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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    La Linea, Zetas cartels pact may shift power in Mexico

    La Linea, Zetas cartels pact may shift power in Mexico

    by Daniel Borunda \ El Paso Times
    Posted: 06/04/2011 09:32:23 AM MDT

    In an ominous strategy to defeat the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel, two violent drug organizations may have formed an alliance in the state of Chihuahua.

    The Juárez drug cartel and the notorious Zetas have formed a war pact, which was announced in messages that appeared Thursday in the city of Hidalgo del Parral in the southern edge of Chihuahua.

    The narco-graffiti in Parral, as the city is better known, matches information from high-ranking U.S. anti-narcotics officials who three years ago told the El Paso Times that La Linea, as the Juárez drug cartel is known, was working with the Zetas.

    The Zetas, formed by Mexican army deserters, are known for the use of paramilitary tactics and brutality, such as beheadings and carving the letter Z into victims.

    For more than three years, the Juárez drug cartel has been involved in a bloody war with the Sinaloa drug cartel, reputedly led by Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, for control of the Chihuahua region and its lucrative drug routes into the United States.

    Bringing the Zetas and the Juárez cartel together would bring more muscle to the fight, a war that already has killed more than 8,300 people in Juárez alone since 2008.

    U.S. officials said that there may be an increase in violence, but that it's really not known what will happen.

    "Initially you may see an increase in violence and then stabilization if they are able to overpower the other cartel," said U.S. Marshal Robert Almonte, a former deputy chief with the El Paso Police Department.
    Though anti-narcotics officials previously reported a possible Juárez cartel-Zeta alliance, the reputed criminal partnership was apparently announced publicly with the Parral incident.

    El Sol de Parral newspaper on Friday reported that two identical messages were spray-painted on a bridge and the wall of a building in different parts of the city Thursday morning. The Mexican army and local police showed up to secure the scenes, the newspaper reported.

    The messages stated, "Congratulations 42nd military zone for fighting Chapo's people, in less than 15 days Parral is ours. Sincerely, Linea and Z."

    The 42nd military zone refers to the Mexican military zone based in Parral, one of 46 such zones covering Mexico. "Zeta" is Spanish for the letter Z.

    A spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in El Paso declined to comment about the possible cartel alliance and about Zeta activity in the region.

    "We are evaluating the information (from Parral) which can be difficult to corroborate because it appears as a narco-manta and is not provided from other sources. To comment any further would be speculating," Special Agent Diana Apodaca said.

    Narco-mantas are messages from drug-trafficking organizations, usually left on banners in highly visible locations.
    The Zetas were formed by Mexican army special forces deserters who switched sides and were hired as enforcers by the Gulf cartel. Though the original Zetas were ex-soldiers, most members now are not thought to be from the military, experts said.

    In 2008, the El Paso Times reported the Juárez cartel was allegedly allied with a section of the Gulf cartel reputedly headed by Heriberto "Lazca" Lazcano, who is believed to be the leader of the Zetas.

    The Zetas and Gulf cartel have since split and are at war with each other for control of northeastern Mexico across the border from South Texas.

    The Mexican government reported last year that the Zetas were involved in three of seven drug-cartel wars behind much of the current bloodshed across the country.

    Besides fighting the Gulf cartel, the Zetas are battling the Sinaloa and La Familia Michoacana cartels.

    The Sinaloa and Gulf cartels are also rumored to have formed an alliance to try to eliminate the Zetas.

    In the Juárez region, there have only been sporadic reports of Zeta activity. DEA and Mexican federal police officials have reported encounters with Zetas in Juárez and Palomas, Mexico.

    Members of the Zetas drug cartel are thought to be responsible for the attack on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Jr. earlier this year in the central Mexican state of San Luis Potosi.

    The highway shooting killed Zapata and wounded Avila, who is from El Paso. Mexican authorities have made several arrests in that case.

    The Zetas also have been blamed for the deaths of several hundred immigrants whose bodies were found in mass graves in the state of Tamaulipas, south of Brownsville.

    Almonte, former executive director of the Texas Narcotics Officers Association, said the Zetas were originally based in the Nuevo Laredo area but have spread to other parts of Mexico, Central America and U.S. cities.

    Almonte said it is not unusual for Mexican drug cartels to form alliances to facilitate drug trafficking and confront common opponents.

    He explained, "Throughout the history of cartels, you see that happen and you see alliances form then break off and they become rivals and enemies."

    Daniel Borunda may be reached at dborunda@elpasotimes.com; 546-6102.

    http://www.elpasotimes.com/communities/ci_18204094
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    If all of the drug cartels stop fighting each other and worked together they could take complete control of Mexico in 6 months, unless the U.S. was willing to send in troops to stop them.
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