Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Hypothesis: Executed by Los Zetas for Rejecting Sicario Roles

The 72 bodies found at a ranch in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas could be those of a group of illegal immigrants headed for the U.S. border, the Mexican government said Wednesday.

The preliminary investigation determined that the dead were from El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador and Brazil.

The marines who discovered the bodies were acting on a tip from a survivor of the massacre who told authorities the immigrants were kidnapped by an armed group while trying to cross the border into the United States, Attorney General’s Office spokesman Ricardo Najera told a press conference here.

Najera was joined by Foreign Relations Secretariat official Salvador Beltran del Rio, who said the embassies of the four countries whose nationals were killed had been notified so they could assist with the identification process.

The survivor of a massacre on a ranch 85 miles south of Brownsville trudged into a navy checkpoint — a bullet wound in his neck — with a tale almost too gruesome even for a country locked in the throes of a vicious and bloody drug war.
Ecuadorean citizen Luis Fredy Lala Pomavilla,rests at a hospital in Matamoros, eastern Mexico, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010. A Mexican drug cartel massacred 72 Central and South American migrants within 100 miles of the U.S. border that they were trying to reach, according to Lala Pomavilla who said to be a survivor who escaped and stumbled wounded to a highway checkpoint where he alerted marines. Lala Pomavilla told investigators that his captors identified themselves as members of the Zetas drug gang, said Vice Adm. Jose Luis Vergara, a spokesman for the Mexican Navy.

The eyewitness, who is from Ecuador, was hospitalized for treatment of a gunshot wound in the throat.

Mexican marines found the bodies of the 58 men and 14 women after a shootout with gunmen in the community of San Fernando that left a marine and three criminals dead. The troops seized 21 rifles, 6,500 bullets and several vehicles that had been disguised as belonging to police and the army.

Investigators suspect that the gunmen who engaged the marines in the shootout were behind the killings at the ranch, a military spokesman said, without providing details on how the people were killed.

The marines took part in a chase on Monday, but the shootout and the discovery of the bodies occurred the next day, the official said.

Alejandro Poire, Tecnical Secretary of Mexico's National Security Council, left, speaks with the Mexican Navy spokesman Vice-Adm. Jose Luis Vergara duringa press conference in Mexico City, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010.

A minor was arrested after the shootout, and marines seized 21 rifles, 101 ammunition clips, four bullet-proof vests, camouflage uniforms and four SUVS.

“Among the (SUVs) is one that stands out for its cloned characteristics, with an apocryphal registration of the National Defense Secretariat,” the Navy Secretariat said.

Tamaulipas and neighboring Nuevo Leon state have been dealing with a wave of violence unleashed by drug traffickers battling for control of smuggling routes into the United States.

The violence has intensified in the two border states since the appearance in February in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon, of giant banners heralding an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia Michoacana drug cartels against Los Zetas, a band of Mexican special forces deserters turned hired guns.

Mexico’s Gulf Coast is a heavily used corridor for migrants hoping to cross illegally into the United States.

Marines and soldiers have freed hundreds of migrants held in gangster safe houses in Reynosa, Matamoros and other cities in recent months. Several local, state and federal police officers have been arrested on suspicion of aiding in migrant abductions.

“This discovery once again demonstrates the extreme danger and violence that Central Americans face on their treacherous journey north, as well as the Mexican government’s abject failure to protect them,” human rights organization Amnesty International said in a statement.

Gangland violence has exploded this year across northeastern Mexico — an area bordered by the Rio Grande and including the cities of Monterrey and Tampico — as the Zetas have gone to war with their former allies, the Gulf Cartel, and other bands.

At least 600 people have been killed in the fighting in recent months, according to media tallies. Untold numbers have simply disappeared — sometimes turning up in mass graves.

Known for its bass fishing and dove hunting, the San Fernando area long has been popular with outdoors enthusiasts from Texas and other states. But a group of Houston dove hunters reported being robbed in an area field last fall by heavily armed men.

