Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Los Matazetas - the "Zeta killers" - may have arrived in Cancún, authorities fear
In 2011, a then unknown criminal group announced its entry into Mexico's drug war via postings to YouTube and other public websites. The so-called Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) quickly became known as Los Matazetas -- the Zeta killers -- because of its stated goal of taking on the powerful Los Zetas drug cartel, which was responsible for unprecedented carnage last year. The Matazeta postings began to surface and spread soon after 35 brutalized bodies were dumped on a Veracruz street on Sept. 20, in plain view of horrified pedestrians and afternoon rush hour traffic. In a Sept. 24, 2011 video, CJNG took responsibility for the butchery.
In their public postings, Los Matazetas have referred to themselves as the "armed wing of the Mexican people." They claim they are true patriots whose sole aim is to assist Mexican military and police units in eliminating the dreaded Los Zetas. Some call them vigilantes, but the Calderón administration -- which firmly denies that vigilante groups are operating anywhere in Mexico -- says the Matazetas are just another drug cartel in competition with the Zetas and others. One thing is clear, however. In the Veracruz area nearly 100 bodies were dumped or abandoned in September and October of 2011, and there is reason to believe that the Matazetas (CJNG) are responsible for most if not all of them.
Now authorities in Quintana Roo state are concerned that CJNG may have moved into the Cancún area to root out the powerful Zeta presence along Mexico's Caribbean coast. The Zetas and a smaller but deadly group, Los Pelones, are locked in a struggle for control of drug markets and other criminal activity in major resort communities of the Riviera Maya, including places like Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Isla de Mujeres. According to police, crime in the Cancún hotel zone is operated by Los Zetas, while the other popular tourist destinations are dominated by Los Pelones. There are executions several times a week these days, committed by one group against the other, and they're always accompanied by notes (narcomensajes) warning of more to come. Most have been reported on this site.
Early yesterday morning (Apr. 16) Cancún police found the body of a man in a residential neighborhood. The victim, who investigators say appeared to be 40-45, was dressed in a taxi drivers uniform (as I've reported before, taxistas often work for or with Los Zetas). The man had been handcuffed and gagged, and his head was covered by a black plastic bag. He had been beaten, strangled and shot. An executioner's warning was left with him -- signed "CJNG," the Matazetas, and carefully placed inside his pants.
The warning note said: "Pueblo de Cancún, ya estamos aquí. Esto es para todos los secuestradores y asesinos. Así como Michoacán, Veracruz y Guerrero ya ha sido limpiado, todo el que es Z lo vamos a matar -- People of Cancún, we're already here. This (warning) is for all the kidnappers and murders. Just as Michoacán, Veracruz and Guerrero (Acapulco) have been cleaned up, we're going to kill everyone who's a Z (Zeta)."
Assuming the warning is legitimate, this marks the first appearance by Los Matazetas in Quintana Roo state. Yesterday's discovery was Cancún's 17th organized crime execution since Jan. 1, authorities say. The presence of now three brutal criminal organizations -- which have never hesitated to carry out the worst atrocities against each other's members -- portends even greater security challenges just ahead for Mexico's famed Riviera Maya.
Los Matazetas video uploaded to YouTube Sept. 24, 2011. The speaker says, "We are faceless warriors, and proudly Mexican."
Apr. 18 - 50 Matazeta executioners in Cancún to "control the plaza" for Chapo Guzmán
Apr. 29 - Los Pelones killer in Cancún also may have been hit man for Los Matazetas
Aug. 2 - Cancún authorities report that the war between Los Pelones and Los Zetas has left at least 175 dead in Quintana Roo since 2007, most of them since 2010
Horror on Veracruz street - 35 bodies dumped downtown in broad daylight: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/09/horror-on-veracruz-street-35-bodies.html.
2011 Veracruz drug war executions surge 960% in the "City of Cadavers": http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2012/01/veracruz-executions-increase-at.html.
Federal troops take over police functions in Veracruz: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/12/federal-troops-take-over-police.html.
Mexico’s new vigilantes: “Los Matazetas” - the Zeta Killers: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/09/mexicos-new-vigilantes-los-matas-zetas.html.
8 Matazetas, 12 Zetas arrested in Veracruz: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/8-matazetas-12-zetas-arrested-in.html.
Los Matazetas are just a competing drug gang, says Mexican government: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/los-matazetas-are-just-competing-drug.html.
Yucatán - and half of Mexico - "belong" to Los Zetas: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2012/01/yucatan-and-half-of-mexico-belong-to.html.
Peña Nieto agrees that Veracruz should remain under federal military control: http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2012/04/pena-nieto-agrees-that-veracruz-should.html.
at 11:29 PM