Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Trial Exposes Zetas' US Ties

Monday, January 30, 2012 |

Sunday trial recap: Trial Exposes Zetas' US Ties.
Posted in Borderland Beat Forum by Havana

By Jason Buch
San Antonio Express News

The Zetas criminal organization evolved and expanded between 2001 and 2008, going from hired guns to a sprawling drug syndicate with tentacles reaching into the U.S. — and trained hit men to protect the gang's interests here.

 The history and inner workings of the cartel were laid out by federal prosecutors over five days of testimony this month in a Laredo courtroom. Former cartel traffickers testified about the Zetas' smuggling operations, and hit men told jurors how they killed for its leaders — slaying their enemies with bullets in the U.S. and kidnapping rivals in Mexico and slaughtering them while bound.

 The testimony helped convict Gerardo Castillo Chavez, 25, who prosecutors say was an enforcer for the cartel in 2006 in Laredo. But it also provided a window into the Zetas and their transition from the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel to one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in Mexico.
Gerardo Castillo Chavez in Laredo, Texas.
Photo: AP / SA

Witnesses detailed six killings and eight attempted hits by the Zetas in 2005 and 2006.

 “By then, we knew things had changed,” Assistant U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno said in his closing arguments. “By then, they were hunting people in the United States.”

 Today, the gang has split from the Gulf Cartel and is waging a bloody war against their former masters. But in 2001, when the prosecutors' story began, the Zetas were hired guns, a group of former Mexican army special forces who'd been dispatched to Nuevo Laredo to secure it for the Gulf Cartel. They also went to war against the west coast Sinaloa Cartel, which was trying to make its own inroads.
  
The trafficker
One of the first Nuevo Laredo crime figures the Zetas brought on board was Miguel “El 40” Treviño Morales. Today, Treviño Morales is believed to be the Zetas' second in command. But when Dallas drug dealer Mario Alvarado met the Zeta while hunting white-tailed deer in the early 2000s near Nuevo Laredo, Treviño Morales was an up-and-coming trafficker, feared by his peers but not yet in charge.

 It wasn't long before Treviño Morales and Alvarado went into business, moving multi-kilogram loads of cocaine.

 “He just kept throwing drugs at me,” Alvarado testified. “He'd give me 30 to 50 keys at a time. I was coming down once a week.”

 When one of those loads got seized, he was responsible for the costs. Eventually, he owed Treviño Morales $500,000. The commander's brother, Omar “El 42” Treviño Morales, called Alvarado in late 2004 and told him to come to Nuevo Laredo. The Zetas handcuffed Alvarado and took his truck.

 They held him for about a month. When Alvarado's cohorts in the U.S. had paid off most of his debt, the Zetas let him go.
  
The Zetas cross the river
By 2005, the Zetas had expanded to the U.S. They had stash houses in Laredo and were crossing drugs at the Rio Grande, testimony showed. They were also killing in the U.S.

 Former Zetas hit man Wenceslao Tovar Jr., 26, testified in this month's trial that in 2005 he and his friend Gabriel Cardona, 25, went to work for the Zetas.
  
After their first hit, Cardona and Tovar were taken to meet Treviño Morales.
“We were taken to a ranch,” Tovar testified. “When we got there, I saw ‘40' there and he was executing three people. He was cutting their heads off.”

 In the biggest revelation of the trial, Tovar testified he attended training camps where Zeta recruits were required to kill bound men with machetes and sledgehammers. One of those camps was near the northern Mexican city of San Fernando, where authorities last year uncovered mass graves containing 200 bodies.

 Tovar also testified that for a period in late 2005, he and Treviño Morales' bodyguard kidnapped dozens of people in Nuevo Laredo that they turned over to the Zeta commander for execution.
  
The targets
Jurors heard that Treviño Morales dispatched at least four crews of hit men to Laredo. Some, like one headed by Cardona, were made up of U.S. citizens. Others were made up of Mexican citizens.

Miguel Angel Trevino-Morales (AKA 40, Cuarenta, L-40, David Estrada-Corado and Comandante Forty) 

A Mexican Mafia prison gang member who was sent to collect money from the Zetas in the border town of Miguel Alemán described his meeting there with Treviño Morales. Surrounded by his bodyguards, the Zetas commander was flipping through a binder full of pictures depicting the corpses of targets the gang had eliminated and the faces of people still on the list. A Drug Enforcement Administration agent testified that the gang was looking for about 40 people in the U.S.

