May 24, 2013
A Mexican drug cartel commander known as “Tweety Bird” pleaded guilty on Thursday in federal court in Washington to ordering the ambush and murder of U.S. immigration agents in 2011, according to U.S. officials. The plea related to a February 2011 incident when two “hit squads” from the Los Zetas drug cartel forced an armored U.S. government vehicle off a highway near Mexico City and surrounded it, federal prosecutors said.
Zetas commander Julian Zapata Espinoza, known as “El Piolin” (Tweety Bird), ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila out of the car, said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division. When the agents refused, identifying themselves as American diplomats from the U.S. embassy, Espinoza ordered the gunmen to fire on the vehicle. Zapata was killed and Avila was seriously wounded but survived, officials said.
February 6, 2013
Animal Politico, 2/5/2013
Dos de los grandes cárteles de la droga que se creían al borde de la extinción, los Beltrán Leyva y el cártel del Golfo, han dado señales de vida en diversos territorios de México durante lo que va del presente año.
Analistas independientes y de la fuerza pública consultados por la agencia de seguridad InSight Crime destacaron que ambos cárteles – que se pensaba tambaleaban debido a luchas internas, la presión de las autoridades y ataques constantes de sus rivales – parecen estar resurgiendo.
November 30, 2012
It can be a little deceiving to think of Mexico’s drug cartels as simply gangsters. Instead, they’ve blurred boundaries between organized crime and quasi-military insurgents, seized swathes of territory and become some of the world’s most dangerous criminal gangs. They’ve also acquired plenty of firepower to back it up.
The Zetas are one of the most disruptive and aggressive of them all. Formed by ex-military men who became armed enforcers for the Gulf Cartel, the Zetas split with their former patrons nearly three years ago and have since become one of Mexico’s largest and most dangerous cartels. While most of those ex-military founding fathers of the cartel are now dead or in prison, they’ve retained a culture of military loyalties, if not so much the discipline and hierarchy. Or much in the way of taste. In September, Mexican police arrested Ramiro Pozos, the alleged leader of drug gang “The Resistance” and Zeta ally — with his gold- and silver-plated AK-47. Meanwhile, coming up on Saturday, incoming president Enrique Pena Nieto takes office, the first change in the presidency since the drug war exploded across the country more than six years ago. Aside from reducing the level of violence, one of his priorities will be wrenching back control of cartel territory, and putting it back under the control of the state.
October 17, 2012
The Coahuila attorney, Homero Ramos, unveiled the body of Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, alias “El Lazca,” on Tuesday morning. Lazcano’s body was stolen by an armed group from the funeral home…
“It’s a very bizarre situation, so it will raise questions in some people’s minds about what really happened,”
said Eric Olson, associate director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.
October 10, 2012
Mexican authorities said fingerprints confirmed that a suspect killed in a gun battle two days ago was the top leader of the Zetas cartel before his corpse was stolen from a funeral home by armed commandos…
“It’s a very bizarre situation, so it will raise questions in some people’s minds about what really happened,” said Eric Olson, associate director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. While a significant blow for the Zetas, Lazcano’s death may lead to more violence in the short-term as the remnants of the group “fight for their own survival and control,” he said.
October 9, 2012
The Navy announced that they did kill “El Laza” and that the biometric information taken from the body matched what they had on file for him.
October 9, 2012
Animal Politico, Alejandro Hope, 10/9/12
Alejandro Hope has a few comments on the supposed death of Heriberto Lazcano, namely: that his death remains unconfirmed, the cadaver disappeared following the firefight in which the members of the cartel were minimally armed considering their usual standards, Hope also wonders why “El Lazca” would be traveling alone anyways and says that if he was caught it certainly wasn’t because of a tip but because one of the recently-captured Zetas talked, Hope also says that the Zetas are (regardless of “El Lazca’s death) dismantled because of all the recent arrests and that this may actually increase violence in the states which they operated in, but that he hopes that the Zetas collapse will serve to dissuade other criminal groups.
October 9, 2012
The New York Times, 10/9/12
The Mexican Navy said Monday night it believed it had killed a man who it thinks may be a founder and the principal leader of the Zetas, one of the most violent criminal gangs to terrorize the country in years.
The navy said in a statement that in a battle Sunday afternoon in northern Mexico between marines and men armed with guns and grenades, two men were killed, one bearing “strong signs” of being Heriberto Lazcano, known as El Lazca and the main leader of the Zetas.
September 28, 2012
Hispanic Business/Houston Chronicle, 9/27/2012
The brutal Zetas gang poses one of the most daunting challenges to the development of Mexico’s abundant shale gas reserves near the Texas border.
The gas fields extend from the booming Eagle Ford play of South Texas deep into the ranch and coal country stretching inland from the violent border city of Nuevo Laredo. This is Zetas country, among the most fearsome of Mexico’s criminal badlands.
U.S. and Mexican energy companies long have been besieged by the gangsters here — their workers assaulted, extorted or murdered — despite a heavy military and federal police presence. Now, with feuding Zetas factions bloodying one another and fending off outside rivals, what has been a bad situation threatens to get much worse.
September 25, 2012
The Los Angeles Times, 9/24/12
Mexico’s marines on Monday said they detained 35 Veracruz state police officers who were allegedly working for the Zetas drug cartel.
In a short statement, authorities said the police officers were detained Saturday in two groups, 16 at the airport in the city of San Luis Potosi, in a neighboring state of the same name, and 19 in Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz.