Los Zetas


    Table of contents
    1. 1. Headquarters:       
      1. 1.1. Leader:      
      2. 1.2. Immediate Subordinates:
    2. 2. History:
      1. 2.1. Founding
      2. 2.2. Original Members 
        1. 2.2.1.  
      3. 2.3. Recent Notable Events 
        1. 2.3.1. ICE Agent Murder:   
        2. 2.3.2. Guatemala Prison Storming:  
        3. 2.3.3. U.S. Consulate Employee Murdered:  
        4. 2.3.4. Falcon Lake Murder:  
        5. 2.3.5. Tamaulipas Bloodshed:  
      4. 2.4. Firsts
      5. 2.5. Common Terms
      6. 2.6. Links to other Organizations
        1. 2.6.1. Positive (Allies)
        2. 2.6.2. Negative (Enemies)
        3. 2.6.3. Politicians
        4. 2.6.4. Law Enforcement Organizations and Officers
        5. 2.6.5. Other
      7. 2.7. Areas of Operation
      8. 2.8. Colombia 
        1. 2.8.1. Leaders:
      9. 2.9. El Salvador
        1. 2.9.1. Leaders:
      10. 2.10. Guatemala 
        1. 2.10.1. Leaders:
      11. 2.11. Honduras
        1. 2.11.1. Leaders:
      12. 2.12. Italy
        1. 2.12.1. Leaders:
      13. 2.13. Mexican States
      14. 2.14. Aguascalientes 
        1. 2.14.1. Leaders: 
        2. 2.14.2. Major Communities:
      15. 2.15. Campeche 
        1. 2.15.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.15.2. Major Communities:
      16. 2.16. Chiapas
        1. 2.16.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.16.2. Major Communities:
      17. 2.17. Chihuahua
        1. 2.17.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.17.2. Major Communities:
      18. 2.18. Coahuila
        1. 2.18.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.18.2. Major Communities:
        3. 2.18.3. Plazas:
          1. Saltillo
          2. Leaders:
          3. Subordinates to Leader:
          4. Other Personnel:
          5. Functions / Activities / Incidents:
      19. 2.19. Colima
        1. 2.19.1. Leaders: 
        2. 2.19.2. Major Communities:
      20. 2.20. Guanajuato 
        1. 2.20.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.20.2. Other personnel:
        3. 2.20.3. Major Communities:
        4. 2.20.4. Guerrero
        5. 2.20.5. Leaders:
        6. 2.20.6. Major Communities:
      21. 2.21. Hidalgo
        1. 2.21.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.21.2. Major Communities:
        3. 2.21.3. Plazas:
          1. Tulancingo
          2. Leaders:
          3. Subordinates to Leader:
          4.  Other Personnel: 
          5. Functions / Activities / Incidents:
      22. 2.22. Mexico State
        1. 2.22.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.22.2. Major Communities:
      23. 2.23. Nuevo Leon
        1. 2.23.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.23.2. Other Personnel:
        3. 2.23.3. Major Communities:
        4. 2.23.4. Plazas:
          1. Monterrey
          2. Leaders:
          3. Subordinates to Leader:
          4. Other Personnel:
          5. Functions / Activities / Incidents:
          6. Guadalupe
          7. Leaders:
          8. Subordinates to Leader:
          9. Other Personnel:
          10. Functions / Activities / Incidents:
      24. 2.24. Oaxaca
        1. 2.24.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.24.2. Major Communities:
      25. 2.25. Puebla
        1. 2.25.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.25.2. Major Communities:
      26. 2.26. Quintana Roo
        1. 2.26.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.26.2. Major Communities:
        3. 2.26.3. Plazas
          1. Cancun
          2. Leaders:
          3. Subordinates to Leaders:
          4. Other Personnel:
          5. Functions / Activities / Incidents:
      27. 2.27. San Luis Potosi
        1. 2.27.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.27.2. Other Personnel:
        3. 2.27.3. Major Communities:
      28. 2.28. Sonora
        1. 2.28.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.28.2. Major Communities:
      29. 2.29. Tabasco
        1. 2.29.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.29.2. Major Communities:
        3. 2.29.3. Plazas:
          1. Villahermosa
          2. Leaders:
          3. Subordinates to Leader:
          4. Other Personnel:
          5. Functions / Activities / Incidents:
      30. 2.30. Tamaulipas
        1. 2.30.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.30.2. Other Personnel:
        3. 2.30.3. Major Communities:
        4. 2.30.4. Plazas:
          1. Matamoros
          2. Leaders:
          3. Subordinates to Leader:
          4. Other Personnel:
          5. Functions / Activities / Incidents:
          6. Reynosa
          7. Leaders:
          8. Subordinates to Leader:
          9. Other Personnel:
          10. Functions / Activities / Incidents:
          11. Nuevo Laredo
          12. Leaders:
          13. Subordinates to Leader:
          14. Other Personnel:
          15. Functions / Activities / Incidents:
          16. Ciudad Mier
          17. Leader:
          18. Subordinates to Leader:
          19. Other Personnel:
          20. Functions / Activities / Incidents
          21. Camargo
          22. Leaders:
          23. Subordinates to Leader:
          24. Other Personnel:
          25. Functions / Activities / Incidents:
          26. San Fernando
          27. Leaders:
          28. Subordinates to Leader:
          29. Other Personnel:
          30. Functions / Activities / Incidents:
          31. Ciudad Victoria
          32. Leaders:
          33. Subordinates to Leader:
          34. Other Personnel:
          35.  Functions / Activities / Incidents:
      31. 2.31. Tlaxcala
        1. 2.31.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.31.2. Major Communities:
      32. 2.32. Veracruz
        1. 2.32.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.32.2. Other Personnel:
        3. 2.32.3. Major Communities:
        4. 2.32.4. Plazas:
          1. Martinez de la Torre
          2. Leader:
          3. Subordinates to Leader:
          4. Other Personnel:
          5. Functions / Activities / Incidents:
      33. 2.33. Yucatan
        1. 2.33.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.33.2. Major Communities:
      34. 2.34. Zacatecas
        1. 2.34.1. Leaders:
        2. 2.34.2. Major Communities:
      35. 2.35. United States
        1. 2.35.1. States:
        2. 2.35.2. Leaders:
        3. 2.35.3. Other:
      36. 2.36. Venezuela
        1. 2.36.1. Leaders:
      37. 2.37. Membership
      38. 2.38. Tactics and Operations
        1. 2.38.1. Arson
        2. 2.38.2. Assassinations
        3. 2.38.3. Bombing
        4. 2.38.4. Extortion:
        5. 2.38.5. Hostage Taking:
        6. 2.38.6. Kidnapping:
        7. 2.38.7. Intimidation / Blackmail:
        8. 2.38.8. Seizure:
        9. 2.38.9. Media:
        10. 2.38.10. Sabotages:
        11. 2.38.11. Technology:
        12. 2.38.12. Social Media:
        13. 2.38.13. Explosive, Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear Weapons:
        14. 2.38.14. Psychological Operations:
        15. 2.38.15. Other:
      39. 2.39. Training 
        1. 2.39.1. Operational:
        2. 2.39.2. Communications:
      40. 2.40. Logistics
        1. 2.40.1. Weapons and Ammunition:
        2. 2.40.2. Funding / Money Laundering:
        3. 2.40.3. Effectiveness
          1. Outside Support:
          2. Internal Control Mechanisms:
          3. Intimidation:
      41. 2.41.  Photographs

    Los Zetas Image.JPG
    Also Known As "Los Zetitos,"  "the people of the last letter,"[1] "Zetillas" or "Baby Zetas,"[2] "the last letter,"[3] "the letter"[3]
    Areas of Operations:





    Headquarters: Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico[8][9]
    Began Operations:

    1998, psuedo-military extension of the Gulf Cartel[10];

    2008, began contracting services to other cartels[11];

    2009, gained autonomy from Gulf Cartel[11][12][8]

    Current Status: Active
    Known Leaders:

    Lieutenant Arturo Guzman (original leader under Gulf Cartel, deceased 2002)[13]

    Heriberto LAZCANO Lazcano aka El Lazca, aka El Verdugo, aka Licenciado, aka Z-3 (current leader)[13][14]

    Miguel Angel TREVINO Morales aka Z-40, aka Zeta Forty, aka 40, aka David ESTRADO Corado, aka Comandante Forty, aka El Catorce (second in command)[15][16][17]

    Criminal Affiliations:

    Barrio Azteca (U.S.)[18];

    Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos (U.S.)[13];

    Los Paisas (Colombia)[19];

    Mexican Mafia (U.S.)[18];

    Los Surenos (Quintana Roo, Mexico)[20]

    Texas Syndicate (U.S.)[18][13]

    Organizational Affiliations:

    Arellano Felix[21];

    Beltran Leyva Organization[11][12][21];

    Juarez Cartel[11][12][21];

    Los Kaibiles (Guatemala)[11][21];

    'Ndrangheta (Italy)[6];

    Southern Pacific Cartel[17];

    Tijuana Cartel[17]

    Notable Incidents:
    ICE Agent Murder:  February 15, 2011; Two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were shot after being stopped at a narco-bloque presumably controlled by Los Zetas. Marco-bloques are common techniques utilized by Los Zetas to control contested and desired territories.[22][23] Jamie Zapata was killed and Victor Avila was wounded in the attack, which took place while the two agents were traveling from Mexico City to Monterrey. Sergio "El Toto" Mora and Julian "El Piolin" Zapata Espinoza have been arrested.[23]
    Guatemala Prison Storming: Malacatan, San Marcos, Guatemala; December 8, 2010; Los Zetas are accused of being responsible for the attack on a Guatemalan prison to release a prisoner being held for a kidnap-murder of a professional soccer player. 11 individuals have been caught so far after the attack with assault rifles and grenade launchers.[24][5][25]  
    U.S. Consulate Employee Murdered: Juarez, Chihuahua; March 13, 2010; Lesley Enriquez, Juarez Consulate Employee, and her husband, Arthur Redelfs, a detention officer the El Paso County Jail, both American Citizens, were murdered by Los Zetas.[26] The DEA recently indicted several members of the Barrio Azteca, an affiliate of Los Zetas, with these murders.[27]   
    Falcon Lake Murder: Falcon Lake, Mexico/Texas Border; September 30, 2010; David and Tiffany Hartley were fired upon while jetskiing on the lake. David was never found and is reportedly dead, while Tiffany was able to escape accross the lake. Initial investigations have stalled when the lead Mexican investigator was beheaded after publishing the names of his suspects, both members of Los Zetas. Some sources suggest it was a mistaken identity case and Los Zetas are attempting to distance themselves from the murder. It is unlikely the jetski or David will be recovered.[28] The area is also a suspected smuggling route and Z-40 was attempting damage control around the murder for this reason.[15]  
    Tamaulipas Bloodshed: Tamaulipas; August 2010; 72 migrants from Central and South America were found massacred. Los Zetas were accused by a survivor who reported the migrants were killed for refusing to join Los Zetas and assist in moving drugs. [11][29]

    Get Adobe Flash player

    Video from CNN depicting Los Zetas[30]


    Narco Banner Image.JPG

    Los Zetas recruitment banner (narco-message)[31]


    Press and local authorities often deny the violence and constant firefights due to pressure from the warring groups. Often the attacks and violence are learned through the use of social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook, being used by locals to alert each other[17]

    (Note: all Google maps may be zoomed in and out on this page directly)

    Main Headquarters of Los Zetas; Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico[8][9]


    Cartel specific operations and geographic areas are very fluid. This has resulted in a high rate of violence in contested areas.[11][15]


    Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico[8][9]


    Heriberto LAZCANO Lazcano aka El  Verdugo, aka El Lazca, aka Licenciado" [13][14]

    Immediate Subordinates:


    Miguel Angel TREVINO Morales aka Z-40, aka 40, aka Zeta 40, aka David  ESTRADA Corado, aka Comandante Forty, aka El Catorce[15][16]{{ Ref.Cite{reference: "Brownsville Herald, The. (2011, March 7). War between Gulf Cartel, Zetas marks one year. The Brownsville Herald. Retrieved from http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/new...ear-marks.html"} }}



    Los Zetas were founded in 1998 by then leader of the Gulf Cartel, Osiel Cardenas Guillen, to be the enforcement specialists of the Gulf Cartel to control adversaries and maintain contested territories. The original members of the organization were former members of Grupo Aeromovil de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFES), the Mexican Special Forces equivalent.[12]The original group is believed to have begun with 30 lieutenants and sub-lieutenants.[11] Los Zetas, after serving under the auspices of the Gulf Cartel for a decade, began to contract out for other drug trafficking organizations in 2008 before gaining autonomy from the Gulf Cartel and other DTO's completely in 2009. Los Zetas are considered to be one of the seven Mexican Drug organizations that dominate the culture.[11]


    In February 2010, after Zeta lieutenant Sergio PENA aka Concord 3 was killed in Reynosa by Samuel FLORES Borrego aka Metro 3 (of the Gulf Cartel), Los Zetas told the Gulf Cartel to give them the head of the Metro 3. Their response "Come and get it."[17]In the year since, firefights and violence have increased throughout conflict areas and new alliances have been formed by both sides in an attempt to erradicate the new enemy.[17]


    Since the time of the Los Zetas' founding, the dynamics of the organization have been constantly changing. No longer comprised strictly of former Special Forces members; former (and current) police officers, other military members, and even untrained citizens now make up the group. This has forced the group to hire outside help to train their forces, including groups and individuals from the Americans (especially Guatemala), Israel and some European countries. These  often younger, less trained individuals are referred to as "Zetitas."[15]




    Los Zetas were founded by the leader, at the time, of the Gulf Cartel to be the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel in the late 1990's. Lieutenant Arturo Guzman, deceased 2002, was recruited to head the rogue military group which did Osiel Cardenas Guillen's bidding.[13]. Guillen was the head of the Gulf Cartel before his arrest (2002) and eventual extradition to the United States(2007). [32]

    Original Members 


    At Large Killed Captured
    Heriberto LAZCANO Lazcano

    Arturo Guzman Decena, Z-1

    Flavio Mendez Santiago aka El Amarillo

    Carlos CLAVA aka El Vera, aka Z-7

    Gustavo GONZALEZ Castro aka El Erotico

    Miguel Angel SOTO Parra aka El Parra

    Daniel Enrique MARQUEZ Aguilar aka El Chocotorro

    Luis Alberto GUERRERO Rees aka El Guerrero

    Enrique RUIZ Tlapanco aka El Tlapa aka Z-44

    Galdino MELLADO Cruz aka El Mellado, aka Z-9

    Efrain TEODORO Torres aka El Efra, aka La Chispa, aka Z-14

    Jose RAMON Davila aka El Cholo

    Jesus ENRIQUE Rejon aka El Mamito, aka Z-8

    Braulio ARELLANO Dominguez aka El Gonzo, Z-20

    Gonzalo CERESANO Escribano aka El Cuije, aka Z-18

    Lucio HERNANDEZ Lechuga aka El Lucky, aka Z-16

    Oscar GUERRERO Silva aka El Winnie Pooh

    Omar LORMENDEZ Pitalua aka El Pita, aka Z-10

    Rogelio GUERRA Ramirez aka El Guerra

    Alberto TREJO Benavides eke El Alvin

    Jaime GONZALEZ Duran aka El Hummer

    Prisciliano IBARRA Yepis

    Ernesto ZATARIN Beliz aka El Traca

    Mateo DIAZ Lopez aka Comandante Mateo

    Eduardo ESTRADA Gonzalez

    Victor Nazario CASTREJON Pena

    Eduardo Salvador LOPEZ Lara aka El Chavita, aka Z-48

    Jorge LOPEZ aka El Chuta  

    Isidro LARA Flores aka El Colchon


    Alfonso LECHUGA Licona aka El Canas, aka Z-27


    Nabor VARGAS Garcia aka El Debora


    Luis REYES Enriquez aka El Rex, aka Z-12


    German TORRES Jimenez aka El Tatanka, aka Z-25


    Daniel PEREZ Rojas aka El Cachetes

    Retrieved from the following source and converted into a table.[33]




    A current hierarchy of the group (as of March 2011):

    Cartel update 1.png

    (note: Carlos Adrian MARTINEZ Muniz[34] and Gonzalo CERESANO Escribano, aka El Cuije[35] have been captured. Gustavo GONZALEZ Castron aka El Erotico and Raul Alberto TREJO Benavides aka El Alvin have been killed.[33]

    Recent Notable Events

    ICE Agent Murder: 


    February 15, 2011; Two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were shot after being stopped at a narco-bloque presumably controlled by Los Zetas. Marco-bloques are common techniques utilized by Los Zetas to control contested and desired territories.[22][23] Jamie Zapata was killed and Victor Avila was wounded in the attack, which took place while the two agents were traveling from Mexico City to Monterrey. Sergio "El Toto" Mora and Julian "El Piolin" Zapata Espinoza have been arrested.[23]


    Guatemala Prison Storming: 

    Malacatan, San Marcos, Guatemala; December 8, 2010; Los Zetas are accused of being responsible for the attack on a Guatemalan prison to release a prisoner being held for a kidnap-murder of a professional soccer player. 11 individuals have been caught so far after the attack with assault rifles and grenade launchers.[24][5][25] 




    U.S. Consulate Employee Murdered: 

    Juarez, Chihuahua; March 13, 2010; Lesley Enriquez, Juarez Consulate Employee, and her husband, Arthur Redelfs, a detention officer the El Paso County Jail, both American Citizens, were murdered by Los Zetas.[26] The DEA recently indicted several members of the Barrio Azteca, an affiliate of Los Zetas, with these murders.[27]  




    Falcon Lake Murder: 

    Falcon Lake, Mexico/Texas Border; September 30, 2010; David and Tiffany Hartley were fired upon while jetskiing on the lake. David was never found and is reportedly dead, while Tiffany was able to escape accross the lake. Initial investigations have stalled when the lead Mexican investigator was beheaded after publishing the names of his suspects, both members of Los Zetas. Some sources suggest it was a mistaken identity case and Los Zetas are attempting to distance themselves from the murder. It is unlikely the jetski or David will be recovered.[28] The area is also a suspected smuggling route and Z-40 was attempting damage control around the murder for this reason.[15] 




    Tamaulipas Bloodshed: 

    Tamaulipas; August 2010; 72 migrants from Central and South America were found massacred. Los Zetas were accused by a survivor who reported the migrants were killed for refusing to join Los Zetas and assist in moving drugs. [11][29]




    - Los Zetas are the cartel first credited with recruiting common criminals and turning them into full members through training, since this began many other cartels have done likewise in an attempt to keep their membership ranks expanding.[36] 






    Common Terms


    Bodies stuffed into car trunks[3][37]


    People sufficated in packing tape[3][37]


    Bodies wrapped in a blanket[3][37]


    Membership level of Los Zetas, see Membership below[3][37]


    Contract killing[3][37]


    "Little dead ones," used for some victims of cartels[3][37]


    Prefix for terms referring to the drug cartels[3][37]


    Pits where cartels dump victims, mass graves[3][37]


    Banners or messages displayed, often over highways[3][37]


    Small drug-dealing locations, see also Picaderos[3][37]


    Membership level of Los Zetas, see Membership below[3][37]


    Membership level of Los Zetas, see Membership below[3][37]


    Small drug-dealing locations where heroin is sold[3][37]




    Informants who stand on street corners providing information to the cartel, see also Stakes[3][37]

    Settling of Accounts

    Drug dealer killings by rival gang/cartel member[3][37]


    Informants who stand on street corners providing information to the cartel, see also Posts[3][37]


    Informants who walk around, marking houses of intended targets with graffiti or advertising fliers, see also Windows[3][37]


    Informants who walk around, marking houses of intended targets with graffiti or advertising fliers, see also Ventanas[3][37]



    Links to other Organizations

    Positive (Allies)

    Group Last Reported Interaction or Time Frame Source Notes
    Arellano Felix March 2011 [21]  
    Beltran Leyva Organization March 2011 [11][12][21]  
    the Juarez Cartel March 2011 [11][12][21]  
    Los Kaibiles March 2011 [11] [21][38] Guatemalan Soldiers, supposedly paid 5,000 dollars (USD) for their membership
    Los Surenos September 2010 [20] Quintana Roo, Mexico
    Mara Salvatrucha aka MS-13 December 2010 [39][40] U.S., Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico
    San Fernando March 2011 [41]  
    'Ndrangheta March 2011 [6] Italy
    the Texas Syndicate


    May 2008 [13][18] United States
    the Tijuana Cartel March 2011 [17]  
    the Mexican Mafia March 2009 [18] United States
    the Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos May 2008 [13] United States
    Barrio Azteca March 2009 [18] United States
    the Southern Pacific Cartel November 2010 [42]  
    Los Paisas February 2010 [19] Colombia
    Los Perrones

    March 2011

    [43] El Salvador
    the Gulf Cartel Founding (1998) - Schism (2010) [13] See "Founding" above

    Negative (Enemies)

    Group Last Reported Interaction or Time Frame


    The New Federation aka Familia Mexicana February 2011 [11][12][15] alliances of the following groups: the Gulf Cartel, La Familia Michoacana, the Sinaloa Cartel, Familia Guanajuatense, Familia Mexiquense
    the Gulf Cartel 2010 - March 2011  [11][12][15]  
    La Familia Michoacana    [11][12][15]  
    the Sinaloa Cartel    [11][12][15]  
    Familia Guanajuatense    [11][12][15]  
    Familia Mexiquense    [11][12][15]  
    Cartel Del Milenio March 2011 [17]  


    An American mayor, police chief and town official have been charged with smuggling more than 200 guns across the border into Mexico. Many of the weapons have been located in a drug bust in Juarez.[45]

    Control of politicians is often achieved through threats and examples. Intimidation involving messages left on corpses and scenes of attacks will occasionally name specific individuals, in an attempt to control the individual, or will explain the  reasons for the attack, in an attempt to control larger segments of the population, military personnel, and politicians.[46]

    Former Cancun Mayor, Greg Sanchez, was detained by federal police in 2010 on suspicions of money laundering and helping to protect both the Beltran Leyva and Los Zetas cartels.[47]

    Law Enforcement Organizations and Officers

    Links between the local and state police, as well as border patrol and other federal agencies is well documented and shows ever increasing corruption.[48] It is the level of infiltration already suspected that makes prevention of future corruption difficult and enforcement of laws against those who are less likely. Law enforcement officers suspected of corruption have been arrested in the past but it is uncommon[24] American law enforcement officers are also tempted and some have been corrupted by the allure of money.[49]

    Over the past decade a reported 1,680 Mexican army special forces soldiers have deserted and over the last two years defense officuals have "lost contact" with 125 special ops soldiers.[50]

    Three junior officers and 10 soldiers of the Mexican Army are under review within the Mexican military justice system after being charged with drug trafficking and organized crime acivities. The soldiers were caught attempting to smuggle more than a ton of methamphetamines and 30 kilograms of cocaine into San Diego via Tijuana.[51]

    "Some Mexicans may have "disappeared" as matters of mistaken identity. A group of 10 hunters from the Guanajuato state's city of Leon went on a seasonal hunting trip Dec. 4 in Zacatecas, in search of rabbits, deer and wild boar. They had a few rifles and a red SUV and one wore camouflage. According to one member of the hunting party who managed to escape, the group was intercepted by local police who handed them over to about 15 masked gunmen dressed in black."[52] A mass grave was located in Joaquin Amaro, Zacatecas. The grave was discovered during the investigation into the missing hunters and the remains may be those of the missing group, although not yet confirmed by the prosecutor in the case. The group was caught on video being handed over to Los Zetas by police officers at a gas station. More recent evidence suggests this was not a case of mistaken identity.[53]

    Mexican Army Major Arturo GONZALEZ Rodriguez is suspected of leaking military intelligence, training cartel hit men through a private security company and supplying military weapons to cartels including Los Zetas. Gonzalez is alleged to have been on the cartel pay roll since 2005.[54]

    Yesenia Elizabeth BOCONEGRA Garza, a police officer in Guadalupe, was arrested with Juan "El Sonrics" Carlos Olvera Acosta, the leader of Los Zetas in Nuevo Leon, in February 2011. Corruption exists at the lower levels of law enforcement as well as on the higher levels.[55]

    Marcos CARMONA Hernandez aka El Cabrito, the former Los Zetas leader in Oaxaca, reported he had the support of municipal, state and minsterial police who provided protection and advanced warning about anti-Zetas operations.[56]

    In January 2011, five municipal police officers from Aguascalientes were placed in custody, suspected of giving information to Los Zetas and along with protectection. They are suspected of committing crimes of Organized Crime. The five officers are: Efrain HERNANDEZ Garcia, Juan Fernando DE LUNA Diaz, Antonio GARCIA Romero, Alejandra DE LUNA Rodriguez and Ernesto CASILLAS Padilla.[57]

    In April 2011, sixteen municipal police officers were arrested in Tamaulipas for their participation, including covering up and protecting, Los Zetas involved in the murder-kidnappings of hundreds of immigrants. See the San Fernando Plaza, Tamaulipas, below for a further description and the names of the suspects.[58]

    Victor Emmanuel DELGADO Medrano aka El Chumil, after his arrest in March 2011, reported that several members of the Judicial Police (PJE) were on the payroll of Los Zetas in the state of Quintana Roo. El Chumil was a boss in the Quintana Roo state at the time of his arrest. Jose Idelfonso SAANCHEZ Chan, a first commander, was reported to be the go-between for the two groups, taking money in and dispersing to appropriate personnel. Municipal commanders Hugo GARCIA Quintal and Manuel OLIVERA aka El Primo, as well as homicide commander Hugo GONZALEZ Pamplona and theft commander Justo MORENO Lopez, are a few of the named police receiving bribes from Los Zetas (reportedly). The bribes provided were standardized based upon rank; commanders received 7,500 pesos and troops received 6,000 pesos. These were delivered in envelopes, as many as 80, and two envelopes reportedly contained 15,000 pesos, but the destinations of those were "unknown" to El Chumil. El Chumil reported that his knowledge of the bribes indicate it has been on going for at least several months. Reports have surfaced of PJE members asking Los Zetas for money for hospital bills for individuals injured in battles with Los Zetas. Los Zetas are known to keep reports and payrolls on who receives what "payments," some of these documents have been discovered and used to investigate corrupt officials. One such list had a reported 25 PJE members indicated.[59]

    In a Nuevo Laredo prison a recent breakout of 153 inmates was reportedly orchestrated by Los Zetas. All the prison employees working at the time of the breakout are currently under arrest and awaiting trial as it is reported the inmates walked past the guards and into waiting vehicles including a yellow school bus. One guard not working at the time, confidentially reported the entire prison of 1,200 prisoners was controlled by Los Zetas and that even after the breakout was still under their control as several members were left behind to maintain that control. Prisoners are reportedly forced to pay a fee to Los Zetas for their safety.[60]

    Albino SANCHEZ Osorno aka El Babalucas, Abuit ESTUDILLO Ortiz aka El Eco 06, aka El M2, and Francisco Manuel MORA Lopez aka El Pinguino, all former members of the State Investigation Agency (AEI) of Oaxaca were charged for collaborating with Los Zetas by protecting the group in the cities of Istmo de Tehuantepec and Oaxaca de Juarez (the state capital) in March of 2011.[61] 

    A report from the Guatemalan vice minister of Security, Mario Castaneda, suggests that ex-Kaibiles, soliders, are recruited to Los Zetas at a fee of $5,000 (USD). The recruits then undergo further training in Guatemala with members of Los Zetas.[38]

    In an attempt to control some of the police corruption, officers in Guaymas, Sonora, will be required to under drug testing in order to renew their officer firearms permits.[62]

    Zetas are known or suspected of killing three retired Mexican generals between 2006 and 2010.[63]


    Churches in Mexico have been accused of accepting "narco alms" from known or suspected drug traffickers. One church even has a plaque dedicating the church to the leader of los Zetas, Lazcano, which states the church was "donated by Herberto LAZCANO Lazcano.[64]

    Areas of Operation


    Known and suspected drug routes by type of drug being smuggled. The plazas are located next to American cities to make moving the contraband easier once over the border.[15]

    Los Zetas deploys its main members into varying plazas to control their regional cells and to maintain a larger presence in the country[65] Those members are often sent to areas in order to recruit "common" criminals and turn them into killers and drug traffickers.[36]

    Los Zetas' plazas include Matamoros[66][8][17], Reynosa[66][8][17], Nuevo Laredo[66][8], Valle Hermoso[17], San Fernando[17], Ciudad Mier[17], Miguel Aleman[17] and Camargo[17] among many others. Each plaza is generally operated by an independent cell who reports back to other leaders. 


    Colombia[19] Honduras[43]
    El Salvador[43] Italy[6]



    Mexico  Source
    Aguascalientes [11]
    Campeche [11]
    Chiapas  [11]
    Chihuahua  [11]
    Coahuila  [52]
    Colima  [11]
    Guerrero  [11]
    Hidalgo  [11]
    Mexico (state)  [11]
    Nuevo Leon  [11][10][12]
    Oaxaca  [11]
    Puebla  [67]
    Quintana Roo  [11]
    San Luis Potosi  [11]
    Sonora  [11]
    Tabasco  [11][12]
    Tamaulipas  [11][10]
    Veracruz  [11][12]
    Yucatan  [11]
    Zacatecas  [11]


    United States  Source
    California [7]
    Georgia [7]
    Illinois [7]
    Michigan [7]
    New York [7]
    Texas [7]
    Washington, D.C. [7]







    El Salvador




    The first report of Los Zetas recruiting Los Kaibiles surfaced in 2005. It was reported that in 2008 Los Zetas killed Guatemalan drug boss Juan JOSE Leon aka Juancho and have ever since controlled the cocaine traffic in the country.[36]





    Eduardo Elias HANDAI Saybe (captured March 2011)[68]

    Juan Carlos GARCIA Urbina (captured March 2011)[68]






    Mexican States




    Roberto MARTINEZ Martinez aka Comandante Quique (captured October 2009)[69]


    Major Communities:

    Aguilascalientes (capital), Asientos, Calvillo, Jesus Maraia, Pabellon de Arteaga, Rincon de Romos, San Franscico de los Romo, San Jose de Gracia, Tepezala, Cosio






    Heriberto LAZCANO Lazcano (at large)[70]

    Samuel UPALIA Medina aka Martin ERNESTO Torres, aka La Mama (captured March 2011, leader of Ciudad del Carmen Plaza)[71][72]

    Sergio Enriquez RUIZ Tlapanco aka El Tlapa (captured September 2009, former military member)[73] 


    Major Communities:

    Calkini, Candelaria, Champoton, Ciudad del Carmen, Escarcega, Hecelchakan, Hopelchen, Palizada, San Francisco de Campeche (capital), Tenabo, Kpujil






    Heriberto LAZCANO Lazcano (at large)[70]

    Seiky (Seyki) OGATA Gonzalez aka Comandante Sierra (captured October 2010)[74]

    Pablo MARTINEZ Rojas aka El PJ (captured May 2010)[75]

    Jose Antonio ESTRADA Sanchez aka El Cuervo (captured March 2010)[75]


    Major Communities:

    Chiapa de Corzo, Cintalapa, Comitan de Dominguez, Huixtla, Ocosingo, Ocozocoautla de Espinosa, Palenque, San Cristobal de las Casas, Tapachila, Tonala, Tuxtla Gutierrez (capital), Villaflores








    Major Communities:

    Camargo, Chihuahua City (capital), Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, Ciudad Jimenez, Ciudad Juarez, Delicias, Nueva Casa Grandes, Parral





    Jesus Enrique REJON Aguilar aka Mamito, aka Caballero, aka David Enrique Cruz Maldonado (at large)[76] 


    Major Communities:

    Ciudad Acuna, Ciuadad Frontera, Guerrero, Ciudad Melchor Muzquiz, Francisco I. Madero, Matamoros, Monclova, Nueva Rosita, Parras de la Fuente, Piedras Negras, Ramos Arizpe, Sabinas, Saltillo (capital), San Pedro, Torreon



    Lattitude and Longitude: 25.4333 N 100.9833 W

    Estimated Population:

    Corresponding American City:


    None Identified at this time

    Subordinates to Leader:

    Pedro TOGA Lara aka Guacho (captured March 2011)[77][78]

    Gerardo HERNANDEZ Sanchez aka El Jerry (captured March 2011)[78]

    Other Personnel:

    Benito AGUILAR Ozuna aka Picholo (captured March 2011)[77]

    Zeila Elisa CORTEZ Leon aka La Cuata, aka Zehila Elisa CORTEZ Leos (captured March 2011)[77]

    Emanuel CASTILLO Oliva aka Mickel, aka Mikel (captured March 2011)[77][78]

    Ernesto CABRAL Rodriguez aka Cabrito (captured March 2011)[77]

    Cinthia Elizabeth FUENTES Valdes aka La Guera, aka Cinthia Lizzeth PUENTE Valdes (captured march 2011)[77]

    Albert TOGA Lara aka El Eli (captured March 2011)[77]

    Eledith CASTILLO Benitez    aka El Topo (captured March 2011)[77]

    Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    None to report at this time






    Major Communities:

    Ciudad de Villa de Alverez, Colima (capital), Manzanillo, Tecoman




    Carlos CASTANON Landeros (captured February 2010)[79]

    Jose Antonio JIMENEZ Jaso aka Don Tono (captured November 2010)[80]

    Other personnel:

    Maria MORALES aka La Lupe (captured November 2010)[80]

    Onofre GOMEZ aka El Azucarado (captured November 2010)[80]

    Omar ROMERO aka El Flaco (captured November 2010)[80]

    Francisco MENDEZ aka El Paco (captured November 2010)[80]

    Federico AGUILAR aka El Pancho (captured November 2010)[80]

    Margarita GARCIA aka La Mago (captured November 2010)[80]

    Alberto ESCANDON aka El Ivan (captured November 2010)[80]

    Jose ALFARO aka El Arturo (captured November 2010)[80]

    Juan CARLOS Don Diego aka El Chaparro (captured November 2010)[80]

    Ulises VALDES aka El Chino (captured November 2010)[80]

    Jonathan ZAPATA aka El Doker (captured November 2010)[80]

    Cristo de la CERDA aka El Nano (captured November 2010)[80]

    Hugo OCAMPO Ortiz aka El Gafe (captured November 2010)[80]

    Liliana QUEZADA aka La Lily (captured November 2010)[80]

    Major Communities:

    Guanajuato (capital), Leon 








    Major Communities:

    Acapulco (Acapulco de Juarez), Chilpancingo (Chilpancingo de los Bravo, capital), Ciudad Altamirano, Iguala (Iguala de le Independencia), Taxco (Taxco de Alarcon), Tlapa de Comonfort, Zihuatanejo 






    Eduardo RAMIREZ Valencia aka El Profe (captured December 2010)[81]

    Ruben BARRAGAN Monterrubio aka El Montes (captured Decmber 2010)[81]


    Major Communities:

    Ciudad Sahagan, Huejutla de Reyes, Ixmiquilpan, Pachuca de Soto (capital), Progreso de Alvaro Obregon, Tepeji de Ocampa, Tizayuca, Tula de Allende, Tulancingo



    Lattitude and Longitude: 20.0833 N 100.9833 W

    Estimated Population:


    "Comandante Mole" (at large)[82]

    Subordinates to Leader:

    Shaolin SOBRADO Villegas aka Coreano (captured April 2011)[82]

     Other Personnel:

    Juana ANGELICA GUERRERO Torres aka Seidi (captured April 2011, "romantic partner" of Comandate Mole)[82]

    Manuel Isaias ESPINOZA Aguiletta (captured April 2011)[82]

    Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    None to report at this time



    Mexico State




    Major Communities:

    Chalco, Chimialhuacan, Ciudad Lopez Mateos (Atizapan de Zaragoza), Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl, Cuautitlan Izcalli, Ecatepex de Morelos, Huixquilucan, Ixtapaluco, Los Reyes Acaquilpan (Los Reyes La Paz), Naucalpan (Naucalpan de Juarez), San Francisco Coacalco, Tlalnepantla (Tlalnepantla de Baz), Toluca (Toluca de Lerdo, capital), Valle de Bravo, Villa Nicolas Romero, Xico 




    Nuevo Leon


    "El Vampiro" (at large)[83]

    Juan Carlos OLVERA Acosta aka El Sonrics(captured February 2011, previously reported killed)[84][55]

    Victor Manuel RAMOS Garza (captured February 2011)[55]

    Yesenia Elizabeth BOCANEGRA Garza (captured February 2011, police officer in Guadalupe)[55]

    "Comandante Lino" (killed January 2011)[85]

    Rene Reynold ARANDA Rodriguez aka El Down (captured December 2010)[86]

    Jose Raymundo LOPEZ Arellano aka El Ruso (captured October 2010)[15]

    Oscar Manuel BERNAL Soriano aka La Arana, aka El Spider (captured october 2010)[87]

    Esteban LUNA aka El Chachis (captured July 2010)[88]

    Hector RAUL Luna Luna aka El Tori (captured June 2010)[15][88]

    Juan FRANCISCO Zapata Gallego aka El Billy (captured August 2010)[15]

    Other Personnel:

    Mario Arturo MARTINEZ Carvajal aka El Mario (captured January 2011)[89]

    Major Communities:

    Apodaca, Cadereya Jimenez, Ciudad Benito Juarez, Doctor Arroyo, General Escobedo, Guadalupe, Linares, Monterrey (capital), Sabinas Hidalgo, San Nicolas de los Garza, San Pedro Garza Garcia, Santa Catarina



    Lattitude and Longitude: 25.6607 N 100.3 W

    Estimated Population:

    Corresponding American City:


    None Identified at this time

    Subordinates to Leader:

    Carlos Adrian MARTINEZ Muniz (captured October 2009)[90]

    Other Personnel:

    None Identified at this time

    Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    When Carlos Adrian MARTINEZ Muniz was captured in October 2009, with him were deposit slips for paying 7,150 different people, along with weapons and drugs. [90]


    Lattitude and Longitude: 25.6833 N 100.2667 W

    Estimated Population:

    Corresponding American City:


    Juan Carlos CORDOBA Ocana aka El Furcio (killed April 2011)[91][92]

    Subordinates to Leader:

    None Identified at this time

    Other Personnel:

    None Identified at this time

    Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    None to report at this time






    Flavio MENDEZ Santiago aka El Amarillo (captured January 2011)[93]

    Marcos CARMONA Hernendez aka El Cabrito (captured March 2011)[93]

    Luis PENALOZA Torres aka El Chino (captured January 2010)[94]

    Major Communities:

    Huajuapan de Leon, Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca de Juarez (capital), Puerto Escondido, San Pedro Pochutla, San Juan Bautista Cuicatlan, San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec, Santa Cruz Xoxocotlan, Santa Lucia del Camino, Santa Maria Asuncion Tlaxiacom, Santiago Pinotepa Nacional, Tehuantepec (Santo Domingo Tehuantepec) 






    Gonzalo CERESANO Escribano, aka El Cuije, aka Z-18 (captured Novemer 2010)[35]

    Antelo MANUEL Velasco (captured June 2010)[67]

    Major Communities:

    Acatlan de Osorio, Amozoc de Mota, Atlixco, Cholula (Cholula de Rivadabia), Cuetzalan, Huauchinango, Izucar de Matamoros, Puebla (capital), San Martin Texmelucan de Labastida, Tehuacan, Teziutlan, Zacatlan




    Quintana Roo


    Heriberto LAZCANO Lazcano (at large)[70] 

    "El Primero" (at large)[95]

    Victor Manuel DELGADO Medrano, aka El Chumil (captured March 2011)[96][97]

    Jose Angel FERNANDEZ de Lara Diaz aka El Pelon, aka El Comandante Pelon (captured September 2010)[15][98]

    Carlos BARRAGAN Figueroa aka El Paletas (captured September 2010)[99]

    Erick Alejandro MARTINEZ Lopez aka El Motokles (captured March 2010)[100]

    Major Communities:

    Cancun (capital), Chetumal, Cozumel, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Playa del Carmen



    Lattitude and Longitude:

    Estimated Population:


    Jose Angel FERNANDEZ de Lara Diaz aka El Pelon, El Comandante Pelon (captured September 2010)[15][98]

    Subordinates to Leaders:

    "Comandante Mayuyu"[98]

    Other Personnel:

    Javier Nicolas ORTIZ Miranda aka El Flaco, aka El Javi (captured 2010)[98]

    "El Jairo"[98]

    Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    None to report at this time




    San Luis Potosi


    Modesto CASTRO Amaya aka Lucero (captured April 2011)[101]

    Jose Maria LEAL Pantoja aka Comandante Chema (captured March 2011)[102]

    Mario JIMENEZ Perez aka El Mayito (captured March 2011)[103][104]

    Antonio MORA SERGIO Cortes (captured February 2011, also referred to as "Sergio Antonio Mora")[105][106]

    Julian ZAPATA Espinoza aka El Piolin (captured 2011)[105]

    Jose Manuel GARCIA Soto aka El Safado (captured April 2011)[107][108]

    Other Personnel:

    Luis Miguel ROJO Ocejo aka El Oso Rojo (captured February 2011)[108]

    Moises LOREDO Torres aka El Furcio (captured March 2011)[109]

    Edgar CALZONSTIN Martinez (captured March 2011)[109]

    Francisco HERAS Beltran aka El Viernes (captured April 2011)[108]

    Miguel Daniel RAMIREZ Mendoza aka El Cara (captured April 2011)[108]

    Jose Ismael NAVA Villagran aka El Cacho (captured April 2011)[108]

    Marcela MEDINA Jimenez (captured April 2011)[108]

    Claudia COVARRUBIAS Jimenez (captured April 2011)[108]

    Moses LOREDO Torres aka El Sluts (captured March 2011)[109]

    Calzontsin EDGAR Martinez (captured March 2011)[109]

    Major Communities:

    Ciudad Valles, Matehuala, Rioverde, San Luis Potosi (capital), Soledad de Graciano Sanchez, Tamazunchale, Villa De Pozos








    Major Communities:

    Ciudad Obregon, Guaymas, Hermosillo (capital), Magdalena de Kino, Navojoa, Nogales, Puerto Penasco, San Carlos






    Heriberto LAZCANO Lazcano (at large)[70]

    Santos RAMIREZ aka Santo Sapo (at large)[110]

    Gabriel GARCIA Carballo aka El Arabe (killed November 2010)[74]

    Seiky (Seyki) OGATA Gonzalez aka Comandante Serria (captured October 2010)[15][74]

    Jose Antonio ESTRADA Sanchez aka El Cuervo (captured March 2010)[15]

    Roberto RIVERO Arana aka EL Beto, nephew of El Lazca (captured March 2010)[15]

    Sergio Enriquez RUIZ Tlapanco aka El Tlapa (captured September 2009, former military)[73]


    Major Communities:

    Cardenas, Comalcalco, Frontera, Huimanguilla, Macultepacario, Macuspana, Paraiso, Teapa, Tenosique de Pino Suarez, Villahermosa (capital)



    Lattitude and Longitude:

    Estimated Population:


    Jose AKAL Sosa (captured 2007)[111]

    Subordinates to Leader:

    None Identified at this time

    Other Personnel:

    None Identified at this time

    Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    A mexican journalist, Rodolfo RINCON Taracena was kidnapped by AKAL Sosa and other Zetas who later confessed to killing, dismembering and burning with diesel fuel inside a metal drum RINCON Taracena. Several other bodies were located, at least 5, when the authorities were led to the site of the reporter's remains. The confession allegedly states that RINCON Taracena was killed for writing about small-scale drug-dealing in the city for the newspaper Tabasco Hoy.[111]






    Jose Alberto GONZALEZ Chanate aka El Paisa, aka El Paisano (at large)[112]

    "El Puchini" (at large)[112]

    "La Ardilla" (at large)[112]

    Eduardo RAMIREZ Valencia aka El Profe (captured December 2010)[113]

    Emanuel LARIOS aka El Veracruz, aka El Tavo, aka El Moneneke (killed November 2010)[114]

    Other Personnel:

    Guillermo DURAN Rodriguez aka La Bata (captured September 2010)[115]

    Rene MOROYOQUI Lopez aka La Rana  (captured September 2010)[115]

    Gilberto TOMAS Marcelino aka El Beto (captured September 2010)[115]

    Elodio CORTEZ Yavismea (captured September 2010)[115]

    Elias NUNEZ Gonzalez aka El Diablo (captured September 2010)[115]

    Milton Omar ALVAREZ Montijo aka trasquilado (captured September 2010)[115]

    Major Communities:

    Altamira, Ciudad Madero, Ciudad Mante, Ciudad Victoria (capital), Matamoros, Miramar, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, Rio Bravo, Tampico, Valle Hermoso



    Longitude and Lattitude: 25.85114 N 97.4962 W

    Estimated Population: 489,193[116]

    Corresponding American City: Brownsville, Texas


    Oscar CASTILLO Flores aka El Apache (captured July 2010)[117]

    Omar CASTILLO Flores aka El Omarcillo (killed October 2010)[117]

    Tomas SUACEDA (killed May 2010)[118]

    Alberto CASTILLO Flores aka Beto Fave, aka Beto Fabe (killed May or June 2010)[118][117]

    Subordinates to Leader:

    Jose Guadalupe LOPEZ Garcia (killed October 2010)[117]

    Other Personnel:

    Luis Alberto BLANCO Flores aka El Pelochas (captured July 2010)[117]

    Jose Ezequiel GALICIA Gonzalez aka El Nino (captured July 2010)[117]

    Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    None to report at this time



    Lattitude and Longitude: 26.016667 N 98.233333 W

    Estimated Population: 608,891[116]

    Corresponding American City: McAllen, Texas


    Jamie GONZALEZ Duran aka El Hummer (captured)[33]

    Subordinates to Leader:

    None Identified at this time

    Other Personnel:

    None Identified at this time

    Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    None to report at this time


    Nuevo Laredo

    Lattitude and Longitude: 27.5 N 99.516667 W

    Estimated Population: 384,033[116]

    Corresponding American City: Laredo, Texas


    Miguel Angel Trevino Morales (at large)[119]

    Subordinates to Leader:

    Alejandro TREVINO Morales aka 42, aka Omar, aka Comandante Forty Two, aka Oscar Omar TREVINO Morales (brother of Miguel Angel TREVINO Morales, at large)[120]

    "El Mostachon" (at large)[112]

    Other Personnel:

    None Identified at this time

    Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    None to report at this time


    Ciudad Mier

    Lattitude and Longitude: 26.46667 N 99.16667 W

    Estimated Population: 4,762

    Corresponding American City: Located near Flacon Dam, on the Falcon Lake / Rio Grande border


    "El Karate" (at large)[112]

    Subordinates to Leader:

    None identified at this time

    Other Personnel:

