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

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The True Story of Los Zetas, the Power Unparalleled in Mexico

Soures: Proceso

The book "The Executioner of the Men" by George W. Grayson and Samuel Logan, coming to the U.S soon., tells of the “zetanización of Mexico” and also takes stock of Felipe Calderón’s strategy to fight Los Zetas and their rival organizations; Cartel del Golfo, Federacion de Sinaloa, Los Caballeros Templarios and La Familia Michoacana.
The review of the book "The Executioner of Men" published in Proceso immediately becomes an object of desire for any scholar or anyone interested on the subject of drug trafficking in Mexico, especially the analysis of the phenomenon during the presidency of Felipe Calderón and the origin of Los Zetas in 1999, ie at the end of the presidency of Ernesto Zedillo.

Next to be released is a fully turbulent election campaign in Mexico, the authors George W. Grayson and Samuel Logan panoram suggest that the politician is disrupted by the cartels to carry out their activities with impunity, that is, establish a parallel government with key routes for the smuggling of drugs

A parallel government target of Los Zetas

As ever in recent history the race which began formally on Friday March 30 will be permeated not only by political tension, but by the unprecedented activism of criminal groups

The bloodthirsty methods of operation of Los Zetas reflect the failure of Felipe Calderon militarized struggle against drug trafficking and threatening the rule of law in Mexico.

“It is unprecedented and the reason for the trail of blood in Mexico, and directly affects the political landscape,” U.S. analysts said George W. Grayson and Samuel Logan in his book “The scourge of men,” which goes on sale in the U.S. in the coming days under the Transaction Publishers imprint, when Mexico enters into a full swing with a very profuse election campaigns in recent times.

The work is a result of extensive and thorough investigation into the origin and behavior of the most violent Mexican criminal organization in the history of the drug trade, their people and the flow of weapons into Mexico.

According to Grayson and Logan Los Zetas or any other cartel seek the failure of the rule of law in Mexico. They are eager to carry out their activities with impunity, that is, establish a parallel government with key routes for the smuggling of drugs. ”

Moreover, the authors assert that they share territory disputes in regions such as Tierra Caliente and the Golden Triangle (consisting of Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Durango), Michoacan, Guerrero, Chiapas and Oaxaca and in areas north of the country as Ciudad Juarez, Matamoros, Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo. ”


Los Zetas attribute much of the kidnappings and other crimes in the territories where they operate, to include money laundering activities.

Today people consider the sicarios and the cartel leaders of Los Zetas as the most feared of the hemisphere. “It is difficult to persuade anyone in Mexico or Central America to speak about Los Zetas in an open and frank way.”

In 257 pages Grayson and Logan not only probe the “Zetanización of Mexico” but also take stock of Calderon’s strategy to combat the group and its rival organizations: the Gulf cartel, Sinaloa cartel, The Knights Templar and La Familia Michoacana. They are even trace Los Zetas' expansion to other countries including the United States.

Scholars signaled 1999 as the year when that group was formed as the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel led by Osiel Cardenas Guillen then.

Fearful and suspicious, the boss hired Arturo Guzmán Decena (Z-1), a former elite Mexican military to create a squad of assassins to ensure their personal safety and eliminate or neutralize their enemies in Tamaulipas.

In “The butcher of men,” Grayson, who teaches the art of government in the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and Logan, a researcher who specializes in security and organized crime, offer a frightening picture of the environment of insecurity that prevails in Mexico.

Both note that the violence generated by the movement of drugs was exacerbated by the war militarized by Calderón that was unleashed against drug trafficking groups.

The rearrangements

For their research, Grayson and Logan looked at articles published in Mexican media, including Proceso, and government analysis, records of protected witnesses, in order to establish the cartel’s power pyramid and the names of their leaders.

According to the Proceso's Transaction Publishers Edition, after the death of Z-1 on November 21, 2002, the leadership concentrated on Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, “El Lazca” or “The Executioner” and Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, ”El 40 .“ Then came more than 16 members, some identified only by their nicknames. They are heads of plazas.

The northern region, concentrated in Monterrey and Saltillo, is controlled by Francisco “El Quemado” Medina Mejia and Omar Treviño Morales, “El 42″ brother of “El 40″. Piedras Negras and Nogales are guarded by Raul “El Lucky” Lechuga Hernandez.

The Northwest Region in Tamaulipas, is a territory of Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobar, “La Ardilla” George Lopez, “El Chuta” Gustavo González Castro, “El Erotico” and Xalate Alberto Jose Gonzalez, “El Paisa “.

