The US State Department has offered a reward for information on Jose Maria Guizar Valencia, a US citizen who allegedly leads a Zetas faction in southern Mexico.
In a press release, the State Department said that Guizar, alias "El Charly" or "Z-43," is responsible for importing thousands of kilos of cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States, and overseeing cocaine shipments crossing the border from Guatemala to Mexico.
According to the State Department, Guizar became the leader of a Zetas faction after the death of the group's founder Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, alias "Z-3," and the arrest of his successor, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, alias "Z-40." Guizar has complete command of his group, which is allied with the faction led by Omar Trevino Morales, alias "Z-42," brother of jailed leader Miguel Angel (the original State Department note reverses the aliases of Miguel Angel and Omar).
Under Guizar's command, the Zetas killed an "untold number" of Guatemalans during their takeover of the border region, according to the State Department.
The State Department has offered up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Guizar, who is facing three separate drug trafficking indictments.
InSight Crime Analysis
According to local media in Tabasco state, the Guizars are an extended family clan with a presence in the southern Mexican states of Tabasco and Veracruz, as well as the United States. Its members include Mauricio Guizar Cardenas, alias "El Amarillo," the first Zetas commander in charge of Guatemala and one of the intellectual authors of the 2011 Peten massacre; and money laundering operative Erick Cardenas Guizar, "El Orejon." Tabasco Hoy gave Z-43's full name as Carlos Guizar Valencia, but it was not clear whether this is a relative, or another name used by Jose Maria.
Little information is available about Guizar's background, other than the fact that he was born in California and is a US citizen. He appears on Chiapas state's list of its eight "most wanted" criminals, but not on the list run by the Federal Prosecutor General's Office.
SEE ALSO: Zetas News and Profiles
The United State's report that Guizar commands an independent Zetas faction which controls its own drug shipments fits with what is known about the Zetas' current operational structure, in which semi-independent franchises operate in different regions of Mexico without a central command.