The Zetas' No. 1 target was a Laredo-area trafficker with ties to the Texas Syndicate prison gang named Jesus Maria “Chuy” Resendez.

Resendez dodged an assassination attempt in 2004. In 2005, Treviño Morales' killers in the U.S. assassinated a former Nuevo Laredo cop under his employ. In 2006, Resendez's brother and one of his nephews were wounded in separate shootings.

On April 2, 2006, the Zetas found their target. A pickup full of hit men from two crews pulled up alongside his truck and riddled Resendez and another nephew with bullets, firing nearly 100 times.

The informant
Expanding north of the Rio Grande carried risks for the Zetas. Controlling trafficking routes in the U.S. was more profitable, but it made the gang more susceptible to infiltration by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

By 2006, they had a problem. In February of that year, when the Zetas tried to bring nearly 1,000 pounds of pot across the river to Laredo, members of a Border Patrol special response team were waiting. A month later, Laredo police arrested two sicarios (hit men) who swam across the Rio Grande to carry out a hit.

And when Cardona and his crew, fresh off the Resendez slayings, moved into a new safe house in Laredo on April 8, 2006, DEA agents had installed cameras and microphones in it. A Zetas operative who'd turned informant took the witness stand and described how he was able to alert law enforcement about the Zetas' moves.

“I told (Cardona, the sicario leader), ‘I was going to be in charge of everything (you) do,'” the informant testified. “I asked if I could come with them” as the hit men set up surveillance.

DEA agents Chris Diaz and J.J. Gomez testified that at the beginning of 2006, they began working with the informant as part of their investigation into Treviño Morales, named Operation Prophecy. They worked with Laredo police detective Robert Garcia to thwart the sicarios' plans — in one instance arresting their target before the killers could get to him, then releasing him when they'd moved on. On April 11, 2006, police arrested five people at the gang's Laredo safe house.

The results
The investigation resulted in charges against 34 Zetas members and associates, including Treviño Morales. Since an indictment was unsealed in 2008, 15 people have been brought to court to face justice. All have been convicted of state or federal crimes, including Castillo Chavez, the only defendant to go to trial.

Most of the remaining defendants are fugitives in Mexico. One was killed in 2009 in a Mexican prison.

“I think it exposed what was not as well known then as it is now — just how much they had infiltrated into the United States, not only operating these local cell groups for enforcement, but also transportation to Dallas and Chicago and throughout the United States,” said Jesus Guillen, a Laredo attorney who prosecuted several of the sicarios in state court. “I think it surprised quite a few people just how expansive the cartel operations are within the United States.”

In 2006, when the hit men were arrested, Laredo recorded 24 homicides, the most the city of more than 200,000 had seen since 2003. In 2007, that number fell to eight. Taking out the sicario crews hurt the Zetas, Guillen said, and so did publicly airing their leaders' names.

But the Zetas' continued to operate in the U.S., jurors heard.

In 2007 and 2008, a former trafficker testified, the gang used corrupt employees of bus companies to move hundreds of pounds of cocaine to Dallas and ship hundreds of thousands of dollars back to Nuevo Laredo.

And while Laredo's homicide rate hasn't approached the high numbers it saw between 2003 and 2006, state prosecutors there announced Wednesday — the same day federal jurors found Castillo Chavez guilty — that they'd indicted 13 people accused of kidnapping and killing for the Zetas.

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22 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

How can the USA let trevino as nothing happen roaming all around mexico and let him order killings in USA.

Anonymous said...

El Arabe is captured in Nuevo Leon  member of Los Zetas and a  multihomicide.

