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

Friday, January 29, 2021

Hell in Tamaulipas: Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas and CDN, the deadly dispute for the border

 Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat Infobae 

Embedded in the history of violence in Mexico, are the two names of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas,  criminal groups continuously locked in an insane territorial struggle, that has been written in blood and fire .

The cruelty of these two criminal organizations have as one of its reference points the “Frontera Chica", where 19 charred bodies were found last weekend.

For more than two decades, especially between 2000 and 2012, Tamaulipas (in northeastern Mexico adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico) has continually suffered the effects of criminal brutality. On April 6, 2001, the capture of Gilberto García Mena, operator of the Gulf Cartel, marked the emergence of the dispute with the criminal group Los Zetas, as well as new confrontations with groups from the Sinaloa Cartel and that of the Juárez Cartel.

However, it was until the beginning of the war against narco (2006), waged by then-President Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) that hell ignited. The cartel of the last letter - created by deserter soldiers from the Army - applied the tactic of the propagation of civil terror.

"El Pantera 24" and "El Meme", from the Gulf Cartel 

Under this context, according to the journalist Diego Enrique Osorno, the Gulf Cartel re-emerged, counting on the support of the Mexican Navy to confront Los Zetas .

In the next few years, after the death of criminal leader Heriberto Lazcano (1974-2012) and the capture of Miguel Ángel Treviño (2013), Los Zetas split  into the Northeast Cartel and Old School Zetas.

Reports from the Prosecutor's Office indicate that the entity had also been divided: the Gulf Cartel preserved the cities of Reynosa, Matamoros, Ciudad Victoria and the port of Altamira.

Los Zetas operated in the coastal area of ​​San Fernando, Nuevo Laredo. The beginning of the invasion of plazas in Tamaulipas, unleashed a series of blockades, murders and kidnappings.

In the state of Tamaulipas, on the  border with the United States, at least 10 criminal leaders are linked to the increase in violence. The Security and Prosperity campaign, the most "Wanted", coordinated by the authorities of Tamaulipas and Texas, USA, identified that entire territories of the "Frontera Chica" remain under total control of organized crime.

Juan Gerardo Treviño Chávez, alias El Huevo, nephew of t Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, the last leader of Los Zetas, currently heads the Northeast Cartel. According to the Tamaulipas Attorney General's Office, it is present in the municipalities of Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey (Nuevo León) and Texas (USA). He is accused of drug trafficking, homicide, criminal association, and a reward of 2 million pesos is offered to whoever provides information for his capture.

Another relevant figure is that of Humberto Alejandro Uribe Mendoza, El "Pawa", regional chief of Los Zetas in the municipality of San Fernando. The name of this criminal is linked to the kidnapping and murder of the minor Luciano Leal, who disappeared on July 8 in said region.

Next to El "Pawa" is Ernesto Sánchez Rivera, nicknamed “Mierda", "Cuate" and/or "M22" and Héctor Sánchez Rivera, the "Mami" and / or "M1", leaders of the criminal cell Los Metros del Cartel del Golfo in Reynosa. This group openly declared war on the Northeast Cartel.

The state government considers them responsible for human trafficking, kidnappings, extortions, vehicle theft and homicides in the state.

Pablo Misael Ramos Lara, alias the "Pantera", is another of the most sought after by the Tamaulipas administration. He is a hitman who has worked for the Gulf Cartel in the municipality of Jiménez. It is related to the crimes of drug trafficking, kidnapping, and extortion.

In the municipalities of Camargo, under the wing of the Gulf Cartel, the brothers operate César Morfín, “Primito” and Álvaro Noé Morfín, "R-8", the latter also located in Nuevo León and Jalisco, where it would seek an alliance with the CJNG.

Jose Martín Cárdenas Cardena ranks number eight of the priority objectives of the government of Tamaulipas. Alias "Chiwilly" operates in Matamoros for the Gulf Cartel.

At the age of 22, Carlos Roel Collazo Rodriguez  was arrested in Monterrey by  Sedena, when he was working as an estaca for Los Zetas. Currently a fugitive, the 30-year-old man faces charges for crimes such as kidnapping, murder and criminal association.

Finally, Agustín Ordorica López, leader of the Northeast Cartel, operates in Nuevo Laredo, in the state of Nuevo León, and south of Texas, in the United States.

The authorities have only released 10 names of priority targets despite the fact that several local media identify Evaristo Cruz, aka the "Vaquero", as the leader of the Gulf Cartel.


With the arrest of Luis Miguel Mercado González, the "Flaco Sierra", and the dejection of Humberto Loiza Méndez, "Betillo", the government of Tamaulipas has been able to cross their names from the list of the most wanted criminals of the entity.

In the four years since the “Wanted” campaign was launched, the authorities have been able to kill or capture members of organized crime. Alfredo Cárdenas Martínez, the "Contador"; Petronilo Moreno Flores, "Panilo"; Luis Alberto Blanco Flores, the "Pelochas", Andrés Martínez Granados, alias El "Pause" ; Heriberto Bazán Rodríguez, the "Bazán"; Luis Lauro Ramírez, the "Mora" and/or the "China"; Víctor Manuel Palomo, Guadalupe Villarreal Gómez, the “Teniente” (Lieutenant) are some of the names of the hitmen or drug trafficking operators executed or detained by the armed forces.

Unmentioned capos …Thank you MX & Itzli

It is worth noting that Evaristo Cruz Sanchez, alias 'El Vaquero', a Gulf Cartel faction boss from Matamoros, is no longer on the list. As reported by Borderland Beat, he appeared in this wanted list last year, but authorities did not issue a statement for his removal.

Other local high-ranking cartel members not included in the list are José Alfredo Cárdenas Martínez, alias 'El Contador'. This capo was released in October 2020 after several stints in prison. He is the nephew of legendary capo Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, former leader of Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas. Along with El Vaquero, El Contador has presence in the Matamoros plaza.

Héctor Crescencio de León Fonseca, alias El R3, El Teto and/or El Chencho, who heads the Gulf Cartel in Tampico, Ciudad Madero, and Altamira, is also not on the list. He has been active since at least 2016, the year he was released from prison.


  1. Primito isn't the leader of Los Metros? In article is seems like he's just plaza boss in those municipal you mention

    1. Primito is the head of the Metros cell in La Frontera Chica. Reynosa is also Metros and they have their own leader.

    2. I thought he headed the Metal faction

  2. So basically no one from the Matamoros faction here? Vaquero. Contador. Memeloco. get out of here ... now we know who is supporting who.

  3. Who's side are Vaquero and El Contador on? These CDG factions are confusing lol.

  4. They need to fry this egg 🥚 head

  5. Message from the government: if you don't pay us enough we put you on the list!

  6. Glad to see you back your a hero Buggs


  7. Great read Thanks, I live here on the Frontera

  8. Chivis! I thought you were doing a piece on la Barbie. Are you still doing that?


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