Los Zetas

Los Zetas

Overview
Los Zetas is the second most powerful drug cartel
Drug cartel
Drug cartels are criminal organizations developed with the primary purpose of promoting and controlling drug trafficking operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various drug traffickers to formalized commercial enterprises. The term was applied when the largest trafficking...

 in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and considered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as the most violent drug cartel
Drug cartel
Drug cartels are criminal organizations developed with the primary purpose of promoting and controlling drug trafficking operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various drug traffickers to formalized commercial enterprises. The term was applied when the largest trafficking...

 and paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 enforcement group in Mexico. Los Zetas is a criminal organization dedicated mostly to international illegal drug trade
Illegal drug trade
The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

, assassinations, extortion
Extortion
Extortion is a criminal offence which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime...

, kidnapping
Kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

 and other organized crime activities. This drug cartel, now led by Heriberto Lazcano, was founded by a group of over 30 former Mexican Army Special Forces
Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales
The Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales or more commonly known as Fuerzas Especiales/Special Forces is a special forces unit of the Mexican Army's Special Forces Corps, trained by the world's special forces. There are a total of nine battalions, one High Command GAFE unit and one other group...

 deserters, and includes corrupt former federal, state, and local police officers, as well as ex-Kaibiles
Kaibiles
The Kaibiles are a special operations force of the Military of Guatemala. They specialize in jungle warfare tactics and counter-insurgency operations....

 from Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

.

Los Zetas started as the military wing and private mercenary
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

 army of the Gulf Cartel
Gulf Cartel
The Gulf Cartel is one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico, and perhaps the oldest organized crime group in the country...

, but after the arrest of the Gulf Cartel's leader, Osiel Cárdenas Guillen, the two entities became a combined trafficking force, with the Zetas taking a more active leadership role in drug trafficking.
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Encyclopedia
Los Zetas is the second most powerful drug cartel
Drug cartel
Drug cartels are criminal organizations developed with the primary purpose of promoting and controlling drug trafficking operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various drug traffickers to formalized commercial enterprises. The term was applied when the largest trafficking...

 in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and considered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as the most violent drug cartel
Drug cartel
Drug cartels are criminal organizations developed with the primary purpose of promoting and controlling drug trafficking operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various drug traffickers to formalized commercial enterprises. The term was applied when the largest trafficking...

 and paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 enforcement group in Mexico. Los Zetas is a criminal organization dedicated mostly to international illegal drug trade
Illegal drug trade
The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

, assassinations, extortion
Extortion
Extortion is a criminal offence which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime...

, kidnapping
Kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

 and other organized crime activities. This drug cartel, now led by Heriberto Lazcano, was founded by a group of over 30 former Mexican Army Special Forces
Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales
The Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales or more commonly known as Fuerzas Especiales/Special Forces is a special forces unit of the Mexican Army's Special Forces Corps, trained by the world's special forces. There are a total of nine battalions, one High Command GAFE unit and one other group...

 deserters, and includes corrupt former federal, state, and local police officers, as well as ex-Kaibiles
Kaibiles
The Kaibiles are a special operations force of the Military of Guatemala. They specialize in jungle warfare tactics and counter-insurgency operations....

 from Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

.

Los Zetas started as the military wing and private mercenary
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

 army of the Gulf Cartel
Gulf Cartel
The Gulf Cartel is one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico, and perhaps the oldest organized crime group in the country...

, but after the arrest of the Gulf Cartel's leader, Osiel Cárdenas Guillen, the two entities became a combined trafficking force, with the Zetas taking a more active leadership role in drug trafficking. In 2010, however, Los Zetas began to operate independently from the Gulf Cartel structure. The rupture of Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel has led to a bloody turf war, predominantly in the states of Nuevo Leon
Nuevo León
Nuevo León It is located in Northeastern Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Tamaulipas to the north and east, San Luis Potosí to the south, and Coahuila to the west. To the north, Nuevo León has a 15 kilometer stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border adjacent to the U.S...

 and Tamaulipas
Tamaulipas
Tamaulipas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Tamaulipas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 43 municipalities and its capital city is Ciudad Victoria. The capital city was named after Guadalupe Victoria, the...