Written by Claudio de La Garza January 20, 2012



During the morning, authorities from the state of Nuevo Leon presented of a major criminal, captured on January 20 in the town of Salinas Victoria is Enrique Flores Elizondo, (a) El Arabe or "El Cuervo", 35 year-old native of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, a member of the criminal group Los Zetas.
Along with him hree of his accomplices were captured identified as Jose Arturo Flores Cavazos, alias "El Paya" Aaron Raúl González Rodríguez, "El Pollo 13" and Erasmo Villarreal fields, while four others remain at large.
According to the authorities of Nuevo Leon, The Arab is responsible for at least 75 homicides, violent events that took place in several municipalities in the state and also in Tamaulipas.
The security spokesman, Jorge Domene Zambrano and Nuevo Leon Attorney Adrian de la Garza, led the presentation of the gunman.
El Arabe is from the state of Tamaulipas, and is linked to several attacks in passenger buses, one of those events were, ehen he executed 50 people who traveled in commmercial transportation.
The murderer also carried out the slaughter of a family a few months ago where a girl died.

The crimes of "Arab"

Event I. January 2011

Unlawful deprivation of liberty and murder of 15 bus passengers in the Central Bus Cerralvo, from Reynosa, but in total there were 48 people executed who were from the state of Celaya, Guanajuato.

Event II. March 2011

Unlawful deprivation of liberty and killing of at least 12 people, who were traveling in a bus from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, and were intercepted at the Central Bus Cerralvo.

Event III. March 2011

Murder of 9 passengers on a bus in Cerralvo.

Event IV. March 2011
Murder of 4 people on a ranch in Cerralvo.

Event V.  (Unspecified date)
In Servicar Romo, in Cerralvo, killing a person whom is burned on a ranch in that municipality.

Event VI. In April 2011.
“levanton” (kidnapping) and murder of six policemen of Cerralvo who refused to work with organized crime.
Event VII.

Aggression against the occupants of a van on Highway Voyager Paras-Agualeguas, where a couple and their 6 year old daughter lose their lifes.

Event VIII.
Confrontation with members of the CDG, on Highway Miguel German, General Trevino, hitting a Chevy car that remained in the crossfire, killing the two occupants, one being a woman and the other a minor
Note: The Agency did not report on several executions in which Elizondo says he participated in .

Anonymous said...

Can anyone fill me in on Z40's backstory? Wiki states he was a one time GAFE member but I've heard he wasn't an original Zetas. I've read things about some Los Texans, is that a gang he worked for?

Anonymous said...

His is the BB version:

http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2010/04/miguel-trevino-morales-z-40.html

Anonymous said...

I will like to know which one Miguel Angel Trevino's brothers were the ones killed, when and were?

Anonymous said...

@11:21 AM That's a bullshit he was never a gafe,well to tell the truth he did not even join the boy scouts.

Anonymous said...

Miguel Trevino was never a GAFE . He was a low level street dealer in Nuevo Laredo in colonia Hidalgo. He worked for a group called Los Texas .

Anonymous said...

google the bastard

Anonymous said...

Miguel Trevino Z-40 was never a Ex-Gafe,But Let me tell u he recived training from a Ex-Marine in Nuevo Laredo it lasted 6 Months the Training.....Most Probably he knows how to shoot well.42 his brother also went through a Training in Nuevo Laredo the same as 40.Miguel usted to be a "Tejas Member"

Anonymous said...

He used to wash los tejas cars

Anonymous said...

Have any of you seen Z40's mugshot when he was a very young man from Houston Tx ? I wonder what it was for.

Anonymous said...

Gerardo looks retarded.

Anonymous said...

Emite PGR Alerta contra 3 ex gobernadores y 46 mas

Anonymous said...

Yeah! He was Los Texas car wash boy!

Anonymous said...

A lot of this sounds like typical police hyped up story.I wouldn't believe a thing Gabriel Cardona,said.He can say the most outrageous shit he can think of,about Trevino Morales,and he will be thanked for it.In fact,the more brutal and murderous the better.Trevino Morales,has been with Z from the early days,he is not an old Z,as in the original cadre of around 32,who were in the armed forces,but these original Zs then trained cadres of others.He is sometimes mocked on here because he worked for Los Texas as a sort of gopher,washing cars,messages etc.But baby look at him now.Everyone starts somewhere and he obviously showed intelligence and some sort of aptitude,because he came all the way up,and he is still there,along with the main man himself.The main reason Z is what it is today,El Verdugo,the authorities have got to take The Lazca out.He is the one who built them up,took it on from Guzman Decena after being a sicario himself.

Anonymous said...

