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

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Guzmán Decena AKA Z-1: 'I Used to Look Like You, and How I Look Now, Is How You Will Look In Time'

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat VXT

Translation By “Cruz” for Borderland Beat

Arturo Guzman Decena AKA "El Z-1" was captured just like the "Tiger from Santa Julia", life did a good job of granting him the whole: "I used to look like you, and how I look now, is how you will look in time".

Arturo Guzmán Decena was born in Puebla on January 13, 1976 and he died in Tamaulipas on November 21, 2002.

He studied up until middle school and finished high school while he was in the Army. Then we went on to form part of GAFE (Special Forces Airborne Group) which was created by the federal government in order to annihilate the rise of Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Chiapas.

Guzmán Decena became an expert in explosives, military intelligence, counter-espionage, and nullifying militias. In 1998 he decided to unsubscribe from the Army.

Shortly thereafter he became the founder of Los Zetas. He recruited men from military battalions 15, 70 (Puebla) and from the 15 regiments motorized cavalry with their base of operations being in Reynosa, Tamaulipas same location as the paratrooper riflemen.

They were called Zetas because of the zeta blue color of their military uniform and because it was a code they used via radio communication.

Guzmán Decena's job was to recruit other soldiers to form the armed branch of the Gulf Cartel. The first mission of the Zetas was to put an end to Los Chachos, a group of Texan gunmen who sought to position themselves in Ciudad Miguel Alemán, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, and Reynosa in order to traffic drugs for the Sinaloa Cartel.

Guzmán Decena was killed by the army in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, on November 21, 2002. He was gunned down after leaving his significant other Ana Bertha Gonzalez. In order not to be interrupted while he was on a date, Z-1 had his gunmen close down Herrera Street. The military was shot at on arrival, and they responded, but to a greater extent. Months after his death, Los Zetas made a great mass and a party at a bar called El Pisa y Corre.

The autopsy says that Guzmán Decena received four gunshot wounds. Three mortal and the other shattered his left arm.

Perhaps Guzmán Decena never imagined that the group he founded, eleven years later, would become so legendary.

Arturo Guzmán Decena was called and known as the Z-1. He was brave, risky and in love. He never said no to his boss Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, the main head of the Gulf Cartel. He always killed obeying him.

I know about the time when he murdered Jaime Rajid Gutierrez Arreola in the Cavazos neighborhood in the municipality of Reynosa belonging to the state of Tamaulipas. He was commander of the Federal Judicial Police. He reluctantly shot him. He went to Matamoros that same year. He ended the existence of journalist Pablo Pineda there. Someone was about extract information such as "he's a DEA informant" and he did not even bother to investigate it. He drew his gun. He caught him off guard and helpless.

2 years later, on November the 14th, he kidnapped and murdered lawyer Alberto Gomez Gomez. This man was known as "La Chona"  and he was famous. He litigated tricky matters for the Carrillo Fuentes in Monterrey. Guzman was not scared. He even made it clear that "it was nothing personal". He simply obeyed his boss Osiel. That's why Arturo was proud when he was called Z-1.

Guzmán Decena was very daring/brave. On May 14, 2001, he took his best thugs. They entered the same as a bull would enter the ring in the palenque of Expo Guadalupe, this time in Nuevo Leon.

They were after but could not put Edelio Lopez Falcon, better known as El Yeyo, 6 feet under. He did not hold back on July 9th, 2001. With the support of Osiels' most spoiled men, he murdered the commander of the Ministerial Police Jaime Yañez Cantu in Matamoros. Then he went on to brag: no detective or uniformed man would dare stop him and he was right.

I don't doubt that his "most prideful moments" were 2 executions: the first was when they shot down the famous Chava Gomez after betraying and ambushing him. His name was Angel Salvador Gomez and June 2nd, 1999 was his last day alive. The other "accomplishment" prize: May 13th of this year he was accompanied by a flock of perverse people. They kidnapped, tortured, and executed Dionisio Roman Garcia "El Chacho". The main competitor of Osiel Cárdenas Guillén dealing with marijuana and cocaine on the border of Nuevo Laredo.

