After losing several urban cells to the Gulf Cartel, the new leadership of Los Zetas rushed in to fill the gaps in order to organize a counteroffensive around all of northeastern México. They turned to hiring very young hitmen, sending them from San Luis Potosí and Tamaulipas to Nuevo León and Coahuila as reinforcements. Nevertheless, governors Rodrigo Medina and Rubén Moreira announced that they have managed to reduce crime.
Reynosa, Tamaulipas.- Los Zetas are distributing dozens of hitmen throughout plazas all over the northeast, either to strengthen their control or to recover lost territory. This is the case for some municipalities in the metropolitan area of Monterrey seized by the Gulf Cartel.
“In recent days they arrived in Nuevo León, coming from San Luis Potosí, around 40 trucks with armed men. They traveled through dirt roads in order to not be detected”, a federal agent who requested anonymity reported to the magazine Proceso.
State officials were informed that the gunmen seek to recover Santa Catarina and part of Monterrey, as well as Cadereyta, the latter located in southern Nuevo León, according to the source.
Other groups moved from Tamaulipas to Coahuila, but part of the group was captured by a special group in the Coahuila state police, who were detected “thanks to intelligence work”, confirms the state security spokesman, Jesús Carranza.
The official stated that in late September, members of the “Operational Response Group in the Municipality of Saltillo (GROMS) arrested 23 people, including 9 who were underage, suspected of being members of Los Zetas. They seized 17 rifles, $100,000, $48,000 in cash, 1,500 cartridges, chargers, and diverse tactical gear. The alleged gunmen stored all of this in a safe house.
“They confessed to belonging to the criminal group Los Zetas and having reached Saltillo with the goal of supporting the criminal organization and carrying out diverse tasks,” said the statement issued to the state attorney after the capture.
Cracks within the Cartel
The new leadership of Los Zetas, led by Omar Treviño Morales, “El Z-42”, and Ramiro Rojas, “El Rama”(the Tamaulipas plaza boss), as well as the boss that controls Zacatecas, propped up the organization to counter the loss of their various cells, which had joined the Gulf Cartel.
The fracture in the cartel was evident since last September 11 when narcomantas appeared throughout Nuevo Laredo signed by the “Z Renegades” who expressed their dissatisfaction with the leaders who replaced Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, "Z-40", who was captured by the Mexican marines in mid-July.
This is the 2nd major split within the bloody cartel. The first was led by Iván Velázquez Caballero (“El Talibán” “El Z-50”), who accused Treviño Morales with mishandling the cartels money in order to benefit his family, through his brother José Treviño, who has been detained in the United States for laundering money.
The “Z Renegades” launched their offensive against their former comrades through blogs and social networks posting around 150 photographs of young hitmen who were sent in from Nuevo Laredo to Monterrey and cities of Coahuila and Zacatecas.
In the photos you can see youths, even teenagers, carrying AK-47s, AR-15s, body armor, radios and all kinds of guns. Some of them are even wearing the school uniforms from the Nuevo Laredo high schools in which they attended.
The majority were sent in to reinforce the organization in the metropolitan area of Monterrey, where they lost most of their power and influence since the capture of their command structure after the fire that occurred at the Casino Royale on August 25, 2011.
Another reason for losing influence and firepower in the capital of Nuevo León was because of the defection of some local gangs in the areas where they once controlled.
Groups from the colonies of Independencia, Tanques de Guadalupe and Risca, among others in southern Monterrey, agreed to leave the Zetas and be free. Some of the gangs even formed the group “Mata Zetas”, who joined the Gulf Cartel.
The “Triumph” Of the Governors
With the arrival of the Zeta reinforcements, violence reactivated throughout the metropolitan area of Monterrey, but tended to focus on colonies controlled by other cartels.
On the last week of September, attacks on bars, multiple executions, and dismemberments once again began to be reported. However, throughout the Northeast, they first kidnap their rivals in order to execute them and then make them disappear. It is supposed that the narcos operate like this in order to not “heat up” the plaza.
An immediate consequence was in the reduction of intentional homicides, who the Nuevo Leon governor, Rodrigo Medina, presumes as a sign of the effectiveness of his administration in its efforts to eradicate violence and insecurity. On the other hand, Medina hides the fact that abductions and kidnappings have increased.
In the case of intentional homicides, which the state attorney states was around 1,500 last year, for 2013 the number began to decline since July and to date have added “only” 590. In contrast, kidnappings soared and the number of complaints implies that around 48 people are being abducted every month in the metropolitan area.
According to the report, over 25% of kidnappings in the state are related to organized crime disputes and in most of these cases, the victims are killed.
The redistribution of reinforcements from the Zetas is turning municipalities into battlefields including Frontera Chica de Tamaulipas, where the Gulf Cartel has kept a tight grip. Armed clashes continue in the south, including cities in Zacatecas, and surrounding villages.
In the cities of Coahuila, such as Saltillo, Ciudad Acuña and Piedras Negras, less armed clashes occur but kidnappings and abductions continue to occur.
Like its counterpart, the Coahuila governor Rubén Moreira encourages the population the false version that they are beating insecurity. Few believe him, because in recent weeks, murders and attacks on businesses have occurred because they refused to pay “dues” to criminals.
For now, kidnappings and abductions are shared throughout social networks; few are published in electronic or print media.