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

Friday, September 3, 2021

Leader of Zetas in Southern Veracruz, Z-35 Is Arrested

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat

State police and Marines (SEMAR) arrested Carlos "N", alias "Z-35", “El Pegaso" or "El Ultra", who is the alleged leader of a Los Zetas cell in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

The Arrest


Z-35 was traveling in a vehicle on a road near Los Pichones, municipality of Medellín de Bravo, in Veracruz state, when he spotted a police checkpoint on the road ahead. Z-35 at first tried to maneuver his vehicle to evade the checkpoint and escape the area but when that proved unsuccessful Z-35 took out a firearm and began shooting at the State Police officers and Marines (SEMAR) in the area. They then repelled Z-35’s attack and they eventually got him to surrender. 

He was subsequently arrested and they then searched his person and his vehicle.
Quadratin reports they found that Z-35 was in possession of two firearms, ammo, and pre-written cardboard narcomantas (narco message sign) that were signed by his criminal cell. El Siglo writes that additionally he was found to be in possession of narcotics. The detainee and the seized items were handed over to the Attorney General's Office (FGR). He is expected to be charged with crimes of assault on security authorities, illegal possession of weapons and crimes against health (drug related charges).

According to intelligence work done by the SSP and SEMAR, Z-35 had “intended to burn commercial establishments in the Coatzacoalcos region, in order to extort money from several businessmen; therefore, a tactical operation was activated to find and apprehend the alleged offender.” Which may suggest the police’s road checkpoint was created with the intention of capturing Z-35.

What do we know about Z-35?

Z-35 was considered a priority target and generator of violence in the state of Veracruz. State intelligence work alleges the Zetas splinter cell he led was particularly known for arson. Their method for pressuring businesses into paying “de piso”, or a regular extortion fee collected by organized crime groups, was to burn businesses that refused to pay the fee. This in turn, intimidated other businesses into “falling in line” and becoming more compliant in paying the fee his group was demanding. 

In addition to extortion and arson, Z-35 is being investigated for other criminal activities such as kidnappings, assaults on cargo transports, and drug dealing.

Southern Veracruz Zetas Structure 

Reportedly Z-35 was believed to have been the second-in-command and right hand man of Alberto "N", alias "El Chuky" “El Choki” or “Z-45”. Despite the Z-45 moniker associated with him, he is not a founder or original Zeta. The same applies to Carlos, "Z-35" as well.

El Chuky led a Los Zetas splinter cell in Coatzacoalcos, Minatitlán, Cosoleacaque municipalities in southern Veracruz. As previously covered by MX for Borderland Beat, El Chuky was arrested in May 2021. In the months immediately following his apprehension, police arrested at least six other people who were either family members involved or suspected criminal associates of the group. 

These arrests included his significant other Yareli “N” and his sister Sandra “N” alias “La Pava” or "Totola" at the end of May 2021. His nephew Kevin “N”, alias “Keviloncho” and his niece Graciela "N" were arrested in July 2021 in Minatitlán municipality. Z-35 is believed to have been leading the remnants of the El Chuky’s group. 

In 2019, the Attorney General's Office (FGR) released a chart of what they believed to be the organizational structure of the Zetas, as shown below in a redesigned version that includes the arrests that occurred up until the writing of this story.

At the time of the original 2019 chart’s release, they were believed to be led by Hernán Martínez Zavaleta, alias “Commander H” who had been in prison since 2017 but still managed to oversee the group from behind bars. He delivered his orders to Francisco Javier Magaña Zamora, alias “El Pana” who was the operational leader on his behalf. His street boss was the aforementioned Alberto "N", alias "El Chuky" and Z-35 reported to El Chuky, alongside “El Montana” (jailed in 2019) and “Locotron”. 

Currently, only Francisco Javier Magaña Zamora “El Pana” and “Locotron” are not currently in prison although few details about their current status are known at all.

Cartel Landscape of Southern Veracruz

As reported by Borderland Beat, during the past few years, southern Veracruz has been an important turf controlled by the Zetas Vieja Escuela (ZVE), a splinter group of the old Zetas cartel.

However, the rival Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) has been trying to take control of the turf. This has led to an increase in homicides, extortions, and kidnappings.

Both the ZVE and the CJNG are competing for the control of the extortion ("protection") market in Veracruz. These organizations collect weekly fees from businesses in the area.

Many of these establishments are also often puntos (drug sale spots) for a local cartel. In Veracruz, many of the murders committed by cartel members are driven by competing over drug sale spots to sell heroin, cocaine, and meth.

Sources: Quadratin, Diario de Xalapa, Excélsior, El Universal, Córdoba a Diario, El Siglo, Imagen del Golfo, Presencia, Noticias en la Mira

Background Sources: Impacto Del Sur, Photo Jarocha, El Universal, La Silla Rota
, Excélsior


  1. 😂😂😂 LMFAO Commander ✖️ and CJNG Rule VERACRUZ

  2. Let them kill themselves but the president was paid to have him arrested AMLO totally useless poor Mexico no wonder everybody wants to live America.

  3. Yessir. Most of these guys from ZVE jumped ship to CJNG years back. Almost all the states bordering Verracruz all the way up to QRoo are Zetas who are now cjng. Its why the extortion and kidnapping continues so openly and why cjng has a horrible name there. Mencho isnt alllowed to silence it as much as he is in his own plazas and its either turn a blind eye to it and "Control/rule" those plqzas 3rd party with them dudes moving his dope and rocking his cartels name or start more wars trying to go in full force.


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