Reflections from a resident of Piedras Negras
My God! And look at how many people still protect the criminals!
Look at these weapons, just imagine who these weapons are used against.
And think of the many more weapons hidden out there in so many places around Coahuila and Mexico.
I'm still on the side of the law, our institutions, our military and our President. We must support them as true Mexican citizens or we will end up losing our Mexico.
Many hypocritical politicians fight for the sovereignty of Mexico, but they are not interested in anything but their own benefit. They want to spoonfeed their poison to the people and deceive them with their little social programs, tiny gardens and second rate bridges.
These politicians are always against the Federal Government, who they blame for all our security problems. But they turn a blind eye with these weapons, because they are involved right in the middle of all this shit.
And they walk around quietly, quietly…..HYPOCRITES.
Two days later Marines detained 20 municipal policemen from San Buenaventura including the municipal director of public safety,Jorge Alberto Garza Cabrera, for investigation of possible links to Los Zetas.
In all, 50 of the 64 municipal police are suspected of having links to organized crime. By Friday most of these police officers had quit the force.
Marine officials estimated that up to 100 zetas had been training at the site based on the immense quantity of spent cartridges littering the area.
Of particular concern was the high number of ballistic vests and camouflage uniforms with the "Marina" (marine) logo and patches.
Several incidents of assaults and robberies at checkpoints by men dressed as Marines have been reported in areas of Coahuila where Marines are not deployed. These reports led to intelligence that resulted in the operation in Villa Union.
In all more than 600 camouflage and black uniforms and pairs of military boots were seized at the site.
Naval sources revealed that the camouflage uniforms are original United States Army issue and the "Marina" logos were added with letters and colors similar to those used by Mexican Marines. The sources questioned the lack of U.S. control over government issue uniforms which end up in the hands of organized crime in Mexico.
Also on June 8th, an Army unit reported the capture of 16 assault weapons (12 AK-47's and 4 AR-15's) in the municipality of Zaragoza. The arms were found inside a shallow mine shaft on a property named "3 Hermanos".
The northern border state of Coahuila continues to be the focus of military operations that have led to the discovery and seizures of significant weapons arsenals, including 454 assault weapons and rifles and substantial quantities of drugs belonging to the Los Zetas criminal organization.
Los Zetas consolidated their hold on the state during the PRI administration of Humberto Moreira who was elected Governor in 2005 and served until January 2011 when he resigned his post to assume the position of national president of the PRI party, a key position for a person willing to secure electoral success by any means necessary in the 2011 Gubernatorial elections (Estado de Mexico and Coahuila) and the presidential election in 2012.
While Moreira was in the Governor’s office Coahuila seemed to be an island of relative calm surrounded by the violence torn states of Durango, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. The only serious danger to Zeta operatives from the government were occasional federal operations in the capitol city of Saltillo, long considered a refuge and residence for that criminal organization.
Except for Torreon in southern Coahuila, where an increasingly violent and largely unreported war of attrition between “los Chapos” (loyal to the Sinaloa cartel) and Los Zetas has gripped the city, the violence against society by the Zetas was still present but seemed to be managed on a more selective level. During Moreira’s term Coahuila led Mexico in the number of reported “disappearances” of civilians with no links to organized crime.
Since Moreira left the state in early 2011 and left behind a weak interim Governor, Coahuila has seen a gradual descent into the widespread violence and insecurity that have swept large areas of the surrounding states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango and Chihuahua.
It is within the context of this plunge into lawlessness that in the spring of 2011 large contingents of Federal Police, the Army and Marines were deployed to reinforce sparse Army units in Coahuila in an attempt to stop the deteriorating situation and take back the “public spaces” from organized crime and to provide a safe environment for the gubernatorial elections scheduled for July of this year.
Some residents have also echoed that a primary self serving reason for this deployment is to help the fortunes of the candidate of Calderon’s PAN party, Senator Guillermo Anaya, who is still perceived to be far behind the PRI candidate, and Humberto Moreira’s brother and federal deputy, Ruben Moreira
Sources from northern Coahuila have related how the presence of the military has largely driven Los Zetas underground in that region of the state. Residents of the smaller cities and towns that were under the de facto control of organized crime report a return to a more normal way of life. The fear of random, deadly violence at the hands of gunmen has diminished, although the violence has not been entirely eliminated.
One gentleman from Zaragoza spoke of how the population endured a prolonged period of night time curfews, in some cases self imposed and in other cases imposed by Zetas. He spoke of feeling like he had crawled out of hiding from under a rock, again being able to enjoy simple pleasures like strolling among his neighbors, walking the plaza safely in the evening, partaking in night-time family backyard “carne asadas” (barbecues) and visiting neighboring communities.
Another gentleman from Piedras Negras explained that the return to near normalcy in his city was due to the location of semi permanent military checkpoints on all roads that connect municipalities to each other, greatly limiting the freedom of movement of gunmen.
A resident of Allende spoke of Zeta recruits brought in from San Luis Potosi, driving around in large caravans and acting like an occupation army with the residents of the municipality. He explained that they were responsible for much of the violence and disappearances there and felt that the situation was so desperate the only hope for salvation was for the Sinaloa cartel to invade and cleanse Allende of Zetas. This was before the Federal units arrived in force.
The greatest fear of these individuals is that the military presence will disappear after the July elections and the violence and impunity of Los Zetas will return with a vengeance. They cannot help but feel they may yet become another Tamaulipas, especially if the Gulf cartel or people from the Gente Nueva arrive to fight for the drug trafficking routes into Texas, or simply to kill Zetas.
They are people who feel they do not control their fate.
It is within this scenario that military operations continue to yield positive results, especially with the removal of the large number of armaments from Zeta hands. Although one must assume that a majority of weapons are still hidden away, these seizures are an important step in a prolonged process of imposing the rule of law and reducing the impunity with which criminals operate, especially if these successes continue.