The bodies of 15 presumed gang members also were dumped recently just outside San Fernando, on the main highway leading to the Texas border.

Newspapers in Matamoros and Ciudad Victoria, the cities nearest San Fernando, didn’t carry news of the massacre on their websites Wednesday.

Reporters in the region say they have been scared into silence by threats from the Zetas and other criminal gangs.

The facts of the incident

The 72 illegal immigrants killed in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, were on a bus bound for the United States when, between Saturday and Sunday, were intercepted by a convoy of Zetas. According to the testimony of the only survivor of what it is until now, the worst massacre in the wave of violence by organized crime in Mexico, several SUV's blocked the path of the bus carrying the victims and forced them out at gun point. They warned them that they were Los Zetas.

One by one the 58 men and 14 women, including minors, were placed against the wall in a cellar of the ranch. Then they were forced to keep their heads down and were shot with bursts of high-powered weapons. After the barraged of gunfire directed at the victims subsided, the murderers then shot each individual person on the head at point blank, the coup de grace.

Among those that were executed, there was Luis Freddy, originally from Ecuador, who pretended to be dead. The final shot aimed at his head entered at one end of his neck and exited through the jaw. He waited there, spread out, until the perpetrators left and he managed to escape. "I only remember hearing the laments and the pleas of some of the people who were there. Then I heard shots, and when everything was over I stood up to get help," he said.

He was the only survivor. What is a mystery is how he managed to travel the nearly 22 kilometers (more than 13 miles) from the crime scene to the point where he contacted the Mexican marines to ask for help.

While asking for help, Luis managed to say that "the killing had just happened." He stated that the thugs had offered them work as sicarios and that they would earn as much as a thousand dollars every two weeks. They all rejected the offer and the rejection caused their ultimate death.

At the beginning the marines did not believe what he was saying because on other occasions they have been ambushed by heavily armed sicarios from false information provided by citizens.

It was about seven in the morning on Monday when the marines were said to be in contact with Luis, who muttered that there were more than 70 people dead on a ranch, but the marines took the information with a lot of reservation.

The ranking military member of the marines informed his superiors and they decided to conduct an aerial reconnaissance of the area and were attacked with gunfire while doing a fly over. This made them conclude that perhaps the massacre told by the survivor might be true after all.

By nightfall on Monday, the Marines had to retreat to Matamoros on the possibility of an ambush from the criminal group of Los Zetas. On Tuesday morning, with more military personnel and equipment, they finally arrived at the ranch and discovered 72 bodies in an abandoned warehouse. The bodies were handcuffed and blindfolded.

The remote distance of the ranch and the unsecured area prevented from any type information on the massacre leaking out at the outset. Another 70 marines onboard armored military vehicles and equipped with heavy weapons confronted numerous sicarios in the vicinity of the ranch that killed one marine and three sicarios.

In the operation the military was able to apprehend a minor, native of Veracruz, who allegedly participated in the massacre.

The survivor (Luis) said that among the slain victims were people that had come from Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. In the official report describing the victims there is mention that one of the 14 women were in an advanced state of pregnancy. Most of the victims were young.

The survivor (Luis) also reported that the "coyote" human smuggler threatened his family with death if he revealed his identity and the survivor is under protective custody for fear of his own life. His family in Ecuador are worried for Luis while he is in Mexico. Luis paid the coyote $11,000 to take him to the US where he planned to seek work and provide for his 17 year wife who is expecting a baby.

One of the hypothesis about the massacre suggests that the murderers, all suspected to be part of Los Zetas, were seeking to send a message of intimidation to those who refuse to work for them or under their orders, especially the illegal immigrants crossing into the United States.

The minor who was arrested had been fully trained on how to avoid revealing information of criminal activities they performed. The first statements he made were to the staff of the Attorney General of the Republic, who took over the investigation since the evening of Tuesday.

