There is a popular consensus that Los Zetas is the most brutal and inhuman drug cartel in history. Although drug-related violence had existed long before the start of the Mexican Drug War, it often happened in low-profile levels, with the government "looking the other way" in exchange for bribes while drug traffickers went about their business —as long as there was no violence.
Military personnel from the 16th Regiment conducting routine patrols came under attack during an ambush by members of Los Zetas, also known as Cartel Del Noreste (CDN). In 2000, after the presidential election, the ruling party PRI lost power to the National Action Party (PAN), and all the "agreements" between the previous government and the cartels were lost, along with the pax mafiosa.
A credible threat of retaliation allowed them to demand protection money from criminal enterprises and legitimate businesses alike.
In particular, her investigation of the relationship between resource extraction and Mexican criminal organizations is fascinating, and has implications for decades to come. 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.
Soon, the violence between these two cartels spread to Tamaulipas' neighboring states of Nuevo León and Veracruz. PRI's main opposition party, the PAN, claimed that government elections in Tamaulipas are likely to encounter an "organized crime influence.". Since 2011, there have been numerous scandals exposing the collusion between politicians and drug cartels.
But the Zetas are no longer the reason.
Del Bosque details how Herrera’s political team helped support the Zetas’ kidnapping racket, including one victim who provided millions in cash to support their horse investments. The cell leader was identified as Jaime González Durán (El Hummer), who was later arrested on 7 November 2008, in the border city Reynosa, Tamaulipas. This was coupled with an unprecedented emphasis on firepower.
This radio communication technology has given them a edge over Mexican law enforcement agencies for years. Coupled with the list of atrocities, this territorial spread gave the Zetas the image of an unstoppable juggernaut. In 2012 the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Los Zetas as one of four key transnational organized crime groups, along with the Brothers' Circle from Russia, the Yamaguchi-gumi (Yakuza) from Japan, and the Camorra from Italy.
To set the records straight, Los Zetas was formed by Mexican ex-military men. Countries’ militaries are dedicated to defense from external aggression and the protection of people’s lives and properties.
Drug cartels influencing politics paints a picture of total disaster. By the beginning of 2012, Mexico's government escalated its offensive against the Zetas with the announcement that five new military bases will be installed in the group's primary areas of operation.
The active role of Treviño Morales gained him the loyalty and respect of many in Los Zetas, and eventually many stopped paying Lazcano. These three salient aspects of the Zetas operations — the wholesale capture of state governments, the unprecedented business diversification and the appetite for spectacular violence — worked in concert. Rogue policemen are believed to have played a role in the deaths of 193 people, whose bodies were found in hidden graves in San Fernando in 2011, and 49 in Cadereyta in the state of Nuevo Leon in 2012. At this juncture, it is safe and reasonable to conclude that Los Zetas is one of the biggest headaches of the American people. Put simply, the Zetas were different most obviously because they were more bloodthirsty than their peers. But as the author details, the energy-sector opportunities that the Zetas have exploited are also open to other criminal groups, and her book leaves the impression that others will likely follow their example. They kidnapped and harassed employees of Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil behemoth, as well as other energy companies, thereby slowing production while demanding a portion of the profits for themselves. The Zetas’ emergence also offered a hint of the challenge for the Mexican state. The group was originally made up of 34 Mexican Special Forces soldiers. Rival gang MS-13 may have the most terrifying tattoos (see featured image), but Los Zetas wins the prize for violence.
Consequently, Los Zetas allied with The Juarez Cartel, The Beltrán-Leyva Cartel, and The Tijuana Cartel.
Several witnesses claimed that many of the municipalities throughout Tamaulipas were "war zones," and that many businesses and houses were burned down, leaving areas in "total destruction." This makes it a more challenging read, though it is certainly worth the effort.
If the lawmakers are puppets to drug cartels, then there is very little hope that the war against the cartels will be won. Analysts indicate that the Zetas are the largest organized crime group in Mexico in terms of geographical presence.
This violence, turned into a calling card, also fed what Correa-Cabrera describes as a “reverse franchise” model, in which small-time crooks sought to operate under the fearsome Zetas brand. Yarrington is reported to have allowed the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels to operate in his state without hindrance in return for bribes.
Their operations in Colombia and Guatemala can be taken for granted, considering the fact that these countries have homegrown drug cartel problems of their own.  As usual, they’ve also brought an unprecedented level of violence to the trade. Brutality and inhumanity are the most noticeable traits of drug cartels all over the world, but Los Zetas has taken them to a new high. On 5 April 2010, in the same prison, a convoy of 10 trucks with gunmen on board, entered the prison grounds without resistance, broke into the cells and liberated 13 "extremely dangerous" inmates. Their operatives now include corrupt former federal, state, and local police officers, as well as ex-Kaibiles, the Special Forces of the Guatemalan military. This meditating on justice provokes questions of the reader long after the book is finished, which is to its credit.
