Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

How many more bodies need to be found?

Friday, August 27, 2010 |


As reported by the Mexican press, 72 migrants (from Central and South America) were found dead in a ranch in Tamaulipas, courtesy of Los Zetas (El Universal and Proceso). In addition to the massacre in Tamaulipas, Los Zetas have also been implicated in the kidnapping and murder of Mayor Edelmiro Cavasos Leal (Noticieros Televisa).


What could Los Zetas possibly gain from both tragedies?

The answer is very simple, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or an expert criminologist to figure them out: They don’t gain or lose anything and it’s obvious that they couldn’t care less about it.

Mayor Cavasos Leal, from Santiago, Nuevo Leon, was simply doing his job (something most politicians in Mexico don’t do), he chastised local police officers and cut their salary, unfortunately, what the mayor did not know is that these officers were also working for Los Zetas. So they kidnapped an innocent man, who clearly had an enormous amount of potential and whose presence would have contributed to a brighter future for Mexico (given the fact that he refused to get involved with any criminal organization), and executed him. The citizens in Santiago are right to be upset and disturbed by what happened and they deserve answers from the Mexican government.

What could they gain from such a careless and senseless act? Once again, nothing! What we undoubtedly know is that they are extremely brazen, malicious, and they couldn’t care less about the consequences.

I read on the Examiner, as they were reporting the massacre in Tamaulipas, the following: “The Zetas are especially dangerous considering they were founded by highly trained assassins who deserted the Mexican army.” Although, Los Zetas were founded by highly trained ex-federal officers (who were corrupt to begin with), the majority of the original members are either dead or currently incarcerated. So, what Los Zetas is presently composed of are younger men (new recruits), armed to kill (their craft), moreover, they are extremely violent and unpredictable. Their policy appears to be: “Kill first and ask questions later.”

The main issue is that they are not financially sustained by any of the drug cartels, so they have to supplement their income somehow and that’s what they are doing. Thus, instead of attacking and targeting their opponents (drug cartels), they are going after the general public (Mexican citizens), which for them is easy prey.

I believe I read somewhere, a couple of months ago, about the federal police raiding a Zetas camp site; however, they were unable to apprehend anyone. During the raid, they found apparel with the Zetas logo and a disturbing amount of firearms and grenades, it’s very clear that the government is not doing everything they can to apprehend them. Additionally, I’ve also noticed that they don’t care about the media coverage, because the more fear they instill in Mexican citizens, the better. In the mean time, I can only imagine that other lifeless bodies will be found and the kidnappings will continue.

How many more bodies need to be found before the idle Mexican government does anything substantial about this?

And by substantial, I mean successfully arresting them, not just attempting to.

Sources: El Universal, Proceso, Noticieros Televisa, The Examiner, and The Associated Press.
Picture: El Universal/AP

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34 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

What are the rules of engagment army vs thugs? I am sure the govt shoots first then asks questions later,journalist take issue with that practice,under the circumstances in MX what is the alternative. Collateral damage is inevitable but a state of emergency exists,aprehending is almost usless low conviction rate, killing them is prefarable. Remember the gout death squads in San Salvador,Argentina,Guatemala unthinkable, well, maby not.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me that these Zetas, who go after innocent, are a bunch of low-life COWARDS!

Abuela Chivis said...

MIja...you know I am a fan...

but what are your solutions? I am challenging BB to write an article of collective solutions, ideas.

we all know the problems, we all hear of the atrocities, BUT never any suggestion of ideas for solutions....Stop gap to sustainment....where are the solutions?

you and I are BIG believers in education being a long term goal, I am on the ground working in frustration everyday...more so this year where I cannot even get electricity or plumbing in many schools....they say maybe 2 years!! you can imagine fr books, materials, additional teachers, additional schools to provide education for all, they allow me to build schools on government land!!

But that aside, and though it should be included in the agenda LETS HEAR IDEAS.
I wrote a list yesterday of some of mine

I think it is well past time to discuss this.

Gerardo said...

Well put V.I.

It boils down to this, who do fear more if you reside in Mexico, Felipe Calderon or Los Zetas?

Anonymous said...

Borderland Beat is going to need a round the clock staff to keep up with the situation.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/08/27/mexico.car.bomb/index.html?hpt=T2

Ovemex said...

I do believe education is a key factor, but personally, I don't see it being addressed anytime soon.

