Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Mexico captures "La Rana" alleged No. 3 leader of Los Zetas

Thursday, October 13, 2011 |



BY TIM JOHNSON
MCCLATCHY NEWS


In a significant blow to the vicious crime group known as Los Zetas, the Mexican army Friday said it had captured the No. 3 leader of the cartel, Carlos Oliva Castillo.

The arrest came in Saltillo, capital of the northern Mexican state of Coahuila that abuts Texas, and set off hours of running gun battles as underlings tried to divert soldiers and spring the man they call La Rana, or “The Frog,” army spokesman Ricardo Trevilla said.

Escorted by two army commandos in ski masks, Oliva Castillo was paraded before journalists at a news conference. He wore a checked red-and-white shirt, jeans and a fluorescent orange vest.

Trevilla described him as the commander for Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, northeastern corridor states for drug trafficking to the United States.

The only two Zeta leaders above the captured suspect, Trevilla said, are two former members of an elite army special forces unit trained to combat drug cartels, Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano and Miguel Angel Trevino Morales. Both carry a $5 million U.S. government bounty and a roughly $2 million Mexican reward.

An army statement said intelligence work led them to a safe house in Saltillo, 250 miles from the Texas border. Soldiers took the house and arrested Oliva Castillo without firing a shot, it said.

Oliva Castillo joined the Zetas in 2005 in Tamaulipas state, the army said, then moved to Nuevo Leon in 2009 and rose last year to regional boss.

The army said Oliva Castillo gave a direct order to a mid-level mobster in late August to send assailants into the Casino Royale in Monterrey, Mexico’s third-largest city, and set it afire. The blaze trapped gamblers inside and left 52 people dead.

Along with Oliva Castillo, soldiers also arrested Juan Carlos Garza, his chief bodyguard, and a woman identified as Irasema Lopez Garza.

Los Zetas, the former enforcer wing of the Gulf Cartel, broke from the parent group in early 2010 amid bitter infighting. Given to beheading and disemboweling their foes, the transnational group is now considered one of the two largest crime groups in Mexico, along with the Sinaloa Cartel of the Pacific coast state of the same name.

Rival crime gangs despise Los Zetas and have joined forces, in some regions, to combat them. A new vengeance group, “Zeta killers,” has risen up in Veracruz state on the Gulf Coast.

Unlike rival crime groups, which stick largely to drug trafficking, Los Zetas have branched into numerous criminal enterprises — including extortion, human trafficking, pirating of goods, gunrunning and kidnapping — and occupy territory, buying off or killing local authorities.

The group has tentacles in the United States, Central America and into the Andean region, and its ruthless reputation brought it into a global plot this week.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said Iran allegedly plotted to hire a Mexican drug cartel, presumably Los Zetas, to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States in a Washington, D.C. restaurant. A Drug Enforcement Administration informant posed as a gangster.

Los Zetas had no known link to the sting operation, and have made no comment about use of their image to carry off the deception.





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22 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome, keep up the good work gentlemen. These scourges in mexican society don't do men's work, they are cowards in numbers that hide behind ski masks.

Anonymous said...

You know,if that was somewhere like the UK,showing them to the media the way they do,all the bleeding hearts would be complaining that their human rights are being violated,showing them like that.And people i am not joking,that is how bad it is,European Court of Human Rights,and no one elected them.Anyway,they should get some good canarie song out of him,who knows who's next,if he is as tight to Lazca,40,as they say.

Anonymous said...

Who hear knows if this was really number 3 on the Zetas pole? Would be nice to know it was. But that is to be seen and proven.

Anonymous said...

Looks like someone missed their payment to the Mexican Government. They don't take you to collections, they bust your ass!

-790

Anonymous said...

No more money to buy yourself out Mr.frog.yeah did you ever think that the goverment is loyal to your cause you were very grong,goverment and police won`t help you anymore if you don`t have the same monthly amount of money you were giveing to them this is the classic.love and hate, no money no service.

Anonymous said...

hope we have a 2012 with no Zetas

Anonymous said...

the way they worded it i think he was 3rd in charge in the sense that he only answers to lacaza and 40 but not 3rd in charge of anything outside is area of operations

~~~el spaceio~~~

Anonymous said...

Hey guys i was watching a video of the mexican soldiers in a firefight those guy are pretty hardcore. I don't think usa is going to have to send soldiers at all only train the mex soldiers the mexican soldier said with the training the U.S gave us its easy the u.s soldier told him that they have simliar ambushes in Iraq ... they are only brutal shitty terrorist but warriors nah just some fags with a couple weeks of training hahaha

Anonymous said...

lazcana and trevino must be very nervous! Each week they arrest a zeta leader more important than the last! Seems like each zeta captured gives info for the next zeta capture! Guess who`s next!!!
I imagine if they don`t want to inform, the authorities have matazetas waiting in the next room to wisk them away for a few cerveza.

Anonymous said...

Another piece of SHHHHHHH!!!!!tttt of the streets, i guess his convoy no lo salvo. This is great news!!!! Cheeraleaders salgan a defender!

Anonymous said...

why is everyone so focused on the 'zetas'?...you mean to write that the only cartel to torture & behead is a 'zeta'?...seems like everyone who comments here is either a 'zeta' friend or enemy....as for jr. being kidnapped..why didn't his father send him away to another country...even the 'godfather' did that for michaels protection....

Anonymous said...

Omg they caught la rana guess what that means,the guy that was right under him must be real happy right now in his new position.Now if it was el lazca or trevino then thats different.

Anonymous said...

Wheres the interrogation video????? I wanna see where the zetas stand and what are their current alliances??

Anonymous said...

I thought el mamin was there #3, but since he was arrested things prob changed. Good news anyway - Da Bears

Anonymous said...

capture?? i doubt it, he was handed over to take the fall to take some of the heat off(publicly) the zetas
in the mexican media, no????????

Anonymous said...

Yeah mamito z7 was número 3

Anonymous said...

4 17 his fathers dead, and everyone hates los zetas becouse they extort, kidnap, and kill innocent people way more then any other cartel. If your going to sell drugs, do it. Don't kidnap people and extort companies who provide jobs to the country. They killed all those people in san fernando for nothing, and killed all those people in the casino. Cartel title is to much for them, there organized scum bags.

Anonymous said...

@October 13, 2011 4:17 PM

Some readers has just blinded themselves by rage and other cartels' propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Look at La Rana, then look at Stud Muffin with CDG. Who would you fear?

Anonymous said...

I don't want to piss off all the posters BUT CALDERON deserves a shitload of credit!!

Anonymous said...

@7:57 PM...He does if his motives are clear and just for all, but they are not. He has been bought sir. This self willed war has cost Mexico it's heart and soul. It has created hardships unimaginable for the common people and they have no protection. Let me put it this way. I would hate to have a small business there and try to support and protect my family with a 22 rifle. It was not like this 5 years ago. He has created nothing but heartache and embarrassment for the Mexican people. His federal forces are just as corrupt as any of the state and local forces. So yes, he deserves the credit for that but I don't think that is what you meant.

Anonymous said...

@October 13, 2011 10:44 PM

Mexico's heart and soul has been having price all these decades what it's being sold to DTOs. This war is the cost now.
If Mexico continues to allow DTOs for a price this kind of wars comes out every now and then, it's part of the deal with devil. Are you happy with that kind of arrangement or are you ready to get victory through one longer hard time? It's up to you, Mexico.

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