Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

If I Capture a Zeta, I Will Kill Him, Why Interrogate Him; Police Chief

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 |


Take a ride with a general on a military operation, as the Jornada reporter Sanjuana Martinez conducts an interview while the military convoy tours the area.

The retired general Bibiano Villa Carlos Castillo does not beat around the bush: "To save Torreón we have to have balls." He is the Director of Public Safety and unequivocally, he adds; "Military personnel are trained for combat. No cowards. We had civilians that at the times of "chingadazos" (fighting) they folded. Previously they use to chase the cops around here, now none of that shit, we now chase them and kill them when we catch them. Here we fuck up anyone who is bad."

He dresses in a navy blue shirt and trousers, wears a helmet along with a ballistic vest. He Wields the handgun he carries when he goes to bed, he takes out the magazine, checks his rounds and, locks and loads. It's a Magnum 44 which he holsters around his waist. He grabs his sniper rifle G3 with retractable stock 7.62 caliber, capable of penetrating armor. He grabs a radio and two cell phones. He then gives an order with absolute command: "Let’s go," and walks away toward the parking lot followed by members of his personal guard which is composed of 114 military soldiers.

It's four in the afternoon and six trucks carrying about 30 armed masked military men are waiting for him to start "hunting thugs" in the "hot spots" of the city dominated by Los Zetas who are fighting Los Chapos. He boards a maroon SUV and starts an interview with  a reporter of the national newspaper La Jornada inside the vehicle.

On March 2nd during a similar operation he was ambushed. Gunmen traveling in five trucks intercepted his convoy and fired over 500 rounds at him. The shield of the armored truck rated at level six saved his life. Six policemen were wounded. Is not the first time sicarios have tried to kill him since he took office. That time he knew that one of his own betrayed him: "Who was it? ... If I knew, I would have killed the bastard. Those who sell us out do not deserve to live."

At the start of the operation he adds: "I like the adrenaline. I come on patrol. When I capture a Zeta or Chapo I kill him. Why interrogate him? What is he going to tell San Pedro of what he did. The military has their own security and intelligence, they don't need his information. Believe me, The day when they capture me they are not going to cover me with kisses. Right? They are going to tear me apart. So what? That's what I'm exposed to. The day it's my turn, we will settle things, period."

General Villa Carlos Castillo operates with the ethics of the "iron fist," that is what mayors and governors of several states have decided to institute in police agencies that have increasingly become more militarized.

Foco Rojo
When asked about his lineage, he smiles with pride. He is the grandson of Jesus Arango, alias El Bizco cousin of Doroteo Arango, better known as Francisco Villa: "I feel proud because he was a great fighter. He practiced guerrilla warfare, and now it's my turn to fight the urban guerrillas. Each one with their own training."

He says he knows the enemy very well, so much so that during the ride, he was listening to them from a radio frequency that he had intercepted. Clearly the sicarios are heard recounting an operation step-by-step: "Right now they know where we are. They transmit everywhere. Taxi drivers warn them, they are halcones. They even call me 'el viejillo loco'. The sons of bitches respect no one."

Last year, the Comarca Lagunera region that is located in Torreon, Coahuila, Gomez Palacio and Lerdo, Durango, was the second most violent place in Mexico after Ciudad Juarez, with 689 drug-related killings.

In Torreón the murders and massacres in bars and nightclubs have doubled. Starting from 2008 Los Zetas took control of the plaza corrupting most cops. When the general took charge as chief he fired more than 500 officers. Today he commands 1014 officers: "That cabron who does not want to work, a chingar a su madre. Period. Here we pay well (8 thousand pesos). We accomplish three objectives: to give every police officer a house, major medical insurance and life insurance worth up to 700,000 pesos. So the ones who want to collect life insurance, well they can die."

General Villa Castillo, 62, majored in telecommunications. Was trained for 16 years. He received training in Israel. He has two degrees and a masters. He has a scanner valued at 4 million pesos to intercept calls "from the enemy." He is convinced that the Chapos live in Gomez Palacio, Durango, and Los Zetas in Matamoros, Coahuila. Both are competing for the territory of Torreon.