They pointedly noted that they had carried out executions and kidnappings under orders of the Gulf Cartel when they served as their enforcers, and they were originally created by them for that sole purpose. Tone manages to work in dozens of references to the biases embedded in the criminal justice system, including insinuations that the FBI was motivated by race in selecting its targets. The cartel also has important areas of operation in Guatemala, they are active in Texas, other U.S. states and in Italy with the 'Ndrangheta. Other reports mention, however, that the divide occurred due to a disagreement on who would take on the leadership of the cartel after the extradition of Cárdenas. Some sources reveal that as a result of the supremacy of Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel felt threatened by the growing force of their own enforcer group and decided to curtail their influence, but eventually failed in their attempt, instigating a war. Tone’s narrative is comparatively complicated, and his prose more stylized. October 13, 2017 GAFE the mexican special armed forces the founding members of Los Zeta were orginally soldiers in this army. Their kidnapping and human trafficking, for instance, was built upon a foundation of violence.
Morales’s most preferred method of killing was to stuff victims in oil barrels and set them ablaze.
Jeffrey Morris is a researcher and freelance writer with a passion for history and rarities.
In October 2008, the FBI warned that a Zetas' cell in Texas would engage law enforcement with a full tactical response, should law enforcement attempt to intervene in their operations. Tomas Yarrington, former governor of Tamaulipas, is currently facing multiple drug trafficking and money laundering charges in the United States. In addition, there are formal charges that the former Tamaulipas state Governors, Manuel Cavazos Lerma (1993–1999), Tomás Yarrington (1999–2004), and Eugenio Hernández Flores (2005–2010) have had close ties with the Gulf-Zeta organization.
But there were early signs that the Zetas were not a run-of-the-mill outfit of toughs.
The Tampico, Tamaulipas Mayor Óscar Pérez Inguanzo was arrested on 12 November 2011 due to his "improper exercise of public functions and forgery" of certain documents.
This represents a long-term challenge to Mexican society, in some ways even more insidious and daunting than the Zetas.
After the 2003 arrest of Gulf Cartel boss Osiel Cárdenas, the Zetas no longer had their founding patron directly overseeing them, providing Heriberto “Z3” Lazcano and his lieutenants newfound autonomy. These Army deserters were enticed with salaries much higher than those of the Mexican Army.
Also in 2012, the United States posted a $5,000,000 reward for information leading to the successful capture of Miguel Angel Treviño Morales. At the time of the Zetas formation in the early 2000s, as an armed wing of the Gulf Cartel, little seemed to distinguish the group from scores of predecessors and contemporaries.
Imagine how tragic it would be for such a respected and honored organization to become an evil one like Los Zetas. Consequently, the federal government assigned the Mexican Army and the Federal Police to guard some prisons until further notice; they were also left in charge of searching for the fugitives. Los Zetas (Zetas, Zs) is a brutal and much-feared drug cartel in Mexico, and is considered by the U.S. government to be "the most violent drug cartel operating in Mexico." The case is intrinsically fascinating to anyone interested in drug trafficking, and both authors secured interviews from several of the investigation’s protagonists.
If a talent for violence and a diversified approach to crime were two pillars of the Zetas, the third was the group’s intimate relationship with the government. The drug violence and political corruption that has plagued Tamaulipas, the home state of The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, has fueled thoughts of Tamaulipas becoming a "failed state" and a haven for drug traffickers and criminals of all kinds. He also forced captured Mexican migrants into gladiatorial fights to the death. Other sources have claimed that Antonio Cárdenas Guillen, brother of Osiel Cárdenas and one of the successors of the Gulf Cartel, was addicted to gambling, sex, and drugs, leading Los Zetas to perceive his leadership style as a threat to the organization.
In addition, Los Zetas charged that the Gulf Cartel also kills innocent civilians, and then blames the Zetas for their atrocities.
It is clear, however, that after the capture and extradition of Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, Los Zetas had become so powerful that they outnumbered and outclassed the Gulf Cartel in revenue, membership, and influence. However, of recent, they’ve taken their drug manufacturing activities to highly advanced countries like the United States.
Groups like Los Zetas have also been known to operate abroad, buying raw materials from Argentina and operating in Asian countries like Malaysia. Consequently, Los Zetas joined forces with The Beltrán-Leyva Cartel and The Tijuana Cartel to counteract the opposing cartels. Five on-duty guards have not been found. The reports also indicate that in Aguascalientes, a state where violence levels are much lower, policemen are paid five times more than in Tamaulipas. In a flurry of articles in late August 2012, a U.S. law enforcement official told the press that Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, the former second-in-command of Los Zetas, had successfully taken the leadership of the cartel and displaced Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, the long-time leader.
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