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

Monday, March 5, 2012

After Two Year Struggle Gulf Cartel, Zetas at Impasse

The Monitor
Two years have passed since the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas broke their alliance and turned their weapons on each other. During that time, there have been untold firefights, executions, kidnappings and other violent events as the two rival organizations continue to fight for control of lucrative drug trade routes.

In recent months, the struggle between the rival cartels has reached an impasse. While the Zetas appear to be the larger of the organizations, the alliance that the Gulf Cartel has with the Sinaloa Cartel and the Knights Templar, which is made up of the remaining members of the Familia Michoacana, evens the numbers out.
Despite the impasse and uncertain future of both the drug war and the war between cartels, much has changed near the Tamaulipas-Texas border since the struggle between the cartels began.

The Zetas were a group of Mexican military and police deserters who were recruited by the Gulf Cartel in the late 1990s and hired by Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, who was the leader of the Gulf Cartel, to be his personal guard. After Cárdenas Guillén’s capture in 2003, the Zetas became an independent organization that worked alongside the Gulf Cartel. Cárdenas Guillén is serving a prison sentence in the United States on drug charges.
Rumors of an imminent split began in October 2009, but it didn’t materialize until February 2010.
 In an apparent misunderstanding, the late Samuel "Metro 3" Flores, who at the time was Gulf Cartel plaza boss for Reynosa, killed Zeta lieutenant Sergio "Concord" Peña Mendoza in late January.

According to Mexico’s Federal Police, however, Peña Mendoza had been arrested in March 2009. While the exact date is not known, soon after Mendoza’s death, Zetas leaders Heriberto Lazcano and Miguel Angel "El 40" Treviño issued an ultimatum to the leadership of the Gulf Cartel: Give us the head of Metro 3 in 30 days or prepare for war.
On the day of the deadline, the Gulf Cartel lashed out, attacking Zetas in San Fernando, Valle Hermoso, Ciudad Mier and other cities throughout Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, forcing them to almost instantly pull their forces out of those cities. They retreated to the areas around Ciudad Victoria, where the Zetas had a more solid ground from which to counterattack. During the weeks that the initial clashes occurred, local residents were shocked at the brutality being displayed by both sides.

In San Fernando, the forces of the late Antonio Ezequiel "Tony Tormenta" Cárdenas Guillén strung the bodies of fallen Zetas and their associates from light poles. In Ciudad Mier, Gulf Cartel soldiers hacked several Zetas to pieces and left their body parts hanging on trees and around small religious altars in the rural areas.

Large convoys of gunmen clashed in rural areas and city streets as the struggle continued until early April, when the Zetas were able to stand their ground around Ciudad Victoria, Tampico and Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas, as well as in the state of Nuevo Leon. The Zetas then regrouped and began a more systematic infiltration attempt aimed at taking control once again of certain key areas. The criminal organization sought control of San Fernando and Ciudad Mier, thus pushing the Gulf Cartel back to Matamoros, Reynosa and the Frontera Chica, which is the area around Camargo, Miguel Alemán and Ciudad Mier.

(Lazcano in photo below)

Since then, the two groups and their allies have battled for control of San Fernando, Tampico, Valle Hermoso and the Frontera Chica, all while still moving considerable amounts of drugs.

 According to various news releases from Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office — PGR — and the Mexican military, 2- or 3-ton seizures of marijuana became the norm in the Frontera Chica.

According to the news releases from the PGR, each month the agency incinerates between 20 and 30 tons of marijuana that have been seized by the Mexican military in the northern part of Tamaulipas.

According to various Rio Grande Valley police departments, the price of drugs on the streets has remained constant for the past two years.

(Tony "Tormenta")

One of the main areas over which the two groups have fought is the rural area around San Fernando, Tamps., some 90 miles south of McAllen.

According to a source outside law enforcement who is from there, San Fernando is a virtual spiderweb of dirt roads that connect the city to areas near Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros, making it prized territory.

During the summer of 2010, the Zetas, who controlled the area, made headlines across the world when in August, the Mexican military found the bodies of 72 migrants inside a warehouse after clashing with gunmen at a Zeta ranch.

According to news releases from the Mexican military at the time, the Zetas had kidnapped Central American migrants bound for the United States and executed them.

