This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (April 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Los Zetas (pronounced [los ˈsetas], Spanish for "The Zs") is a Mexican criminal syndicate, regarded as the most dangerous of the country's drug cartels. While primarily concerned with drug trafficking, the organization also runs profitable sex trafficking and gun running rackets. The origins of Los Zetas date back to the late 1990s, when commandos of the Mexican Army deserted their ranks and began working as the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel. In February 2010, Los Zetas broke away and formed their own criminal organization, rivalling the Gulf Cartel.
Los Zetas engages in violent tactics such as beheadings, torture, and indiscriminate murder. They were at one point Mexico's largest drug cartel in terms of geographical presence, overtaking their rivals, the Sinaloa Cartel. Los Zetas also operate through protection rackets, assassinations, extortion, kidnappings and other activities. The organization is based in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, directly across the border from Laredo, Texas.
In recent times, Los Zetas has become fragmented and seen its influence diminish. As of December 2016, Los Zetas Grupo Bravo (Group Bravo) and Zetas Vieja Escuela (Old School Zetas) formed an alliance with the Gulf Cartel against Cartel Del Noreste (Cartel of the Northeast).
- 1 History
- 2 Tamaulipas state corruption
- 3 Organizational structure
- 4 Law enforcement raids
- 5 Anonymous' Operation Cartel
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Los Zetas was named after its first commander, Arturo Guzmán Decena, whose Federal Judicial Police radio code was "Z1", a code given to high-ranking officers. The radio code for commanding Federal Judicial Police officers in Mexico was "Y" and are nicknamed "Yankees", while Federal Judicial Police in charge of a city was codenamed "Z"; thus they were nicknamed as "Zetas", the Spanish version of the letter.
After Osiel Cárdenas Guillén took control of the Gulf Cartel in 1999, he found himself in a violent turf war. In order to keep his organization and leadership from rival drug cartels and from the Mexican Army, Cárdenas sought out Decena, a retired army lieutenant. Decena lured more than thirty deserters from the elite Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFE) to become his personal bodyguards, and later, as his mercenary wing. These deserters were enticed with salaries much higher than what they were paid by the military. Some of these former GAFE members reportedly received training in commando and urban warfare from the Israeli and U.S. Special Forces.
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 (zones) and executing its foes, often with barbaric savagery. However, in November 2002, Decena was killed in a military action at a restaurant in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, allowing Heriberto Lazcano ("Z3") to take control of the group. In response to the rising power of the Gulf Cartel, the rival Sinaloa Cartel established Los Negros, an enforcer group similar to Los Zetas but not as complex or successful. Upon the arrest of Guillen in March 2003 and his extradition in 2007, the Zetas took a more active leadership role within the Gulf Cartel and their influence grew within the organization.
The Zetas' membership ranges from corrupt federal, state, and local police officers, and former U.S. Army personnel, to ex-Kaibiles, the special forces of the Guatemalan military. Over time, many of the Zetas' original thirty-one members have been killed or arrested; a number of younger men have filled the vacuum, but the group under their leadership still far from exhibits the efficiency of their paramilitary origin.
Split from the Gulf Cartel
Following the capture and extradition of Cárdenas, Los Zetas became so powerful that they outnumbered and outclassed the Gulf Cartel in revenue, membership, and influence by 2010. As a result of this imbalance, the Cartel tried to curtail their own enforcers' influence and ended up instigating a civil war. In addition, the Cartel, through its narco-banners in Matamoros and Reynosa accused Los Zetas of expanding their operations to murder, theft, extortion, kidnapping - actions that the Cartel allegedly disagreed with. 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. In addition, Los Zetas charged that the Cartel was scapegoating them for the murders of innocent civilians.
Reports vary as to who triggered the formal split and why. Some sources claim that Guillén, brother of Cárdenas and one of the successors of the Gulf Cartel, was addicted to gambling, sex, and drugs, leading Los Zetas to perceive his leadership as a threat to the organization. Other reports mention, however, that the divide occurred due to a disagreement on who would take on the leadership of the cartel after the extradition of Cárdenas. The candidates from the Cartel were Guillén and Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez, while Los Zetas wanted to hand the leadership to their own head, Lazcano. The Cartel also 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 Beltrán-Leyva Cartel. Samuel Flores Borrego, a lieutenant of the Cartel, killed Zetas lieutenant Sergio Peña Mendoza, alias "El Concorde 3", due to a disagreement over the drug corridor of Reynosa, whom both protected. Los Zetas demanded that the Cartel hand over the killer, but they refused.
