Monday, September 5, 2016

The Teen Killers of the Drug War

Posted by DD Republished from The New Yorker 

 Child soldiers in foreign conflicts are treated as victims. What about the adolescents on the U.S.-Mexico border? 




After Gabriel Cardona was sentenced, in 2009, press photographers took his picture through a pane of protective glass, as if he were some exotic beast. There was something unthinkable about what he had become, a ghoulish contradiction too awful for the culture to assimilate: a child assassin. Yet there he sat, in pristine white prison scrubs, reciting a catalogue of macabre achievements in the matter-of-fact tones of a college interview. When Cardona was arrested, he was nineteen, and his delicate-featured face retained a dissonant boyishness. But he blinked when he spoke, in nervous flurries, and his interlocutors found themselves staring at a tattoo of a second set of eyes, blue-black and smudgy, that had been inked onto his eyelids.
                                                                   

Cardona's tattooed eyelids


In the past decade, as the death toll from Mexico’s drug war spiralled, it was all too easy for people in the United States to think of the horrors unfolding just across the border as a foreign problem, as disconnected from our day-to-day reality as the conflicts in Libya or Syria. But Gabriel Cardona was an American kid. Born and raised in Laredo, Texas, he was poor but smart, and fully attuned to the meritocratic ethos of life in the United States; as a child, he thought he might grow up to be a lawyer. Cardona played on the football team, read Buzz Bissinger’s “Friday Night Lights,” and identified with the stunted yearning of the characters in the book. Then, during his sophomore year, a coach benched him, and he ended up dropping out and drifting into delinquency—first stealing cars, later smuggling drugs and weapons across the border. As Cardona came of age as a petty criminal, a brash new cartel, the Zetas, was asserting itself in Mexico’s drug economy and developing a reputation for tactics of unparalleled cruelty.

Laredo’s population grew by nearly fifty per cent in the nineteen-nineties, as cross-border trade surged after the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the new relationship between Mexico and the United States transformed the underworld ecosystem as well. In a new book, “Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico’s Most Dangerous Drug Cartel” (Simon & Schuster), Dan Slater writes that by 2004 the Zetas were moving as much as ten tons of cocaine across the border—and grossing roughly a hundred million dollars—every week. They called their cartel the Company, and as that dirty revenue trickled into the sprawling metropolitan region that comprises Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, just across the border in Mexico, the area started to look like a company town. Small businesses became fronts for laundering drug proceeds, Slater writes, and “everyone, it seemed, was mixed up in something.”

Slater, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, read about the arrest of Cardona, and of his childhood friend and fellow teen hit man Rosalio Reta, in the press. In interviews with the Times and other outlets, Cardona and Reta described living in a Texas safe house and carrying out hits on demand. Slater wondered how an adolescent becomes a mass murderer. Cardona was seventeen when he joined the cartel and nineteen when he was captured. Reta, who, with his diminutive stature and oblong head, was known as Bart, after Bart Simpson, joined at sixteen and was in custody less than a year later. Between them, by their own accounts, they killed more than fifty people. Were they psychopaths to begin with? Or were they ordinary kids whom the Zetas had sculpted into monsters? 
Cardona (left) and Reta (middle) in their teen years in Laredo Tx
 Wanting to understand “the allure of cartel logic,” Slater wrote to Cardona and Reta in prison. To his surprise, they wrote back. 

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One day in the summer of 1995, a psychologist named Michael Wessells visited Grafton Camp, a rehabilitation center in Sierra Leone for child soldiers who had fought in the country’s civil war. The children ranged in age from nine to sixteen. Many of them had killed. But as Wessells watched they drew pictures and danced and played coöperative games. They behaved, in other words, like kids. In an essay, he recalled how he was struck, in that moment, by the realization that, “under certain conditions, practically any child could be changed into a killer.”

The phrase “child soldier” tends to conjure images of places like Sierra Leone, and minors were used extensively there and in other African conflicts during the nineteen-nineties. But boys and girls under the age of eighteen have been deployed in battles throughout the world, from Colombia to Sri Lanka, and still fight on the front lines of many conflicts today. According to the United Nations, recruitment of child soldiers in Afghanistan doubled last year, with both the Taliban and government forces relying on underage combatants. In March, the State Department reported that the Islamic State is increasing its dependence on a cadre of juvenile conscripts, some as young as ten years old, who are known as the Cubs of the Caliphate. Historically, children often served in ancillary roles during wartime, as couriers, drummer boys, or “powder monkeys,” who ferried ammunition to cannon crews. But as weapons design evolved during the past century, and particularly with the advent of the AK-47 assault rifle, it became more practical to put children in front-line combat. P. W. Singer, in his book “Children at War” (2005), observes that the AK-47, with fewer than ten moving parts, is “brutally simple”: “Interviews reveal that it generally takes children around thirty minutes to learn how to use one.”

