As the trial of Zetas Cartel leader Marciano Millán Vázquez continued in San Antonio, Texas, witnesses took the stand to described how drug traffickers co-opted and controlled media outlets in Coahuila, allegedly bribed the state's governor and how Vázquez committed and ordered multiple brutal murders.
Adolfo Efrén Tavira, a former Televisa producer and trafficker for the Zetas, testified for the prosecution. According to Tavira, at Televisa he would edit drug traffickers' names out news reports, and he would lean on and pay reporters from other media outlets in the area to do the same, Proceso reported.
Tavira said he witnessed how the Zetas made cash payments to Coahuila Governor Rubén Moreira. Although he could not specify an amount, Tavira described seeing a "Suburban with suitcases full of cash" being delivered.
In an official statement, the governor's office said Tavira's accusations were "falsehoods and lies," reported Proceso.
The communique added that the war on drugs is a "priority" for Moreira's government and said state security forces had participated in seven thousand joint operations with federal forces. The statement concluded by saying: "Such statements are made to discredit the authority of Coahuila and undermine the successful fight against drug trafficking."
Another witness, a former drug dealer who said he was pressed into service by the Zetas, took the stand to describe the brutal murders and reprisals carried out under the leadership of Vázquez. The witness, who was not identified by the court due to fears of reprisals, described how he witnessed 18 brutal murders either committed by Vázquez or carried out under his orders, reported Sinembargo.
InSight Crime Analysis
The trial against Vazquez continues to reveal a state of complete insecurity in Coahuila in which the government was either unable or unwilling to combat drug traffickers. The Zetas appear to have used a combination of violent coercion, bribery and co-option to control the state's lucrative trafficking routes into the United States.
Tavira's testimony is not the only accusation levied against the state government during the trial. Last week, Rodrigo Humberto Uribe Tapia, a former Zeta operative, took the stand to say that former Governor Humberto Moreira was co-opted by the group, with drug traffickers being allowed to "rent" government helicopters and cars to evade federal troops and use the Piedras Negras state prison as a base where they would kill and dispose of victims.