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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sources: Fatal gunshots on McAllen expressway point to Gulf Cartel

by: The Monitor

Fatal gunshots volleyed from one vehicle to another along the expressway early Tuesday morning point to a power struggle within the Gulf Cartel, sources familiar with the victim said.

McAllen police continue to investigate the apparent murder of Jorge Zavala, 32, a Mission man slain as a volley of gunfire penetrated his Ford Expedition about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Zavala and a 22-year-old man fell victim to the gunfire when an unknown shooter attacked their dark-colored SUV from a Chevrolet Tahoe with oversized rims as they headed west past the Jackson Road interchange.

Investigators believe the shots came from a semi-automatic rifle, but would not confirm how many struck the victims. The gunfire caused Zavala to lose control of the vehicle and crash along the expressway.

Police had no motive for the shooting as of Tuesday afternoon. But two sources familiar with the situation said Zavala had ties to Gulf Cartel members in Matamoros and Reynosa, which has shown signs of its own internal power struggle in recent weeks.


Zavala and another man were riding home from the Tex-Mex Lounge strip club, 2017 Owassa Road, Edinburg, when the shooting occurred, causing their vehicle to lose control and crash, McAllen police Chief Victor Rodriguez said.

Zavala died at the scene and the other man was transported to a local hospital where he was listed in serious condition Tuesday evening.

Police refused to say how many times the victims were shot, but preliminary autopsy results revealed that Zavala died from multiple gunshot wounds — not the crash.

A female employee at Tex-Mex said Zavala had been at the bar with a group of men. The suspected shooters were at the establishment, as well, but the employee refused to comment any further.

Public records show Zavala has a criminal history that dates to his youth. Offenses that date back to 1995 include arrests for burglary of a vehicle, tampering with government records, driving while intoxicated, theft of property, criminal mischief, failure to identify a fugitive and evading arrest.


Investigators could not confirm a motive for Zavala’s slaying Tuesday afternoon. But sources familiar with Zavala say his death could be part of a power struggle within the Gulf Cartel between two groups: the Rojos and the Metros, which have engaged in several grenade attacks in Matamoros and Reynosa in recent weeks.

Zavala had been a close associate of Gulf Cartel plaza boss Gregorio “El Goyo” or “El Metro 2” Sauceda Gamboa, 44, who was arrested by Mexican Federal Police in April 2009. He died of cancer while behind bars, one source said.

That connection to the Metros has made headlines in recent weeks, after a high-profile execution in Reynosa.

Samuel “Metro 3” Flores Borrego, 39, was found assassinated Sept. 2 alongside the body of a high-ranking Tamaulipas state policeman in the bed of a pickup truck along the Reynosa-Matamoros highway.

A Mexican law enforcement source confirmed and photos showed the Gulf Cartel kingpin and policeman’s bodies stripped to their underwear after they were severely beaten and shot in the head.

The execution brought the struggle between the Gulf Cartel’s two current enforcement groups to the forefront. Several sources have said Flores’ execution was part of the blood-soaked feud between the Metros and Rojos.

A local law enforcement investigator unauthorized to speak publicly said that same power struggle within the Gulf Cartel may explain Zavala’s slaying.


The attack on Zavala followed a similar Gulf Cartel hit in Brownsville last year.

That attack occurred in October 2010, when three Gulf Cartel hit men drove alongside a gray Dodge pickup truck and opened fire, killing Omar Castillo Flores and his bodyguard, Jose Guadalupe Lopez.

Castillo was the youngest brother of Alberto “Beto Fabe” Castillo, who at the time was the Gulf Cartel’s plaza boss in Matamoros. His subordinates carried out the execution after Beto Fabe’s younger brother, Oscar “El Apache” Castillo Flores, took sides with the Gulf Cartel’s rival, the Zetas.

The eldest Castillo’s execution cleared the way for El Apache to carry out a slew of revenge attacks and assassinations throughout Matamoros.

After the Gulf Cartel’s enforcers killed most of El Apache’s supporters, he fled with his family to Brownsville, where he was arrested by federal authorities and sent to prison after pleading guilty to illegal re-entry.

The Zetas once worked as the Gulf Cartel’s enforcement wing prior to their widely publicized split in early 2010 that has left much of northeastern Mexico awash in bloody street battles that have left an unknown number dead.

