Local Leader of Los Zetas Accused of Massacre in Northern Mexico Is Arrested

By Dialogo
May 22, 2012

The Mexican Army has arrested an alleged leader of a cell of the Los Zetas cartel, suspected of being “one of the individuals allegedly responsible” for the massacre of 49 people last week in northern Mexico, the Defense Ministry announced on May 20.

The Ministry announced in a statement that Daniel Elizondo, nicknamed “El Loco” [The Crazy One], the leader of Los Zetas in the Cadedereyta ‘plaza’ (area of cartel operations), in the state of Nuevo León (in northern Mexico), “was arrested as the result of a precision operation” on May 18.

Elizondo is allegedly “one of the chief individuals responsible for the execution of 49 people whose bodies were abandoned” on May 13, according to the statement by the Defense Ministry.

This alleged leader of Los Zetas was arrested in operation “Rastrillo” (Rake), carried out by the Army in the Cadereyta area and nearby following the discovery of the 49 corpses from which the heads, feet, and hands had been cut off, one of the bloodiest massacres attributed to drug traffickers in Mexico.

The authorities have pointed to Los Zetas, a criminal organization created by former military personnel in the mid-1990s, as probably responsible for the massacre.

In the last few days, however, banners supposedly from Los Zetas have appeared with messages in which they deny responsibility and accuse their former allies in the Gulf Cartel.

The state of Nuevo León and its neighbor Tamaulipas have been jolted by a wave of violence since 2010, attributed by the authorities to the break between the Gulf Cartel and its former armed wing, Los Zetas.

More than 50,000 people have died since December 2006 as a consequence of clashes between drug cartels and a military offensive, including an undetermined number of citizens without ties to organized crime.