In Durango the deputy of “El Lazca” is Jose Luis Sarabia, "El Pepito 1," in Zacatecas the Zeta leader is Ivan Velazquez Caballos, “El Taliban” in San Luis Potosi, a person identified as ”El Aleman“ in the State of Mexico, Emilio Chamorro Almazan,”TJ“ or ”The Badger“, in Guerrero, Victor Nazario Castrejón Pena, in Chiapas,”El Commandante Lobo,“ and in Guatemala,”El Z-200“ and Carlos Guizar.

Grayson and Logan say: The continuing changes in the original structure of the organization on the allocation of operations to prevent the authorities “to identify criminals who are in charge of a place, city or state, complicating plans to track, ambush and capture the heads of medium hair. ”

The similar

In Mexico, the crime wave that is associated with or attributed to “Los Zetas” are not necessarily committed by their sicarios. Many are made by simple criminals who pose as members of the cartel to instil fear in the population.

“Some heads of plazas release family members that cooperate or or pay the ransom from extortions, and in some cases the top capos will call for the release of the hostages. In contrast, ‘Los Zetas’ lie to families or business affected by extortions,“ the authors write.

The alleged alliance between the Gulf cartel, Sinaloa and La Familia Michoacana to eliminate “Los Zetas”, which from 2010 became independent, is a recurring theme throughout the 12 chapters of “The scourge of men.”

"Los Zetas" are the only Mexican drug cartel has a strong women cell among their ranks: The Panthers, whose structure is concentrated in the state of Nuevo Leon, though they have representation in other areas of the country.

“The Panthers are skilled women who are responsible for negotiating agreements with the police, politicians and military officers or others who can support ‘Los Zetas’ in its objectives. If agreement is not reached, a panther can kill, “say Grayson and Logan.

They also say that like any criminal organization, “Los Zetas” have staff dedicated to managing the money that leaves the diversity of their criminal activities, including the transfer and sale of drugs in America.

“The finance manager of” Los Zetas “is” The Commandante Sol,“ whose true identity is unknown. It is he who manages the funds of “Los Zetas” and reports directly to “El 40″ and his brother Omar, “says the book.

Hemispheric projection

The organization of “Lazca” is also distinguished by its unqualified support for those who remain identified with them, they never leave their fallen comrades. The families of killed or imprisoned Zetas are paid a thousand dollars every two weeks, say Grayson and Logan. With respect to deserters, they add, the sicarios are hunted and annihilated, while the families are harassed.

To enter the ranks of “Los Zetas” applicants undergo rigorous training in centers that even “El 40″ have gone through and some are rumored to have even been installed in the U.S..

Allegedly a "Los Zetas" training courses run usually for about six months. The workouts are performed in fields located southwest of Matamoros, opposite Brownsville, north of the airport in Nuevo Laredo, near Abasolo, between Matamoros and Ciudad Victoria, and The Yellow Ranch on the shores of the people of China, near the border between Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas,“ says the book.

It also states that “the FBI reported that a cell of ”Los Zetas“ had an isolated ranch in a county in Texas where they trained their staff and learn how to neutralize a competitor (by murder and torture).” Among the “instructors” are Luis Alberto, “Z-5″, and Lieutenant Carlos Castaneda Hau, according to the account of a protected witness who is included in the book of Grayson and Logan.

Two of these Zeta training centers located in Tamaulipas even have airstrips.


Analysts who spoke off the record for the research by Grayson and Logan indicate that cocaine is 50% of the income of “Los Zetas”, 10-15% of methamphetamine, heroin trafficking and extortion, 5 % for alien smuggling, other contraband, and 10-15% from other activities.

The two researchers spend a significant area of their work to highlight the presence and dominance of “Los Zetas” in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. It revealed a transatlantic alliance by “El 40″, as reported by various media outlets in Mexico and Central America.

“Nicola Gratteri, the head of government anti-drug operations in Italy, says that in the past two years, "Los Zetas" have collaborated with the mafia of Calabria, the "Ndrangheta."

“This relationship was established because of the low cost of cocaine that is offered by "Los Zetas" and the Gulf Cartel to the consumers in Italy.

Mexican traffickers sell a kilo for $25,000 and the Italians sell it to its European customers for $45,000 a kilo" almost doubled, says the book.

The operations of drug trafficking, human smuggling, kidnappings and piracy of “Los Zetas” depend on the corruption of local public officials, as evidenced by “The Executioner of men.”

Based on the testimony of a protected witness, Grayson and Logan say that “a mayor who works for La Familia Michoacana while passing information to” Los Zetas “receives a monthly salary of about $15,000.”

Within the United States

In the U.S., “Los Zetas” have a network of collaborators. Grayson and Logan refer to the trial of James Bostic, a drug dealer confessed that he bought cocaine from “Los Zetas” from 2005 to February 2, 2010. In his statement, Bostic said he had paid $589,000 to a drug dealer of “Los Zetas” in a hotel in White Marsh, Maryland.

