Michael Ware reports from Mexico about that nation's most powerful; dangerous drug cartel.
Form the Archives
According to the PGR, some 40 to 60 deserters from the Mexican army special forcesGrupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFES)formed the core of Los Zetas in 1999, offering their highly skilled services to Osiel Cardenas and the Gulf Cartel. After Cardenas was extradited to US two years ago, one of the original ex-GAFE, Heriberto Lazcano AKA El Lazca gained full control of Zetas.
Lazcano and this cadre are known as Zetas Viejos. They have complete command and control of all Gulf Cartel trafficking corridors from the plazas in Nuevo Laredo to Matamoros.
Their reach extends to Guatemala, Honduras and the Caribbean and across the Atlantic to Spain and west Africa.
The Zetas are the most innovative of Mexican drug trafficking organzations. There is a womens division of the ZetasLas Panteras. They are young age 18 to 30and are recruited, like their male counterparts, from poor neighborhoods and high schools. Federal prosecutors say this is a first among Mexican criminal organizations.