    None Identified at this time

    Functions / Activities / Incidents

    Threat of attack on the Falcon Dam in 2010 had agents on the alert. Allegedy the attack was supposed to be an attempt to remove members of the Gulf Cartel from the area. Locals on the Mexican side of the border had reportedly been notified of the possible attack. The credibility of such an attack and of the threat itself have been questioned.[121]



    Lattitude and Longitude: 26.25 N 98.8333 W

    Estimated Population: 14,933

    Corresponding American City: Rio Grande City, Texas


    Jose Alberto GONZALEZ Chanate aka El Paisa, aka El Paisano (at large)[112]

    Juan VERA Ovando aka El Colmillo (at large)[112]

    Subordinates to Leader:

    Noe MINEZ aka El Tigre (at large)[112]

    Juan Pedro SALDIVAR Farias aka El 27, aka El Orejon (at large)[112]

    "La Estrella" (at large)[112]

    Other Personnel:

    None Identified at this time

    Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    None to report at this time


    San Fernando

    Lattitude and Longitude:

    Estimated Population:

    Corresponding American City: Approximately 90 miles south of Brownsville, Texas


    None Identified at this time

    Subordinates to Leader:

    None Identified at this time

    Other Personnel:

    *Sergio CORDOVA Martinez aka El Diablo (captured April 2011)[122]

    *Julio Cesar LUGO Chaca aka El Samy (captured April 2011)[122]

    *Jose Mauro ONATE Rodriguez aka Vegueta (captured April 2011)[122]

    *Samuel MORENO Saavedra (captured April 2011)[122]

    *Edgar SOSA Solis aka Edgar SOSA AGUILAR Solis, aka Catracho (captured April 2011)[122]

    *Juan Pablo CABRERA Escalante (captured April 2011)[122]

    *Elfebo CRUZ Martinez (captured April 2011)[122]

    *Jupiter Almer CANO Guerra aka Jupiter Almer CANO Sierra, aka El Viejo (captured April 2011)[122]

    *Adela Yudith OCHOA Marmolejo (captured April 2011)[122]

    The following are suspected members, unconfirmed at this time (April 2011)[122]

    *Edgar Rene MENDEZ Acosta aka El Barbas (captured April 2011)[122]

    *Javier MENDEZ San Juan aka El Tripa (captured April 2011)[122]

    *Juan Carlos TOVAR Gallegos (captured April 2011)[122]

    *Juan Carlos GARCIA Cabrera aka El Nono (captured April 2011)[122]

    *Miryam Dinora PEREZ Alvarado aka Miriam Dinora PEREZ Alvarado, aka La Marrana (captured April 2011)[122]

    The following individuals are municipal police officers who have been arrested for their roles in the murder-kidnappings that resulted in the 120 plus victims being located in April 2011 in San Fernando.[58]

    Guadalupe IBARRA (captured April 2011)[58]

    Remigio CAMARILLO Mireles (captured April 2011)[58]

    Oscar JARAMILLO Sosa (captured April 2011)[58]

    Martin GARCIA Badillo (captured April 2011)[58]

    Jose AGUILAR Velez (captured April 2011)[58]

    Jesus RAMOS Perez (captured April 2011)[58]

    Eliodoro ROBLES Sanchez (captured April 2011)[58]

    Elpidio REYES Saenz (captured April 2011)[58]

    Gilberto RIVERA Hernandez (captured April 2011)[58]

    Lazaro FLORES Pena (captured April 2011)[58]

    Maria Guadalupe GALVAN Hernandez (captured April 2011)[58]

    Mario Alberto ROMERO Hernandez (captured April 2011)[58]

    Santos MALDONADO Reyes (captured April 2011)[58]

    Julio Guadalupe JARAMILLO Vela (captured April 2011)[58]

    Jose Manuel AVILA Lugo (captured April 2011)[58]

    Rogelio de la PORTILLA Heredia (captured April 2011)[58]

    Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    The massacre of 72 immigrants in August 2010 has been blamed on Los Zetas. According to two escaped immigrants, Los Zetas were demanding the immigrants work for them, but were killed when they refused.

    In April 2011, mass graves with the bodies of 59 victims were located in the same area. The graves have not yet been officially linked to Los Zetas, however due to the operating area of Los Zetas and their history, it is believed to be likely they are to blame. The graves were discovered during a raid on suspected kidnappers which netted 11 suspects and freed five kidnapping victims.[123] Since the initial report, the number of bodies located has increased to atleast 72, from a total of 10 different graves all within close proximity to each other.[124] Fourteen total suspects have since been arraigned for involvement in the kidnapping and murder of bus travelers, whose remains are those located in the graves. Of the fourteen, nine are known members of Los Zetas. The other five suspects are suspected of being Los Zetas's members but it is unsure at this time. The suspects in this case are marked above with an *.[122] The number has been increased to 116 bodies and a total of 17 suspects have been linked to the crimes, both numbers are expected to increase.[125][126][127] Sixteen municipal police officers have been arrested for allegedly helping to protect Los Zetas in the area and helping to cover up the mass graves. Being referred to as Poli-Zetas or Police-Zetas. These sixteen bring the total number of persons arrested for the crimes to over 30.[58]


    Ciudad Victoria

    Longititude and Lattitude: 23.7333 N 99.1333 W

    Estimated Population:

    Corresponding American City:


    None Identified at this time

    Subordinates to Leader:

    None Identified at this time

    Other Personnel:

    Alfredo Rafael ROCHA Martinez (captured March 2011)[128]

    Erick IVAN Rios (captured March 2011)[128]

     Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    None to report at this time






    Jonathan HERNANDEZ Perez aka Jonathan Vargas Torres, aka El Comandante Franky (captured August 2010)[129]

    Joaquin MARTINEZ Hernandez aka Juan Carlos Huerta Hernandez, aka El Guero (captured August 2010)[129]

    Major Communities:

    Apizaco, Chiautempan, Huamantla, Tlaxcala (capital)






    Heriberto LAZCANO Lazcano (at large)[70]

    Orlando HERNANDEZ Aguirre aka El Barrabas (captured January 2011)[130][131]

    Leonardo VAZQUEZ aka El Pachis (killed January 2011)[130][132]

    Juan Jose CEQUEDA Gamboa aka Juan Loco (captured February 2011)[130]

    Eduardo RAMIREZ Valencia aka El Profe (captured December 2010)[113]

    Braulio ARELLANO Dominguez, aka El Gonzo, aka Zeta 20, aka Z-20, aka El Verdugo (killed November 2009)[133]

    Tomas OCHOA Celis aka "EL Tommy" (captured December 2009)[134]

    Other Personnel:

    Rosa Olivia GARCIA Salinas (captured January 2011, "sentimental partner of El Barrabas")[131] 

    Major Communities:

    Acayucan, Boca del Rio, Camaron de Tejeda, Catemaco, Coatepec, Coatzacoalcos, Cordoba, El Jicaro, Martinez de le Torre, Minatitlan, Orizaba, Papantla (Papantla de Olarte), Poza Rica, San Andres Tuxtla, Tuxpan (Tuxpam/Tuxpan de Rodriguez Cano), Veracruz, Xalapa (Xalapa-Enriquez, capital)


    Martinez de la Torre

    Lattitude and Longitude:

    Estimated Population:

    Corresponding American City:


    Edemir Geraldo GARCIA Lopez aka El Monstro, aka El Muonstro (captured March 2011)[135]

    Subordinates to Leader:

    None Identified at this time

    Other Personnel:

    None Identified at this time

    Functions / Activities / Incidents:

    Edemir Geraldo GARCIA Lopez aka El Monstro was captured March 2011. El Monstro is suspected of being the leader of the Halcones (informants) operating in Martinex de la Torre. El Monstro is suspected of involvment in the kidnapping of four businessmen in March 2010. Along with El Monstro; a motor vehicle, a radio communications system, varying documents and 40 bags of "dried herbs" resembling marijuana were all seized. [135] 








    Major Communities:

    Hunucma, Kanasin, Merida (capital), Motul, Oxkutzcab, Peto, Progreso, Tekax, Ticul, Tizimin, Uman, Valladolid 






    "Z-50" (at large)[69]

    "El Caballo" (at large)[83]

    Ruben DELGADO Gamillo aka Pelapapas (defected, currently being seeked by Los Zetas)[136]

    Major Communities:

    Chalchihuities, Fresnillo, Guadalupe, Jalpa, Jerez de Garcia Salinas, Juchipila, Juan Aldama, Moyahua De Estrada, Loreto, Ojocaliente, Rio Grande, Sain Alto, Sombrerete, Valparaiso, Victor Rosales, Zacatecas (capital)




    United States

    A U.S. official at the International Conference for Drug Control XXVIII, attended by 103 countries, stated that there are hundreds of U.S. cities where Los Zetas are operating, however the main concern with Los Zetas is the violence they are creating in Mexico. The same official reported there have been no identifiable links between Los Zetas and any terrorist or guerrilla organizations but there are links to other criminal organizations. Another official reported the command and structure of Los Zetas is strictly inside of the Mexican borders.[137]






    New York[7],


    According to a recent report, December 2010, La Familia Michoacana and Los Zetas are fighting over territory in Texas, specifically the area around Dallas. The fighting here has increased since 2007 when it was first acknowledged.[138]

    Young males are being recruited for membership into Los Zetas, known as Zetillas or Baby Zetas, these 17 - 24 year olds are paid $5,000 to 50,000 (USD) for each murder they complete for Los Zetas.[2]

    Washington, D.C.[7] 




    Ranferi Osorio, Otilio Osorio and Kelvin Leon Morrison, all U.S. Citizens, were recently charged by grand jury in Dallas Texas of purchasing firearms with fake information and transporting those firearms to Los Zetas. At least 10 firearms were allegedly transferred, one of which was used in the shooting of ICE agent Jaime Zapato in Mexico in February 2011.[139]

