Friday, April 22, 2011
Brutal Mexican drug gang crosses into U.S.
The signature crimes of the most violent drug cartel in Mexico are its beheading and dismemberment of rival gang members, military personnel, law enforcement officers and public officials, and the random kidnappings and killings of civilians who get caught in its butchery and bloodletting. But this disparate band of criminals known as Los Zetas is no longer just a concern in Mexico. It has expanded its deadly operations across the southwestern border, establishing footholds and alliances in states from New York to California. Just last year, federal agents tied a cocaine operation in Baltimore to the Zetas. “Those of us who live and work along the border know they’re already here,” said Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr., whose Texas county lies on the Rio Grande 50 miles southeast of the Zetas’ stronghold of Nuevo Laredo. “There’s already been killings and many residents here are living in fear.” Sheriff Gonzalez, whose Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition sought help from the federal government to control growing violence along the border, said the rising brutality of Mexican drug gangs, particularly the Zetas, “never stops shocking me.” Trained as an elite band of Mexican anti-drug commandos, the Zetas evolved into mercenaries for the infamous Gulf Cartel, bringing a new wave of brutality to Mexico’s escalating drug wars. Bolstered by an influx of assassins, bandits, thieves, thugs and corrupt federal, state and local police officers, the Zetas have since evolved into a well-financed and heavily armed drug smuggling force of their own...more