What juveniles lack in strength and experience they make up for in other qualities: they are coachable and often available in abundant supply. The uncertainty of wartime leaves young people acutely vulnerable; separated from family or other support structures, children can form a dependency on their military commanders that makes them easy to exploit. The warlord Joseph Kony, in the early years of his insurgency in Uganda, conscripted adults for his Lord’s Resistance Army. He eventually switched to children, because they were easier to indoctrinate. Of course, there is a moral taboo associated with defiling the innocence of youth, but a willingness to violate that taboo can amount to a tactical advantage. A professional soldier, peering through the scope of his rifle at a twelve-year-old, might hesitate to pull the trigger. And signalling that there is no boundary one is unprepared to transgress may demoralize one’s adversary. A recent report by the Quilliam Foundation describes Islamic State propaganda videos that feature children committing murder, and suggests that the group is broadcasting its willingness to flout international norms in a deliberate effort to seize “the psychological upper hand.”
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One context in which we don’t often hear about child soldiers is the drug war on the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet, according to Child Rights Network, an alliance of civic and social organizations in Mexico, some thirty thousand minors have been pressed into playing a role in the country’s ongoing criminal insurgency, and several thousand of them have been killed. “Wolf Boys” offers a bracingly intimate glimpse of how this insurgency looks from the point of view of the young killers on the front lines. Prison can make a good correspondent of almost anyone, and, after writing to Cardona and Reta, Slater found himself drawn into an epistolary relationship of queasy intensity. He visited both boys in prison and spoke to them for hours. Reta eventually cut off contact, but Slater and Cardona continued to correspond, exchanging hundreds of pages of letters.


 When Cardona was seventeen, in 2004, he was in Nuevo Laredo doing a freelance smuggling deal; corrupt local police spotted him and brought him to Miguel Treviño, the dead-eyed commander of the Zetas. Treviño, who was in his thirties, interrogated Cardona while palming a hand grenade, “like a pitcher cups a baseball,” Slater writes. Treviño was impressed by Cardona’s self-possession, and not long afterward Cardona was sent, as a probationary foot soldier, to a training camp in Tamaulipas.

The Zetas originated from a team of élite commandos who defected from Mexico’s armed forces, so the cartel was prone to paramilitary affectation. Treviño was known by his radio call sign: Cuarenta (“Forty”). But the training camp bore a notable resemblance to regimens from other parts of the world in which armed groups teach kids to kill. Cardona was instructed to leave behind his civilian clothes, along with his wallet and phone, and to wear the same uniform as the other recruits (bluejeans, white T-shirt), in a symbolic shedding of skin.

In a 2007 memoir, “A Long Way Gone,” Ishmael Beah describes a similar ritual when, at thirteen, he was inducted into the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone. As he is putting on new army shorts, Beah sees a soldier burning his “old belongings.” He is given a bayonet and ordered to attack a banana tree, imagining that it is his enemy. This is a standard feature of any curriculum in homicide: progressive exposure to violence. When the Islamic State trains the Cubs of the Caliphate, children are instructed to decapitate a doll, then to watch while a human is decapitated, then to decapitate a human themselves.

Cardona and his fellow-trainees, who ranged in age from fifteen to thirty, were given assault rifles and coached by mercenaries from Colombia and Israel. They were taught how to shoot a fleeing target, “like leading a wide receiver in a football game.” At the camp, the Zetas had assembled hundreds of prisoners—captured adversaries from the rival Sinaloa cartel—whom they called “contras.” “You see and do,” the instructors intoned, demonstrating how to kill someone with a knife by killing a contra. It was not in the heat of battle but with these hapless human guinea pigs that Cardona learned to kill. The recruits were told to take an AR-15, run into a house, and murder the contra inside. So Cardona did. You see and do.

Child soldiers often rely on drugs to inure themselves to horror. Ishmael Beah became addicted to “brown-brown,” a mixture of gunpowder and cocaine. Cardona favored a cocktail of heavy tranquillizers and Red Bull, administered at regular intervals throughout the day, which rendered him alert but insensate. Miguel Treviño, though, required no drugs to kill. If the role he plays in “Wolf Boys” is an archetypal one—the psychopath father proxy, the charismatic comandante—the details have a chilling specificity. When Treviño is driving and sees a dog sleeping by the side of the road, he swerves to hit it. After stealing a tiger from the circus, he starves it, then feeds it human victims. At one point, Treviño tells Cardona that he has killed “more than eight hundred people.” Among the Zetas, this counts as a boast. It is not merely the act of killing but a real or feigned emotional indifference to the taking of human life that consolidates status in the cartel. Armed groups that use child soldiers often truck in mystical elements—one reason that Joseph Kony found kids so easy to manipulate is their readiness to believe in magic—and the Zetas betray some elements of a death cult. Cardona was not an especially spiritual kid, but like his colleagues he offered lip service to Santa Muerte, the Mexican folk saint of the dead.

Reta
In the Zetas, Dan Slater tells us, the highest praise you could offer someone was to say that he was frío—coldhearted. The first time Rosalio Reta kills someone, his comrades rally around to celebrate. “Your first job!” they exclaim. “You’re going to have nightmares!” He was sixteen. Slater charts Cardona’s evolution into an efficient and reliable killer, “a heat-seeking missile of black-market capitalism to be deployed against anyone who ran afoul of the Company.” At one point, Treviño touches Cardona’s chest and tells him, “You’re just as cold as me.” 