When the hostilities began, the Cartel joined forces with its former rivals, the Sinaloa Cartel and La Familia Michoacana, aiming to take out Los Zetas. Consequently, Los Zetas allied with the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel, the Juárez Cartel, and the Tijuana Cartel.
Los Zetas infighting
In early 2010, Miguel Treviño Morales, the former second-in-command of Los Zetas, had reportedly taken the leadership of the Zetas and displaced Lazcano. Lazcano was initially content to have Morales in his ranks, but reportedly gave Morales too much power and underestimated his violent nature. Morales' active leadership gained him the loyalty and respect of many in Los Zetas, leading to many to eventually stop paying their tributes to Lazcano. 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.
Los Zetas have also carried out multiple massacres and attacks on civilians and rival cartels, such as:
- the 2008 Morelia grenade attacks (15 September), where 8 were killed and over 100 were injured;
- the 2010 San Fernando massacre (24 August), where 72 migrants were found dead;
- the 2011 San Fernando massacre (6 April – 7 June), where 193 people were killed;
- the massacre of 27 farmers in Guatemala (discovered on 15 May 2011);
- the 2011 Monterrey casino attack (25 August), where 52 people were killed;
- the Altamira prison brawl (4 January 2012), where 31 Gulf cartel inmates were killed;
- the Apodaca prison riot (19 February 2012), where 44 Gulf cartel inmates were killed and 37 Zetas escaped from prison;
In addition, sources reveal that Los Zetas may also be responsible for:
- the 2010 Puebla oil pipeline explosion, which killed 28 people, injured 52, and damaged over 115 homes.
- the 2011 massacre at Allende, Coahuila where an estimated 300-500 civilians were killed after the Zetas accused two local men of betraying the organization.
- The BPM Festival shootings (16 January 2017), which killed 5 people (two Mexicans, one American, one Canadian, and one Italian) and injured 15 at the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa del Carmen. A large hand-painted sign was hung in the town which contained specific references to BPM and its co-founder and was signed by "El Fayo Z".
As of 2012, Los Zetas had control over 11 states in Mexico, making it the drug cartel with the largest territory in the country. Their rivals, the Sinaloa Cartel, had lost some territories to Los Zetas, and went down from 23 states in dominion to 16.
By the beginning of 2012, Mexico's government escalated its offensive against the Zetas with the announcement that five new military bases will be installed in the group's primary areas of operation.
In a May 2013 interview with the International Crisis Group, researcher Daniel Haering stated, "The old networks were disrupted by the Zetas, and now the Zetas have disintegrated into Zetillas. They are splinter groups ('grupúsculos'), not big operators."
On 14 July 2013, it was reported that the Mexican Marine Corps captured the Zetas leader Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, also known as "Z-40" in Anáhuac, Nuevo León, near the border of Tamaulipas state. The authorities allege that he was succeeded by Omar Treviño Morales (alias Z-42), his brother.
On 12 October 2013, Mexican authorities captured alleged top Zetas operative Gerardo Jaramillo, alias "El Yanqui". His arrest ultimately resulted in the discovery and seizure of a large Zetas weapons cache and supply stash, including "assault rifles, several grenade launchers, magazines, 2,000 rounds of ammunition of various calibres, bullet-proof vests and balaclavas".
On 23 March 2015, Ramiro Pérez Moreno (alias "El Rana"), a potential successor of "Z-42" was captured, along with 4 other men, carrying 6 kilos of cocaine and marijuana, rifles and one hand grenade.
On 9 February 2018, Mexican authorities arrested the new leader José María Guízar Valencia alias "Z-43" in Mexico City in Roma neighbourhood. US offered $5m reward for his capture, he is responsible for importing thousands of kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine to the US every year and murdered an untold number of Guatemalan civilians during the systematic takeover of the Guatemalan border region.
Tamaulipas state corruption
The 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. The massacre of 72 migrants and the discovery of mass graves in San Fernando, the assassination of the gubernatorial candidate Rodolfo Torre Cantú, the increasing violence between cartels, and the state's inability to ensure safety have led some analysts to conclude that "neither the regional nor federal government have control over the territory of Tamaulipas."