The convoy of his operation passes through the river Nazas that separates the two states, where sicarios leave mutilated bodies all the time. The river has four bridges: yellow, black, silver and the Union, but at length of over 50 km there are more than 15 clandestine trails used by Chapos, who are named as such because several drug cartels joined the Sinaloa cartel to take over Torreon.

While patrolling one can see patrol cars along the river that forms part of the so called Sellamiento Nazas, a joint operation that aims to control the flow of criminals in the region: "We do work, it's not just because a reporter is with us that we are pretending to be patrolling. All day we are involved in this. They go through there. Can you see the bullet holes on the vehicles?

Hazardous Territory
The city is divided into nine high conflict areas, especially the poorest, now converted into a battlefield. The hills are full of very poor homes and form part of the majority of the misery in the region. The dust of the desert raises high to the conspicuous movement of the convoy. The people look with suspicion, rush away and go inside their homes immediately. Within minutes the streets are deserted.

We enter the Cerro de la Cruz, a region controlled by Los Chapos. There is only one paved road, the rest are primitive passages. A network of dirt roads that makes it harder for police to work. The place is full of halcones and is perfect for ambushes. The young people in the corners are not worried by the passing of the authority "they are the same," says the general who since taking charge of the police force has lost six policemen in gunfights and has sustained 76 confrontations with criminals, "What happens is that those bastards never give full battle. They just fire in bursts and then flee. The advantage we have is our weapons, shot by shot, but well aimed. That is why they have a lot of casualties. We have killed about 200 of them."

"Six lost, compared to 200 ... does that mean we are winning the war like Felipe Calderon says?"

"The problem is that we kill a few of them and more come out, is like we pick up another stone and still more ... Very few civilians have been killed. We always aim carefully to kill the drug dealer. Never a civilian. When they see when the shooting starts, they start running and everyone hits the ground to protect themselves."

Organized crime has found the best breeding ground for their particular army of "burreros" and sicarios in the Comarca Lagunera region, hundreds of unemployed youth, drug users and the forgotten by the politicians of the State.

Villa Castillo joined the Army at the age of 16 by order of his mother. He was the second of 36 children his father had with six women. He says that he is incorruptible and loyal to the death: "I'm not ashamed to say it: my father is the Army and my mother the homeland. To them I owe everything. They educated me, indoctrinated me and prepared me for this."

War is war, and therefore justifies military codes. The operation of patrol now passes through the Alianza mercado, a highly contentious area. Many businesses have left due to extortion and violence. We then crossed the tracks and we enter the legendary community Durangueña, a common scene of shootings and executions, and controlled by Los Zetas. "I distrust the Federal Police because they do not kill, just apprehend. But the Mexican Army and Marines, they kill."

The next residential region of poverty and misery is the San Joaquin region, a lot of alleys here: "They are places ideal for an ambush. It's hard to get out of here. They are entrenched on the hills and from there they shoot at us but now we bring long-range weapons with telescopic sights. We can pick out any bastard that is a mile away. We just see them fall ... The ethics of sicarios or narcos has been lost, they are now just murderers. They used to have ethics even when they killed, but now they come and tear everything up to pieces."

The Cerro de las Noas, famous for the Christ protector, is now a setting for the bloodiest of battles. In the recess of the hills Los Zetas turn them into bunkers with entrenched snipers: "The other day we had to go there to kill six 'cabrones' and we did kill them. What is the problem?"

- What were they Zetas or Chapos?

"Zetas."

- How do you know if you don't question or talk to them ...

"We knew because they had stolen some of our guns, and we found them there."

There are laws general. You decide who should live or die ... Don't you think that is up to God to decide?

"Yes, but we need to give him a little help."

-If one of them approaches you to talk ...

"I kill him where he stands. I fuck him up."

- Kill then ask questions later?

"That is how it should be. It's a code of honor."

For the general, human rights are something that are not working like they should. He says the work of the National Commission on Human Rights is good, but "has not fulfilled its functions." It should protect the injured and appears to defend the offender."