.

They have also carried out multiple massacres and terrorist attacks on civilians, such as the 2011 Monterrey casino attack
2011 Monterrey casino attack
The 2011 Monterrey casino attack was a narcoterrorist attack that took place in city of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, in the country of Mexico, on August 25, 2011. Government sources revealed that 52 people were killed, but local reviews mention that 61 bodies were eventually found after a few days...

, where 52 people were killed, the 2010 Tamaulipas massacre, where 72 migrants were found dead, the 2011 Tamaulipas massacre
2011 Tamaulipas massacre
The 2011 Tamaulipas massacre was the mass murder of at least 193 people discovered in mass graves on April 6, 2011. These people were kidnapped from passenger buses. Although not confirmed, some newspapers mention that the body count surpassed 500, but that the state government of Tamaulipas...

, where 193 people were killed, the massacre of 27 farmers in Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, and the 2008 Morelia grenade attacks
2008 Morelia grenade attacks
The 2008 Morelia grenade attacks took place on 15 September 2008 on the occasion of the Mexican Independence Day anniversary when thousands of people were gathered in the Plaza Melchor Ocampo, the main square of the Mexican city of Morelia, Michoacán...

, where 8 were killed and over 100 were injured. In addition, sources reveal that Los Zetas may also be responsible for the death of 249 people at the 2011 Durango massacres
2011 Durango massacres
The 2011 Durango massacres were a series of mass murders that occurred in 2011. At least 249 bodies have been found in mass graves around the city of Durango. These mass graves are the first of their kind in the state of Durango and third of their kind in Mexico...

 and for the 2010 Puebla oil pipeline explosion
2010 Puebla oil pipeline explosion
The 2010 Puebla oil pipeline explosion was a large oil pipeline explosion that occurred at 5:50 am CST on December 19, 2010, in the city of San Martín Texmelucan de Labastida, Puebla, Mexico. The pipeline, running from Tabasco to Hidalgo, was owned by the Pemex petroleum company, and exploded after...

, which killed 28 people, injured 52, and damaged over 115 homes.

Etymology


The group's name Los Zetas is given after its first leader, Lieutenant Arturo Guzmán Decena
Arturo Guzmán Decena
Arturo Guzmán Decena, a.k.a.: Z-1 was a Mexican Army soldier who defected to become a mercenary and commander of the mercenary gang called Los Zetas at the service of Osiel Cárdenas Guillen, the Gulf Cartel's drug lord...

, whose Federal Judicial Police
Federal Judicial Police
The Federal Judicial Police was the former federal police force of Mexico.The jurisdiction of the Federal Judicial Police encompasses the entire nation and was divided into thirteen zones with fifty-two smaller detachment headquarters...

 radio code
Radio code
Radio codes include:*ICAO spelling alphabet*Ten-code*Procedure word*Voice procedure*Q code*Morse codeAlso see encoding generally....

 was "Z1", a code given to high-ranking officers. The radio code for Commanding Federal Judicial Police Officers in México was "Y" and are nicknamed Yankees, for Federal Judicial Police in charge of a city the radio code was "Z," and thus they were nicknamed as the letter in Spanish, "Zetas."

History


In the late 1990s, the Gulf Cartel
Gulf Cartel
The Gulf Cartel is one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico, and perhaps the oldest organized crime group in the country...

 leader, Osiel Cárdenas Guillen, wanted to track down and kill rival cartel members as a form of protection. He began to recruit former Mexican Army’s
Mexican Army
The Mexican Army is the combined land and air branch and largest of the Mexican Military services; it also is known as the National Defense Army. It is famous for having been the first army to adopt and use an automatic rifle, , in 1899, and the first to issue automatic weapons as standard issue...

 elite Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales
Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales
The Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales or more commonly known as Fuerzas Especiales/Special Forces is a special forces unit of the Mexican Army's Special Forces Corps, trained by the world's special forces. There are a total of nine battalions, one High Command GAFE unit and one other group...

 (GAFE) soldiers. Some of the initial members of the group received specialized military training in counter-insurgency
Counter-insurgency
A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

 and locating and apprehending drug cartel
Drug cartel
Drug cartels are criminal organizations developed with the primary purpose of promoting and controlling drug trafficking operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various drug traffickers to formalized commercial enterprises. The term was applied when the largest trafficking...

 members in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 at Fort Benning
Fort Benning
Fort Benning is a United States Army post located southeast of the city of Columbus in Muscogee and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama...

, Georgia in the early 1990s while still members of the Mexican military.

Cardenas Guillen's top recruit, lieutenant Arturo Guzmán Decena
Arturo Guzmán Decena
Arturo Guzmán Decena, a.k.a.: Z-1 was a Mexican Army soldier who defected to become a mercenary and commander of the mercenary gang called Los Zetas at the service of Osiel Cárdenas Guillen, the Gulf Cartel's drug lord...

, brought with him approximately 30 other GAFE deserters enticed by salaries substantially higher than those paid by the Mexican government. The role of Los Zetas was soon expanded, collecting debts, securing cocaine
Cocaine
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

 supply and trafficking routes known as plazas (zones) and executing its foes, often with grotesque savagery.

Guzmán Decena (Z1) was killed by a rival cartel member on November 2002 in a restaurant, while he was dining, so Heriberto Lazcano (Z3) ascended to the leadership of the paramilitaries.

In response to such aggressive efforts on the part of the Zetas to defend and control its smuggling corridors to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the rival Sinaloa Cartel
Sinaloa Cartel
The Sinaloa Cartel is the most powerful drug cartel in Mexico and considered by the United States Intelligence Community as "the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world." The Sinaloa Cartel is based in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, but also operates in the Mexican states of Baja...

 established its own heavily armed enforcer gang, Los Negros
Los Negros
Los Negros was a criminal organization that was once the armed wing of the Sinaloa Cartel and after a switch of alliances, became the armed wing of the Beltrán Leyva Cartel. On 2010 it went independent and had been contesting the control of the Beltrán Leyva Cartel. It was then the criminal...

. The group operated in a similar fashion to the Zetas, but with less complexity.

Upon the arrest of Gulf Cartel boss Osiel Cardenas Guillen in 2003, Los Zetas negotiated a collaboration pact with the Gulf Cartel and the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel
Beltrán-Leyva Cartel
The Beltrán-Leyva Cartel was a Mexican drug cartel and organized crime syndicate founded by the four Beltrán Leyva brothers: Marcos Arturo, Carlos, Alfredo and Héctor....

 to engage in their own drug shipments.

In February 2010, Los Zetas (and its ally, the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel) engaged in a violent turf war against its former employer/partner, the Gulf Cartel, in the border city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, turning some border towns to "ghost towns". It was reported that a Gulf Cartel member killed a top Zeta lieutenant named Victor Mendoza. The Zetas demanded that the Gulf cartel turn over the killer. However the Gulf Cartel refused and an all-out war has broken out between the two criminal organizations.

Current alliances


Since February 2010, the major cartels have aligned in two factions, one integrated by the Juárez Cartel
Juárez Cartel
The Juárez Cartel , also known as the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization, is a Mexican drug cartel based in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Texas...

, Tijuana Cartel
Tijuana Cartel
The Tijuana Cartel is a Mexican drug cartel based in Tijuana. The cartel has been described as "one of the biggest and most violent criminal groups in Mexico"...

, Los Zetas and the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel‎‎; the other faction integrated by the Gulf Cartel
Gulf Cartel
The Gulf Cartel is one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico, and perhaps the oldest organized crime group in the country...

, Sinaloa Cartel
Sinaloa Cartel
The Sinaloa Cartel is the most powerful drug cartel in Mexico and considered by the United States Intelligence Community as "the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world." The Sinaloa Cartel is based in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, but also operates in the Mexican states of Baja...

  and La Familia Cartel.

Organization structure


Los Zetas have set up camps to train recruits as well as corrupt ex-federal, state, and local police officers. In September 2005 testimony to the Mexican Congress, then-Defense Secretary Clemente Vega indicated that the Zetas had also hired at least 30 former Kaibiles from Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 to train new recruits because the number of former Mexican special forces men in their ranks had shrunk. Los Zetas' training locations have been identified as containing the same items and setup as GAFE training facilities.

