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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The secret story of how the Zetas turned Coahuila into hell

 Translated by El Profe for Borderland Beat from Animal Politico


     Elementos incautados a presuntos narcotraficantes (AFP)

Massacres, incinerated bodies, collusion of authorities. Former members of the Zetas declare in US courts how crime controlled everything in Coahuila for 6 years. 

Alberto Nájar BBC World, Mexico City
November 6 2017

Forced recruitment of teenagers to become hit men. Villages completely destroyed. Hundreds of people incinerated.

It is that way that, for at least six years, the Zetas drug cartel continued to control the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Coahuila, in northwestern Mexico.

In three trials conducted in Texas courts, former members of the organization revealed details of massacres, bribes to police, mayors and officials of two state governments.

The Zetas, the witnesses said, controlled several prisons in the state including one, in Piedras Negras, where 150 rivals were incinerated.

Between 2007 and 2013, there were atrocious murders in Coahuila. Hundreds of people were stripped of their property. An unknown number of teenagers were forced to become hit men and more than 1,600 people disappeared.

The result: one of the worst periods of violence in history. The consequences are still being felt .

"It was hell but we still suffer every day, night after night," María Elena Salazar, of the United Forces for Our Disappeared in Coahuila (FUUNDEC), tells BBC Mundo.

Eight years ago his son Hugo Marcelino González disappeared in Torreón, the most prosperous city in Coahuila. Since then there has been no news of his whereabouts. He was one of the victims of the invasion that the Zetas undertook in the state. "My son disappeared just at that time, during that wave of violence," he recalls.

Key information
That construction of hell in the Mexican state that the testimonies reveal in the Texas courts are gathered in the report "Control .... On All the State of Coahuila " presented this Monday in Mexico City.

It was carried out by the Human Rights Clinic of the Law School of the University of Texas, in collaboration with the Fray Juan de Larios de Coahuila Diocesan Center for Human Rights.

The document analyzes the trials against former Los Zetas in the courts of Austin, San Antonio and Del Rio, Texas. The proceedings took place between 2013 and 2016. The detainees were charged with murder, conspiracy to import drugs and weapons, as well as money laundering.

All the accused received sentences. But the most valuable thing, says the report, is that the interrogations revealed the way the cartel, one of the most violent in Latin America, established almost total control in several regions of the state .

And a little known fact: in the trials came data on missing persons, including some from several years ago.

It is information that can help solve many cases, says Ariel Dulitzky, director of the Human Rights Clinic, to BBC Mundo.

"The government of the United States has information that should be shared with the Mexican government and independent civil society organizations," he stresses. "They would allow to clarify violations of human rights", especially cases of missing persons. 

Police accomplices
The greater Zetas control was carried out in municipalities near the border with the United States. To gather this, trial witnesses are referred to, who say they bought the support of the municipal police, of the state government, and some of the federal government.

An example of the territorial control they achieved was the shooting of a former collaborator identified as "El Tucán", whom they accused of collaborating with the Secretariat of the Navy.

In mid-2012, witness Saúl Fernández points out in the San Antonio trial, that the cartel established roadblocks on each street in Piedras Negras, and checked all people entering or leaving the city.

And all in the presence of the local police. When Fernandez asked what the agents did, Fernandez replied: "Well, they acted like nothing was happening."

They also established a private communications network, with hundreds of relay antennas in buildings, commercial premises or nearby hills.

The only ones who the cartel feared was the Navy, the testimony states. And to avoid them, the leaders of the group used official helicopters, says the witness Rodrigo Uribe Tapia at the San Antonio trial.

In addition to the police collaboration, the group recieved support from local politicians, and some even financed their electoral campaigns.

In exchange for this support the Zetas obtained police protection, but also contracts for public works, not only in municipalities or the state but with federal companies such as Pemex or the Federal Electricity Commission.

Some were assigned to the company ADT Petroservicios headed by Francisco Colorado Cesa,"Pancho", who was sentenced in one of the Texas trials. But they also created dozens of businesses, and the testimonies even say that they controlled entire shopping centers in Piedras Negras.

These places were used as safe houses or places to exchange money, drugs and weapons. Another refuge for the members of the cartel were the prisons that in some cases, like the Piedras Negras prison, were used only as dormitories.

For example, the witness Uribe says that, during the day, members of the Zetas who were inmates could leave and enter the prison without problems.

Axes to kill
But in addition to the collaboration of authorities, the most effective way to control part of Coahuila was terror. The best-known case was the murder of 300 people in the town of Allende, between March and April 2011. Many of the victims were incinerated at the site.

It was a series of revenge attacks because some ex-cartel members began to collaborate with the United States government. Nothing was known about the massacre for several years, and even now it is not completely known what happened.