Since mid-2007, federal investigators admitted that the drug traffickers with ties to Los Zetas were active in Tennessee and Oklahoma, where they were also conducting kidnapping and extorting citizens. In Atlanta Los Zetas even negotiated with the group Los Tolles to operate in that city and assisted in drug transshipment routes coming to Chicago from Mexico.

The following year Los Zetas came to Memphis and dominated drug trafficking across Texas, including Dallas and Houston. In October 2008 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued an intelligence bulletin in which it confirmed the presence of  “Los Zetas” in the Southwest and Midwest United States.

They also say Grayson and Logan, through informants, a member of the Pistoleros Latinos gang and agents of the Customs and Border Protection confirmed that “Los Zetas” gang hired locals to protect drug shipments and entered U.S. soil to commit murders or kidnappings.

The findings of Grayson and Logan on the problem posed by “Los Zetas” for Mexico and the region is alarming. And their opinion about Calderon’s militarized strategy to curb the drug trade is devastating:

“The Mexican governament only strikes against certain specific criminal organizations or small cell groups, but fails to concentrate on catching the kingpins one by one. This strategy increases the violence because subordinates who are less skilled than their leaders deposed seek to replace the higher command and other cartels take advantage of the group's weakness.

Video of the History of the Zetas and His Chief Heriberto Lazcano, alias “El Verdugo”


  1. Thankyou for the report, but the bad grammar and writing is a struggle to read through. Some sentences do not make sense.

  2. I know, sorry. I published it in haste and found out someone on "US Open Borders" did a horrible Google translation. I did find the original article on Proceso and tried to clean it up a bit. Hope that helped some.

  3. I tried to find this article on Proceso but I didn't find it. Mundo Narco has it.

  4. As a curious Gringo, I would love to see some more detailed bios on Zeta Viejos like el Chuta. We always hear that z40 was a commando, which is false. Wasn't he a member of Los Texas gang. He is a killer, but it would be nice to have a more complete story for these guys. They are a fascinating study in the depravity of humans. I would love to hear about el erotico, Mateo, hummer, guerra, Flanders, and la chuta especially...and of course lazcano. Anyone with the inside tip please inform.

  5. Thanks man. Good read.11:49 F.U. Let's see u come up with something.

  6. A lot of these men are no longer alive,and even more are arrested.Quemado was killed just recently,Pepito is caught,Erotico is dead,etc.

  7. "Analysts who spoke off the record for the research by Grayson and Logan indicate that cocaine is 50% of the income of “Los Zetas”, 10-15% of methamphetamine, heroin trafficking and extortion, 5 % for alien smuggling, other contraband, and 10-15% from other activities."

    And no mention of marijuana ?

  8. I know some if not most are dead or in prison, but it would be nice as a reader/student of the narcowar to have detailed bios about each original/important zeta like they have for many of the other capos . I think its inpotortant to put a face to the name as well, so you list things like "in 2006 el erotico grenaded and machinegunned a Disco in Reynosa etc. just detailed bios it would get a lot of reads.

  9. Como se llama el libro pero en epanol.

  10. The narrator in that video deserve a good boot!, SELL OUT!! Idiot, kissing the Zetas' ass, "How wonderful it is to be the most ruthless dirty bastards in Mexico", THAT'S THE NARRATOR'S TONE OF VOICE = idiota!

  11. @ anon. Apr 17 2012 6:13 am. "El Ejecutador De Los Hombres"

  12. Why dont you go down the south border and tell them what you think about them and see what you get.

  13. The book is titled " The Executioner's Men"

  14. Since you know so much, find out what they did to 28 yr old American Kyle Belanger whom after they abducted him has been missing for over 4 years.

  15. they are coming to the USA..every little town has a Mexican restuarant..and the owners and workers have relatives in Mexico, this leaves them exposed to being intimidated...

    and also our government GREATLY ASSISTS THE DTO"S by our stupid immigration policy ..making it almost impossible for Mexicans to come here legally...while making it as easy and attractive as possible to come here illegal person is easily intimidated/exploited ..both by criminal US employers...and the dto's.. both foreign and domestic

    I am totally convinced that our government is in collusion with the Mexican government ,who is in turn, in bed with the cartels

    and who is gonna suffer are the innocent on both sides

  16. "A lot of these men are no longer alive,and even more are arrested.Quemado was killed just recently,Pepito is caught,Erotico is dead,etc"
    yea but there still plenty of viejos; El chuta, yepis, guera,etc, and there are plenty who join.

  17. Explain Araiza family cell, connection to Las Zetas out of Juarez, what did this cell do? And what happened to Anglo working for them?

  18. Commandante Sol is one of the original zetassssss

  19. Los Zetas are a bunch of people that need to die . All they do is start crap everywhere, they are guna grw but some of our stupid border patrolers are with them . Los Zetas = Muere


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