In the United States, when a child murders a classmate or a family member, the criminal-justice system makes few allowances for youth. After a Supreme Court decision in 2005, we no longer execute minors, but children as young as thirteen have been tried as adults, and thousands of juveniles have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. For child soldiers in foreign conflicts, the situation is often different. In recent decades, humanitarian groups have successfully campaigned for juvenile combatants to be considered not primarily as the perpetrators of violence but as casualties themselves. “Children associated with armed groups are, above all, victims of these groups,” Leila Zerrougui, who advises the U.N. Secretary-General on child soldiers, said last year. In 2002, when the Special Court for Sierra Leone was established, it was decided that children under the age of fifteen, even those who had committed monstrous crimes, should be exempted from the proceedings. As the anthropologist David Rosen observes in his book “Child Soldiers” (2012), the idea that a juvenile who commits war crimes should be spared any judicial accounting represents a “new and radical notion.”

One beneficiary of this approach was Ishmael Beah, who after nearly three years as a child soldier in Sierra Leone was rescued by the U.N. and “demobilized” in 1996, at the age of sixteen. Beah turned out to have a fluid ability to narrate his own story and a camera-ready smile that seemed to signal, at a glance, his rehabilitation. You would be hard pressed to find a more ingratiating spokesman for former child combatants. Beah was eventually adopted by an activist in New York City and attended Oberlin. His memoir was displayed in Starbucks and sold 1.5 million copies. (There was subsequent controversy over charges that Beah fabricated parts of his story, but both Beah and his publisher reject these claims.)

If Ishmael Beah is eligible for redemption, should we extend a similar dispensation to Gabriel Cardona? Beah writes that he and his compatriots “had no choice” but to join the hostilities: they were separated from their families in the midst of a civil war. Parts of Mexico certainly resembled a conflict zone when Cardona was a Zeta; in places along the border, the murder rate was higher than in Afghanistan or Iraq. But Cardona didn’t live in Mexico; he lived in Laredo, and Laredo was comparatively safe. His father was an abusive drunk who left the family when he was a child, and, Slater writes, Cardona had “seen enough movies” to blame his father’s absence for “part of his situation.” But only part of it. Cardona sees that this is no basis for absolution. He was not an orphan: he remained close with his mother and his brother. He was an intelligent kid who had other options.

Cardona might have been frío, but he was not a sadist. Unlike Miguel Treviño, he derived no thrill from killing. So why do it? The anthropologist Alcinda Honwana has observed that young combatants, in the face of pervasive murder, “vividly experienced their own powerlessness—except as killers,” and Darwinian logic may have played a role. Better to be a meat eater than a grass eater in a world in which grass eaters get eaten. Cardona tells of the macho empowerment he felt as an alpha in a hazardous domain. But he offers another explanation, too, one that is as bleak as it is banal: he killed for cars and clothes. The Zetas paid Cardona five hundred dollars a week. “Commission missions”—solo contract hits—could mean a ten-thousand-dollar bonus. Like any callow American kid, Cardona was hopelessly materialistic, and Slater reels off brand names like a catalogue of ships in the Iliad: Volvo, GMC Denali, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Joe Brand, Versace, Lacoste. You might think that the Zetas, in their taste for bloody mayhem, share something with Al Qaeda or ISIS. But, to members of the cartel, jihadists seemed misguided, because they were willing to die for an ideology, when their real problem was “being poor.” For a street kid like Cardona, making his way in the war economy along the border, murder meant upward mobility. “Riches and bitches,” the instructors in Tamaulipas chanted, explaining what recruits stood to gain if they killed for the Company. 

It is difficult, when reading such passages, to feel much sympathy for Cardona. But teen-agers are hardly known for the sophistication of their decision-making. Studies have shown that during adolescence the parts of the brain that incline us to risky behavior are more developed than the “cognitive control system,” which regulates such impulses, and tends to develop later. In fact, while we often focus, when we talk about child soldiers, on the systems of exploitation that perpetuate the phenomenon, it may be driven just as much by an element of unhinged adolescent agency. In 2006, Michael Wessells, the psychologist who visited Grafton Camp, published a book, “Child Soldiers: From Violence to Protection,” in which he addressed the fact that the majority of underage combatants are not kidnapped or forcefully conscripted; they voluntarily enlist. Their range of alternatives may be constrained by wartime circumstance—more constrained than Cardona’s. Still, Wessells says that many children join armed groups not because they “have no choice” but because they are seeking “meaning, identity, and options civilian life does not afford.”

Cardona can distinguish right and wrong. He knows that what he is doing is immoral, but he rationalizes. He tells himself that there are no innocents in the drug trade; if he didn’t execute his victims, somebody else would. Even so, he has doubts, and one quietly devastating aspect of “Wolf Boys” is the way in which, whenever Cardona starts to question his gruesome métier, he finds himself set straight. At night clubs, the young hit men are fêted like rock stars and courted by groupies. In a country where more than ninety-five per cent of homicides typically go unsolved, anyone might begin to question the value of life. The police in Nuevo Laredo don’t merely fail to investigate murders; they assist Cardona in his executions, patrolling outside a restaurant while he slays a diner inside. When the Company needs to dispose of bodies, it subcontracts to the police, who have a sideline burning corpses in oil drums.