Right now, the way things are in Mexico the top two priorities are cartels and corruption, which walk hand in hand and have entwined themselves in every single aspect of Mexico's politicial, judicial, and socioeconomic structure..including education.

No other reform can be achieved without first getting a grasp on these top two.

Mexican military is all over..Fighting, killing, and dieing..for what? The narcos who are captured are released within weeks, sometimes even days, due to judicial corruption.

The anonymous judge plan Calderon has, may help, it did have some effect in Colombia..but then again, the narcos have to actually have their cases make it to a judge FIRST, which seldom happens either.

Attacking money laundering is also a very important move, but it will be extremely difficult. Imagine pulling records on all of these businesses (I've heard of private schools founded with laundered money as well)..

Financial operations need to be monitored too, but to do this, the "moral values" of individual businesses and citizens come into play as well.

Imagine putting your house/business/etc on the already miserable market, in hopes in moving to a safer place, or simply surviving the economic situation and then having a client come out of no where and offer you CASH..Would you turn it down?

All assets of detained narcos, and their families, should be investigated, traced, frozen and or seized. It is not being done. Why?

There is so much that needs to be done in Mexico. The list is endless, where to start?

Anonymous said...

you are not a very good reporter to much of your own opinion gets involved with the facts. Please no more I think , I believe, or I imagine in the articles

Anonymous said...

Once again BB resorts to op-ed pieces with no info. This article is a glorified post that could have fit perfectly in the comments section. I suppose I will be reading an article in the near future by the new BB reporter; Abuela Chivas.

Come on BB, lets get back to reporting the facts. If you're going to let anyone write for you I got a few stories I can type up and email to you, No problem. But for the sake of your readers, please tighten up your standards.

Valentina Isabella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valentina Isabella said...

To Gerardo:

I really wish I could contribute more, but I’m a little overwhelmed with school. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you guys on the Borderland Beat; your objective is to shed light the atrocities the Mexican citizens are currently experiencing. And, not only do I respect and appreciate that, I am more than willing to contribute to that purpose.

As you already know, I’m also glad that you guys don’t taint your blog by planting comments in order to generate individual information that you want, for whatever purpose. Oh, and that you guys don't revel in gossip, but that you actually care about the future of Mexico.

Abuela Chivis:

Thank you for your comments and suggestions, I’ll work on that. I recently subscribed to Matt’s blog: Feral Jundi. Since I found his suggestions to be a possible remedy; he’s definitely an expert in that realm and everything he discusses is totally relevant to the kind of violence Mexico is surely being ruined by.

Primarily, I think the Mexican government needs to address issues regarding corrupt politicians, law enforcement officer (state and federal) and other government officials. They need to clean house, otherwise, the work they are allegedly doing against the drug cartels is all for nothing.

Anonymous (8-27-10 at 9:46 AM):

I agree, anyone who preys on innocent people is a coward.

Gerardo said...

Buelita,

Como paras un auto sin frenos que va acelerando?
Si el chaparro que la va manejando no tiene idea, yo menos.

buela chivis said...

...UN demanding answers to the 72 mass murders.....

http://www.zocalo.com.mx/seccion/articulo/exige-la-onu-dar-con-responsables-de-multiple-asesinato/

Anonymous said...

A question was posed (what do the Los Zetas have to gain) and a non-answer was given (nothing). I'm posing the question again--why would the Los Zetas killed a bunch of Central American illegal aliens?

Sierra said...

I have an idea. Mexico should make a bigger monster. They should get 500 of the best decorated soldiers (preferably those who lost loved ones in the hands of cartels) and pay them EXTREMELY well so they wont be corrupted. Then you give them the green light! Tell them happy hunting...and also tell them that whatever money they take from cartels they kill it's theirs and the other half would go to hospitals and schools. Show their face all over the place, hold them as heros, they should make school appearances and all of Mexico would know their names....they would be loved and rich beyond their dreams...and Mexico would be saved in the process.

Anonymous said...

Sierra

yes..good idea, and only ones who can prove they had at least one family member killed by these putas, so that they are highly motivated, pay for them to be trained by army rangers , navy seals, mossad...whoever the best killers are,,, and make it a big affair so the Z knows what is coming for them so they can piss fear for a while before they die

Ovemex said...

@Anonymous 2:25 p.m.

"A question was posed (what do the Los Zetas have to gain) and a non-answer was given (nothing)."

I think the answer is right there in your statement. They had NOTHING to gain: no ransom, no new recruits. That's why the killed them.