Although drug-related violence had existed long before the Mexican Drug War, it often happened in low-profile levels, with the government "looking the other way" in exchange for bribes while drug traffickers went about their business — as long as there was no violence. During the 71-year rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Mexican government would conduct customary arrests and allow cartel business to continue.
After the PRI lost power to the National Action Party (PAN) in the 2000 presidential election, all the "agreements" between the previous government and the cartels were lost along with the pax mafiosa. Tamaulipas was no exception; according to PAN politician Santiago Creel, the PRI in Tamaulipas had been protecting the Gulf-Zeta organization for years. The PAN has claimed that government elections in Tamaulipas are likely to encounter an "organized crime influence."
In addition, there are formal charges that three former governors of Tamaulipas – Manuel Cavazos Lerma (1993–1999), Tomás Yarrington (1999–2005), and Eugenio Hernández Flores (2005–2010) – have had close ties with the Gulf-Zeta organization. On 30 January 2012, the Attorney General of Mexico issued a communiqué ordering the governors and their families to remain in the country as they are being investigated for possible collaboration with cartels. In 2012, Yarrington was further accused of money laundering for Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel.
In Tampico, Mayor Óscar Pérez Inguanzo was arrested on 12 November 2011 due to his "improper exercise of public functions and forgery" of certain documents. In mid-2010, both Flores and the mayor of Reynosa, Óscar Luebbert Gutiérrez — both members of the PRI — were criticized for claiming that there were no armed confrontations in Tamaulipas and that the widespread violence was "only a rumor." Months later, Flores finally acknowledged that several parts of Tamaulipas were "being overrun by organized crime violence." Gutiérrez later recognized the work of the federal troops and acknowledged that his city was experiencing "an escalation in violence."
On 25 March 2010, forty inmates escaped from a federal prison in the city of Matamoros. On 5 April 2010, at a prison in Reynosa, a convoy of ten trucks packed with gunmen entered the prison grounds without resistance, broke into the cells, and liberated thirteen "extremely dangerous" inmates. Eighty-five inmates escaped from the same Reynosa prison six months later. In Nuevo Laredo, on 17 December 2010, 141 inmates escaped from a federal prison. The federal government condemned the mass prison break and stated that the work by the state and municipal authorities of Tamaulipas lack effective control measures, and urged them to strengthen their institutions.
A confrontation inside a maximum security prison in Nuevo Laredo on 15 July 2011 left 7 inmates dead and 59 escaped. Five on-duty guards have not been found. The governor of Tamaulipas then recognized his inability to secure federal prisoners and prisons. Consequently, the federal government assigned the Mexican Army and the Federal Police to guard some prisons until further notice; they were also left in charge of searching for the fugitives. It has been reported that more than 400 prison inmates escaped from several Tamaulipas prisons from January 2010 to March 2011 due to corruption.
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.
Tamaulipas police forces are the worst paid in Mexico despite being one of the states hardest hit by drug violence;  in Aguascalientes, a state where violence levels are much lower, policemen are paid five times more than in Tamaulipas. As a result, most police forces in Tamaulipas are believed to be susceptible to corruption due to their low wages, and accept bribes from organized crime groups. The National Public Security System (SNSP) has condemned the low police salaries, and demanded that state and municipal authorities create better payment programs for policemen so they can have a fair wage for themselves and their families.
Although the Joint Operation Nuevo León-Tamaulipas issued in 2007, along with several other military-led operations by the federal government, brought thousands of troops to restore order in Tamaulipas, on 9 May 2011, the Federal Police and the Mexican Army disarmed all police forces in Tamaulipas, beginning with the cities of Matamoros and Reynosa. The following month, the federal government was asked to send in troops to combat the drug cartels in the area, in order to "consolidate actions on public safety" and "strengthen the capacity of their institutions." However, the troops could only replace half of the policemen in the state. Consequently, the government is currently building military bases in Ciudad Mier, San Fernando, and Ciudad Mante. On 7 November 2011, 650 policemen were released from their duties because they had either failed or refused "corruption control tests."
Los Zetas have set up camps to train recruits as well as corrupt ex-federal, state, and local police officers. In September 2005 testimony to the Mexican Congress from the then-Defense Secretary Clemente Vega, indicated that the Zetas had also 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. Los Zetas' training locations have been identified as having a similar setup as military GAFE training facilities.
Los Zetas members may also possess a "Los Zetas Commando Medallion" for their service to the organization.
