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July 5, 2011 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
Mexican officials on Monday announced the capture of one of the country's most wanted fugitives, an army deserter who authorities say helped create the vicious Zetas gang and is suspected in the slaying of a U.S. federal agent. Mexican federal police paraded Jesus Rejon Aguilar before reporters early Monday, a day after he was caught — not in the Zetas stronghold of northeastern Mexico but barely an hour outside Mexico City. Among numerous alleged crimes, Rejon was wanted in connection with the Feb. 15 ambush death of Jaime Zapata, an agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency on temporary assignment in Mexico.
October 14, 2011 | By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
A high-ranking member of the Zetas crime group suspected of widespread drug trafficking has been arrested, Mexican officials said Thursday. Carlos Oliva Castillo, known as "Frog," was captured Wednesday in the northern city of Saltillo, where he allegedly ran drug-trafficking operations spanning several states, said Col. Ricardo Trevilla, spokesman for the armed forces. Gunmen sought to rescue Oliva by trying to distract soldiers with gunfire around the city, authorities said.
October 8, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
MEXICO CITY - The Mexican navy on Monday announced the capture of an alleged field commander of the Zetas crime organization whom it accuses of numerous high-profile crimes, including the possible killing of an American who disappeared while reportedly jet-skiing on a border lake two years ago. The suspect, Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo, alias the Squirrel, was paraded before reporters in a televised presentation in Mexico City. Without offering evidence, navy spokesman Vice Adm. Jose Luis Vergara tied Martinez to a long string of crimes, including the 2010 execution of 72 migrants, mostly from Central America, in the northern state of Tamaulipas, as well as two prison breaks, also in the north, in which nearly 300 inmates escaped.
September 27, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
MEXICO CITY - Mexican authorities working closely with their U.S. counterparts scored big in the fight against drug cartels with the capture of a top leader of Mexico's most vicious criminal gang, the Zetas paramilitary force. Ivan Velazquez Caballero, who used aliases that included "Zeta-50" and "El Taliban," was presented to reporters Thursday in Mexico City by masked naval special forces. Navy spokesman Vice Adm. Jose Luis Vergara said Velazquez was captured a day earlier when the marines surrounded one of his residences in the eastern city of San Luis Potosi.
November 8, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
MEXICO CITY - An alleged local commander of the Zetas paramilitary cartel in the troubled border state of Coahuila has been captured, the Mexican navy announced Thursday, expressing hope that he might lead authorities to the notorious group's remaining top leader. Said Omar Juarez was taken into custody on a prominent street in Saltillo, Coahuila's capital, the navy said in a statement released as the suspect was presented to reporters in Mexico City. In his possession were weapons and packages containing what may be cocaine and marijuana, the statement said.
July 16, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY - The capture of the top leader of Mexico's most bloodthirsty and bloodcurdling drug cartel will have surprisingly little  effect on trafficking of cocaine and other illicit substances to the U.S., and on the violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives here in recent years. If anything, the violence, at least in the short term, may surge as rivals and potential successors of Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, alias Z-40, head of the Zetas paramilitary gang, battle to take his place or his turf.
November 4, 2012 | Tracy Wilkinson
Few outside Coahuila state noticed. Headlines were rare. But steadily, inexorably, Mexico's third-largest state slipped under the control of its deadliest drug cartel, the Zetas. The aggressively expanding Zetas took advantage of three things in this state right across the border from Texas: rampant political corruption, an intimidated and silent public, and, if new statements by the former governor are to be believed, a complicit and profiting segment of the business elite. It took scarcely three years.
June 1, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
CULIACAN, Mexico - For generations, the extended Hernandez family tended fields of marijuana high in Sinaloa's western Sierra Madre highlands. They sold their crops to representatives of the Sinaloa cartel for a fraction of what the drug would bring at the U.S. border and eked out a pittance. Barefoot children never went to school; they just helped their dads with the planting and harvest. Women washed clothes in the river. They burned pine sap for light at night because there was no electricity.
June 12, 2012 | By Richard A. Serrano, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The unlikely marriage of a violent Mexican drug cartel and the all-American world of U.S. quarter horses has apparently ended with the arrest of one of the top suspected members of the Zetas gang after an uncanny run of good fortune at the track raised suspicions. Charged Tuesday in Austin, Texas, with using horses to launder millions of dollars in drug proceeds were Jose Treviño Morales, his wife and five associates. They were taken into U.S. custody after scores of FBI agents in all-terrain vehicles and helicopters raided stables and ranches near Ruidoso, N.M., and Lexington, Okla.
February 21, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
It seemed a run-of-the-mill prison riot, though one that left 44 inmates beaten or knifed to death. In fact, the violence on Sunday in northern Mexico served as cover for a massive jailbreak by members of the country's deadliest criminal gang, the Zetas. Authorities on Monday revealed that 30 Zetas henchmen escaped from the maximum-security prison in Apodaca during the brawl - with the apparent complicity of guards and possibly other top officials. The deadly violence underscored the abysmal condition of Mexican prisons, which are woefully overcrowded, rife with corruption and prone to high-profile escapes.
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