Aftermath of November 2010 Matamoros shootout in which Tormenta was killed

Approximately six months later, the Mexican military stumbled upon dozens of mass graves containing a total of more than 190 bodies. Top Mexican officials, including then-press secretary Alejandro Poire and Mexico’s Attorney General Marisela Morales, said the Zetas had been responsible for the murders.

According to information from PGR provided at the time, the bodies were those of bus passengers who had been taken by the Zetas, who were looking for rival cartel members trying to make their way north. As a result of the two San Fernando massacres, in December, the Mexican army built a permanent military base in the area.

But the firefights persist.


San Fernando is the area where U.S. missionary Nancy Davis was fatally wounded during a carjacking attempt in early January 2011 by the Zetas. Davis’ husband, Sam, drove back to Reynosa and across the international bridge in Pharr seeking help.

According to a travel advisory issued in early February by the U.S. Department of State, there have been 120 deaths of U.S. citizens in Mexico. The advisory was not specific on the information regarding the deaths and it couldn’t be confirmed with U.S. State Department officials if Nancy Davis was counted as one of the
120 dead.

There have been two cases in which U.S. authorities have confirmed a direct spillover of violence; however, there are other cases that have not been classified as such, but that do have a direct connection to cartel activity.
(Photo below is of El Cos)

On Oct. 29, 2010, the Gulf Cartel had three gunmen execute Omar Castillo Flores and his bodyguard Jose Guadalupe Lopez along F.M. 511 in Olmito, a short distance from the Cameron County Jail where Castillo’s brother, Oscar "El Apache" Castillo Flores, was being detained. Oscar Castillo was a member of the Gulf Cartel but joined the Zetas after the death of his older brother, Alberto "Beto Fave" Castillo, who briefly was plaza boss in Matamoros before fellow Gulf Cartel members killed him.

A second confirmed case of spillover occurred Oct. 30 when an Hidalgo County Sheriff’s deputy was shot during a firefight with gang members under the employ of the Gulf Cartel. Sheriff Lupe Treviño said the gang members had been hired to recover stolen marijuana loads. The gang members had kidnapped several people and fired at deputies responding to the call.

That same weekend, a man was kidnapped in the rural county area and was taken to Reynosa, where police found him in the trunk of a car at the Hidalgo International Bridge.

On Sept. 27, Jorge Zavala was killed in a volley of gunfire along U.S. Expressway 83 as he made his way to his home in Mission from a gentleman’s bar in Pharr. Valley Freedoms Newspapers quoted sources outside law enforcement in stating that the murder was in connection to a power struggle inside the Gulf Cartel. McAllen police refused to confirm or deny the information published.

U.S. local, state and federal authorities now have coordinated contingency plans in the event that a shootout in Mexico shows the potential of spilling over.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, law enforcement departments work together in those cases and constantly review their procedures as a way of being prepared for any violent incidents along the border.

The ongoing struggle over drug territories has now become a hot political topic in Mexico as the country prepares for its presidential elections this summer.

The outcome of the elections likely will determine the direction of the ongoing war on drugs, said George W. Grayson, a university professor at the College of William and Mary and a regular speaker on politics at the U.S. Department of State. Grayson is the author of Mexico: Narco Violence and A Failed State?

More than likely, Enrique Peña Nieto from the Revolutionary Institutional Party — PRI — will win the election because he has a well-oiled PR machine and is considered the golden boy, Grayson said.

Peña hasn’t described his strategy for the drug war, and his potential cabinet has not been made public, he said.

Many questions have risen regarding the PRI’s past links to organized crime.

During the more than 70 years that PRI was in power, the president had total control, Grayson said.

The PRI lost the presidential seat in 2000 to National Action Party — PAN — candidate Vicente Fox, who is from the same party as the current president, Felipe Calderón, whose term ends this year.

During the rule of PRI, the government imposed a set of unspoken rules that turned a blind eye to drug trafficking as long as the public was not affected, violence was kept to a minimum and drugs were not sold to children. According to the author, that dynamic changed when PAN came into power.

Grayson said if PAN candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota wins, she would likely continue Calderón’s strategy and look into creating a real police force that could address security concerns instead of leaving it up the military.