At different points in the book, Cardona uses the word “across” as a noun, to describe the country across the border—Mexico—but also, it seems, the metaphysical realm of pure transgression in which he resides. “That’s the way it is across,” he says. Cardona has a girlfriend, Christina, whom he loves. Between murders, he takes her to Applebee’s and they order orange sodas. During a moment of introspection, he asks why she would want to be with a troublemaker like him. Wouldn’t it be better to date a “civilized person”? Christina grew up in Laredo, surrounded by the costs of cartel life. She ponders the question, before replying, “Los calmados son jotillos.” (“The calm ones are faggots.”)

In a book about killing, Slater is curiously vague about most of the murders that Cardona and Reta commit. This could be a matter of legal necessity: the boys were charged with only a handful of homicides, and detailing other crimes might result in further indictments. Slater may also have elected to gloss over grisly particulars as a narrative strategy, so as not to foreclose any identification between his reader and his subjects; Ishmael Beah describes killing as a “daily activity” but similarly refrains from graphic elaboration. Or perhaps, for Cardona and Beah alike, such specifics are lost in the fog of war. When a CNN interviewer asked Cardona how many people he had killed, he laughed nervously and said, “I have no idea.” (Prompted to estimate, he put the number between twenty and thirty.)

One theory about why we may be prepared to forgive child soldiers in foreign conflicts while harshly punishing children who kill in this country has to do with the identity not of the killer but of the victim. Mark Drumbl, a law professor at Washington and Lee, observes that “whereas the child perpetrator targeting Africans tends to be held as a mindless captive of purposeless violence, the child perpetrator targeting Westerners tends to be held as an intentional author of purposeful violence.” Eventually, Miguel Treviño made a fateful decision to deploy Cardona, along with Rosalio Reta, across the border to Texas, with a list of Americans to kill. In Laredo, a D.E.A. agent named Robert Garcia began to pursue the young killers, so Treviño decided that they should kill Garcia as well. Before they could do so, both boys were taken into custody. After their capture, a prosecutor said in court, Laredo’s murder rate dropped by half.

The recent film “Beasts of No Nation,” based on the novel by Uzodinma Iweala, depicts the transformation of Agu, a child from an unnamed West African country, from a giggling boy to a machete-wielding killer. It is a searing chronicle of metamorphosis, and, owing in part to the performance of Abraham Attah, the Ghanaian actor who plays Agu, the film leaves the viewer little choice but to identify with a marauding underage soldier and to construe each incremental tragedy that befalls him as a basis for mitigating his culpability. Watching the film, you desperately want Agu to escape. And he does. The final scenes take place at a coastal rehabilitation center for demobilized child soldiers. Agu’s soul is not beyond salvage, and the film ends on a hopeful note, as a gaggle of former child combatants take to the ocean and frolic in the waves and Agu, looking very much like a boy again, plunges in to join them.

There is no such redemption in “Wolf Boys.” When Cardona and Reta received what amount to life sentences in prison, no N.G.O. intervened on their behalf. There was no art therapy. Nobody seemed eager to “reintegrate” the boys into society. Deprived of his tranquillizers, Cardona started having gory nightmares. In letters to Slater, he seems to fluctuate in his own assessment of his past. At times, he expresses remorse. But he still maintains that Miguel Treviño, who was arrested by Mexican forces in 2013, is “a good man.”

Rosalio Reta, in some of his initial media interviews, expressed glassy-eyed contrition, casting himself as a hapless victim of grave forces beyond his control. But this was a put-on, Slater writes. Reta was merely savvy enough to know what people wanted to hear. He told stories about killing for the first time when he was thirteen, though according to “Wolf Boys” he was actually sixteen. Reta’s bogus narrative of redemption was “a hit with his public,” Slater observes. In fact, Reta tells Slater that he’s been thinking about writing a book—something along the lines of Ishmael Beah’s “A Long Way Gone.”

Cardona and Reta are still young, with decades ahead of them for reflection. They may yet come to terms with the wreckage they have caused. In 2013, a team of psychologists at the University of Utah published a paper noting that, while there is extensive academic literature on the indoctrination, rehabilitation, and post-conflict trauma of child soldiers abroad, there are few corresponding studies of American children drawn into gang violence. Perhaps, they suggested, some of the research lessons gleaned from international studies could be applied to “the child combatants in our own backyard.” For Slater, the story of Cardona and Reta is, at least in part, an indictment of American obliviousness: a parable about the mutant children of the drug war. When Cardona was sentenced, in 2009, his lawyer pleaded for something shorter than a life sentence. “I don’t know what’s in my client’s mind,” he said. “I’m not Freud. I’m sure Freud would have a field day. I don’t know what the motivation was. We don’t know what makes him tick. No one seems to really care.” 
Baby faced killers

81 comments:

  1. Trevino wasn't in the army, and definitely wasn't one of the first in the original group of los zetas. He was a car washer who ran errands b4 getting in deep with la compania.

