32 Facts About Los Zetas


Los Zetas is a Mexican criminal syndicate, regarded as one of the most dangerous of Mexico's drug cartels.

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Los Zetas operate through protection rackets, assassinations, extortion, kidnappings and other activities.

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In February 2010, Los Zetas broke away and formed their own criminal organization, rivalling the Gulf Cartel.

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However, in recent times Los Zetas has become fragmented and seen its influence diminish.

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Los Zetas was named after its first commander, Arturo Guzman Decena, whose Federal Judicial Police radio code was "Z1", a code given to high-ranking officers.

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Once Guillen consolidated his power, he expanded the responsibilities of Los Zetas, which began to organize kidnappings, protection rackets, extortion, securing cocaine supply and trafficking routes known as plazas and executing its foes, often with extreme violence.

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Los Zetas was partially responsible for a qualitative increase in the brutality of the violence seen during the Modern Mexican Drug Wars.

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Unlike other cartels, the Los Zetas did not buy alliances so much as terrorize their enemies.

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Rival cartels struggling against the Los Zetas began to adopt some of their tactics, further ramping up violence in the country.

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Los Zetas countered by posting their own banners throughout Tamaulipas, noting that they had carried out executions and kidnappings under orders of the Cartel and they were originally created for that sole purpose.

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The candidates from the Cartel were Guillen and Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, while Los Zetas wanted to hand the leadership to their own head, Lazcano.

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The Cartel reportedly began looking to form a truce with the rival Sinaloa Cartel, which Los Zetas did not want to recognize, allegedly preferring an alliance with the Beltran-Leyva Cartel.

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Los Zetas demanded that the Cartel hand over the killer, but they refused.

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Consequently, Los Zetas allied with the Beltran-Leyva Cartel, the Juarez Cartel, and the Tijuana Cartel.

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In early 2010, Miguel Trevino Morales, the former second-in-command of Los Zetas, had reportedly taken the leadership of the Zetas and displaced Lazcano.

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Morales' active leadership gained him the loyalty and respect of many in Los Zetas, leading many to eventually stop paying their tributes to Lazcano.

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Los Zetas are inherently an unstable organized crime group with a long history of brutal violence, and with the possibility of more if the infighting continues and if they fight off without a central command.

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Los Zetas have carried out multiple massacres and attacks on civilians and rival cartels, such as:.

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Los Zetas was reported to have been the leader of the cartel's Los Zetas la Vieja Escuela faction.

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Los Zetas was believed to be in charge of the gang's operations in 12 municipalities in Veracruz, including Acayucan, Minatitlan and Coatzacoalcos, known as the state's most violent towns.

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Drug violence and political corruption that has plagued Tamaulipas, the home state of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, has fueled fears of it becoming a "failed state" and a haven for drug traffickers and criminals.

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On 17 September 2012 in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, more than 130 inmates from Los Zetas organized a massive prison break in broad daylight by walking directly from the front gate to several trucks outside the prison.

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Los Zetas have set up camps to train recruits as well as corrupt ex-federal, state, and local police officers.

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In September 2005 testimony to the Mexican Congress from the then-Defense Secretary Clemente Vega, indicated that the Los Zetas had hired at least 30 former Kaibiles from Guatemala to train new recruits because the number of former Mexican special forces men in their ranks had shrunk.

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Early in 2012 it was reported that 'Los Zetas' are operating in the northern Venezuela–Colombia border, and have teamed up with the Colombian outfit called Los Rastrojos.

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The complexity and territorial advantage of Los Zetas forced the Gulf Cartel to seek an alliance with the Sinaloa Cartel and La Familia Michoacana.

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Los Zetas used main highways in the United States such as I-10, I-40, and I-35 to get their drugs to different cities.

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In February 2009, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced a program called "Operation Border Star Contingency Plan" to safeguard the border if the Los Zetas carried out their threats to attack US security officers.

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New York Times mentioned that Los Zetas has access to sophisticated tracking software due to the fact that they have infiltrated Mexican law enforcement agencies, and that online anonymity might not be enough protection for Internet users.

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Los Zetas have caused terror throughout Mexico for the past two decades.

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Los Zetas members have long been known to create a system of criminal governance within prison systems through extortion and executions, and they have been the catalyst for many prison riots and outbreaks in nations outside of Mexico.

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Los Zetas is a Mexican-based cartel that primarily engages in drug, weapon, human trafficking operations.

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