The convoy of the operation passes through the community of Primero de Mayo. The wooden huts of Zaragoza Sur y Norte stand towards the Avenue of Las Mieleras: "They hide in the rocks. Every so often we go up and take away their parapets. They are armed with "cuerno de chivo" rifles 270 with telescopic sights."

After an hour and a half of patrolling the Chief orders a return to the barracks. Next to his office there is a living space. It has a bed, exercise equipment and a sauna: "I work all year, Sundays and holidays. I do not take vacations. My entertainment? ... My recreation are women. Tonight I have body to body fight in the ring, which is a bed. Who wins? Them, I give every chance to the women."

Some time after the interview it was announced that the retired general would be transferred to the Ministry of Public Security (SSP) of Quintana Roo.

Source: La Jornada

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52 Borderland Beat Comments:

Senor Del Arranque said...

A dead Zeta is a good Zeta. Con Mucho respeto pal Senor Villa desde Chicago

porno said...

mexico needs more of these military poeple controlling city police. kill all those bastards.

Buela said...

"There are laws general. You decide who should live or die ... Don't you think that is up to God to decide? "

"Yes, but we need to give him a little help."

This is one bad ass general. Saying aloud what many think and feel.
..yes I know this is a dangerous path to tread but somehow I'm not feeling it at this moment

Anonymous said...

He was transfered because el chapo ordered hight ranking goverment duche bags to move him....

SWOThunter said...

Excellent post. I hope the general survives this effort, he appears to be a real patriot and he knows what needs to be done.

He's going to need help, as one previous poster noted. Keep posting updates on the generals efforts. He needs the publicity, not to immortalize him, but to inspire others to take action.

Right now the cartels are the only ones who decides who live and die. The state does not affect the death penalty. However, this general is willing to do what it takes. And, if he inspires enough people to come out and fight, then chances will increase the law can drive a wedge between the cartels and the people...thus depriving the cartel its center of gravity it needs to survive.

Thanks Borderland Beat...keep up the great work.

SWOThunter
http://www.mexdrugcartels.com

SWOThunter said...

I want to add one more comment...a quote from the late counterinsurgent David Galula that is worth understanding and directly applies to the generals position.

Source: Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice

"It can no longer be ignored or applied unconsciously in a country beset by a revolutionary war, when what is at stake is precisely the counterinsurgent’s power directly challenged by an active minority through the use of subversion and force. The counterinsurgent who refuses to use this law for his own purposes, who is bound by its peacetime limitations, tends to drag the war out without getting closer to victory. How far to extend the limitations is a matter of ethics, and a very serious one, but no more so than bombing the civilian population in a conventional
war. All wars are cruel, the revolutionary war perhaps most of all because every citizen, whatever his wish, is or will be directly and actively involved in it by the insurgent who needs him and cannot afford to let him remain
neutral. The cruelty of the revolutionary war is not a mass, anonymous cruelty but a highly personalized, individual one. No greater crime can be committed by the counterinsurgent than accepting, or resigning himself to, the protraction of the war. He would do as well to give up early."

and

"The strategic problem of the counterinsurgent may be defined now as follows: “To find the favorable minority, to organize it in order to mobilize the population against the insurgent minority.” Every operation, whether in the military field or in the political, social, economic, and psychological fields, must be geared to that end.

To be sure, the better the cause and the situation, the larger will be
the active minority favorable to the counterinsurgent and the easier its task.
This truism dictates the main goal of the propaganda—to show that the cause and the situation of the counterinsurgent are better than the insurgent’s. More important, it underlines the necessity for the counterinsurgent to come out with an acceptable countercause."

Cheers, SWOT Hunter

Anonymous said...

This guy just quit yesterday. Two of his relatives were murdered I think. Look on BDN or DDN.

Anonymous said...

He did not quit he was transferred to the Ministry of Public Security (SSP) of Quintana Roo, it is at the end of the article above. Unless you have a direct link other than BDN, I dont click on that site as it sets my anti-virus software off, full of adware, pop ups and porno!

No respect for its readers, just an interest for the mighty bucks!

Anonymous said...