A Mexican or American ex-marine,.please clarify what you just stated. Because he received a little bit of training from Guzman Decena the founder of the Zetas. Guzman Decena was a GAFE commander, but his training didn't helped him any, the first time he engaged the Marinos they killed his ass in a heartbeat!

Anonymous said...

He is where he is now because he betrayed every cartel he has worked for and snitch on his bosses.

Anonymous said...

according to report, they missed their target known as Resendez

Anonymous said...

January 30, 2012 5:16 PM .Guzman Decena,is the one who started the recruitment.The first 32 Z were all in the armed forces,and went over to him.That is it,no one else.That 32 trained up others,cadres etc,who themselves trained others,years ago.
As for Guzman Decena,somewhat of a hot head,didn't he get killed in a restaurant or outside?Anyone can be killed,training or not.Trevino Morales,was not in the GAFE.The Z is just a clave,he has other alias's.

Anonymous said...

like I said beforr you can say whatever you want about z40 but truth is years he was a car wash boy, yeah he was a low level thug,and yeah he was never a gafe but to all those that don't know ..most of los tejas men who humiliated him in the past z40 has killed most of them or run them out the city.a while back it is known that El borrado tried to send his brother to sinaloa to work for El chaputos people but the zetas and z40 were waiting for him in the outskirts of nuevo Laredo killing the brother 3 more men and the wife.z40 is a top boss for something hate him or respect him. Z REMEMBER MY WORDS MARK THEM DOWN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT.NUEVO LAREDO TAMAULIPAZ IS NOT MATAMOROS O REYNOSA WHERE THEY GIVE THEIR ASS TO THE SINALOAENSES FOR SOME KILOS AND PRIVELEGE TO HEAR THERE FAKE CORRIDOS.NOW EVERY 1 IN MSTAMOROS AND REYNOSA ARE TALKING LIKE SINALOAENSES.YOU GUYS ARE A JOKE TO TAMAULIPAS LETTING LA GENTE NUEVA COME IN TO TAMPS THERE JUST SIGNING THEIR DEATH WARRANT. IT USED TO BE A FIRM,A UNION OF TAMAULIPECOS FIGHTING THE SINALOAENSES TO NEVER COME IN OUR STATE CDG N ZETAS TOGETHER I USED TO BE PROUD OF THAT.BUT YOU CDG HAD TO GET GREEDY AND SELFISH AND SAW THAT ZETAS WERE DOING A WAY MORE BETTER JOB AS A ORGANIZED GROUP .YOU COWARDS OF CDG MAY DENIED IT BUT YOU ALL KNOW ITS TRUE,STARTED BLAIMING LOS ZETAS FOT ALL THR KIDNAPPINGS THEY COMMIT IT UNDER CDG ORDERS IN ORDER TO WIN THE PROPAGANDA AND CLAIM YOU ARE THE GOOD GUYS HAHA COWARDS WITH NO DIGNITY TO ADMIT YOUR FIFLTY WORK. THERE'S STILL EXTORTIONS AND KIDNAPPINGS INNOCENT KILLS IN MATAMOROS Y REYNOSA AND THERE'S NO ZETAS THERE
WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU, THAT CDG ARE A BUNCH OF HIPPOCRATES. IF YOU WOULD HAVE BALLS LIKE A REAL TAMAULIPECO YOU WOULD ADMIT YOUR SHIT.ARRIVA TAMAULIPAS

Anonymous said...

Stoy with you brother tamaulipecos vs tamaulipecos its a shame we killing each other while the sinaloaens hiding in there ranches in Durango n sinaloa. you know your shit let me tell you in some points you made.Z N CDG SHOULD UNITE but it will never happen z40 doesn't forgive the murderers of concord 3 but good that metro3 is hell burning with concord as well....ahi los wacho. Razaaa

Anonymous said...

At January 31, 2012 12:53 PM .Thanks for your comments bro,keep em comin.This shit here is about learning things,no snitching or shady shit.No matter what cheerleaders say,these dudes at the top are there for a reason.They been sicario themselves,they put the work in,and rose to the top. ARRIVA TAMAULIPAS .Keep the comments coming bro,people want to hear what some on here got to say,simple as that,with no bullshit.

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