HomeNewsAnalysisNew Gang Targets Zetas on Mexico Gulf Coast
ANALYSIS

New Gang Targets Zetas on Mexico Gulf Coast

JALISCO CARTEL / 29 JUL 2011 BY PATRICK CORCORAN EN

An emerging criminal group, calling itself the “Zeta Killers,” has announced its formation, promising to rid the Mexican state of Veracruz of the Zetas drug gang.

A video, which was uploaded to the Internet in July, features roughly 30 ski-masked men toting assault rifles and arranged around a table the way a basketball squad might pose for a team photo. While the group remains motionless, a speaker inveighs against the malign presence of the Zetas in Veracruz, and announces the formation of the “Matazetas,” or “Zeta Killers.” (See video, below.)

The speaker goes on to declare the arrival of the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation, (Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion – CJNG), to the Gulf region in east Mexico, and promises to target the Zetas and expose their political protectors. He also accuses former Governor Fidel Herrera, who left office in 2010, of having invited the Zetas into the state, but praises his successor, Javier Duarte, for fighting the group.

The CJNG began to appear in news stories last year, especially following the death of Ignacio Coronel, the Sinaloa Cartel big shot who controlled much of the Pacific region. Most reports focused on the group’s battles with the Resistencia, another local gang, for control of Jalisco’s biggest city, Guadalajara, and the surrounding region.

While the initial interpretation of the CJNG’s emergence was that they were merely a local iteration of the Sinaloa Cartel composed of Coronel’s erstwhile subordinates, recent weeks have provided evidence of a group striking out on its own. As Blog del Narco reported in June, the group attached messages to dead bodies dumped along a highway in the state of Guanajuato taunting a wide range of groups: the Familia, the Zetas, the Resistance, and, strikingly, the Sinaloa Cartel.

The decision to move into Veracruz is also a bold break with the past. The group has previously operated in the west coast region of Colima, Nayarit, and, of course, Jalisco. While Guanajuato is just one state removed from Jalisco, Veracruz is at the other extreme of the country, in a region where the Zetas have long had their stronghold. And as with the notes accompanying the bodies in Guanajuato, the moves suggests a group that is growing stronger and more confident about its ability to play a role across the country.

While the video follows a fairly standard format — groups often use videos and narcomantas to accuse their enemies of crimes that harm the general public, and identify these enemies’ supposed political collaborators. However, the video is unusual in the degree of its focus on the plight of the average Mexican.

At one point, the speaker says: “We say to all Mexicans that now is the moment to act, we are all free, drug trafficking will never end, but we can turn this around, for the sake of peace, tranquility, and the future of our children. If we don’t act, what will await us in life, to walk around with the fear that at any moment they will come to impose an [extortion] fee or kidnap a loved one to take from us what we have achieved with so much sacrifice, working honestly. These people don’t respect anything; they rape, kidnap, murder, and impose their famous fees.”

The video goes on to encourage all citizens to denounce criminal acts by the Zetas to the army and the marines, whom they deem the only agencies to remain uncorrupted.

The Zetas have long been on the wrong side of a growing coalition of adversaries. Earlier this year, narcomantas from the United Cartels — Sinaloa, the Gulf Cartel, and the Familia — began popping up around Mexico, and promising to rid the nation of the group. The Mexican government formally announced that the Zetas constituted their first priority a few weeks ago, and the Obama administration gave the gang a special designation, which allows for expedited seizure of the group’s assets in the U.S., earlier this week.

This is at least the second time a group calling itself the Matazetas has popped up. In 2009, the murdered bodies of alleged Zetas members began to appear in Cancun, with a group by that name claiming responsibility, though by the end of the year the bodies had ceased and the group had seemingly disappeared.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

MEXICO / 25 AUG 2011

Radio journalist Humberto Millan Salazar was kidnapped from the street by a group of armed men in the west Mexico…

GUATEMALA / 25 MAY 2011

A Guatemalan prosecutor investigating a recent massacre involving the Zetas, a Mexican drug gang, was found mutilated and murdered in…

EL MAYO / 1 OCT 2015

The sons of a top Sinaloa Cartel drug capo from Mexico are set to take over the family…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…