U.S citizen and alleged Los Zetas gang member, Joseph Allen Garcia, was arrested in the border city of Reynosa, Mexico, this Thursday night and expelled within hours to the U.S. to face multiple charges in Texas of murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of marijuana and a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

The suspect was arrested by Tamaulipas state investigative police with the help of intelligence shared by Texas authorities. After being expelled by Mexican authorities Garcia was taken into custody Friday morning by U.S. Marshals in Hidalgo County, across the Rio Grande from Reynosa.

According to federal authorities the suspect is a cartel hit man for Los Zetas in Mexico and also works for the Mexican Mafia prison based gang in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.”

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27 people killed in Nuevo León, several miles from the Texas border.

“At least 27 people were killed Thursday in a clash between members of the Mexican Army and an armed group that occurred in the state of Nuevo León, several miles from the Texas border

According to preliminary reports, no bodies have been identified, and it is alledged that the dead gunmen belonged to the Los Zetas criminal organization.

Three soldiers were reported injured in the clash and an undertermined number of kidnap victims were freed. More than 25 weapons and multiple grenades and 23 vehicles were reported seized.”

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Threats to Mexican clergy: by Los Zetas, government authorities, mafias trafficking people

“One day we found an iguana in the office. It had a paper tied to its tail that said: “Do not mess with us. That was the first time they threatened us,” complained the priest Blas Alvarado, pastor of Tenosique, Tabasco, in southeastern Mexico,

Father Alvarado runs a migrant shelter that cares for undocumented Central American migrants journeying to the United States in search of economic opportunity. Church run shelters are vital to the safety of these migrants who are easy prey for criminals that kidnap them for ransom. Those unable to pay are usually murdered.

Father Alvarado is under constant threat now for his advocacy and for his demands that the police and the military stop the kidnappings.

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Los Zetas vs CDG battleground spreads to Piedras Negras.

“The bloody battles between Los Zetas and the Cartel del Golfo (CDG) for control of the Tamaulipas plazas in la Frontera Chica (Reynosa, Miguel Aleman, Camargo and Guerrero) and Nuevo Laredo are now spreading west to the Piedras Negras, Coahuila area.

All these cities and towns face the Rio Grande and South Texas and together with the Ciudad Juarez-El Paso plaza are major conduits for the trafficking of drugs and humans north into the Mid-Western and East Coast areas of the U.S..”

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Steve Irvin on the Texas/Los Zetas story: It’s “the Glenn Becks and Bill O’Reillys of the world.”

Steve Irvin, journalist and anchor of ABC15 News

“I don’t really need to read many of the far right wing blogs flagellating in cyberspace these days.

Not when there’s a whole battalion of their readers ready to accuse our news organization of a deep-seeded conspiracy for failing to repeat the rants of a few misinformed idiots.

The latest of these dispatches arrived over the weekend, when a number of viewers demanded to know why we, as “the media,” weren’t reporting that the Los Zetas drug cartel had taken over two ranches in the Laredo, Texas area.

The reports, which arrived all the way from Pennsylvania (which is very close to Laredo) quoted sources within the Laredo police department who “confirmed” this was an “act of war.”

Google this, and you’ll find a number of corroborating reports which manage to say the EXACT same thing, as if they’re all repeating…the exact same thing. Amazingly, none of these “reporters” appears to have actually picked up the phone and called the Laredo police department to verify the story.

And none of the viewers who e-mailed the station did either.

My point is, the reason we didn’t report the story is… IT ISN’T TRUE. In fact when the Laredo Morning Times published its own story Saturday discounting the rumors of a drug cartel takeover and subsequent standoff, reporter Nick DiGeorgiu called around to police and the Webb County Sheriff’s office, and got a general shoulder-shrugging about it, although officials said the phone had been ringing off the hook from various minuteman groups.

Simply put… not confirmed…. Not true.

Another reporter who lives in the area actually drove up and down the road where drug cartels had supposedly taken over the ranches. That reporter noted zero police presence in the area at the time… when supposedly a standoff was happening.

The point is, these rumors circulate and bubble up from the ether on almost a daily basis now. They are published with a mouse-click, and shared and duplicated with three more mouse clicks. They feed into the paranoia that already exists among extremists who believe “the media” is really an arm of a presidential administration promoting the Obama “socialist agenda.”–the-%22conspiracy%22-revealed


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Act of War in Texas? Or is it a Hoax?

