Mexican Soldiers Arrest Man Alleged to Be Responsible for Killings in Tamaulipas
By Dialogo April 21, 2011
On 16 April, Mexican military personnel detained a leader of the Los Zetas
cartel accused of being the alleged instigator of the murders of 145 people whose
bodies were dug up this month in the town of San Fernando (Tamaulipas, in
northeastern Mexico), the Secretariat of the Navy announced.
“Martín Omar Estrada Luna, alias ‘El Kilo’ [‘The Kilo’], an alleged leader of
Los Zetas in the San Fernando trafficking territory, was taken into custody,” the
secretariat said in a statement.
The detainee is “alleged to be linked to the recent discovery of clandestine
graves with corpses” in San Fernando, according to the text.
Previously, Navy Secretary Mariano Saynez affirmed on his Twitter account
that ‘El Kilo’ is the “alleged instigator and principal in the San Fernando
In the statement, he was also described as “alleged to be responsible for the
deaths of the seventy-two migrants whose bodies were found in the same municipality
in August,” a massacre that has also been attributed to Los Zetas.
The federal public prosecutor’s office had been offering a reward of 1.3
million dollars for information leading to the suspect’s detention.
Five other individuals were detained in Saturday’s military operation,
bringing to thirty-nine the number of those alleged to be involved in the multiple
homicides who are now being held by the authorities, including sixteen San Fernando
municipal police officers.
A series of reports of bus hijackings in the area alerted the authorities,
who since 1 April have found a score of clandestine graves in San Fernando, a
municipality of around six thousand square kilometers, located 160 km from Mexico’s
border with the United States.
In the excavations, 145 bodies have been found, and some of them are
suspected to belong to Mexican and foreign migrants who were on their way to the
At present, only one foreign victim has been identified, a Guatemalan, but
many more Central Americans, and even three Americans, have been reported missing in
Now in conflict with their former bosses from the Gulf cartel in Tamaulipas
and other regions, Los Zetas have seen their income from drug trafficking decline
and are turning to other crimes, such as the kidnapping of migrants, in order to
finance their operations.
Los Zetas are led by former elite military personnel who
The government blames the Mexican cartels for the majority of the more than
34,600 murders committed as of the end of 2010 in the context of the military
anti-drug offensive launched in December 2006.