Analysts indicate that Los Zetas are the largest organized crime group in Mexico in terms of geographical presence. They are primarily based in the border region of Nuevo Laredo and Coahuila with hundreds more throughout the country. They have placed lookouts at arrival destinations such as airports, bus stations and main roads. In addition to conducting criminal activities along the border, they operate throughout the Gulf of Mexico, in the southern states of Tabasco, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, and Chiapas, and in the Pacific Coast states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Michoacán, as well as in Mexico City.
They are also active in several states in the United States, including Texas. The cartel also has important areas of operation in Guatemala, where their operations are reported to have begun as early as 2008. They are active Europe, specifically in Italy with the 'Ndrangheta.
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. Together they control the drug trafficking routes in the Colombian La Guajira and the Venezuelan state of Zulia, Colombia as the producing country and Venezuela as the main port route toward the U.S. and Europe.
Indications of the broken alliance between the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas began in September 2009. On 24 February 2010, gunmen onboard hundreds of trucks marked C.D.G, XXX, and M3 – the insignias of the Cartel – clashed with Zetas gunmen in the northern cities of Tamaulipas. The clash between these two groups started in Reynosa, and then expanded to Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros. The war then spread out through eleven municipalities of Tamaulipas, nine of them bordering Texas. Soon, the war reached Tamaulipas' neighboring states of Nuevo León and Veracruz. Their conflict also spread to U.S. soil, where Cartel hit men killed two Zeta members in Brownsville, Texas on 5 October 2010.
Confrontations between the two groups temporarily paralyzed entire cities in broad daylight. Many of the municipalities throughout Tamaulipas were described by witnesses as "war zones," with many businesses and homes burned down. In the midst of violence and panic, local authorities and media tried to minimize the situation and claimed that "nothing was occurring," but the facts were impossible to cover up.
For many years, there were long fought battles between the Gulf and Sinaloa Cartels, that eventually lead the two to reevaluate the situation and decide whether or not this combat was in either organization's best interests. The complexity and territorial advantage of Los Zetas forced the Gulf Cartel to seek an alliance with the Sinaloa Cartel and La Familia Michoacana.
Following the conflict with the Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas joined forces with the Beltrán Leyva Cartel (who was simultaneously separating from the Sinaloa Cartel) as well as the Juarez Cartel and Tijuana Cartel or Arellano Félix organization, to counteract the alliance of the Gulf Cartel, Sinaloa Cartel and La Familia Michoacana cartels. Since February 2010, the major cartels have aligned in two factions, one formed by the Juárez Cartel, Tijuana Cartel, Los Zetas and the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel; the other faction integrated by the Gulf Cartel, Sinaloa Cartel and La Familia Cartel.
In a 2010 report, it was noted that the American street gang, Sureños, maintains ties with the Los Zetas cartel in California and South Carolina. A recent report from the FBI shows US street gangs growing closer with Mexican cartels. Within the United States, Los Zetas are using social media as a method of communication between the two countries and are also using the sites as a method of recruiting young aspiring members who in their perception see the actions of the cartel as glorified and are able to ask how they can join. In addition, Sureños share connections with Los Zetas, as do the gangs MS-13, Mexican Mafia, and Latin Kings.
On 13 February 2017, Venezuelan vice president Tareck El Aissami was sanctioned by the United States Treasury Department under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, with US officials accusing him of facilitating drug shipments from Venezuela to Mexico and the US, freezing millions of dollars of assets purportedly under El Aissami's control. The accusation included allegations that EL Aissami had trafficked drugs to Los Zetas.
Law enforcement raids
Following a bilateral law enforcement investigation named 'Operation Black Jack', executed by the ATF, DEA, ICE and the FBI, three Zeta safe houses were identified in Mexico and raided by Mexican Federal security forces, releasing more than 40 kidnapped individuals, and making the largest weapons seizure in the history of Mexico; it included 540 rifles including 288 assault rifles and several .50-caliber rifles, 287 hand grenades, 2 M72 LAW anti-tank weapons, 500,000 rounds of ammunition, 67 ballistic vests and 14 sticks of dynamite.
In October 2008, the FBI warned that a Zetas' cell in Texas would engage law enforcement with a full tactical response, should law enforcement attempt to intervene in their operations. The cell leader was identified as Jaime González Durán (The Hummer), who was later arrested on 7 November 2008, in the border city Reynosa, Tamaulipas.
