Monday, June 11, 2007

Cartel's enforcers (Zetas) outpower their boss

Just like in Iraq the private militias tend to slip out of control of their supposed leaders over time, as the intoxication of pure power sets in. Here it seems the rabid guard dog Zeta's are off their chain.

It's not getting better there, that's for sure.

Cartel's enforcers outpower their boss

Zetas grow into paramilitary group now hitting Mexico's casinos

12:03 AM CDT on Monday, June 11, 2007
By ALFREDO CORCHADO / The Dallas Morning News

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico – Even in a country accustomed to gangland violence, the news is disquieting.

In coordinated strikes, armed men rob at least five casinos in four states, killing a bystander and escaping with bundles of money. In the northern state of Sonora, an attack on a police station leaves five officers dead and announces the arrival of a new criminal force in the region. The likely culprit in both cases: the Zetas, a ruthless organization that was virtually unheard of just five years ago.

The Zetas, created by a group of highly trained military deserters to work as enforcers for the Gulf drug cartel, have become so powerful that their old handlers are quickly losing control, authorities said.

The group, first concentrated along Mexico's border with Texas, has evolved into a powerful threat in its own right, spreading its brand of brutal violence into 31 Mexican states as it battles for control of new regions and key border entry points, U.S. and Mexican authorities say.

"The Zetas have clearly become the biggest, most serious threat to the nation's security," said Raul Benitez, a Mexico security expert at American University in Washington, D.C.

"Now they want to control the nation's drug routes and along the way topple the traditional cartel leaders," said Mr. Benitez. "We're witnessing a classic coup under way."

Among the newly targeted border areas is Ciudad Juárez, the city across the border from El Paso and long the stronghold of the Juárez cartel, authorities said. The Zetas also have made inroads in Acapulco, Monterrey and Veracruz, usually with a flurry of high-profile killings of police and other officials.

Working with brutal Central American gangs and former death squads from Guatemala known as Kaibiles, the Zetas have morphed into a 2,000-member paramilitary organization operating in most of Mexico, including the Federal District, Mexico City, according to U.S. law enforcement officials and academic experts who monitor the group. Mexican authorities declined to estimate the size of the force.

"The combination of Kaibiles and former Mexican elite military units forms a deadly triangle that represents the perfect threat to Mexico," Mr. Benitez said.
... story continues at link.

Cartel's enforcers outpower their boss | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | World


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