*Sinaloa spelled Sinaola and Mata Zeta instead of Mata Zetas
We typically think of Mexican drug cartels operating solely in Latin America and moving drugs into the US. So it came as a surprise when news broke that the Iranian government had plans to hire members of a Mexican drug cartel to carry out an assassination on the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington DC.
So who is this Cartel?
They're called Los Zetas.
They began as a group of 31 Mexican Special Forces troops who abandoned their post in the late 90's to defend high ranking members of the Gulf drug cartel. Now they're independent of the Gulf Cartel and have members in the thousands and are the No. 1 organization responsible for the majority of homicides, narcotic-related homicides, beheadings, kidnappings, and the extortions that take place in Mexico.
Their murderous ways have become so prevalent in Mexico that a group seeking vigilante justice has begun targeting members of Los Zeta. The group, Mata Zeta, or the Zeta Killers, recently dumped the tied and beaten bodies of 35 members of Los Zeta on a highway during rush hour in Veracruz.
If you're wondering why you know so little about this cartel, it helps to know that since 2000, 74 journalists have been killed in Mexico, making it difficult for outsiders to receive accurate information.
This week on Around the World Christiane Amanpour looks deeper into Los Zeta and speaks with Navarro Bello, General Director of Zeta Magazine, for perspective on the issue.