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    1. Nobody is saying trevino was in the army, he was working with them as a Los Tejas, but in 2006 when the first new generation Zetas came, he took leadership and jumped ship to the Zetas and killed his old Los Tejas buddies. Thus making Nvo laredo Los Zetas home base. I love in Laredo I know what I'm talking about. Cardona lived on Lincoln st. Couple of blocks from the International bridge here in laredo by the river drive mall. When they got caught, the other dude in the picture above with them, Jesse gonzalez, got caught in Nvo laredo and sent to jail and got stabbed to death that same day.

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    2. Also, these idiots got caught cause reta left a cigarette box with his fingerprints on it on a gateway car that they abandoned, and also a boost mobile receipt that webb co sheriff esteban paez jr found which led to the assasins, which he deserves the credit cause laredo police are claiming credit for breaking the case wide open. Deputy paez jr passed along the info to PD. And they got the credit even featured on CNN. And Robert garcia is not DEA, he's a homicide detective for LPD. That's why Jesse gonzalez got killed cause he flipped and rented a nwmew house to take the assasins to, but he was already working as an informant so the house was already wired up for when reta and cardona moved in to this new house. But that cigarette box was their down fall..

      Sorry garcia but paez jr is the one that gave you the info which you claimed you uncovered.

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    3. You point out the obvious for those who know about Z40. Regardless he was good at what he did and that's recruiting and killing for La Compania.

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    4. @puro larete
      Can you tell me more about the things Z40 did in Laredo? I'd never heard about him killing his los tejas buddies etc.

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    5. puro larete
      Comments dude,all down..Dude is it business as usual in Nvo Laredo from what you tell?CDNZ/Trevino and the ZBravo grupo?El Boss CDN just been caught?

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    6. 3:55 too good too soon= too bad.
      una pinchi llamarada de petate...
      --now seta chorrienta serenades el chapo with los tucanes, in almoloya, from outside, weather permitting...

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    7. And yes, he was definitely on point with his skills

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    8. 3:12

      Basically all the zetas are against the 40's people. That's why they called themselves CDN to put a name to the Trevino group. And the Trevino are from NVO Laredo, that's why that's their base..CDN only.

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    9. 9:20

      Ok, basically when 40 was los tejas, and the zetas came in nvo Laredo, 40 started to rob all the drug stores and killing them all, making a name for himself.. that's how he started getting power.. then he killed his mentor which was a Tejas leader, that's when 2006 wa starting and the new generation Zetas formed, Z40 Zetas.. since he had the connections since he lived in Dallas TX, he was good use for Lazcano.. little by little he started killing and ratting on all the old zetas, making him climb the ladder, next thing we know, 40 is the premier leader of the Zetas.. since everyone was afraid of him, nobody went against him. He would call you to a meeting and u wouldn't know if you came out alive.. I mean the dude would chop people heads and take out their eyes and shit, putting fear to the other Zetas.. and the majority of those killed were innocents, but he would do that just to show the rest not to mess with him. That's why he gets caught, and now the rest of the Zetas distanced themselves from his group cause he was a snitch and traitor.. that's why we have right now the Zetas vs Z40 zetas(CDN).. basically 40 went to the top by killing his own friends and leaders..

      I can tell you many stories about him, chinga Arturo "El Tejas" Martinez Herrera mom would ask for a drink or coke, and little ol Miguel(40) would go to the store. He would wash their car rims, clean their guns and shit.. just one day he decided to start robbing drug stores, killing them, robbing loads, then at one time every single drug store was his, that's when he started killing the tejas and became a Zeta.. Id the tejas woukdnt let the zetas in nvo Laredo, z40 would've been something else right now. But the tejas let the zetas in nvo Laredo to supposedly work together and kill the chachos, cause nvo Laredo was divided in two, los tejas had half and los chachos the other half. But when they killed los chachos, the zetas had a plan already since the start, and killed all the tejas too, with Miguel 40 helping them.. That's when Z40 is born. Cause he was L-40 before..

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    10. 9:20
      3:12

      That's why u might remember past videos where the cut zetas head and hang them live, you can hear the interrogator saying in Spanish "were going for you 40, were the ones who made you and you traitor on us, were gonna kill you"..

      Those are the old Gulf Cartel leaders talking, when they had Zetas as their arm wing, and brought along Miguel 40 with them to finish off Los Tejas and 40 stayed in charge of NvO Laredo, 2006 new generation Zetas.. cause by that time Z-1 Arturo Descena was killed and many more of the first Zetas.. 2006 started the Lazcano and Miguel 40 Zetas.. since Lazcano was very low key, he let 40 be the voice and let 40 hometown (nvo Laredo) be the Zetas base.. that dude was the devil literally, you can be there at a cook out laughing and drinking beers with him and all of a sudden put a bullet in your chest. That's why noone dared messed with him cause he also had alot of followers.. that's why his name was all over the place cause he was doing all the killings to reach the top. But the other NvO Laredo natives like Juan Carrizalez and El Taliban, they were more interested into making money, drug trafficking, they didn't care about ranks, they had their people of course but that's why they rarely were heard of. Only El Taliban when 40 started to challenge him. All those dudes, 40, Omar Trevino, Juan Carrizalez, El Taliban, Mario Soto Flores they all grew up together

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    11. And it's funny cause during all the wars and manhunt for 40, he was hiding at a ranch on the outskirts of NVO Laredo the whole time.. ain't that something

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    12. And one more guys, don't ask me how I know

      40 would hide in Laredo, TX sometimes. He would jet ski on falcon lake, get into a fishing boat, the fisherman would keep on fishing a little while 40 was lying on tbw floor, then the boat would get towed with 40 in it and driven to Laredo. That's movie shit but that's what the fucker would do sometimes believe it or not. Hope u guys have fun reading this info.