    Rosalio Reta and Gabriel Cardona, American citizens, are serving sentences for murder when they were found responsible for up to seven murders in the border town of Laredo, Texas, during approximately a one year period. Reta reported that they were recruited at 13 years old to become hitmen for Los Zetas. Reta reported they spent six months receiving military-style training on a Mexican ranch, then were paid $500 a wek each for a "retainer"  to wait for the hit to come up. They were then paid up to $50,000 for each hit along with 2 kilos of cocaine. At the time of their arrest they reportedly still had at least three more targets on their current list. One of their victims was not a target and was mistaken for one of their targets, this helped lead investigators to them and link several of the murders together. Reta and Cardona, along with a third unnamed person, were considered a sleeper cell for Los Zetas and were ready for jobs whenever they came around.[140]










    Membership is made up of different operational levels.[141][95] According to one report, Zetas members are sent to new areas in order to recruit "common" criminals into Los Zetas and they are then trained to be killers or another membership level. This tactic is reportedly used by many Mexican cartels now but was pioneered by Los Zetas.[36] It is also reported that new recruits can be "promoted" all the way to the position of hit man, or operativo, in one month, a process that historically took as long as numerous years.[36]

    Operativos (operatives)

    Operatives who pick up and kill targets, carry out missions

    Halcones (falcons)

    Monitor military and police activity

    Las Panteras (panthers)

    A group of entirely women they perform several functions including; obtain safe houses, purchase provisions and clean/care for wounded. Their main role is to infiltrate authority figures and their organizations, contact police officers, military personnel, mayors and politicians, and civilians, who are targeted to assist Los Zetas. If the target refuses, the women are trained killers and do not hold back their skills. This group was first noted in 2006 and was formed by El Lazca.[142]

    Panteras are known to use costumes and to change their appearance depending on their current mission.[142]

    One Pantera recently captured was Gloria ROJAS Valencia, captured in Venezuela and turned over to U.S. officials, was known to have ties with and worked with Colombian drug cartel member Luis Frank TELLO Candelo, also recently turned over to U.S. officials.[143]

    Ashly "La Comandante Bombon" NARRO Lopez and Yaneth DEYANIRA Cruz were known Panteras leaders who have been captured already.[142]

    Each membership level is paid the same amount throughout the organization. Reportedly, Halcones are paid 8,000 pesos a month and Operativos are paid 20,000 pesos a month. In order to become an operativo, a halcone must decapitate at least 3 targets.

    There is also evidence that members are transferred from plaza to plaza when particular areas become too "hot" for them. This suggests an extensive intelligence sector in which Los Zetas are retrieving information about which members are under the scope of the authorities.[141][95]

    When Carlos Adrian MARTINEZ Muniz, number 2 of Los Zetas cell in Monterrey, NL, was arrested in October 2009, in addition to drugs and weapons he had deposit, pay, slips for 7,150 different people.[90]




    Tactics and Operations


    In December 2010, Los Zetas set fire to a small town in Durango, Tierras Colorados, made up of mostly indigenous Tepehuanos. Los Zetas showed up looking for a man who lived there and was known to cultivate Marijuana. The area is in the heart of the "Golden Triangle" known for its marijuana and poppy production. In total, several dozen homes, two schools, 17 trucks and a local store were all set on fire by Zetas.[144]


    Assassinations and assassination attempts are frequent and often involve narcomessages explaining the reason for the assassination. These are left to deter others from opposing Los Zetas and to control the actions of the public and of politicians and military personnel.[46]

    The mayor of Garcia, Nueva Leon, near Monterrey, Jaime RODRIGUEZ, survived two assassination attempts in a matter of a few weeks. According to Rodriguez, in the latest attempt, March 2011, several vehicles approached his convoy and opened fire on an SUV transporting eight of the mayor's body guards before opening fire on the mayor's vehicle. Fortunately for Rodriguez his vehicle was armored and none of the rounds penetrated the vehicle's protection. Rodriguez believes his body guards were targeted first in an attempt to neutralize some of his protection. One bodyguard was killed while four more were injured. In the previous attack, February 25th, 2011, three gunmen were killed. Rodriguez reported that Los Zetas were responsible for the attacks.[145]


    Car bombings are becoming more and more common place. Often times authorities and law enforcement are the targets of the attacks. Recent incidences suggest Los Zetas are filing false reports of bodies being located in vehicles and when law enforcement arrives the bombs are detonated. Additional Narco messages, claiming responsibility and notifying the "next" targets have been recovered at some of the scenes.[146]

    Bombs are being detonated in some cases by cell phone triggers, indicating a rise in complexity. It has also been reported that the techniques are similar to those used in Iraq and Afghanistan.[39]


    Los Zetas are accused of extorting business owners, politicians, and immigrants. One business owner in Matamoros reported that one day in 2001, prior to the Gulf Cartel and Zetas split, a member showed up and demanded a fee for her to continue operating her business, which included the sale of contraband liquor. It is also reported that Los Zetas will intercept "polleros" or human traffickers and demand a fee for each of the immigrants being transported, if they do not pay they will not be allowed to continue or in some cases, as documented above, will be executed as an example.[147]

    Hostage Taking:

    Immigrants are often taken hostage until a ransom is paid by the families of the immigrants or until the immigrant agrees to work for Los Zetas. In cases where the family is unable to pay or the immigrant refuses to cooperate, the immigrants may be executed as an example or simply abandoned in the desert.[148][149]


    Though originally involved in drug trafficking enforcement, Los Zetas have branched out to include other financial operations including kidnapping for ransom. The number of kidnappings in Mexico states has increased exponentially in the last several years and Los Zetas are believed to be responsible for much of it.[4] Kidnapping is used as a form of intimidation, both specific and general, and as a way to fund other operations.[4]

    Recent reports suggest that due to the poverty of many central American countries their citizens are willing to risk death and extortion to continue traveling through Mexico, hoping to get into the U.S. It is due to this continued desire to make it to the U.S. that Los Zetas have expanded how much they rely on kidnapping and extorting the immigrants, as a steady flow of them travel through their plazas and other locations. Entire train and bus loads of immigrants are being taken hostage at one time and being demanded to call family in America for money or work for Los Zetas, if neither is completed, they are killed.[150][151]

    Mexico Kidnapping numbers by state.jpg

    Number of kidnappings, by state, from December 1, 2006 until August 31, 2010.[152]

    Intimidation / Blackmail:

    Rival cartel members, police and other law enforcement and political figures, and insubordinate members are killed and often displayed as a means to control others who are considering going against Los Zetas. Often times markers or messages are left with the corpses claiming responsibility by Los Zetas.[4]

    Just as useful for controlling the public is the number of unresolved missing persons reports. Many times people go missing with no trace and family and friends are left to wonder whether they are alive or dead and if they will ever find them. This unknown can be as distressing as any other form of intimidation.[4][52]

    The threat of and use of kidnapping of family members has also been used to intimidate others into cooperation.[4]

    Threats against specific military or political figures is common. Often times narcomessages are left with corpses and scenes of attacks or kidnappings explaining why the victim was chosen and how to avoid the same. Also, future victims are occasionally named and told to expect the same treatment if they do not conform to their demands. [46]



    Use of narco banners recruiting potential members, videos of operations including executions and beheadings, and blatant membership identification, such as large "Z"'s painted on the side of vehicles and on the corpses of enemies.[4]

    In 2010 Los Zetas used narco banners to celebrate the death of rival and leader of the Gulf Cartel Antonio Ezequiel CARDENAS Guillen ala Tony Tormenta.[153]

    A Guatemalan radio station was forced to broadcast a message for Los Zetas. The message was a response to the martial law imposed by the Guatemalan government in an attempt to deter Los Zetas from creating a strong hold in Guatemala. The message read "We will start the war in this country, in malls, in schools and in police stations. If this message is not put out on the air in an hour, the radio station burn... The families of those who work at the station will be executed if you do not read it." A blast on a public bus shortly afterwards has been attributed to Mara 18, M-18, but it was reported that the blast may have been ordered by Los Zetas. [39]

    Los Zetas have carried out assassinations of media members. Rodolfo RINCON Taracena, a reporter in Villahermosa, Tabasco, was kidnapped and murdered, dismembered, and burned in metal tubs by Los Zetas cell members in Villahermosa for writing about "small-scale drug-dealing" in the city of Villahermosa for the newspaper Tabasco Hoy.[111]



    Some of the bombings attributed to Los Zetas include remote detination devices, often utilizing cell phone devices as the trigger. The devices are reportedly similar to some used in Iraq and Afghanistan.[39]

    See also Communications, below.