This is the only choice. These cartel members are sub human animals. We need to bring in eastern euro mercs to start killing these bastards. Using over seas death squads is the key...the cartels won't be able to get to the members of the foreign death squads. Los Pepes part II.

Anonymous said...

This man deserves a CORRIDO, not the pinche NARCOS. He clearly knows how to fight the enemy and has no fear doing it. I'm sure the 21 and under Zetas/Chapos know not to fuck around with this man. He should start going after the corrupt politicians next. "Accidents happen everyday"...

777

Anonymous said...

Give this man a medal! He should have shrines built about him all over Mexico! To bad that there isnt a million more just like him! - Grande Goat Horn

Anonymous said...

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...This man is the real deal. He should have no problem adjusting to the beautiful beaches in Quintana Roo. Wish him the best. I will pray for this man tonight...He is doing what the rest of Mexico should have done many years ago.

777

Anonymous said...

I realize everyone's frustration ... I live in a town completely controlled by the Zetas and I know firsthand what they're capable of. But I don't think that Villa Carrillo's approach will solve anything. It will only alienate the populace further, inadvertently kill innocent civilians and further unravel the social fabric of Mexican society with the increased violence. Mexican citizens are protected by "due process" rights just like in the USA and the general has no right to suspend these. Don't get me wrong, i'm no hippy peacenik ...but in this case I think his approach will, in the long run, do much more harm than good. Remember the old proverb: "An eye for an eye will only leave everyone blind."

God help Mexico.

Layla2 said...

Wonder why they transferred him? Is Quintanna Roo more important strategically than Torreon? I know that they have Cancun, Cozumel, and Rivera Maya--are these places heating up? Doesn't make sense...If anyone finds out more please post!

Anonymous said...

Great balls of fire!!!
General, don't forget the CDG, too!

Just Look Now... said...

Funny how an apple can spoil a barrel of apples, but one "stand up" MAN is as tough as 15 average men.

Anonymous said...

HE SHOULD BE PRESIDENT OF MEXICO!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, none of this man's brave efforts are worth much with the endemic corruption throughout the government, police and military.

He needs to clean house from the top. Killing a few ants is nothing - there will always be more to fill in. But stop the money supply and the protection from the corrupt politicians and police and maybe you will have a chance.

Anonymous said...

Chapo gave orders to his government rats to have this guy moved! It shows how much power Chapo still has within the government...

Ardent said...

How cute! A link to the semi-retired general's Facebook page in this ..uh.. reportage where we can all sign up asking to be his dearest friend!

And what's that thing with the picture of him with 'RED BULB' written overhead to inform us about his supposed tough guy image?

"I work all year, Sundays and holidays. I do not take vacations. My entertainment? ... My recreation are women. Tonight I have body to body fight in the ring, which is a bed. Who wins? Them, I give every chance to the women."

Could it be reference actually is to the RED BULB seen over all the whorehouses the guy seems to frequent?

Comic book villains require comic book heroes. My Hero! General Red Bulb! Yeah!!!!! Give the guy some Viagra... He may need some antiHIV meds, too. The women shall be the winners he says...

El Nayaloense said...

Be careful General for one of those bitches you love so much may be your downfall

Anonymous said...

I have been told that they already killed his replacement before he could take over the job. I am in the US now, but my neighbor told me that it happened last weekend, behind the colony Vinedos in Torreon.

I cant confirm it, or provide a link. That is just what i heard from my neighbor. He said that he heard the shots.

Anonymous said...

Now that's what I'm talkn about! These pieces of shit cartels need a heavy hand behind them. Cartels don't respect anything, so why should the general respect anything the cartels do. Cartels ain't human. Check mate bitches. El general hitn a different booty every nite, nice!

Anonymous said...

he probably is a zeta, hiding in plain site

Anonymous said...

Carmen A. has never been in combat against these scumbags. I agree with this general, if the sicarios are armed and are shooting goverment personel they were asking for it.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:58 - He quit. Too hot for him. They can't transfer him - he's retired. The "transfer" is a lot of smoke. He's outta there. They killed a couple of guys close to him. I don't blame him for sure but he talks a lot of bad shit but he don't back it up. He just played into that Villa thing and all but within a few months - he bugged out. I don't trust him. Oh I want to stay but they transferred me to QR and I've had other offers too. Yeah ok vato.