According to Grayson, Calderón wants to leave the presidency on a good note and is putting pressure on the military and federal authorities to capture legendary capo Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera in hopes that the capture of the prized capo will help Vazquez win the election.

In Grayson’s opinion, while the northern states in Mexico have seen a large amount of violence, the central states, where the country’s financial and political elite live, have remained mostly untouched.

Much like in the case of Colombia, real change won’t come until the elite experience drug violence and put all their effort into solving the problem, he said. During the 1980s and early 1990s, the South American nation was involved in a bloody drug war at the hands of kingpin Pablo Escobar. In 1991 and 1992, the two years prior to the death of Esocabar, the country saw more than 50,000 murders.

According to Grayson, during Colombia’s dark time, the struggle soon involved the public as bombings and other terrorist attacks were carried out by cartel members. Escobar was slain in 1993 by Colombian forces with technical help from U.S. Special Forces.

According to Grayson, Colombia has come along since those days in an effort to control violence.


  1. When a country "turns a blind eye to criminal activity" then the govt is in effect Supporting,aiding,Criminal conduct. The PRI is well known for this support of NARCOS blind eye,my ass.It will be absolutly astonishing if the Mexican public elects a PRI President. Would that not speak volumes about Mexicans culture?? Negative comment,you bet!

    1. They (Mexico) blame us for this drug war because we have a demand for drugs and for the flow of arms going into their country? Well if they weren't so fucking corrupted starting with their cops,mayors,etc. Pretty much anyone who has a state or government job that country would be so much different.

  2. Puro CxDxG desde Moros asta Miguel Aleman... Dé Reynosa asta Zacatecas bien pilas para él cartel ....

    1. Puro Zacatecas y Tamaulipas pariente, Puro CxDxG

    2. Puro CDG XXX=M3 La compañia sige rifando

    3. Colonia popular CxDxG limpieza de cucarachas zetones aqui mandamos golfo andamos al 1000% matamoros

    4. Un 111 para todos los del CDG y con la pechera en ALTO!!

  3. This is really interesting but at which point where LFM called in to play?

    1. When the war broke out mayo, el chapo, and el nacho coronel sent 1000 men each and la familia sent 500 to fight los zetas
      But i was told they ended up fighting among eachother because they had different comandantes from other cartels giving orders and some foot soldiers didn't like it

    2. Michoacan has been in the game for a few years but now íts Los Templarios not LFM. El Chayo and El Chapo have a common enemy.....

    3. From what I heard Sinaloa didn't send in that many people I heard LFM did send around 600 the first time and the Gulf Cartel asked for more to start new battles around the Zeta strongholds but that's when the whole san fernando thing started

    4. Wake up guys El Chayo is dead and that conspirasy crap of him being alive is bull shit. Also El Chapo and Los Templarios are enemies or why do you think el Chapo sent his foot soldiers the CJNG and their brazo armado the Mata Zetas into Tutas territory in states like Michoacan, Jalisco, Guerrero, DF AND Guanaguato?

    5. ^Now he is......

  4. To the pawn that says "puro CxDxG",
    May you and your kind rot in hell, you scum of the Earth. Your kind are nothing but cancer to society.


    1. Comandante Guerra? De donde era comandante la pinche Zorra si ni de la academia de veladores graduó. Si era un muerto de hambre mata inocentes. Ni para el arranque les sirvió a los soldados. Y tú que andas haciedo escondido en la ribereña, por que no te arrimas tú y la.Zorraputa principal por el cuartel, miedo? A la caca Guerra ya le está dando chorizo Satanás.

    2. Thats true ZETAS have shown to be more powerful than C.D.G.

    3. Muy pilas los zetas y el cdg? Pilas y balas les van a meter en el culo tarde o temprano y hasta sus madres y viejas culeros! Chupan pura verga! Pinche bola de asquerosos!!! Apestan culeros! Entre todos se maman la verga y se tragan los mecos el uno al otro! Siguan comiendose la misma mierda que cagan, son la misma chingadera!!! Me cai que me los cojo y ago que me mamen la verga pero an de tener SIDA estupidos marranos!!! Mejor me cojo una vaca que a cualquier vieja de loz zetas a golfo!

