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Zetas

WORLD
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.
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WORLD
November 6, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
SALTILLO, Mexico - The mothers knock on the doors of flophouses and morgues. They sift through pictures of prisoners and the dead. Clutching pictures of their own, some from long ago, they ask the same questions, over and over. Have you seen him? Does she look familiar? Occasionally, there is a reported sighting. More often, it's another shake of the head, a "Sorry, no. " And with that, weariness stooping their shoulders and worry sagging their faces, they board their bus and move on to another town.
WORLD
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.
WORLD
October 9, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
MEXICO CITY - He was called the Executioner, a founding member and top leader of the vicious Zetas paramilitary force. On Tuesday, the Mexican navy said fingerprints confirmed that it had killed him in a shootout last weekend. But before the government could even begin to celebrate such an important victory in its battle against the drug cartels, officials learned that an armed gang had invaded a funeral home and snatched the body. The embarrassing turn of events left a raft of unanswered questions, including: How do you identify a body if there is no body?
WORLD
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.
WORLD
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.
WORLD
September 13, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
MEXICO CITY - Authorities have captured the top leader of the Gulf cartel, a potentially fatal blow to one of Mexico's major drug-trafficking networks that could also unleash a violent power struggle that would pose an immediate and explosive challenge to the incoming government of President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto. It is the second big catch of a suspected Gulf cartel capo in 10 days and essentially wipes out the leadership of an organization that once dominated large parts of Mexico.
WORLD
September 5, 2012 | Tracy Wilkinson
Mexico's U.S.-backed naval special forces have captured a man believed to be one of the two top leaders of the Gulf cartel, a drug-trafficking organization that once dominated the northeast border region but has recently engaged in devastating battles with the vicious Zeta paramilitary force, authorities said Tuesday. Mario Cardenas Guillen, alias El Gordo ("Fatso"), was paraded before reporters in Mexico City on Tuesday after his capture Monday in the northern border state of Tamaulipas.
WORLD
July 23, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
MEXICO CITY - The nearly simultaneous attacks on the offices of the two newspapers were disturbingly similar: Gunmen armed with automatic rifles and grenade launchers opened fire, shattering glass and terrifying those inside. But the responses by the two news outlets that came under siege, leaving staffers shaken but unhurt, have been markedly different. El Mañana newspaper in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, the northeastern region's dominant daily, announced in an editorial a day later that it would no longer report on "violent disputes," an allusion to the battle between rival drug-trafficking networks fighting over a vast network of criminal activities.
NATIONAL
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.
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