      Peace, puro larete
      Laredo TX

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    13. Look you guys, in reality there's no such thing as Gulf, Sinaloa, Tijuana, Juarez cartels.. you think Chapo sits down with his cronies and says "hey you guys we are the Sinaloa cartel"... No, there re just a group of trafficker and to be known who they are, they say were the Gulf, Sinaloa, etc.. for example, when CDN came up after the Zeta break up, the mx gov says there's a new cartel emerging, Cartel Del Noreste.. No, it's just Z40s group or followers. But so it can be known that there 40s group, they say CDN. Example, if I kill someone and say in a mañana "atte: The Hammers".. then the mx gov releases a news release claiming a new cartel emerged, Cartel The Hammers.. that's what causes all the confusion. So really there's exist ni cartel.. they call them cartels cause their big international organizations.. another example, like when recently been happing that Mayos people against some of chapos people and damasos people, confusing people that the Sinaloa Cartel is fracturing? It's not. Chapo has his group, one that's dedicated solely to trafficking, another to extorting, another the arm wing on call 24/7 ready to respond to back up, provide security, patrol the streets looking for outsiders. But since Mayo and Chapo and damasos or compadres their group help eachs other all together. Making it known as the federation. And when damasos people fight with Mayos people, it's the lower dealers fighting for whatever. You would think, why wouldn't mayo call the instigator and slap him for messing with gia compadres people? Cause he's an old school trafficker, he ain't gonna meditate between low levels fighting. He's a drug lord de peligro he gets caught in the moment of trying to mediate between the youngsters. This is for sure, damasos people can fight mayos, chapos and mini lic, but at the end there still compadres and they may even laugh at the stupidities thatvthe lower level do... so when they kill or do something, instead of writing their names they put Cartel De Sinaloa. To make it known that it was them, or another group claiming Sinaloa just to cause confusion. Here's a good one, why do you think you never here of el Azul? Causes he's a real trafficker only dedicated to that and not mess with the people cause if he don't want any kind of attention which is bad for business, then I means that he's making 100s of millions and don't care about claiming turf nor nothing, just money.. there you have ir guys. That's how the Mex trafficking works..also about mencho, he worked with cartel del millenio them with Sinaloa, and now when he got power, he called his group CJNG so it can be known that it's his group. So all that cartel stuff doesn't exist.

      I know trust me, Laredo tx

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    14. Keep it coming puro larete,sounds like you known a thing or two. .

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    15. @puro larete
      Awesome, thanks so much for the info!! I'm really interested to read about Z40.
      How have you heard these stories that aren't on the news, is it just gossip in your town? I'd love to hear any more stories if you think of them, horror stories about him killing people etc lol
      Also, you know how they say "this young narco was turned bad by these guys who influenced him" etc...do you think there was something or somebody who had that influence on Z40? Or was he just innately bad and did all the influencing?
      Also do you know any updates on his trial or anything?

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    16. In that business that's the way people make it to be capos. They have to kill friends or even relitives to be on top. Chapo did the same thing as 40, chapo steped on many peoples toes and did s lot of snitching to make it to the top. Some believe in loyalty but most believe in power,money and respect.

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    17. there was a manta recently signed L-40 y L-42. I wasnt sure why but that makes since

      Delete
    18. puro larete..
      Thanks for your words man.
      Will CDN/Trevino keep hold of Nvo Laredo without much problem do you think ? They been in charge long time ?

      Delete
    19. @5:19 You are the first long comment that I've read on BB that in the end I didn't say to myself "now that was a waste of my time".
      I agree with most of your thoughts. Esp the azul part.

      Delete
    20. @puro larete thanks for the info/stories... I can read them all day. Have a beer on me 🍻

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    21. 1:25

      Other cities or states I don't know, but NVO Laredo yes for sure gcause that's his hometown. All his immediate family live there, cousins, uncles etc.. so he does have a tight grip on NVO Laredo and the only way to loose it is for him to be killed. Just like when los tejas and los chachos owned NVO Laredo, they got killed so they lost that turf. Chinga at that time NVO Laredo was very controlled and wouldn't mess with the people. Like when Cain Hernandez son got killed, he ordered half of the city closed for the funeral procession. No cars were on the street only the funeral cars. Damn, it was so safe that La Barbie lived there for years. Theres where he got mentored. But when the Zetas went in Nvo Laredo, Osiel Cardenas ordered all traffickers to work for him or be killed and pay the quota to him now.. since Barbie was independent but very close to Arturo Beltran, he fled NVO Laredo and he begged Arturo Beltran to talk to Osiel so the Zetas would leave him alone.. that's when Arturo sent him to Acapulco but in the download, the Zetas were still secretly looking for him, that's when the very first interrogation video came out of the 4 Zetas that Barbie caught in Acapulco looking to kill him.. he invented the first video killing live, then the rest followed and made even more grusome.. but LA Barbie was the first one to ever record captured enemies and kill them. He sent that video to the New York post, Washington Times, Dallas newspaper..