    Social Media:

    Explosive, Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear Weapons:

    Psychological Operations:


    Los Zetas have been accused of using threats against PEMEX and its employees to retrieve payments for "protection" of its drilling sites and employees. Los Zetas have also been accused of stealing $1 billion worth of petroleum.[4][154] As of December 2010, it was reported that Los Zetas were smuggling approximately $1,500,000 (USD) per month from PEMEX into Guatemala.[155]

    A recent conflict between Los Zetas and the Mexican Navy highlights the operational capabilities and influences of Los Zetas. In Veracruz, the large port-city, it has been reported by eyewitnesses that on March 27th, 2011, in the early hours of the morning gunfire erupted between Los Zetas and Mexican Military personnel. According to reports, the Mexican Military attempted to stop a vehicle convoy supposedly transporting Los Zetas members and particularly a highly armored Hummer, the type normally reserved for the high ranking bosses of the group. The group was supposedly headed for a local bar providing liquor and table dances known as "Noctambulos," that is known to be frequented by high level cartel members and their "protection". The convoy attempted to lose the military tail which involved the use of military-style weapons, possibly a .50 caliber fully automatic, and evasive driving techniques. The Hummer escaped, however another cartel vehicle was trapped and opened fire on the military. The ensuing stand off resulted in a several casualties, including military, cartel and civilian. At a nearby concert the gunfire was heard and caused a panic resulting in further injuries as people stampeeded to leave the area. Review and compilation of multiple reports suggest atleast five total casualties resulted from the ninety minute plus altercation; official reports released by government officials claimed three casualties, one each of a civilian, cartel member and soldier, and failed to detail the chase that traveled through city blocks, the vehicles that escaped, including the armored Hummer, or the reason for the confrontation. The limited reporting has earned the government more distrust from the public, particularly those who witnessed portions of the incident and noticed large pieces of information missing. The full details of this account are available at this link: http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2011/03/shootout-between-zetas-and-military.html, and is a compilation of numerous Spanish sources, including print and television sources, that have been verified[156]. This account details the ability of Los Zetas to not only encounter and succesfully flee the authorities, but also of their ability to control, directly and indirectly, the amount of official reporting regarding their activities.






    Original Members were mainly trained by the Mexican military as members of GAFES. Following desertion and entry into Los Zetas further training was conducted in Matamoros by Alberto "Z-5" Guerrero Reyes (deceased) and Carlos "El Comandante Hau" Hau Castaneda.[33] 

    In 2001 the majority of training, while still operating for the Gulf Cartel, was transferred to Nuevo Leon. Specifically a ranch in Chine, Nuevo Leon, known as "Las Amarillas", and a ranch near San Fernando (along the Ciudad Victoria-Matamoros highway), served as the main training headquarters for the early members of Los Zetas.[33]

    Currently there are still "ranches" designed to train recruits, however they know exist throughout their region and the recruits are trained near where they are recruited from until their training commanders believe they are ready.[33]

    A training facility in El Salvador was recently uncovered and with it over $15 million (USD) in plastic containers has been uncovered with more expected to be located.[43]

    A 13 year old girl reported that Los Zetas hired children as young as 13 and trained them at camps located throughout the state of Tabasco. The girl reported that youths were hired because of the presumption that if caught, they would be sentenced to centers for youths due to having more relaxed juvenile laws. They were trained to use firearms and to fight, as well as how to transport drugs and weapons.[157]


    Walkie-talkies have been utilized for the main method of communications in the past to prevent the wire tapping of any phone conversations. Hidden video cameras have been utilized to gather covert information on enforcement tactics and operations.[4][94]

    Los Zetas utilized an advanced business model to maintain control of their operations and use computers and technology to track drug and other contraband shipments, as well as to document local leaders and those in charge of the shipments. Detailed information regarding monies and bribes paid out and to whom, and payments received are all documented and kept on laptops to maintain the system even if one individual is taken down.[4]





    Weapons and Ammunition:


    Seized weapons include:


    Firearms Explosives Other
    9 mm Pistols Rocket Launchers Armored Vehicles, some with hidden compartments for trafficking drugs and weapons
    Shot Guns Grenade Launchers


    Rifles Fragmentation Grenades

    Bullet Proof Vests

    .22 Caliber Rifles

    Body Grenades

    Long-range Weapons

    .45 Caliber Rifles

    40mm Grenades

    Short-range Weapons

    High Calibered Military Weapons

    Practice Grenades (inert)



    60 mm Mortars


    Ak-47's Explosive Devices

    "a wooden shovel used to beat victims"[108]

    Machine Guns Industrial Hydrogel Explosive Cartridges  
    7.62 mm Machine Guns  


    Submachine Guns  




    Sources [4][94][158][159][160][109][161][89][101][133][91][92][128]

    A single recent seizure in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, included the following items:

    1 x 7.62mm machine gun

    59 x long range weapons

    21 x short range weapons

    7 x submachine guns, UZI style

    1 x rocket launder

    1 x crossbow

    412 x rounds of industrial hydrogel explosives

    36 x electronic detonators

    12 meters detonating cord

    6 x 60 mm mortar rounds

    3 x rifle grenades

    5 x dull grenades

    1 x RPG rocket

    50 X fragmentation grenades

    2 x body grenades

    4 x 40 mm practice grenades

    2 x other explosives

    2 x 3 way connectors

    59,700 USD

    As reported by the Secretaria de la Defensa Nacional.[161] 



    It has been reported that a majority of the sidearms, such as pistols, come from the U.S. but that a large portion of military grade weapons come from Central American militaries.[4][162][109]



    Texas Arizona New Mexico Central American Militaries
      Sources [4][162][109]

    A report that some members of Los Zetas are traveling from town to town demanding the inhabitants turn over all the weapons in the town surfaced in the state of Zacatecas and Durango. Villa Cardenas' residents were informed by their county representative that Los Zetas had demanded all weapons be placed in a hall and left for Los Zetas to collect by the next day. The community of just over 500 was told they would be attacked if the weapons were not handed over. On February 27th, 2011, two days after the demands were made, Los Zetas searched home by home in the community because residents had been reluctant to turn over their weapons. The county representative, Jesus TORRES, was kidnapped and a shootout ensued when one young resident refused to turn his weapons over and instead fired upon Los Zetas. Two Zetas members were killed while the others fled the town. A similar incident occured three months earlier in a Durango city, San Lucas. [163] 


    Routes: Guns are often purchased through legitimate businesses by citizens of the U.S. or individuals who are permitted to make such purchases and then sold into the Mexican cartels for a large profit. The guns travel along the same paths as the other trafficked items (persons, drugs) back into Mexico.[4]

    Payment: Drugs, cash, protection[4]


    Funding / Money Laundering:

    Laundering of money takes place through a number of businesses including restaurants, car dealers and meat markets in the Northern Texas area.[4] Laundering may also take place in Kansas, Minnesota, Atlanta and Chicago[4].

    A group of Los Zetas members were recently arrested, accused of dealing in stolen petroleum, the individuals were linked to bank accounts with over $1.4 million (USD)[164].

    The amount of cash a person may carry, legally, over the border between Mexico and the U.S. is set at $10,000 (USD). However, a loop hole is helping to move money back into Mexico and the cartels via an unconventional method; pre-paid credit/debit cards. These cards require no identification or credit check, can be filled up over and over, often are limited at $500 (USD), and most importantly are currently limited to any number of cards or total value for transporting over the border. Cartel members are being caught carrying dozens of these cards. Even if a limit is imposed, discovery would be very difficult because while canines can sniff out the ink in currency, no process for detecting plastic cards is currently available[165].

    Drug Cartels, especially Los Zetas, have expanded their operations beyond traditional drug trafficking, including human trafficking. In 2010 45,280 non-Mexicans were apprehended attempting to get into the U.S. illegally through Mexico. 32,900 of that total was through the Texas border. This is a minor increase of 2009, however a major reduction since Mexican President Felipe Calderon took office (2006) and began his "war" on cartels, the year prior to his election a total of 138,700 non-Mexicans were apprehended at the Texas-Mexico border attempting to gain entry. Cartels charge a "fee" to smuggle the individuals across Mexico and into the U.S., however, the "customers" are not always left satisfied as there are numerous cases of them being left in the desert, or murdered unless they agree to increase the "fee" payments being made. There is a concern that terrorist organizations and members could gain entry to the U.S. through this border.[166]

    Los Zetas charge "derecho a piso" or dues to businesses. If it isn't paid the businesses are victimized as are the owners. The dues vary from 2,000 to 50,000 pesos a month, dependent upon the business's success and size.[167]



    Outside Support:

    Some have suggested that the cartels, and especially Los Zetas, act like Robin Hood, providing financial and other means of support to the communities they are in. The conflicts, propurtedly, occur when a community does not fully support the members or are seen supporting conflicting organizations. Narco-messages from cartels are often asking for community support in order to eradicate another conflicting cartel.[168]

    Rival cartels battle each other with weapons and public relations. The use of media, banners, pamphlets and other forms of advertising is commonplace in areas with conflicting cartels. The public historically allowed the cartels to operate as long as they followed a few set rules. In recent years those rules have been broken and some suggest that the cartels desire a return to the "simpler" times when those rules were followed. The public relations of cartels is an attempt to persuade the public not to report incidences involving their respective group but to place a high level of pressure on the other cartels.[169]

    Internal Control Mechanisms:

    Important to the success of the group is its ability to control its members. Making examples of those who disobey orders or are accused of crimes against the group is one method of doing so. A Quintana Roo boss, Victor Eammanuel DELGADO Medrano aka El Chumil, who was recently captured (March 2011), and three other Los Zetas members from the area; Luis Enrique PAZ Sosa aka El Max, Jose Salvador REYNAGA Zuniga aka El Gordo and Ramces ARREOLA Sanchez aka El Ramces, were charged with killing and dismembering "La Loba." La Loba was a member of Los Zetas who was accused of keeping money he was supposed to divide up with other members of the group.[46]


    Los Zetas use intimidation to force public officials and citizens to do as they demand. The use of narco messages and banners, as well as simple insignias, usually the letter "Z", is used to remind people what they are capable of. One recent example is from Oaxaca where at a local tourist attraction a human head was found with a narco message signed by Los Zetas.[170]





    4u9l54.png [109]



    A medal of Los Zetas, on display at the Museum of Drugs in Mexico City.[39]


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