Guzmán Decena's ego was through the roof with such a sadistic payroll. He must have felt like never before. However, he was not spared from the popular sentence: "Live by the gun die by the gun". His time arrived on November 21st. He was in Matamoros. He gave in to the craving of having some drinks and 2 or 3 lines of cocaine. Feeling dizzy he started to get sentimental/romantic. He looked for and found his concubine Ana Bertha Gonzalez Lagunes. He went to her place of residence at Herrera street. Feeling emboldened he sent his lackeys to seal off the block. On his orders, they blocked the corners with vehicles and redirected traffic. Thus not even noise from traffic would interrupt or distract the gangster in his pleasures.

Ana Bertha's neighbors were fed up. They suffered every time Guzman arrived looking for some love. They reported him several times. But the police paid little attention to their reports so they made their reports to the UEDO (Specialized Unit against Organized Crime). Which is a rare move. They request the help of the Military. They went dove in headstrong guns blazing against the gang of bad guys and that is also how they were received.

People claim that Guzman Decena was captured just like the Tiger of Santa Julia. *(to those who are caught in prosaic activity that distracts them from their duty.) But when he wanted to defend himself he was unable to. He didn't shout out his bravery. He shot foolishly and with no aim because of his current state of mind. He received four gunshot wounds. Three were fatal. The fourth shattered his left arm and he went out just like Ramon Arellano in Mazatlan. He was abandoned. He remained laid out on the floor. His life was a good example of "I used to look like you, and how I look now is how you will look like in time".

Reyes was the name of one of the people that accompanied him. At first, very brave and when shit hit the fan, very cowardly. He entered Ana Bertha's house. He took her son from her. He used him as a shield to take cover from the shootout and flee. He left the child a few blocks away with the famous gram dealer Blanca. I imagine that Osiel will not forgive him. Due to a great deal of abuse with the kid.

Now that the spoiled man of Osiel was dead, the family members of the beloved Ana Bertha were in trouble. They already denied a relationship with the deceased but the investigations do not favor them. Aside from the idyll business traces were found with the skilled Pitalúa, a known border drug dealer. Surely recommended by the deceased. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been involved with Ana Bertha.

The story of Ana Bertha González Lagunas Arturo Guzmán Decena's girlfriend.

Ana Bertha González Lagunas died the day that the group singer Zayda Peña Arjona was shot at the Monaco Motel. The Tamaulipas Police believe that Bertha's ex-boyfriend sent them to be killed out of jealousy that Ana Bertha and Zayda Peña were lovers, and maintained a lesbian affair.

Angélica Lagunes Jaramillo was born in 1959 in a sandy, hot and humid hamlet of Tlachapa, Guerrero. Third of seven brothers and sisters of a truck driver, most of the time; farmer, almost all the time, who lived from harvesting mangoes sold by his wife.

She grew up in a house with walls of adobe and a tiled roof, inside which four cots, a table, and a stove were accommodated. The home at that time lacked water and electricity. The family managed to get the money and managed to give the girl education at an Elementary and Middle school installation and continued her High school educations in a Mexico City (federal district) thanks to the lodging and support of a paternal uncle based in the capital of the country.

Angelica dropped out of school and got some secretarial work in the newspaper La Prensa. At age 20, she married the owner of a hotel in Naucalpan, State of Mexico, from whom she soon became pregnant.

Due to various circumstances, death made her the eldest of her brothers: the oldest died in a car accident and the second in an assault while carrying the payroll of the place where he worked.

These would not be the last burials in the following years of Angelica. After three years of marriage, pregnant with her daughter Ana Bertha, a lost bullet ran into her husband.

Before the imminent return to poverty, Angelica sold the little hotel in Naucalpan and decided to go live in the United States. Before she returned to Guerrero and left her children in the care of her mother. She made her way north, but failed to cross the border and settled in Matamoros.

A hard-working woman with some resources,  she established a food business and sold gold and perfumes. After nine years, she bought her house and managed to take her youngest daughter. The oldest son did not want to change the tropic climate of Guerrero for the Tamaulipas desert.