"Many deaths. (The Zetas) even began to kill relatives in Allende, and Piedras Negras, and Músquiz and Sabinas. They also wanted to kill me," said witness Hector Moreno.

The way they murdered their victims was atrocious, witnesses point out. Several were dismembered alive with an ax, the first blow on one of the knees .

Many times the people killed were innocent. They were sentenced to death for the simple suspicion that they collaborated with rivals or authorities.

This happened with four children who sold newspapers in Piedras Negras. The person responsible for the massacre was Marciano Millán Vázquez, known as "Chano" and one of the main leaders of the cartel in the region.

The remains of the victims were usually incinerated or disposed of in acid. The Zetas call this method "cooking" .

"It's very sad, very sad"
The Zetas no longer have full control of Coahuila as documented in the Texas trials. The cartel has mostly been affected by authorities combating them. Practically all of its founders, ex-elite soldiers, have died or are have been arrested.

The organization only has presence in part of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Veracruz and Tabasco. Before, they controlled drug trafficking, kidnapping of migrants and extortion of businessmen in ten of the 32 states of Mexico.

But the footprint that they left in their headquarters, the northern area of Coahuila, is not erased. Especially for families of missing persons.

"It's very sad, very sad and painful for us," Salazar says, "the answers we have are not valid, what we ask and demand is that they look for the living . They are not things, they are not objects. They are thousands of lives. "


  1. You been jamming Profe.
    Keep it up!

  2. Is there a reason to all the articles about Zs lately on BB? Zs started out as 20 underpaid sophisticated men? Now, they are scattered throughout the world, surviving death, with a small fan club in Mexico sacrificing themselves for other cartel's ill entertainment? Is BB competing with Zeta newspaper?

    1. There just happens to be a lot of articles on Los Zetas on all the main news sites at the moment. Our reporters tend to report on what is there weekly, next week it may all be about CJNG.

    2. Yes, a lot of articles, looks like a lot of distractions, wonder WHY?
      there must be a lotta shit flown under it, what could it be, paradise papers, pizzagate, televisa's catalogs of young actors and actresses, emilio azcarraga jean's resignation, china's rape of the US, (that would not be blamed on China, after all they are paying their ransoms noW, and throwing a few golf resorts on the side)... so many things goin' on.
      The zetas can't be prosecuted on the US for crimes committed in mexico, like Alvaro Uribe Velez' autodefensas, milicos and paracos, the mexIvan politicians WILL NOT, REPEAT WILL NOT BE.PROSECUTED FOR ANY CRIMES COMMITTED because nobody wants them olenin' their yappers about their Master Puppeteers, the Zoberein' Impunity baloon of poòp is been freshly refilled. But in America it smells like roses and champaign farts.
      💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩 💩

    3. Because of they were notorius also i doubt that they were underpaid. Im willing to bet oziel paid them well plus from almost the get go they also had the option to create their own pipelines to the usa with a half of a key to start with which they were encouraged to buy with some of their first money.

    4. I:24 the zetas used pipe tankers, their first class finely refined Huachicol was a delight to Texas Oil Barons, their depleted texas oil wells never gushed with more delight, straight from PEMEX fuel valves, they did not need to tap the pipes on the field, the US never saw the contraband, of course, shit gets pretty selective sometimes, nobody ever saw the cocaine hidden in the tankers or the coahuila coal trains, greed make shit invisible...

    5. 824. A little over a pound to divide over how many countries? Get reAL

    6. 9:30 in the trade, K is for a thousand, kilos or pounds,
      Prolly maybe tons of them.

  3. Poverty, corruption and the earning power of illicit drugs are the three pillars on which the Zetas and the other cartels have been built. Only by removing these underlying causes can the domination of organized crime be broken and its resurgence prevented.

    After 30 years of WoD we have stronger, cheaper and more plentiful drugs than ever. Legalization would destroy the earnings power of the drugs, without earnings the power of corruption would diminish. Only with less corruption can poverty be dealt with effectively.

    The vicious circle must be broken and the first step must be legalization.

    1. That’s the problem all along!
      Mexico is well known for its corruption practices. Drugs however fed into that equation with the fortunes that are made.
      Unfortunately, many countries now suffer as in Mexico with its horrible impact!
      “Addiction, crime and criminals”.

      Let’s not forget the white collar crimes from its proceeds” Banks”.

      Drugs are here to stay.
      Legalization would solve most of the violence.
      However, would mass fortunes for those who monopolize it.