Los Zetas, the former armed wing of the Gulf Cartel but who now operate as an independent organization, engage in drug trafficking, as well as kidnappings, extortion and fuel theft, among other crimes.

In recent years, they have been behind many kidnappings of immigrants, which has made Mexico a danger zone for hundreds of thousands of people trying to reach the United States through its territory.

Sources: Houston Chronicle, Universal, The Associated Press


  1. BLOGDELNARCO is back up...
    i recived an email from a friend in the UK saying it was news there because of the huge following caused a ton of calls...lots of rumors...but none true they are up with lots of breaking usual...

    BB: did you run the video that narco got of the interrogation of lorenzo beltran? that was a point of question as to why narco was off...but it is back on the site.

    this post says what I wrote yesterday...that ZETA now offers 2 CHOICES to MIGRANTS work with them..or ransom....neither of these two will result in death.

    they torture the migrants to attain phone numbers of relatives in the US or wherever them are from, then call and demand very high ransom...obviously they would not be able to pay so the choice becomes work low level zeta positions,...or death.

    THESE MIGRANTS ARE MARTYRS!!! they all refused to join corruption & evil
    May their souls Rest In Peace

  2. @Abuelita:

    According to BN (they continued blogging on Twitter) their accounts were frozen by Google Base Blogger for violation of their "Terms of Use" codes. The Blog De Narco youtube account was frozen/suspended for the same.

    Sadly, what happened to the killing of these poor immigrants is nothing new, but 72 of them could not be kept from the medias..It is well known that Zetas (and I'm sure other cartels as well) kidnap and extort immigrants crossing through Mexico. (A Good Movie about Central/South American immigrant strife is: Sin Nombre, it is based more on the Mara Salvatruchas, but delves into Mexican cartels as well)

    This is horrific...and yes, I heard they give options as well. Pay up, or work it off.

    On another hand, could the need to force immigrants into working mean it is no longer so easy for the cartels to recruit new sicarios?



  4. great! let's make sure this poor guy's name and location is known so that these demonic men may attempt to kill once more! One genius leaks his name to the media, another genius posts it on this site, and yet another world-class-genius on another site shows a clear image of this poor guy! Seriously? C'mon!

  5. For what ever reason these innocent people were killed let's never loose sight of the tragedy of situation. All of these atrocities are on the scale of any global war or conflict. 72 defenseless and innocent people slain because another group determined that were expendable. The brutality and evil shown violate all modern social norms. What is even worse is that there is little to no confidence in the active prusit to capture and prosecute the specific persons and organization(s) who are responsible for this tragedy.

  6. @anonymous 7:45 AM

    I agree, the information given by many media channels is a crime in itself..

    It is common in Mexican media to see the full names, addresses, type of car, and even licence plate numbers of victims displayed in the media..

    Funny, Mexico Human Rights Commission many times fight for the photos and info of arrested (in the act) narcos to NOT be published, but do nothing to defend innocent victims.

    It has been said the family of the survivor are now being threatened in Ecuador by the coyotes.

  7. @Ovemex

    Exactly!!! WHY? Why insist the migrants work?

    It is estimated there are 7 Million "Ni-Ni" in Mx
    that is a huge base of recruitment. There has to be a missing piece of the migrant story. Because the ransom demands are an impossible request to fulfill.

    I am with the poster who is concerned about Luis..though I will say Luis is a common name and I have seen his full name written 4 different names so I am assuming it is false. But the photo my God!! Stupido!! Maybe the country of origin is also false

    That makes sense about Narco..the rumors were flying hard...we need the blogs

  8. @abuelita

    His full name (not Luis) is in MANY MANY media outlets. I just saw an interview and fotos of his wife as well (which included a foto of them together)..This is horrific!!! What are reporters thinking?

    The poor survivor has protective custody for now, in the hospital, but what about when he gets out? What about his brothers and sisters, and wife in Ecuador? Is somebody (the media) going to give them all life time protection?

