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Los Zetas, a Cartel of Former Military Personnel, Suspected of Killing Migrants

By Dialogo
April 14, 2011

Just like the rose bush produces roses, the army produces these degenerate paramilitary groups and how weird is that the USA continues selling them arms and pretending like nothing is happening. In this game those with power win and the powerless people always lose!
Los Zetas, whose tentacles extend from the southern United States to Central America, are a group created by Mexican military personnel who deserted to join the Gulf cartel, with which they are now in confrontation, and in order to finance this dispute, they resort to kidnapping migrants and to other crimes.

Their territorial base is in northeastern Mexico, where they are believed to have kidnapped several buses and murdered at least 116 people whose bodies were found this month in San Fernando, a town in the state of Tamaulipas, according to statements by the attorney-general, Marisela Morales, on Tuesday.

Heriberto Lazcano (alias ‘El Lazca’) is considered the organization’s highest-ranking leader by the Mexican government, which has put a price on his head of more than two million dollars.

Los Zetas usually wear black and use military ranks (“commanders,” “veterans,” “falcons,” and “cobras”), and they use “high-powered weapons and cutting-edge technology that they deploy in order to organize ransom operations and large-scale attacks,” a Mexican government document indicates.

The Gulf cartel continues to handle the majority of cocaine trafficking, while Los Zetas, according to Guadalupe Cabrera, a professor of government at the University of Texas at Brownsville, have begun to expand into other crimes as well, such as kidnapping, extortion from retailers, and stealing fuel.

According to Raúl Benítez, a researcher on security issues at the Autonomous University of Mexico, “they kidnap migrants in order to ask their relatives in the United States for ransom, or in the case of the poorest ones, in order to use them as ‘mules’ (porters) to bring cocaine” into the United States.

In August, Los Zetas were alleged to be responsible for the massacre at a rural property in San Fernando of seventy-two migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, and Brazil, who had been on their way to the United States.

In February 2010, a Texas court found several firms guilty of buying gasoline stolen by Los Zetas in Mexico.

In June, Nicaragua seized a weapons stockpile from alleged members of the gang near Managua, and in the same month, Venezuela announced the detention of Luis Tello, a Colombian, whom it identified as a liaison for Los Zetas.

In December, the Guatemalan government declared a state of emergency along the Mexican border for several weeks, in order to combat Los Zetas camps, and detained eighteen people.

The gang was initially made up of around forty members of the Mexican Army’s special forces, recruited by then-first lieutenant Arturo Guzmán (alias Z-1, for his military code) to provide security for Gulf cartel boss Osiel Cárdenas.

Cárdenas was arrested in 2003, extradited to the United States in 2007, and sentenced last year to twenty-five years in prison.

Since then, Los Zetas have entered into a fratricidal dispute over control of the Gulf cartel that according to Mexico’s National Security Council had left 1,600 dead as of December.