“inside Los Zetas.” The Mexican department of justice (PGR) has done an in-depth study of the militant group, Los Zetas, that has operated as the hired killers for drug trafficking cartels. “Protected witnesses,” former members of the group, have described the command structure and military discipline of Los Zetas. They describe the counterintelligence, control of associates and how they carry out the executions of enemies and traitors.
The commander in chief of Los Zetas is Heriberto “El Lazca,” Lazcano, who assumed absolute control of the group in the absence of former leader Osiel Cardenas Guillen, who is in prison in the US. El Lazca decides who the commanders of each operating area will be and how operations are carried out.
At the lowest level of the organization are those called Halcones [falcons] who serve as community watchdogs. The second level are the Cobras, armed helpers in charge of security. Following them in the hierarchy are the New Zetas, also called Kaibiles (Guatemalan ex-military special forces) who travel with full combat armament and constitute the front line in armed confrontations. The New Zetas also include Mexican ex-military with special forces training.
The upper level are the Old Zetas who originated the group from the ’90s to the year 2000. Those remaining from the original group serve on occasion as advisers.
Apart from those levels, each area commander has his own accountant and hit man. The accountant keeps records of local operating expenses, wages and bribes. The hit man also serves as the commander’s personal bodyguard. He is acquainted with the local area and is responsible for keeping the necessary “arraingements” with local officials.
The Mexican Secretary of Defense (Sedena) has confirmed that Alberto Espinoza Barron, alias La Fresa, acting chief of area operations for the drug cartel La Familia in Morelia, Michoacan, , was arrested last Monday. His capture was made by the Army in an operation supported by the federal justice department (PGR). Espinoza Barron, as head of the Morelia area for La Familia, coordinated the trafficking of drugs, mainly cocaine, arriving from South America at the port of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan, for transfer to the US.
The US anti-drug agency (DEA) arrested 41 Mexicans involved in the distribution and sales of drugs for the Gulf Cartel. The arrests were carried out between December 5 an 21. Although those arrested were not directly linked to the cartel, they distributed the cartel’s drugs to several states in the US. [The story continues, applauding the DEA for earlier successes in the war on drugs.]
Frontera (Tijuana, Baja California) 12/31/08
During 2008, a total of 318 Mexicans died in the US trying to enter illegally, according to statistics of the Mexican office of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (SRE). That number is 25% below the previous year.
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