Abuela Chivis said...

@ 11:12 AM

Be nice! Where does it state OP-Hypothesis-editorials are not permitted in dicussion? It is an important element as one size does not fit all. You are not forced to read anything that is not your preference. V.I. is a thoughtful person who brings forth op from the heart.

As for Abuela being a reporter for BB, that will not happen. I am down right now but operate two NGOs ... I am fighting an serious illness and am in post op but in 4 weeks I will be in Mx again. For me this is not intertainment, perhaps some crave BB for just that, but not so for many of us who live and work in Mx. or care because our ancestors did, or simply care because they have a compassion for people that are suffering...don't condem us for being passionate about what is happening in Mx..

so..Don't be so grouchy if you are in the US, wake up and go to bed thankful & happy that you live in a country in which you can feel that way.

Anonymous said...

Sierra, someone always survives. Respect their privacy that they may live to a ripe and happy old age.

Your idea is a winner.

Anonymous said...

@ Abuela,
I was born in and raised in Juarez. I am entitles to my op just like any other reader on BB

Anonymous said...

I am ashamed that the US is not doing more to help battle the atrocities in Mexico. Maybe just maybe since we are bringing home the troops in Iraq they will be redirected to our friends in the South. In the meantime we pray. I hope all citizens of Mexico are loading your guns...seems you have this battle on your own.

Anonymous said...

Just as long as Surf City doesnt start reporting!!

Anonymous said...

1) Zetas should be designated as a terrorist organization so the gov. can fight them on more fronts.
2) Make a pact with rival gangs so they go after them and do the dirty work as long as they commit to drug trafficking exclusively.

TV Canal 7 said...

Mexico: is found dead of the public prosecutor investigating slaughter of Tamaulipas ... Cade Human right? where men are strong wrist to stop this barbarity?

Santiago-Del Rio said...

To 2:25 and 2:43
A monster would be created. If it were possible to assemble a group of elite mercernaries to snuff out the major echelon of the cartel leadership,the replacements would be there like roaches to take over the leadership. The money and greed are just too much. Also what if the
mercernaries did not want to be dissolved after their mission is completed. Also Mexico would not want foreign troops on their soil.

Anonymous said...

If you are going to give a link give a direct one to the information. It is unprofessional to send one to a HomePage necessitating one to rummage through the site for the associated information.

-The body of an official investigating the massacre of 72 Central and South American migrants killed in a ranch in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas was found today dumped beside a nearby road alongside another unidentified victim, according to local media.-
[That's all it said about him]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/27/mexico-massacre-investigator-migrants

Anonymous said...

I hope all citizens of Mexico are loading your guns...seems you have this battle on your own.

that is part of the problem CITIZENS OF MEXICO DON'T HAVE GUNS...only the criminals and police,,,the common citizen is defensless

Anonymous said...

Santiago-Del Rio 10:18 PM:

That is why the elites must allow enterprise to grow. Sell the state owned properties to private citizens or on the stock exchange and open up other economic venues allowing entrepreneurs to develop and everyone the opportunity to grow their wealth.

Living in not under a system where and honest man knows he has an opportunity to proper and provide for his family will short circuit the attraction to illegal and illicit lifestyles.

And yes, Sierra's 500 will still have work after they have cleaned the narcos. For there are still many teeth of corruption that need to be pulled.
.

Anonymous said...

first, Mexico should implement the death penalty for any well known kingpins. Second, Mexico should create a remote island prison for sicarios such as guantanamo bay where the prisoners have no chance of escape. third, Mexico should request aerial support from the United States. this would be a great tool and it wouldn't have to involve foreign soldiers on Mexican territory. finally, Mexico should make a law that police officials must earn a living wage. some kind of anonymous tip line needs to be established where the people can call with the confidence to know that their information will not be delivered to the cartels via corrupt police. have an organization such as the united nations monitor the phone calls and then pass the intelligence through a separate country like the united states before it gets to the Mexican authorities.

politicians must also be audited to make sure that they do not continue to pocket the tax money that is supposed to go to benefit the citizens!

Anonymous said...