Get an Apple - no security issues online.

Anonymous said...

Damn this guy is awesome!

Someone please make a movie about him!

Anonymous said...

Why kill them when torturing them is so much better

Anonymous said...

I love it,this guy is the MAN !!! Shoot and KILL a zeta first and ask questions later.And for those of you "human rights" bleeding heart "liberals" that say this man is wrong that he "shall not kill" (EVEN DRUG CARTEL HITMEN)....well FU** YOU !!! JAJAJA

Anonymous said...

Ardent - why do you sneer at everyone?

On March 13, Victor Gallardo age 50, director of operations of the municipal police of Torreon and Patricia Gonzalez age 26 Torreon municipal police officer were chased, caught and gunned down in Torreon, Coahuila. That is/was Mr. Villa's police dept - no?

Anonymous said...

This is what Mexico needs and I feel he's welling to die for Mexico...

Anonymous said...

While it is hard not to appreciate this kind of attitude but it has its problems, namely alienating the population even further and of course it also leads to the soldiers planting weapons on civilians so they can just say that "Look we only killed narcos!"

Anonymous said...

He probably works for CDG.
And you people call the US a police state with thug cops.... seems like anyone could get away with murder in that town by dropping a few shells near the corpse and saying "Look, I killed a Z!"

Anonymous said...

Kill all the motherfuking pricks, General. Be careful out there and fuck los "desechos humanos" a dead traficker is a good traficker !!!

Anonymous said...

Cancún.- El gobernador de Quintana Roo, Roberto Borge Angulo, reiteró que su gobierno fortalecerá la estructura de seguridad pública para garantizar la tranquilidad de esta entidad, eje del turismo mexicano, que recibe en promedio, un millón de visitantes al mes y más de 40 por ciento del ingreso total de divisas para las arcas nacionales.

Mencionó que el proyecto de reestructuración encomendado al general Carlos Bibiano Villa Castillo, que iniciará el 4 de abril, incluye la creación de una subsecretaría de Seguridad Pública especial para la zona norte, sede de la mayor parte de la estructura turística de Quintana Roo, en Cancún, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres y la Riviera Maya.

Esta dependencia estará a cargo de otro ameritado militar, el general Jesús Cícero Salazar, actual jefe en Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila; por los serios golpes infligidos al crimen organizado, este militar, como el general Villa, fue blanco de atentados, salió herido en uno y en dos ocasiones recibió amenazas de muerte.

Roberto Borge señaló que ante la amenaza de la escalada de violencia en el norte del país analizó con el secretario de la Defensa, general Guillermo Galván, la necesidad de preservar el orden en Quintana Roo; “tendremos amplia coordinación con la Comandancia de la X Región Militar y la 34ava. Zona Militar con sede en Chetumal”, señaló.

El general Galván estableció que Quintana Roo es pieza fundamental de la estrategia de combate al crimen organizado en el país, por el enclave estratégico de su geografía, fue el secretario quién sugirió que incorporáramos a los generales Villa Castillo y Cícero Salazar en la secretaría estatal de Seguridad Pública, expresó el gobernador electo en un comunicado emitido por su oficina.

El gobernador electo y el secretario de la Defensa coincidieron en que la nueva subsecretaría permitirá establecer una coordinación permanente entre las policías del estado y municipios.

Source: http://ntrzacatecas.com/noticias/mexico/2011/03/13/quintana-roo-reforzara-la-estructura-de-seguridad-publica/

Anonymous said...

I understand how people can admire what this general says (and maybe does) but this is how death squads start. Extra-judicial judgment out of public sight is not good. His actions would just create more repression. His words just carry on the macho myth that the narcos love also, he's just on the official side, not really any different if his words are true. It takes more than being a tough guy to solve problems like this.

Anonymous said...

For all of you crying corruption, this general does not make a distinction between chapos or zetas....he wants them all dead. He sleeps in a military base, he knows he is safe. As far as the women, he probably relies on escorts. I don't blame him, no wife would put up with he line of work.