    2. 2:13 . 30 years of war on Drugs ? Where have you been ? You are obviously pretty young and the comprehension that goes with being young . Not going to tell you when the wars on drugs was declared . Google it . I'm sure the info is out there . Needless to say it was before your life began . The problem is the ball was dropped so many times . Then there was always the mentality in Mexico . It was a common thing to be a producer and it was accepted . Wasn't even considered crooked . I know many Mexicans here in the US today that grew poppies or weed in the old days . The hard truth is Mexico is paying dearly for it now . " The Chickens Have Come Home To Roost . I used to not be able to see it but being around as long as I have I now know everything changes . It will change . When it gets to a certain point very drastic measure will be used . "Everything Changes .

    3. They would still kidnap and extort etc..

    4. Mexicans were and ARE poor before the Zetas, except EPN he IS way more richer than anybody ever could have ghessed, and the PRI had a resurgence like VIAGRA could never ever dream or promise, thanks to all their drug trafficking mexican cartels they own on the sly, or on the "down low" and their foreign puppet masters like alvaro uribe velez.

    5. It seems that everybody wants to put blame on the politicians and the corruption, what about the families that praise their kids when the migrate to the US to sell drugs just because they are sending money back. A lot of these parents do not care where the money is comming from they proudly boast"mi hijo la esta haciendo al otro lado" "my son is making it in the US".

    6. 2:13 13p million mexicans are home just waiting for the mules and the ants or the local grameros to come back from poor victim the US bringing with them the american Mochin' Gans made in china to kill the neighbours, the daily maruchan for the kids, the ol' bag, and el sancho, AND of course, the billions of dollars to corrupt the cops, the soldiers, the marinas and the politicians, then there are always the religious sects demanding their 10% if the biiig baaad mexican crooks don't want to go straight to hell where they belong sooner than ritteaway now ya!
      9:51 IF mijo had not gone to college, mija had not got her Masters, my other hijo had not gone to the army and irak and out his life aside for a while, but just graduated collidge and my other mija had not worked all her life because she wanted no part of being a snob with a collidch degree, because she makes way .ore money than she needs, then maybe they would be selling drugs like you your family and your friends your parents and your grandparents, because you are the family of the PENDEJOS, and you make them proud, no doubt...

  4. One good thing and one only . These atrocious criminals will never breath a breath in freedom again in this life . Mexico will never be adequate to deal with these criminals appropriately . What is the solution ? We want some more of them but we cant take them all . No matter what or when we will have a isolation cell for Rafael Caro Quintero to finish out his days. We will get that Piece Of Shit .

    1. For the atrocities committed in Mexico, these individuals need to become fertilizer. I would never be satisfied with prison only. Damnation in hell ten times over is what they deserve. Death for there crimes

    2. 4:33 I agree with you 100% but being brought into the USA from Mexico for trial , a little insanity cell is the best we can hope for . Cant even taunt then while living in it .

    3. General Rafael Macedo de la Concha, cuñao of Vicente Fox and brother of fox's firdt wife, cief justice etc and defense minister, an Israeli asset, founder of the GAFES, HEHEHEEE, a drug and weapons trafficker, and his politician partners will never be tried on any court in the world, they are "dignatarios", and the US puppets, puppet dignitaries do not persecute each other, "if they don't have to".
      Then it becomes just business.

    4. These guys need mainly to be SILENCED, for everything they say will be used against their still free brothas in power all over the place, on the US, and it don't much matter if they didn't say anythin' at all, I want MY WALL, FREE OF CHARGE,
      "Enrique, if your lisstenin'... just say yes"

  5. “The only ones who feared the cartel was the Navy” ——-- This is a FALSE statement. Testimony from witnesses and defendants alike remarked that the Z’s feared the Marina’s (Navy) as they were ruthless in aggression. They feared the Marina’s would execute them upon and during arrest. Everybody else was on their payroll. So, in the alternative I believe this to be a simple error in proofreading the blog post before actually posting it. No offense El Profe, good article but that simple mistake can cause much harm now people think the Marina’s are ‘cowards’? I think not. The Z’s only major cause of concern was the Marina’s. They tried to avoid them and stay out of their way all the time. I think that statement really needs to be changed in this ‘translated’ article.

    1. i think that the translation is "the only ones who the cartel feared, was the navy".

    2. It's a pretty obvious need to get chonies in a bunch...just enjoy the informative article

    3. You are absolutely right. An oversight in translating, though a large one(late nights sometimed). It has been corrected. Thanks

    4. 11:45 the Mexican Navy was not feared by the zetas, mainly because their rust buckets do not operate on land.
      The Marinas, also known as the pinchis marinelas, we're FECAL PUSH to continue ruling mexican politics, but also a push to destabilize the narcos power, epn did not want then around, but MAO osorio chón DID NOT WANT EL BERTIE BOY MOREIRO AROUND RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT UNDER EPN, and that would be facked up, MAO wants to be the one, and has been cleaning out everybody before he gets the dedazo, or else, there will be trouble, on the double.

