Officials announced the capture of the first known female boss of the Zetas drug gang, close to Monterrey, north Mexico.
On Monday, the Mexican Marines announced the arrest of a woman who authorities claim served as the chief of the "plaza," or drug trafficking territory, of San Nicolas de los Garza, outside Monterrey.
Veronica Mireya Moreno Carreon, alias "La Flaca," (the skinny girl) allegedly took over the plaza after the capture of Raul Garcia Rodriguez, alias "El Sureño" in August. According to Mexico’s El Universal, she is the first woman known to head a plaza.
This development has some potentially interesting implications for gender dynamics in Mexico’s criminal underworld. As InSight Crime has reported, women have traditionally played less of a role in the drug trade, with very few exceptions. Aside from working as drug mules, women are generally perceived as targets for organized crime rather than as full-fledged participants.
However, this pattern may be changing. In 2010 the National Women's Institute (INMUJERES) claimed that the number of females incarcerated in Mexico for links to the drug trade rose 400 percent between 2007 and 2010.
Recent anecdotal evidence suggests that the Zetas may be particularly ambitious in recruiting women. When officials broke up a Zetas training camp last June, they were surprised to find that half of the trainees were females. Even if this does not reflect the group’s policy, these two incidents prove at the very least that gender roles are shifting as the drug conflict heats up.
(See video, below, ofMoreno being paraded before the press.)