There has still been no coverage in the mainstream media about drug cartels seizing at least two American ranches in Texas.
Seems like this kind of thing would be more newsworthy than, say, Lindsay Lohan’s latest rehab mishap. But I’m sure the good folks at CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC know what they’re doing.

“In what could be deemed an act of war against the sovereign borders of the United States, Mexican drug cartels have seized control of at least two American ranches inside the U.S. territory near Laredo, Texas.

“We consider this an act of war,” said one police officer on the ground near the scene. There is a news blackout of this incident at this time and the sources inside Laredo PD spoke on the condition of anonymity.”

Word broke late last night that Laredo police have requested help from the federal government regarding the incursion by the Los Zetas. It appears that the ranch owners have escaped without incident but their ranches remain in the hands of the blood thirsty cartels.

The hostile takeover of the ranches has met with silence with local and national media.”

“As a native Texan who resided in South Texas and a former rancher, I find it interesting several internet bloggers have branded this story as a hoax because 1) The bloggers talked to the Laredo Police Department and the Webb County Sheriff’s Office who couldn’t confirm the story but didn’t deny it, 2) The bloggers cited the local media story who reported the local authorities couldn’t confirm the story with none of the authorities denying it, and, 3) The FBI, who gave a statement they won’t comment on rumors.

Armed with the “facts” the story was pronounced a hoax. A story originally reported by the site Digger’s Realm on July 24th at 4:11 AM. reported on the story on July 24th at 11:18 AM. The conclusions the story is hoax, based on a local media report and phone calls to the local authorities, were made within less than 24 hours after the story originally broke.

We believe there’s the possibility members of the Los Zetas gang, in the midst of a violent war with the Mexican military in Nuevo Laredo, hightailed it across the border seeking out a hideout on the ranches. Ranches purportedly located near Laredo in Webb County, TX, an area of 3,376 square arid miles of mesquite trees and prickly pear cactus. The Los Zetas gang members discovered by the ranchers who contacted the local authorities.

The local authorities, armed with the knowledge Las Zetas gang members are known to be extremely dangerous, potentially armed with assault weapons, grenades, and shoulder to arm rocket launchers, contacting the federal authorities for help. The possibility the federal government ordered the operation to be kept secret. Which isn’t so far-fetched when you compare this story to an earlier incident which occurred “sometime in May”, when the story was finally reported, and who reported it.

I find it fairly amusing bloggers are willing to declare this story a hoax. Amusing in that, 1) The very same local media failed report the incident which occurred in May. A story which involved Homeland Security, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, a nearby Sheriff’s Department, and the Mexican military. A story which wasn’t reported until weeks after the incident occurred.

A story which involved a Los Zetas plot to blow up the 5-mile long Lake Falcon Dam. Homeland Security issuing a warning, U.S Customs and Border Agents, local enforcement officers at the dam. The discovery of explosives, a plan, and Los Zetas gang members handing out handbills and using blowhorns warning Mexican citizens on the other side of the border to “get out”. The potential disaster of billions of water flooding an area inhabited by 4 million people on both sides of the border with the local news media, failing to file a report.

Laredo, TX, located 73 miles from the Falcon Dam, the nearest “local” media. The news source who reported the story, the Houston Chronicle who reported the Los Zetas Falcon Dam Plot incident on June 2nd. According to the Chronicle, the incident occurred “sometime in May”.

Also reported by certain bloggers, the assertion the hoax is an attempt to promote racial hatred against illegal immigrants which isn’t amusing, and shows a total lack of comprehension of the ethnicity of South Texas and Texas ranchers. Neither or Digger’s Realm reported “white” ranchers were involved, or, illegal immigrants.”

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Zetas Murder 12 in Matamoros

“The tortured and bullet riddled bodies of twelve organized crime execution victims were found abandoned on Monday at 10:30 AM on the outskirts of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, in the area known as Las Yescas.

The bodies were located 1 kilometer away from, and within site, of a manned federal customs permanent checkpoint.”

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“El Chachis”: high-level member of the Los Zetas drug cartel captured

Esteban Luna

“A high-level member of the Los Zetas drug cartel was captured by army troops, the Mexican Defense Secretariat said.

Esteban Luna was the cartel’s boss in Monterrey, the capital of the northern state of Nuevo Leon, and was behind several attacks on army troops and a U.S. consulate, the secretariat said.”

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