What penalty. The Mexican Police have always been corrupted by the value of the dollar. Most of those in political power take a bite of the dollar also. Who do you dare trust. No one. Clean house and eradicate those corrupted make the squeal. The Mexican Government shall declare atrocities committed by the The ZETAS or other Drug Cartels as acts of Terrorism. Maybe then other governments can get involved at erasing and eradicating those who mean harm to Mexico... Viva Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Create a Elite Mercenary Unit? That is exactly what Zetas were before! They were selected from Mexican Army and trained in the U.S. to become an Elite Force. Problem is the U.S. lost control of them once they came back to the motherland. Once they started knockin off competition in Texas thats when the U.S. said ohh sh**t and distanced themselves from them real quick like. And the war on drugs in the U.S. has been about what -- 3 decades or so, to what results has the MOST POWERFUL nation in the world had in its own yard. More drug usage. Sorry this problem isnt going away when you have 1000+ replacements waiting in the wings for the one you put behind bars, on an island, or in the pit. The answer is not a military one. Your just taught to believe that. A military response has not worked anywhere to date. All that does is kill innocent people. Like in afganistan, iraq, etc. etc. etc. :0(

abuela chivis said...

@12:30

Zetas are Mexican Nationals therefore they are not Mercenary. Mercenarys cannot be a national or a party to the conflict and Zs are a perfect example of why. Plus Mercenary's are well paid, these elements were lacking with the Zs.
In my opinion this certainly not the end all answer, but is at least solution to secure important areas and at best used in multiple actions.

In Mexico the creator of "bad cops" is always the same element. MONEY$$$ until officers are well paid corruption will always be rampant

@10:54

I agree 100% and posted this idea on BB 2 days ago. I even mentioned Guantanamo as a possibilty, or pelican bay, actually Alcatraz has been lonely for years..a pragmactic solution that would not be easy, especially convincing an uninformed US, but doable.

@7:58
I am not sure what your comment connected to, but I agree everyone has a right to an opinion and maybe us in Mx have double rights at this time, but be respectful and not personal, sometimes that can hurt a person and for what? Bullying is not nice at any age and particularly on an adult. I pray you remain safe in Juarez and that I mean from the heart.

Anonymous said...

thanks BB for giving us outsiders an open window on the situation. The public opinion world wide needs an eyeopener, this blog's doing a great job at that.The international community needs to grow much more consideration for the good people in Mexico imo.I personally doubt that a solution for this immense complex problem will come from the comments of a blog (with all due respect to all contributors of course) but sharing ideas is a good start anyway.
I'm from Europe, in general when I ask people their comments on Mexico they simply put it away as some drug-crazies killing each other, they are not doing right to all the people suffering.
Maybe it's an idea to issue and spread a clear and strong statement on the net for people who want to express their concerns all over the world to download, sign and send to their foreign affairs representatives.
Take my word in my country the news from Mexico does not often make headlines and is very oversimplified, a wakeup call is very badly needed.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:54pm

Although I like where your head is at with these ideas, I would only put one question to you; WHO is going to implement these changes and how long before they find that persons body? How long before his or her family start receiving death threats? These ideas have prob been on the table for a while but no one has the Huevos to follow through.

Besides it would be virtually impossible for the MeX Gov to allow foreign troops on its soil or in its airspace, one must remember the colonial period and past conquest of Mexico by the French, not to mention several wars that were fought against the US itself. I doubt we will be seeing any official US planes hovering around Juarez anytime soon.

However I do agree that the Death Penalty should be up for review, an Alcatrez/Gitmo would be a great solution to the situation like the one with the Warden who allows sicarios out at night to kill, and police officers need a better wage if we expect them to stay above corruption

Chivis said...

@ 7:00AM

other countries use methods of governing by remote (out of area) and anonymity. Desperate measures yes..but any solution must be.

I thought I was going to get stomped on for suggesting housing high level cartels in the US I am happy to see that posters are receptive. Logistics aside, Gitmo is ready to GO, but Alcatraz needs a major overhaul & Cal has no money so the feds would have to take it over. There has only been 1 escape from Alcatraz and that person wash up on shore nearly dead from hypothermia.

Mx does have a anonymous ip line CRIME STOPPERS, few people trust it.

MUNICIPAL POLICE; are paid from revenues from poor cities, if there is a force at all, but the federal gov should susplement state and municipal officers income. ALso create small sub stations in cities that are too poor to have a force, possibly under the direction of the state?

and yes bring back capital punishment for these crimes and politians who aid the cartels, they have blood from head to toe...equally.

I would not be so sure about nixing the possibilty of foreign assistance, perhaps wishful thinking...because it is way past the point of being able to do it alone. or at least the same number of adcisors we gave to Colombia...or exceeding

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