Two news stories today on the near-mythical Los Zetas. (I’ll be posting much more on them later.)
Reuters’ Robin Emmott reports from Durango:
A fight for control of the mountainous state of Durango has killed some 235 people this year, a jump in violence that poses a new challenge to troops already struggling to contain bloodshed along the U.S. border.
With only a few hundred soldiers in Durango, drug hitmen from eastern Mexico are taking over towns, kidnapping police, shooting up local government offices and slaughtering rivals.
This means nothing but more grief and aggravation for fugitive Forbes 400 kingpin, Chapo ‘Shorty’ Guzman, who may be seriously considering pulling the cord on his Golden Parachute.
Meanwhile, the FBI office in Houston sent out a wild nationwide memo sure to scare the shit of an unwitting American citizenry from Anaheim to Alabama–especially those who get their drug war info from CNN’s Lou Dobbs and the Fox News phalange.
The FBI is advising law enforcement officers across the country that a Texas cell of Los Zetas — an increasingly powerful arm of the Mexican Gulf Cartel drug trafficking syndicate — has acquired a secluded ranch where it trains its members to “neutralize” competitors in the United States.
In order to ensure its share of the lucrative illegal drug trade, the cartel’s members reportedly are operating north of the border to collect debts and spy on competitors. They have also protected cocaine and heroin shipments that were bound for Houston, where they were repackaged and shipped on to Alabama, Delaware, Georgia and Michigan, according to the FBI.
The information, which was disseminated Monday to state, local and federal agencies, does not provide specifics, such as the location of the ranch, but includes a notation that the information came from reliable FBI contacts.
Trainees are reportedly taught about home invasions, firearms and ways to run vehicles off the road in order to kidnap occupants who owe drug debts.
Fortunately, Houston Chronicle reporterDane Schiller bothered to pick up the phone and make a call to Texas law enforcement.
Lt. Dan Webb, of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s narcotics division for the Houston regional office, said Zetas do operate in Houston and other parts of Texas, but they try to limit their time on U.S. soil in order to avoid being arrested by authorities who are far less corrupt than in Mexico.
As for whether the organization has a training ranch in Texas, Webb said there have long been rumors, but he is not aware of hard evidence.
“It very well could be true, but as far as us having a location for the ranch, it is all conjecture,” said Webb, who believes it is more likely they train in Mexico than Texas. “If we had any hard evidence, we’d be all over it.”
He said a lot of drug activity by U.S. gangs, such as the Texas Syndicate or the Mexican Mafia, is mistakenly attributed to Zetas.
“We are trying to keep them over in Mexico and discourage them from coming to America in any form or fashion,” he said.
Lt. Webb has this right. The Zetas have no intention–nor need– to engage US law enforcement in shootouts north of the border. These aren’t some wildassed Mexican bandidos led by Alfonso Bedoya.