    4. Setones awas con los sorchos trabajan para nosotros cdg controla gracias a la gente andamos al 1000% puro matamoros

    5. Aprende a escribir, you stupid zorra. A Michoacan ni lo mensiones socroso o que, ya se te olvido como los de LFM los sacaron a patadas del estado como perros cajados y.mugrosos que son con la cola entre las patas pendego? Ya perdieron Jalisco, ya no estan ni en Michoacan, Guanaguato y en Vera Cruz, Guerrero y Quintana Ro y N.L les estan pegando en sus zoras madres todos sus contras jajaja pinches mugrosos muertos de ambre.

    6. Por aire y por carretera brechas caminos y beredas sige siendo el ma's buscado por Los guachos en LA tierra es juaquin Guzman loera

  6. There is rumor that Zetas did not kill Metro 3, it was his own people especially EL R1 over power of the cartel.

    1. That is exactly what happened it was for power within thier own golf cartel killed metro 3

  7. @11:11 AM

    This article is from the Christian Science Monitor, an international news organization. A lot of stuff is always in dispute, but it is a good interesting article.

    We will never know what's really happening unless some boss writes a tell-all book.

  8. La compañia sige rifando...Y que es lo que rifan? Regalos?

  9. The picture of the guy dead in the street in an orange shirt is of Beto Fabe, one time plaza boss of Matamoros, he was killed because his wife told off Tony Tormenta´s daughter (Karla). And to show her whose boss they killed her husband and her, as well as her entire family, mom, dad, brothers... To further disrespect the one time boss, they thru his body in the street and allowed the newspapers to run the story-with pictures.

  10. Those pics are not of Tormenta dead. Its Beto who was the plaza leader. Tormenta and his group were killing fools left and right when he was alive. Seems what some Z's say on here that el cartel just stay in their safe havens. I think they should just go fight among themselves to see who is the best and get it over with. People want peace and tranquility. The struggle for Monterrey will tell us who will come out on top. The city is split in half between the 2 groups. If CDG can win it, they can win in any city. If the Z's kick out el cartel, itll be a major blow. Time will tell. Arriba Mexico lindo

  11. jaja cdg controls tampico people like to forget that pinches ratazz are getting their asses kicked in tampico jaja

  12. @March 5, 2012 7:44 PM .Bro,this the same guy who was Oscar “El Apache” Castillo Flores,older brother? “El Apache”,the US got him,let him go,and now he been topped this year.He was CDG,and then flipped to the Z,but was another stone killer.There were many rumors why they killed Beto Fave,but Apache runnin around doin his own thing then flippin,mustn't have looked to good.

  13. Desde el Centro Valle de California andamos pinche Zorraz .... Puro Cartel Del Golfo bitcheZ . Aqui los Z son puro chistes ni Si quiera los topan por eso mismo quetan muertos en los Files y rioz jajaja pura muertas de hambre. Arriva TAMAULIPAS y NUEVO LEON kabrones 18-3-2 119 a la maña - Ch1

  14. so it all started from metro 3

  15. “Beto Fabe” Topped. “El Apache”. Topped.
    “El Omarcillo”Topped.All brothers,CDG hunted every one of them down and made sure,by puttin a couple in their heads.Bad dudes,these.Beto Fabe was Matamoros jefe for CDG.He let his bro Apache run around working for both sides,Tormenta killed Fabe,Apache flipped to Z and had his own crew of sics,killin CDG.Most of Apaches crew got theirs as well,15 on Matamoros highway,another 12 when police put them in Matomoros pen.Their wives were killed as well.
    Talk about personal?

  16. This story was not by the Christian Science Monitor. It was by the McAllen Monitor. They have some of the last US reporters that still go to Mexico for news. The original story didnt run with all these photos, thats added by the website.

  17. Tamaulipas LA CUNA DEL....... C.D.G ARIVA TODO LOS METROS .!

  18. Porque no se juntan todos Los cartels y se ponen a trabajar juntos para obtener mas fuerza y ganar mas dinero y mas poder juntos....

  19. Golfos like Latin kings have always been their own worst enemy


Comments are moderated, refer to policy for more information.
Envía fotos, vídeos, notas, enlaces o información
Todo 100% Anónimo;