Her daughter finished her technical career in social work and she, Angelica, at 43 years old, would still fall in love again with a man 15 years younger than her.

Osiel Cárdenas Guillén's business was punctual: in Matamoros, no one but him could do illegal business. So part of the job was to tax the prostitutes standing on 10th street, identify sites for the sale of smuggled alcohol and violently raid drug sales houses without their permission to sell and not being supplied by them.

“Tamaulipas is my turf!”, Proclaimed in every opportunity the 33-year-old man from a mechanical workshop.

In mid-2000, the information received about a restaurant woman who also sold liquors, marijuana, and cocaine without his authorization was unequivocal.

The address, on Álvaro Obregón street, led to Angélica's house. And Osiel personally decided to visit with his staff.

And so, the drug trafficking leader and his closest group raided the house of the natives of the state of Guerrero. They waited for darkness and, at eight o'clock at night, knocked on the door. Angelica opened and, soon, the house was filled with armed men.

The woman climbed into a van after being pushed and pulled. The van started towards a safe house, where Osiel and Eduardo Costilla - current leader of the Gulf and a bitter enemy of Los Zetas - talked for two hours with Angelica.

"You're going to rent houses for me," the boss ordered.

I have investigated you and I can kill you and your family, ”he warned, according to the story of Angelica.

“I told him that it would help him and I did this, out of fear, about 10 times - there are those who said in front of a judge that the number was closer to 40. They told me which house to rent and to which real estate companies I should go and I did it ”.

When they left the safe house, Angelica gave precise data of a vehicle, its location and the man who was driving it. They searched for him and, within a few minutes, they returned with a guy.

They checked the car and found 30 kilos of drugs owned by the woman. She accepted the shipment to be seized and the relationship prospered.

A few months later, apparently only three, Los Zetas had a new favorite restaurant, Angélica's, and she had more work: she spent the checkpoint with cartel drugs and returned with the money.

Her daughter Ana Bertha, according to the testimonies, did as well.

The new friendship deepened to the extent that Angelica participated in the movement of "la polla" of Los Zetas. "La polla" was cooperation made between them, authorized by Osiel, to acquire Colombian drugs that entered the country by air through Guatemala and was deposited in Oaxaca.

Up to 450 kilos were acquired on each flight and each participant decided what to do with their drugs: they had the option of selling it in Mexican territory or doing so in the United States, with higher profits, but taking greater risks.

Those drugs, of which the first shipments turned Los Zetas from simple mercenaries into transnational entrepreneurs, were deposited in Angelica's trust.

The relationship bore even more. Guzmán Decena obtained a new and young girlfriend, Ana Bertha, the daughter of Angelica.

Another ex-zeta declared on the matter: “Ana Bertha had a son with Z-1. He was very attentive to both her and Angelica. The two got uniforms consisting of camisole, pants, boots, shirts, gloves, balaclavas, caps, fittings, all black to make us uniformed when we had to do an operation.

"After Arturo Guzmán Decena died - battered by the army at Angelica's restaurant, where he drank alcohol and inhaled drugs -, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén agreed that the payment of Arturo's fortnights would be distributed amongst his three significant others, including Ana Bertha".

Not only this. In 2002, El Pitalúa looked for his boss. Ceremonious, he asked permission to be absent two weeks from work.

–Why do you want 15 days? - Guzmán Decena asked, always martial in those situations.

-I am going to get married.

–Who are you going to marry?

"With Mrs. Angelica Lagunes," he said in reference to the mother-in-law of the man he was talking to.

Osiel Cárdenas was arrested in March 2003 and, without protection, mother and daughter were weakening. In May of that year, Angelica returned to the Federal District, according to her, to visit her sick and hospitalized mother.

She was arrested and the Attorney General’s Office offered to make her a protected witness with the code name “Roberta”. She did not accept.

So she was then admitted to the women's prison in Santa Martha and received a sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of 256 thousand pesos.

She remains there. El Pitalúa is being held in the federal prison of Puente Grande. There are those who say they have never stopped corresponding with one another.