Los Zetas are primarily based in the border region of Nuevo Laredo
Nuevo Laredo
Nuevo Laredo is a city located in the Municipality of Nuevo Laredo in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The city lies on the banks of the Río Grande, across from the United States city of Laredo, Texas. The 2010 census population of the city was 373,725. Nuevo Laredo is part of the Laredo-Nuevo...

, with hundreds more throughout the country. In Nuevo Laredo it is believed they have carved the city into territories, placing lookouts at arrival destinations such as airports, bus station
Bus station
A bus station is a structure where city or intercity buses stop to pick up and drop off passengers. It is larger than a bus stop, which is usually simply a place on the roadside, where buses can stop...

s and main roads. In addition to conducting activities along the border, they are visible throughout the Gulf Coast region, in the Southern states of Tabasco
Tabasco
Tabasco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Tabasco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 17 municipalities and its capital city is Villahermosa....

, Yucatan
Yucatán
Yucatán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities and its capital city is Mérida....

, Quintana Roo
Quintana Roo
Quintana Roo officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Quintana Roo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 10 municipalities and its capital city is Chetumal....

, and Chiapas
Chiapas
Chiapas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas is one of the 31 states that, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 118 municipalities and its capital city is Tuxtla Gutierrez. Other important cites in Chiapas include San Cristóbal de las...

, and in the Pacific Coast states of Guerrero
Guerrero
Guerrero officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guerrero is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 81 municipalities and its capital city is Chilpancingo....

, Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca , , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 571 municipalities; of which 418 are governed by the system of customs and traditions...

, and Michoacán
Michoacán
Michoacán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia...

, as well as in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

. Evidence also indicates that they may be active in Texas, other U.S. states and in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 with the 'Ndrangheta.

Some of the original members are: Arturo Guzmán Decena
Arturo Guzmán Decena
Arturo Guzmán Decena, a.k.a.: Z-1 was a Mexican Army soldier who defected to become a mercenary and commander of the mercenary gang called Los Zetas at the service of Osiel Cárdenas Guillen, the Gulf Cartel's drug lord...

 (Z-1), Jesús Enrique Rejón Aguilar
Jesús Enrique Rejón Aguilar
Jesús Enrique Rejón Aguilar was born on June 9, 1976 in Sabancuy, Campeche, Mexico He is a lieutenant of the Mexican criminal organization known as Los Zetas...

 (Z-7 or El Mamito), Heriberto Lazcano (Z-3), Carlos Vera Calva (El Vera), Galdindo Mellado Cruz (Z-9), Flavio Méndez Santiago (El Amarillo or Z-10), Jaime González Durán
Jaime González Durán
Jaime González Durán is a Mexican drug trafficker who is one of the 31 original founding members, and he ranked third in the chain of command of the criminal organization known as Los Zetas. A former Mexican Army elite soldier of the Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales , he was trained in...

 (El Hummer), Rogelio González Pizaña (El Kelín or Z-2), Efraín Teodoro Torres (El Efra,La Chispa or Z-14), Raúl Hernandez Barrón (El Flander), Víctor Nazario Castrejón Peña, Gustavo González Castro (El Erótico), Óscar Guerrero Silva (El Winnie Pooh), Alberto Trejo Benavides (El Alvin), Luís Alberto Guerrero Reyes (El Guerrero), Mateo Díaz López (Comandante Mateo), Daniel Peréz Rojas (El Cachetes), Luis Reyes Enríquez (El Rex), Nabor Vargas García (El Débora), Isidro Lara Flores (El Colchón), Alfonso Lechuga Licona (El Cañas), Ernesto Zatarín Beliz (El Traca), Prisciliano Ibarra Yepis, Rogelio Guerra Ramírez (El Guerra), Miguel Ángel Soto Parra (El Parra), Galdino Mellado Cruz (El Mellado), Gonzalo Geresano Escribano (El Cuije), Daniel Enrique Márquez Aguilar (El Chocotorro), Iván Velázquez Caballero (El Taliban, Z-50), Lucio Hernández Lechuga (El Lucky), Enrique Ruiz Tlapanco (El Tlapa), Braulio Arellano Domínguez (El Gonzo), Jorge López (El Chuta), José Ramón Dávila (El Cholo), Eduardo Estrada González, Omar Lormendez Pitalúa (El Pita), Eduardo Salvador López Lara (El Chavita) and Germán Torres Jiménez (El Tatanka).