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    22. What I really want to know is, what happened or happens to all the money these guys earn? The hundred million a week the zetas were earning? Where is it? Is it seized and accounted for? Buried somewhere? Where is it.!? It has to be somewhere, assetts, cars, houses..that's alot of dough..

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    23. 11:01 the truth is the mexican government doesn't leave the mexican narcs too much money, and the ones that make more on the side on their own, promptly get persecuted for robbing the real drug lords of their hardly earned money, they are the ones the big banks launder all that money for...
      6:33 IF la barbie was so independent what drove him to believe he was the heir of arturo beltran leyva and have a war over it with Héctor el H "the suave" beltran leyva?
      El barbas and la barbie's nicknames even complemented each other.

      Delete
  2. Asi es la vida yo a los 12 anios aggare mi primer fusil , en el salvador junto a los kaibiles fui entrenado , fueron cosas duras i a mi corta eda supere las pruebas , ke dios tenga en su gloria a esos plebes que murieron a una corta eda por kien dijo que la vida era justa

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    Replies
    1. No haigas andado en El Mozote, perro...
      --By coincidence, the battallion Atlacatl commander lt col Domingo monterrosa "wasn't there all day, and had the witnesses and the paper work to prove it, he only arrived later to control the news going out because he knew his beloved battallion was going to be murdered on the press"
      I hope you can share, comandante, and how you end up in mexico?

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    2. Si sabes que te pueden rastrear? Y a parte pones tu cara.

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    3. Tuv eres del cds o de Beltranes? I nadamas ablas a lo tonto

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    4. kaibeles are from my hometown you must be a tuff mother fucker no doubt abouth that boy

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    5. Y yo alos 9 años trai mi primer fusil mp5 entrenando con los avengers,y los navy seals.serote.

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    6. A nadie le importa tu historia... Wey...

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    7. 2:54 yes but illegal training camps where desertores kaibiles are in el salvador but you rigth they are a especial force of el salvador

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    8. 2:08 speak for your self i love hearing storys of brave man like perro

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    9. "Trained with the kaibiles", a minor underage paraco, guess what, perro, you ain't no god, no matter how much of a good ass kisser...you have worked for the devil, and I wonder what you are up to now...

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    10. Oh si haha comandante perrita is at it nutthugging himself again

      Delete
    11. Perritas mostly chase their own colas, then they go all over the hood smelling all the perros

      Delete
  3. They retell these two kids story every single year.

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    Replies
    1. 9:04 we also have Christmas every year, turkey day every day.
      --I had not read about the chorrienta or the reta gang as on this article, that is 4 points against pardoning you, turkey...

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  4. They are victims of the system.. Of poverty.

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    Replies
    1. Fuck that they need to be executed but tortured first then put a shotgun up their asses and pull the trigger. Fucking scum.

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    2. 7:36 they just lived the high society high class life, kill'em all you want, but the zetas founders they really knew what they was up to, and we never see their names anywhere...

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    3. 7:36 you sound just like one them. Are you sure you aren't a psychopath yourself?

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    4. Exterminate all this SHITSeptember 7, 2016 at 5:38 AM

      1:40 why don't you invite them into your home for dinner and let them spend the night. Bet you would never wake up and your whole family butchered while they watch cartoons on your 55 inch tv.

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    5. 1:40 I am the real psycho, I would hang them from their balls before the shotgun blast to the ass, no redemption, let them do their "high society" life behind bars, no mercy!

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    6. 9:14-Victims of poverty huh?Like Mencho who had an avocado orchard.

      Delete
    7. victims of a screwed up new world order, maybe, but we are mostly victims of OURSELVES.

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    8. @5:48 you maybe the real psycho on video games, but mino, this real life...

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  5. Hideous, but we should see more of this in American press , for sure.
    Thanks DD and BB

    ReplyDelete
  6. bullet or 4life ends this fast story

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  7. Those kids killed almost all of chapos people

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chapo is a lost cause

      Delete
    2. Difference between the Zetas and the CDS is the Zetas have a vetting process where not every recruit became a sicario. They went to baby Zetas boot camp. Only the smarter and more cunning recruits became killers. The others were given different jobs or even killed because they were a liability. Chapo just handed over the weapons to whoever wanted them. That's why Chapo's always got fucked up. The BLO kept Chapo afloat until the split.

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  8. Oiga mi tomandante kanino que enfermo esta ,que rollo con ustd?de cual quema pa andar igual?ojala no sea foco.