There was one last funeral in Angelica's life, but she couldn't attend that one.

She only had the pain and assumed the scene of flowers and regrets. In 2007, in Matamoros, her adopted city, someone murdered her daughter Ana Bertha.


  1. This info wasn't first published by VXT so credit shouldn't be to them. The info was copy/pasted from two articles: one by Sin Embargo in 2016 and another written by Diego Osorno in 2009.

  2. Rumors have it that Z-1 was one bad hombre with a serious cocaine addiction that clouded his judgement. Supposedly he went out like Tony Montana in a hail of gunfire.

    1. Nothing like TT, though. TT summoned an entire army that resulted in +100 deaths in Matamoros. Z-1 was killed immediately when the Army showed up outside his girlfriend's house.

  3. The title translation is wrong.

    GUZMAN DECENA aka "Z-1" was captured just like the "Tiger from Santa Julia"

    Lo agarraron doesn’t exactly mean it was captured. The way they have it means he was caught off guard when he got killed.

    1. true...and explained below --"It's a tale of some dude slipping up and getting caught"---- but i changed the title a little just for you :)

    2. I heard El Tigre de Santa Julia wasn't even a tigre to begin with!

    3. Lol. El Tigre de Santa Julia was a legend during Porfirio Díaz. He was a Robin Hood of his time, he was a drunk and a lover and I think that’s exactly the way he was killed. Lover boy was drunk when police came looking for him.

    4. Al tigere de Santa Julia lo agarraron cagando,
      He got caught with his pants down while performing his last job, by surprise, he got caught by the bullets, not necessarily by the hands of his victimizers, makes you think he was betrayed by his ambitious associates, specially el Judas z42 who sent the army after Decena and inherited the whole business along with el Lazca.
      Since el tigere had the misfortune, anybody who gets surprised is said to have been caught like el tigere, some mean with the pants down, for whatever reason, others just mean getting caught by surprise...
      --TexMex, stick to your tejas tamales, sin chile y sin sal.

    5. You mean z40. z42 was worthless. z40 was El Judas.

    6. Anon 6:04 pm. I’m not from Texas, I’m from Texcoco Mexico. According to the story El Tigre de Santa Julia was taking a shit when he was killed. Well I don’t think Z1 was taking a shit when he got killed. So the old saying doesn’t apply. So you are wrong and me too. So you stick to your own tamales.

    7. Depends on the context, don't forget.

  4. Any truth to the allusion in anther BB article that Z40 may have betrayed Z1 in order to facilitate his death??

    1. Z40 didn't even knew Z1 back than, and didn't had that much power among the ranks of CDG especially the ex military Los ZETAS back than

  5. He was not taking a deuce when he was shot like El Tigre.

  6. Great report was unaware of this story.

  7. So the great Z-1 was drunk and high trying to hook up with a slut and killed like a typical John. That's glorious, because a lot of the story makes him sound something other than a killer who just "unsubscribed" from his military duty that he volunteered for.

    1. You make him sound like a douchebag instead of scum.

  8. Borderland beat, why do you guys romanticize these pieces of shit?

    1. Is it worse than romanticizing rappers and biker gangs?

    2. The article wasn't romanticizing him. You're confused.

  9. Give me his photo please

  10. DECENA Z-1, Died so that didn't ever had an idea what kind of the Evil and the most Powerful and feared force he was about to spawn or would be evolved to, that lasts till Today and took thousands of lives.

    Just like the Jordanian Al-Zarqawi never thought that his small Jamaat Tawhid Al Jihad in Iraq would evolve into the deadliest ISIS years later, after his death by US troops in Iraq.

  11. Z-9 narrates a different version. How Osiel was untrusting of him. How El Hummer was the one to ambush him. How the other Zetas did not like him. How Z9 would have gladly done the deed had he not been in prison

    1. What you are referring to is that new fantasy book where mellado isn't dead, but in prison. It is complete fabrication.

    2. And where is your source of info??

  12. Thanks for this one, Chivis! Keep up the good work!

  13. Z-2 killed years later after getting out of prison and tryna regain leadership.


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