Viva el general.

ckretjr said...

@ March 15, 2011 8:28 PM , If u live in a town controlled by zetas, why don't u help do something about it? Shit, u just bury ur head in the sand too? Ur not willing to help get rid of them? damn it, another one who only wants to type and criticize and not help the real problem in mexico!

Anonymous said...

God Bless that general, it's about time Mexico should be proud, a man of honor and pride. This general should have been there all the time, What took you so long Mr. President. God Bless General Castillo, a man Mexico should be proud of.

Juan Jesus Gafones said...

He has been transfered fron Torreon, to Quintana Roo......Did he asked to be transfered???
A lot of bla bla bla and no to much action; he traveled in Torreon in an armed vehicle, with 25 men, a launch granade and a.44 magnun gun. Meanwhile the regular citizens (us) have to travel con una mano adelante y otra atras no'mas....

Anonymous said...

Falling in love all over again!
Imjustagirl

Anonymous said...

ckretjr said...
@ March 15, 2011 8:28 PM , If u live in a town controlled by zetas, why don't u help do something about it? Shit, u just bury ur head in the sand too? Ur not willing to help get rid of them? damn it, another one who only wants to type and criticize and not help the real problem in mexico!

March 16, 2011 1:35 PM


Hey bigshot, why don't you come visit us this summer and show us how we should deal with these guys?
What do you suggest? Do you know anything at all about what it's like to live in Mexico?

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ here come the death squads. I'm surprised no one is blaming School of Americas for this guy yet.
This kind of justice makes law enforcement look ignorant and backward. Too lazy to do real police work? Then just kill a random person and call them a narco. It's funny that you people always cry foul and say all the army/marine/federale vs. narco gunfight pics are staged with planted guns, but you cheerlead for this guy when he does the same shit.

Layla2 said...

Thanks for the Source: http://ntrzacatecas.com/noticias/mexico/2011/03/13/quintana-roo-reforzara-la-estructura-de-seguridad-publica

"The governor of Quintana Roo, Roberto Borge Angulo, reiterated that his government will strengthen the public security structure to ensure the tranquility of this entity, Mexican tourism hub, which receives on average one million visitors per month and over 40 percent of total foreign exchange income to the national coffers."

I thought so. After Acapulco, Mazatlan and Veracruz, MX cannot afford to loose QRoo.

Layla2 said...

Aren't the Zetas in Quintanna Roo?

Anonymous said...

@Layla2
Yes they(Zetas) have set up a strong presence in the state of Quintana Roo. Economically speaking Cancun is of vital importance to Mexico compared to other tourist destinations..

Anonymous said...

@ anon March 16, 2011 10:43 PM ...

And the Z have connections with Cuban smuggling rings working out of Cancun

ckretjr said...

@ March 16, 2011 6:43 PM, yes I do. I live on the border and have two stores in Reynosa as well. Had to shut one down cause I refused to pay the fucking quota! I didn't say I had the answers but hell, I'd at least try SOMETHING! If you know of the violence "first hand" does that mean your a zeta too? Or do you just sit back and watch all that evil shit they do and turn the other cheek so they won't fuck with you?

Anonymous said...

United States Salute you, semper FI , never die, you are my hero . get rid of the garbage, reminds of Gen Mcarthur

Anonymous said...

funny how he only mentions that he`d only kill zetas. what about memembers of other cartels? does he let them go free? if so so much for all the tough talk

Anonymous said...

@March 17, 2011 4:00 PM
Did you even bother to read the article? I would answer your stupid question but go back AND READ!!!!

Anonymous said...

LOS ZETAS ESTAN EN MORELOS POR LA VRECHA QUE ESTA EN EL HEGIDO EL ALAMO POR AY SEVAN A SABINAS Y ROSITA COAH QUE VALLA LA MARINA POR QUE LOS SOLDADOS QUE ESTAN EN LA GARITA LES TIENEN MIEDO Y LESDAN SU MOCHE SY VAN LESIERAN EL CAMINO

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