Over time, many of the original 31 have been killed or arrested, and a number of younger men have filled the vacuum, forming something that resembles what Los Zetas used to be, but still far from the efficiency of the original Zetas.

Law enforcement raids


Following a joint investigation, titled Operation Black Jack, by the ATF
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a federal law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice...

, DEA
Drug Enforcement Administration
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States...

, ICE
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Homeland Security , responsible for identifying, investigating, and dismantling vulnerabilities regarding the nation's border, economic, transportation, and infrastructure security...

 and the United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Department of Homeland Security
The United States Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the United States federal government, created in response to the September 11 attacks, and with the primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the United States and protectorates from and responding to...

 (DHS) through the FBI, two Zeta safe house
Safe house
In the jargon of law enforcement and intelligence agencies, a safe house is a secure location, suitable for hiding witnesses, agents or other persons perceived as being in danger...

s were identified and raided, recovering more than 40 kidnapped individuals.

On October 26, 2008, the Washington Times reported of an FBI warning that Los Zetas' cell in Texas were to engage law enforcement with a full tactical response should law enforcement attempt to intervene in their operations; their cell leader was identified as Jaime González Durán
Jaime González Durán
Jaime González Durán is a Mexican drug trafficker who is one of the 31 original founding members, and he ranked third in the chain of command of the criminal organization known as Los Zetas. A former Mexican Army elite soldier of the Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales , he was trained in...

 (The Hummer), who was later arrested on November 7, 2008, in the border city Reynosa, Tamaulipas. In this operation, three safehouses in Reynosa were raided by elements of the Mexican Federal Police and Mexican Army, yielding the largest weapon seizure in the history of Mexico; it included 540 rifles including 288 assault rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

s and several .50-caliber rifles, 287 hand grenade
Hand grenade
A hand grenade is any small bomb that can be thrown by hand. Hand grenades are classified into three categories, explosive grenades, chemical and gas grenades. Explosive grenades are the most commonly used in modern warfare, and are designed to detonate after impact or after a set amount of time...

s, 2 M72 LAW
M72 LAW
The M72 LAW is a portable one-shot 66 mm unguided anti-tank weapon, designed in the United States by Paul V. Choate, Charles B. Weeks, and Frank A. Spinale et al...

 anti-tank weapons, 500,000 rounds of ammunition, 67 ballistic vests and 14 sticks of dynamite
Dynamite
Dynamite is an explosive material based on nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth , or another absorbent substance such as powdered shells, clay, sawdust, or wood pulp. Dynamites using organic materials such as sawdust are less stable and such use has been generally discontinued...

.

In February 2009, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced a program called "Operation Border Star Contingency Plan" to safeguard the border if Zetas carry out their threats to attack U.S. safety officers. This project includes the use of tanks, airplanes and the National Guard "as a preventive measure upon the possible collapse of the Mexican State" to protect the border from the attack of the Zetas and receive an eventual exodus of Mexicans fleeing from the violence.

Anonymous


On October 6, 2011, an online self-alleged hacktivist and Anonymous
Anonymous (group)
Anonymous is an international hacking group, spread through the Internet, initiating active civil disobedience, while attempting to maintain anonymity. Originating in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, the term refers to the concept of many online community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic,...

 member, under the username of Barrett_Brown, released a video stating that Los Zetas had kidnapped one of their group's members, and threatened that unless the hostage was freed, the hacker—allegedly under the name of the whole Anonymous organization—would expose valuable and personal information about members of Los Zetas, including corrupt taxi drivers, police officers, politicians, newspapers and journalists who are affiliated with them, as well as syndicate business locations. This project, known as Operation Cartel or #OpCartel, might lead to actions by rival drug cartels or prosecution by the Mexican authorities. According to the video, the masked Anonymous member said:

Nevertheless, there has subsequently been conflicting reports of whether the operation is truly backed by Anonymous as a whole, but Anonymous Mexico released the following statement via their Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

 page:

On another note, the intelligence company known as Stratfor
Stratfor
Strategic Forecasting, Inc., more commonly known as STRATFOR, is a global intelligence company founded in 1996 in Austin, Texas by George Friedman who is the founder, chief intelligence officer, and CEO of the company...

 mentioned that if Anonymous sticks to its promise and actually publishes the names of those involved, it will "most certainly" lead to more deaths and could leave bloggers and others open to reprisal attacks by the cartel. Mike Vigil, the retired head of the Drug Enforcement Administration
Drug Enforcement Administration
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States...

, mentioned that "Los Zetas should take Anonymous seriously." Moreover, Stratfor
Stratfor
Strategic Forecasting, Inc., more commonly known as STRATFOR, is a global intelligence company founded in 1996 in Austin, Texas by George Friedman who is the founder, chief intelligence officer, and CEO of the company...

 mentioned that Los Zetas also has experts in computer intelligence who are believed to track down the "anti-cartel" campaigns online, which has made experts understand the high rate of journalist executions. In addition, they mentioned that the Mexican drug cartels generally have people monitor forums, news websites, and blogs to help them be in touch with what is being published and with what could affect their interests. The New York Times mentioned that Los Zetas has access to sophisticated tracking software due to the fact that they have infiltrated Mexican law enforcement agencies, and that online anonymity might not be enough protection for internet users.

Anonymous claims that during a recent chat on their official blog, the Mexican intelligence agency known as CISEN
Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional
Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional is a Mexican intelligence agency controlled by the Office of Coordination of the Presidency. CISEN was established in 1989 after its predecessors ceased to operate...

 used the username "Ibero_943" to persuade them to extract information from the Mexican drug cartels. From the beginning, the ping velocity and the hostmask appeared suspicious, and the Anonymous group decided to investigate the IP address of the user; after concluding their track down, the username allegedly came from CISEN
Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional
Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional is a Mexican intelligence agency controlled by the Office of Coordination of the Presidency. CISEN was established in 1989 after its predecessors ceased to operate...

's official webpage. However, on November 9th via Twitter
Twitter
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as "tweets".Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July...

, the whole Anonymous
Anonymous (group)
Anonymous is an international hacking group, spread through the Internet, initiating active civil disobedience, while attempting to maintain anonymity. Originating in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, the term refers to the concept of many online community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic,...

 organization claimed that they had nothing to do with Barrett Brown's threats to Los Zetas, but Barret Brown claimed through a video on Youtube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

 that he will still continue the attack against Los Zetas on his own. A person with knowledge of the operations, who decided not to be named for the fear of reprisals, claimed that "a list of 100 or so of the major contacts of the Zetas" have been brought to light by Anonymous
Anonymous (group)
Anonymous is an international hacking group, spread through the Internet, initiating active civil disobedience, while attempting to maintain anonymity. Originating in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, the term refers to the concept of many online community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic,...

.

See also


  • Illegal drug trade
    Illegal drug trade
    The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

  • Kaibiles
    Kaibiles
    The Kaibiles are a special operations force of the Military of Guatemala. They specialize in jungle warfare tactics and counter-insurgency operations....

  • Mérida Initiative
    Mérida Initiative
    The Mérida Initiative is a security cooperation agreement between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America, with the declared aim of combating the threats of drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and money laundering...

  • Mexican Drug War
    Mexican Drug War
    The Mexican Drug War is an ongoing armed conflict taking place among rival drug cartels who fight each other for regional control, and Mexican government forces who seek to combat drug trafficking. However, the government's principal goal has been to put down the drug-related violence that was...

  • War on drugs
    War on Drugs
    The War on Drugs is a campaign of prohibition and foreign military aid and military intervention being undertaken by the United States government, with the assistance of participating countries, intended to both define and reduce the illegal drug trade...


External links