    This is sickening!

    also, as an update to this story it has been reported the two investigators in this case have DISAPPEARED. I found this on internet:

    "Dos días después de que fueron hallados los cuerpos de 72 ilegales ejecutados en San Fernando, Tamaulipas, ayer desaparecieron el delegado de Policía y Tránsito de ese municipio, Carlos Francisco Verdugo López, y el agente del Ministerio Público Roberto Suárez, quienes llevaban la averiguación del caso.

    A pregunta expresa, el Procurador de Tamaulipas, Jaime Rodríguez, dijo que se indaga la desaparición."

  9. Roberto Suarez, one of the lead investigators who went "missing" on Thurday, has already been found dead:

  10. Ovemex

    Ay dios mio!!!!!

    my stomach is turning, I cannot believe this...
    what we can do is email and call media in the US and complain...every caring person should do this.

    the fact that they torture the migrants for contact info of relatives made me very concerned...but he did not look tortured but shot so I was hoping they had no idea where to find the relatives.....
    I believe in freedom of the press GREATLY but
    this is immoral and unethical and no one is speaking of that fact in the media

  11. I could not tell from the article...was he state or federal? so sad..

    Ovemex: I wrote a few of my ideas for solutions. some are so easily doable some stopgap.

    i know the BB reporters must have some good ideas
    I would love to see them. A list.

    I see from everywhere that the gov needs to stop this

  12. Is there a official Govt TV station in MX. The people in Mx need to all know what is happenig in there own country,can the criminals muzzle the Mx Fed Govt?? Mexico needs to be mobalized as thou a foreign country is invading the homeland Nationalism, the flag,apple pie tortias,The power of prpaganda. Can the compacent population be Motivated???

  13. @Abuela He was a state ministerial police. Sadly, I would imagine the other one will be found soon.

    I agree with your ideology, Solutions are needed.

    I too, would love to see ideas on possible solutions. Perhaps it would be good to create a forum debate?

  14. Who's ranch is this? they need to reveal this and not the name of the survivor.

  15. the owner's name shouldn't be revealed either...the ranch was/is (?) being used by force...i hear a lot of people who had ranches in that area have not gone back in long time in fear that their properties are currently being occupied by these scumbags zetas.

    wow, this is really bad PR for the zetas...I REALLY HOPE THEY DISINTEGRATE...LIKE YESTERDAY (so to speak).

  16. There is an obvious and bad pattern here.

    At this ranch 14 got away and they killed 3, at the last shoot out 17 got away and "they said" 4 were killed.

    This is a very poor ratio.
    Both ranches were isolated and sort of an oasis in the middle of hectares of flat farmland. NO COLLATERALS to consider and clear viability.

    2 or 3 kills

    LEO has a rifle. +MARINA has a rifle and knows how to use it. This stinks. This ratio is off. There should be more dead and dying and captured narcos.

    Maybe there is a military person here to clarify why there are not more dead, dying and captured.

    It seems like if 5 LEO's are in a firefight with 4 bad guys one of them could devote his attention to engine blocks or heads of the escapees.
    ...just sayin

  17. yea no shit ...why the low kill rate...gringos would kill them all...and maybe even some bystanders...but for sure none of these culeros would survive

  18. Let me be slightly skeptical: How on earth NONE of the migrants agreed with being a (most probably well-payed)sicario when the refusal meant the death penalty for them?

    What`s REALLY happening in Mexico? Any place there wherer we can discuss?

  19. BB: Please take the victim's name off the caption. We don't need a 73rd victim.

  20. @Anonymous 4:43 p.m.

    I don't know if this is true or not, but I read and heard it from more than one source that the military always reports in this manner to avoid attacks from HRC..