In February 2009, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced a program called "Operation Border Star Contingency Plan" to safeguard the border if Zetas carry out their threats to attack U.S. security officers. This project includes the use of tanks, airplanes and the National Guard "as a preventive measure upon the possible collapse of the Mexican State" to protect the border from a Zetas attack and receive an eventual exodus of Mexicans fleeing from the violence.
In 2012 the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Los Zetas as one of four key transnational organized crime groups, along with the Brothers' Circle from Russia, the Yamaguchi-gumi (Yakuza) from Japan, and the Camorra from Italy.
Also in 2012, the United States posted a $5,000,000 reward for information leading to the successful capture of Miguel Treviño Morales. Trevino-Morales is known in Los Zetas as "Z-40" On 12 June 2012, "Z-40" and two of his brothers were arrested and indicted on charges in the State of Texas after raids and dozens of arrests in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma.
There is a great lack of funding being sent to Mexico by the United States to combat Los Zetas, although they address Mexico in the media as their biggest concern. The Mérida Initiative that was put in place by the Bush administration in the United States suggested that 1.4 billion in funds was to be sent to Mexico over a three-year period in order to combat narco trafficking from the U.S.-Mexico border to Panama, but few of these funds have yet to be received in Mexico. In addition, the Obama administration made a very modest effort by way of support for the struggling country although "former drug czar Barry McCaffrey told Congress that Merida, was ‘a drop in the bucket,’" and that the United States "’cannot afford to have a narco-state as [their] neighbour.’" Thus far, of the resources promised by the United States Government regarding Mexico and their ongoing drug combat, little has been received, principally due to Mexico's current PRI government failing to honour the clause of improving and upholding human rights in the Mexican Federal Republic.
Anonymous' Operation Cartel
The operation to expose information of people who work with Los Zetas, dubbed "Operation Cartel", was reportedly started as a result of an Anonymous member being kidnapped during Operation Paperstorm in Veracruz, a once peaceful city.
The 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.
- Illegal drug trade
- Mérida Initiative
- Mexican Drug War
- Narco tank, improvised fighting vehicles used by Los Zetas
- War on Drugs
- List of Mexico's 37 most-wanted drug lords
- Vulliamy, Ed (14 November 2009). "The Zetas: gangster kings of their own brutal narco-state". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
- Grillo, Ioan. "The Mexican Drug Cartels' Other Business: Sex Trafficking" – via world.time.com.
- "Zetas". 4 April 2012.
- "Zetas and MS-13 Join Forces in Guatemala". 7 April 2012.
- Ware, Michael (6 August 2009). "Los Zetas called Mexico's most dangerous drug cartel". CNN. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
- "Narco Terms". Borderland Beat. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
- "A Profile of Los Zetas: Mexico's Second Most Powerful Drug Cartel – Combating Terrorism Center at West Point". 16 February 2012.
- Stastna, Kazi (28 August 2011). "The cartels behind Mexico's drug war". CBS News. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- Grant, Will (11 September 2012). "Mexico's Zetas drug gang split raises bloodshed fears". BBC News. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Weekend shootouts in northeastern Mexico kill at least 9". CNN News. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
- "El origen de 'Los Zetas': brazo armado del cártel del Golfo". CNN México. 5 July 2011. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013.
- "Zetas Now Mexico's Biggest Cartel, Report Says". Fox News. 26 January 2012. Archived from the original on 29 May 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
- McCAUL, MICHAEL T. "A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border" (PDF). HOUSE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 September 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "Mexican Soldiers Becoming Drug Cartel Hit Men". NewsMax. 21 June 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-06-18.
- "Dissecting a Mexican Cartel Bombing in Monterrey". Stratfor. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
- "Borderland Beat: Monterrey: 300 kilos of cocaine seized, likely belonging to Cartel del Norte (Zetas)". borderlandbeat.com. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- Los Zetas: Evolution of a Criminal Organization – 11 March 2009
- Bunker, Robert (July 2005). Networks, Terrorism and Global Insurgency. Routledge. p. xv. ISBN 0-415-34819-6.
- Weak bilateral law enforcement presence at the U.S.Mexico border. Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. November 2005.
- Texas Monthly On. . . : Texas True Crime. University of Texas Press. April 2007. p. 44. ISBN 0-292-71675-3.
- "Cártel de 'Los Zetas'". Mundo Narco. 15 January 2011. Archived from the original on 18 January 2011.
