By Chris Covert
Five armed suspects suspected in the deaths if 22 individuals were detained by Nuevo Leon state ministerial agents and a unit of the Agencia Estatal de Investigaciones (AEI), according to a Mexican news accounts.
The detainees were identified as Ezau Alejandro Saldaña Olvera, Carlos Arturo Bazaldua Escalante, Jesus Guadalupe Frías Mendoza o Hesus Alejandro Drias Lozano, Mario Vazquez Ramirez and Francisco Javier Sanchez Robles.
According to a news item posted on the website of Milenio news daily, the five suspects were operating as halcones, or lookouts for the Los Zetas drug cartel in Anahuac municipality in Nuevo Leon state.
Quoting the Nuevo Leon state Director de Comunicacion Social del Gobierno del Estado, Jorge Domene Zambrano, the five detainees had been operating in Anahuac municipality between April and August of 2012.
In total only four complaints had been filed against the crew. Three of the detainees were placed under arrest on a road leading to Monclova, Coahuila this month. Information developed from that arrest led to the other two members of the local gang.
In addition to the 22 allegedly killed, the crew also committed kidnappings and carjackings in the area, and were employed as hitmen. Among the victims were individuals who had denounced members of the crew, relatives of enemies and operatives of rival local gangs.
Among the cases allegedly involving the crew include:
- An April, 2012 cases of a hit on a woman and her daughter who had gone to the police about the crew.
- An April, 2012 case of hit on an unidentified female who was a relative of an individuals who had denounced one of the crew to the local police.
- A June, 2012 carjacking victim.
- A June, 2012 kill order against an unidentified individual.
- A June 2012 hit against a drug dealer and his son.
- A July, 2012 hit against a female acquaintance of one of the crew's leaders.
- A July 2012 hit against a mechanic accused of stealing money from the crew.
- A July 2012 hit on a female who was living in ejido Los Rodriguez.
- An August hit on a male member of a rival gang.
- Two men were killed because they had posted photos of escapees of the Apodaca prison break last February.
- Two men who were abducted from 20 de Noviembre colony.
- Six others who were identified as relatives of a former crew member known only as Z50.
Anahuac municipality is on Nuevo Leon Highway 1, about 40 kilometers southwest of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas and about 15 kilomters west of the Tamaulipas-Nuevo Leon state border.
Contraband seized in the investigation included five vehicles and communications equipment.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com