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    Replies
    1. Le disen el FocoMon al compa
      Attn El Cuate De Mazatlan. En otra nota 4 muertos en el centro de Mazatlan este fin de semana. Aguas plebes.
      http://youtu.be/sFP5MdrP7SI

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  9. dd..
    Check this article you may like,remember the new manta and picture of Zetas Vieja Escuela showing gunmen holding their arms ?
    This is a new piece and shows their real names and pictures good article ? Jus lettin you know
    http://www.hoyenmexico.com/2016/08/balconean-nombres-y-fotos-de-miembros.html

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    Replies
    1. @2:45PM Thank you for the heads up. We don't have researchers or investigators and it is tips like yours that help us so much.

      I will try to have the story posted tomorrow.

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    2. --Oh, shet that will be all the miembros del miembrillo...
      The world's struggles will be all over now...
      OK, who snitched?

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    3. dd..
      No problem .
      If some of us translated pieces,do we send them to the BB address for you to see if any good ?
      This article is not long worded so you should be ok

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    4. Their really not old school zetas, it's just Zetas against 40's zetas. By then distancing themselves from 40s group, they call themselves vieja escuela...

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    5. @9:13 As you can probably tell, my translation skills are not the best so whatever you can do will be much appreciated. Use the following email address as I check it more often than the email addy. given on the front page:

      dad4BB@yahoo.com

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  10. That manta and picture has to be CDN dry snitchin on Zeta Old School..They have put pictures and names on the manta..
    Almost professionally done ?

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  11. Everyone in this story deserves to be dead if they are not already

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  12. Hey hey now, what about when these guys were having the time of their lives, if you do the crime, do the time

    ReplyDelete
  13. Send this story to Treviño, besides how many years did Treviño get?

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    Replies
    1. 7:17 treviño 4o and 42 will do more time than 41 I swear.
      --The mexican government just has them under arrest for protective custody, and elite zetas will take good care of their guys, soon as poosibol, aaight???

      Delete
  14. 6:30 tell that to chapos and mayos!

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  15. I read this book, it is very good, and really insightful into the not just the conditions of Reta and Cardonas, (and thousands of other boys in similar socioeconomic psychology) but the rise of Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo, and the rest of their territory, as well as Z40 himself, something of a father figure, master manipulator, warrior.

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    Replies
    1. 9:39 ...and what was the name of the book, J?
      Seta chorrienta had his greedy brothers to lead him in the life of being laredo and nuevo laredo gangster, including prison time in tejas, they had jobs in texas damit!, but they needed more and more money, and they raised JUDAS,

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    2. @5:58 Below the illustration at the beginning of the story is :
      " In “Wolf Boys,” Dan Slater writes about two teens from Laredo, Texas, who became assassins for the Zetas, a brutal cartel. Illustration by Keith Negley"
      Several places throughout the story "Wolf Boys" and it's author Dan Slater are mentioned.

      The whole story is really about what is in the book.

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  16. Reta killed my brother in law cousin in Laredo.. At a taco shop..

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    Replies
    1. At torta Mex. Pinche reta coward doing it in front of the toddler that was in the back seat

      Sorry for u and ur family. But moy el 23 was doing skimpy shit, working with 2 cartels on the download, he knew it was gonna happen either way.. sorry buddy but it's true. You have to stay loyal in that kind of business..

      Delete
    2. Ese Larete must have all the archives...
      --what about WHO sent the setas from above? Like make guzman decena a policia judicial federal and send him to osiel to carry on with the program?
      If you can tell about manuel cavazos lerma's dirty laundry, Tomas Yarrington and all the main mover and shakers from the north east, none of them gets on the news, like ever!

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  17. For all you bleeding heart Libs, this is what the Filipino Punisher is stopping before it gets started!
    And the people overwhelmingly support him! They want a country with peace and security of their families! Not to live in FEAR! By the way its working!
    Chicago just registered its 500 murder of the year, almost all drug related! Failure by the Justice Agencies is actually success for the them! The fools are scammed again and the dead continually rise by the 100Ks annually!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you are proposing that the citizens of Chicago be given immunity for killing anyone they "think" is a dealer or trafficker (as the "Punisher" has done in the Philippines)?

      Delete
    2. Do you think it is okay for the Mexican gvt to allow 1000s of extra-judicial killings by the police and military? And many of them on orders from a cartel.
      Mexico is basically a narco state where you live in fear! Don't say it isn't as many Mexicans flee for their lives and many living in America are too scared to visit family.
      Many areas of America are like that too!
      I remember a young Chicago black boy who said,"I don't want to go to school, because I don't want to be shot."
      When you have that type of insecurity it is a failed or failing state!

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    3. Z40 killed over 800. I hope he gets some counselling in prison before he is released.
      Sadly, for many he is a hero.

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    4. Borderland Beat, I really hope that you are not promoting books that if purchased, financially benefit the criminals.
      Who benefits financially from "Wolf Boys" ?
      Not the victims or victims families I am sure.

      Delete
    5. There will always be the debate whether gun control is the answer, but I live in Canada where there is tough gun control and there are barely any shootings. I think your street justice idea would lead to the deaths of many criminals but many more non-criminals.

      Delete
  18. There is always one peddling the gun business, NRA pays good?

    ReplyDelete

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