The February 7th, 2011 edition of the Proceso weekly news magazine included an article on the takeover of organized crime in the state of Zacatecas by Los Zetas and the impunity with which they operate in that arid central highland territory.
One of the startling revelations that highlighted that impunity was that of the Christmas “fiesta de posada” (a traditional Mexican Christmas celebration) sponsored and attended openly by the head of the Los Zetas criminal organization, Heriberto Lazcano Lazacano “el Lazca”.
The celebration was held in a hall seating 2,000 people in the municipality of Calera de Victor Rosales which borders the state capitol also named Zacatecas. Calera was reportedly cordoned off by Zeta gunmen during the festivities which had been announced by word of mouth and was attended by residents from surrounding municipalities.
During the festivities Lazcano was said to have personally handed out “aguinaldos” (a year end bonus of one month’s extra pay) to attendees of the fiesta.
On Sunday, March 3rd, Calera was the scene of a different type of fiesta.
This time it was Mexico’s Federal Police that mounted a major operation in the municipality that included approximately 300 officers, armored personnel carriers and up to 4 Blackhawk helicopters.
Sources within the SSP, the ministry that oversees the Federal Police, stated that the operation was the result of intelligence gathered by Mexico’s organized crime task force known as Siedo.
The operation was also a show of strength by Mexico’s latest Attorney General, Marisela Morales, the previous head of Siedo, who was appointed to the post after the resignation of Arturo Chavez Chavez.
Previously identified safehouses were raided and 12 alleged members of Los Zetas were taken into custody and flown to Mexico City.
According to media reports no shots were fired during the operation which lasted through the late afternoon.
It is not believed that Heriberto Lazcano was detained during the operation although it was reported that among those arrested was an unidentified high ranking member of Los Zetas.
Capturan federales en Calera a 12 sujetos
“Los Zetas” muestran el musculo
Photography courtesy of Osvaldo Martinez at zacatecasonline.com.mx