The turf battle between the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel continues. But what may come of the latest internal struggle within the Gulf remains to be seen.

Hours after the murder of Zavala, grenade attacks were reported in Reynosa, Rio Bravo and Ciudad Victoria, while an intense firefight took place in Matamoros.


  1. Damn. This is getting interesting. I remember a few years ago someone linked to the Arellano's was gunned down in a new model Bentley on a freeway inn LA, so this isn't some new thing, but if it escalates....

  2. i can just see the writing on the wall. Los Metrones who may be outnumbered by Rojos and Escorpiones will make a truce with the zetas and it'll be all over for the CDG. If Lascano and z40 were smart they'd be playing this card. Personally El Coss and R-1 screwed up big time for killing Metro Tres now all M3's people are waging war on them. M35 is gonna kill El Coss and R-1 you'll see...Metro Tres had more loyalty and respect from his people and the rest of the cartel than El coss and R-1 combined. Chingatelos Commandante Jr y Señor Cortez, y los Metrones!

  3. Damn this is the beginning of the end for the Gulf Cartel.

  4. It's not even confirmed that this is result of infighting, or a civil war, there are a dozen reasons why that person could have gunned down. CDG killed three in Brownsville last year, Beto Fabes brother, a Gulf plaza boss. I don't know either way, but I'd guess The Monitor is running with that angle because of the M3 story, not any other reasons.

    If if is confirmed that factions are breaking away, it could lead to the fragmentation and condensing of the cartel that happened in Tijuana.

  5. Nothing to see here, obama said the border was as safe as it's ever been. This is obviously republican propaganda.

  6. I got word that el metro 3 got clipped because he was the man in charge of a lot of plazas n he started uppin the charge on all plazas n chargin his own people without the consent of. The other high members so he got clipped!

  7. @Anonymous 10:40 PM

    Los Metrones will not make a truce with Los Rataz. M3 was responsible for starting the conflict and he took the fight to the Rataz in their own plazas. The other factions would be more likely to make a truce with the Z against Los Metrones.

  8. Does anyone know the deal with the Juarez Cartel? They are calling themselves the New Juarez Cartel, whats the point of that?

  9. Dicen Que el metro 32 quiere la cabeza del R 1 por matar metro tres. Sin no, va ver una guerra Que no se va acabar. Soy de reynosa y los metros corrieron los rojos de la cuidad. Ese wey Que mataron en mcallen era un metro. Bien pilas metrones.

  10. So glad to see that the violence is remaining on the southern side of the border. I'll bet this crime doesn't make it into the crime stats for McAllen either.
    So now border residents not only run the risk of tire damage from spikes, getting t-boned by those trying to outrun the CBP or police, but getting in the middle of a shootout. All so politicians don't offend potential Latino voters. It is good to see their priorities are squarely on protecting their jobs rather than the public. Consistency is reassuring.

  11. Bet the Zeta's are laffing sooooo fucking hard knowing CDG are fighting themselves!

  12. CDG just cant seem to catch a break with their enforcement arms.

  13. They are not called rojos but Rs its a war between metros 3 ppl RIP and R-1 ppl los escorpiones were done when tormenta was killed.god help us all its only getting worse im getting the fuck out of here and back to cali sac town here I come

  14. @9:07, what are you trying to say? There is a republican governor right now.. Plus, the Zeta vs CDS and Zeta vs. CDG has been going on since 2004, when Bush was in office... Both parties are dropping the ball, get your head out the sand and start blaming both parties... This is not a Dem problem only, both parties get money by groups that want to keep this conflict off the media.. Hell, even FoxNews covers it very lightly!

  15. This video shows loyal Metro3 CDG talking about him and they have his name on a poster above the heads of the Zetas...

  16. Los Metros no valen Verga.....


  18. all u ppl are stupid dont know shit jorge was a T.C.B TEXAS CHICANO BROTHERHOOD........BOLA DE GENTE METICHE

  19. "Zavala had been a close associate of Gulf Cartel plaza boss Gregorio “El Goyo” or “El Metro 2” Sauceda Gamboa, 44, who was arrested by Mexican Federal Police in April 2009. He died of cancer while behind bars, one source said." is goyo really dead? i still havent found nothin bout him being dead


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