    I used to think the same thing, especially when you hear 80 Zetas escaped in areas that are flat as can be and you can see for miles on end..It wasn't until I started reading up on it that I began seeing patterns, as well as comments from people who saw the attacks or the SEMEFO trucks after the attacks...Body bags don't lie.(not to see narcos don't ever escape)

    The HRC in Mexico has helped in creating a very horrific reputation of the Mexican military. An image has been created that the soldiers are simple "verdugos" marching thru killing fields, with no respect for the lives of innocent civilians.

  21. It is hard to believe that they only killed three. Maybe the real numbers are not been reported. Marina is equipped with helicopters, hummers and more trained soldiers. Consider the location where the ranch is located, I am pretty sure that Marina used all assets available and maybe the young kid that got captured was the only one that survived.

  22. The option theory doesn't ring.
    If you are in that situation you can tell the Zetas "yes, yes, I love to kill" and live another day. If you are willing to die maybe you can take some Zs with you, but just roll over, No.

    You have to do what you have to do and 72 out of 72/100? willing to sacrifice their life without a try...would you?
    There are many parts missing to this story.

    They killed the poor bastards because they are wild blood thirsty beasts that are driven by lust. When the tiger eats his prey he is satisfied, he sleeps. These beasts know no satisfaction, they cannot sleep. As soon a blood stops flowing they want more. They are addicted.

  23. "They killed the poor bastards because they are wild blood thirsty beasts that are driven by lust."

    You have no concept or idea what you are talking about. This is not a fantasy of your imagination, this is real what we are living here in Tamaulipas. If your input wasn't so comical, I would be offended.

    So, what part of the story did you not get? Some people just want to believe whatever it's in their screwed up mind.

    It is interesting how so many "experts" suddenly come out of the woodwork preaching to us about the issues we witness every fucking day, and they spill the rhetoric without having the slightest clue. It a world of intimidation and fear, come out and play and you will find out real quick.

    There are a lot of disturbed people in this world!

  24. This event is trully nerve racking but not the first of it's kind, only the first to become public! I'm currently working in Louisiana but live in the Rio Grande Valley; so a couple a days ago my co-worker gets a call from his uncle in Mexico that their ranch in Mendez, Tamps has been taken over by the Zetas and that they're taking their machinery and animals. My friend is part owner so he immediately took off home to try and negotiate something like they requested for the owner to do. These f*ckin pieces of sh*t zetas are just plain robbing people now in order to fund their war! Hopefully Gulf. Cartel takes over completely and exterminates them! La gente no se mete con el pueblo trabajador solo al narcotrafico! IMO the Gulf cartel is the only hope of getting rid of los Zetas in this area cuz the government sure won't!

  25. Mexico isn't even in control of it's own dick when it goes for a piss.

  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  27. It is very easy to blame Mexico for its own problem without an in depth look at root of it. Yes, the government is responsible for all the corruption and all the cartels for the bloodshed; but the fact is that Latin America has been bullied out of their resources through loans that they are not able to pay. It depreciates the value of their currency and then they do not have resources to export or even to develop their domestic market. US and other countries became loan sharks to Latin America. That's why the rest of Latin America is "poor" while the US is "rich". So called rich because the tables are turning and the US will experience inflation when China decides to collect the debt. While establishing their business: Wal-Mart's, factories, McDonalds, hotel chains, owning land, minerals, produce, anything you can think of, Latin America continues to generate revenue for US economy. That's why they call threats to countries that stand up for their citizens and invest their resources on their own without the US approval. Exploiting cocaine and other drugs has become the way out of poverty for many Latin Americans. Oh and yes Americans complain about it but they do not stop consuming the drugs either. I am not blaming solely on the US either but it is a share responsibility because we share this land. But when anybady refers to America it is most likely the US while the rest of it fades awaya in poverty. About immigration - Mexicans are only trying to get back home; half of this country belonged to them anyway and the other half to their brother tribes. Same story repeats itself with Latin America; the same way Americans bullied natives out of their lands and put them in reservations. God is about to put the hammer of justice down. Fellows, this country will go through judgements. Brace yourselves.


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