  6. BB has it really been that peaceful in Mexico that you have nothing new for us? How many dead this week i refuse to believe there is nothing going on worthy of Borderland Beat. Someone who cares.

    1. 3:30 if there were more news reports there would be no room for our pinchis comments, so, shut the fack up and Let It Be.

  7. They should put the ones responsible on acid for what they did to those people and the politicians next for looking the other way.bunch of cowards.

    1. Won't happen they r still in power. We will continue to live under this environment. Thought this would be over by now. Guess going on 11 years. Chivato 4, maybe Mexico not so bad. Chicago has 600 dead. Gun control works in Mexico and Chicago

    2. 3:36 for every zeta brung down, 100 high class polizetas have replaced him, and they work more grameros than ever to support their own dirty deals.
      Anything the puppet government in the mexican banana republic tries comes full of BS because it comes outta their overthere to please their masters, because their billions of dollars demand it be so.

  8. It took the USA 100 years to rid itself of the Mafia's stranglehold on legitimate people, guess what..

    1. 7:19 replacing the Italian mafia, their German and polish and Irish versions and other enablers, for the yakuzas, la eMe, the triads and worst of all the Red Mafiya that ultimately conquered the presidency of the US after playing multidimensional checkers with many crowned towers on many countries was a net loss for the US and the world, but autocrats got one too many wins at once, call it the bite they ain't cain't gonna chew, they are already choking, Russian medal of Honor Brotherhood Winners
      Rex tillerson and rudi giulianni are on the case, with help of the Asian allies and El Loco Duterte... not ganna work, hehehee
      But lissen "Arrivederchi Roma" on you tube, then practice dancing the Katzachok on 7 veils and the palitos chinos, to welcome the new owners of the US, just in case.

  9. Are Zetas a new cartel im Mexico?

  10. Galdino Mellado Cruz Z-11 or El 10 was the first plaza boss of Coahuila back in 2005. When the Zetas where expanding all over Mexico, Lazcano and the gulf cartel sent Mellado to "abrir plaza" in Coahuila. In 2010 when the zetas and gulf cartel war started, Mike z40 destroyed the mansions of Mellado, Hamburguesa, and Don Chucho's in Piedras Negras (Borderland Beat published the photos).
    Mellado was big within the OG Zetas but decided to stay with the gulf cartel because Mellado did not like 40 plus Mellado was the compadre of M3. Mellado was the regional boss of Miguel Aleman, Diaz Ordaz, Camargo, and Mier from 2011-2014.

    Even right now the Zetas still own Coahuila but now under the command of CDN Laredo.

    Supposedly shootout in Badiraguato this past Sunday November 5 but now further details.

    I found an interesting article about Hector Roman Angulo "El Pinto" supposedly big time boss within the Sinaloa Cartel and a very shadowy powerful figure.

    1. Just like El Chuta and Celula Sureste was the one to open Cancun/Riviera Maya Plaza in 2002 and control the whole Yucatan peninsula for almost a decade.
      Then chorrienta ruined everything.

    2. I thought Raul Lucio Hernandez Lechuga (el lucky) was the first plaza boss in piedras negras with the blessing from Tony tormenta?? The guy basically came into town in 2005 and told all the drug dealers you either work with the Zetas or you are dead

  11. My brother went missing in 2010 piedras negras it's been 7 long years . Where or what did they do to him. I may never know

    1. Sorry to hear that. Best wishes and god bless.

  12. 11:45 so maybe el mellado finger z40's nephew that started the problem that ended with el lazca dead, the chorrienta in prison in mexico and his family on the US and their zeta rancho, their caballos and the el taliban seceding with his zetas, just because they tried to impose one more niña treviña...say NO TO NEPOTISM, it applies to los chapitos too, but like amado carrillo fuentes kids, they have to keep working, their parents business partners in government stole daddy's millions and the airplanes went back to Air America.

  13. @Chivis can you post an update on CDG factions ?


    1. TOO LATE, CDG AND ZETAS RIP THEIR OWN ARSES TO SHREDS, now the invading armies of jaliskas don't have to bother none, just come over, and serve themselves with the big spoon, narco-governors "la Mula Bronca" and francisco javier cabeza de cagada de vacas got paid from all sides, get your Botas ready, the Jaliskas don't want to see your painted toenails, they get jealous.

    2. Every foreigner within mexico since the beginning of drug trafficking, has tried to dominate tamaulipas. Como les ah hido?

  15. wow I can't believe they kill so.many people in one town
    READ STORY PHONE CHIP TO AMERICA AUTHORITIES TO TRACK ZETA LEADER..they wipe out whole town..ruthless killers. curious how do they sleep at nite?? not superhuman
    these kill cults will suffer mentally til.god come calling


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