- De Amicis, Albert (27 November 2010). "Los Zetas and La Familia Michoacana Drug Trafficking Organizations" (PDF). University of Pittsburgh.
- Grayson, George W. (2010). Mexico: narco-violence and a failed state?. Transaction Publishers. p. 339. ISBN 1-4128-1151-1.
- "¿Quienes son los Zetas?". Blog del Narco. 7 March 2010. Archived from the original on 29 July 2011.
- "Los Zetas and Mexico's Transnational Drug War". Borderland Beat. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
- Grayson, George W. (2012). The Executioner's Men: Los Zetas, Rogue Soldiers, Criminal Entrepreneurs, and the Shadow State They Created (1st ed.), page 46, Transaction Publishers. ISBN 9781412846172
- Schiller, Dane. "Narco gangster reveals the underworld". Houston Chronicle.
- "The Mexican Drug War and the Thirty Years' War". Bellum: The Stanford Review. Archived from the original on 5 March 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
- "Army troops capture a Zetas cartel boss in northern Mexico". Fox News Latino. 15 February 2011.
- Grayson, George. "Los Zetas: the Ruthless Army Spawned by a Mexican Drug Cartel". U.S. Foreign Policy Research Institute. Archived from the original on 5 August 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2008.
- Rodríguez Martínez, Marco A. (2006). "El Poder de Los Zetas". Monografías. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
- "Zeta recalls his life, warns against it". The Brownsville Herald. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
- "¿Qué es el Cartel de Sinaloa?". Perfil.com. 24 August 2008.
- Sánchez, Alex (4 June 2007). "Mexico's Drug War: Soldiers versus Narco-Soldiers". New American Media | La Prensa San Diego | News Analysis. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012.
- "Drug Trafficking Organizations". National Drug Intelligence Center. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
- Rodriguez, Olga R. (13 April 2010). "Cartels gang up against gunmen". San Antonio News.
- "FBI — Former U.S. Army Officer Hitman Sentenced in Murder-for-Hire Plot". FBI. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- DEMOS, Desarrollo de Medios, S.A. de C.V. "La Jornada: Cárteles mexicanos contratan soldados de EU como sicarios y capacitadores". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "Los carteles mexicanos reclutan a militares de EE.UU. como sicarios". RT en Español. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- Fischer, Edward F. (11 October 2010). "Guatemala and the Face of the New Sustainable Narco-State" (PDF). Department of Anthropology: Vanderbilt University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 October 2012.
- "The Evolution of 'Los Zetas,' a Mexican Crime Organization". mexidata.info.
- "Law and Order in Mexico". GrimesandWarwick. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- "Mexico's Cartels Declare War on the Zetas". Geopolitical Monitor. 19 April 2010. Archived from the original on 29 March 2012.
- "Gulf Cartel split with Zetas made public". Borderland Beat. 10 March 2010.
- "Otro Cárdenas Guillén hereda la organización". Vanguardia. 8 November 2010.
- "Authorities: Gulf Cartel, Zetas gang up on each other as arrangement dies". The Monitor. 10 March 2010. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012.
- "War between Gulf Cartel, Zetas marks year anniversary". The Brownsville Herald: Valley Morning Star. 7 March 2011.
- Longmire, Sylvia. "TCO 101: The Gulf Cartel". Mexico's drug war. Archived from the original on 25 October 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- "Ejecución de "El Concorde" detonó guerra en Tamaulipas". El Universal. 7 March 2010.
- "The Gulf-Zeta Split and the Praetorian Revolt". ISN. 7 April 2010.
- "México: Los Zetas rompen con el Cartel del Golfo". BBC Mundo | Semana.com. 26 February 2010.
- Hernández, Jaime (4 March 2010). "EU: alarma guerra "Zetas"-El Golfo". El Universal.
- "El cártel de los Zetas tiende acuerdos de "no agresión y colaboración"". Infobae. 8 March 2011. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- "Gulf Cartel lieutenant's associates enter plea agreement". The Monitor. 13 December 2011. Archived from the original on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- Castillo, E. Eduardo (24 August 2012). "Even more brutal leader takes over Mexico's Zetas". El Paso Times. Archived from the original on 24 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- Pachico, Elyssa; Dudley, Steven (24 August 2012). "Why a Zetas Split is Inevitable". InSight Crime. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- Castillo, E. Eduardo; Stevenson, Mark (24 August 2012). "Even more brutal leader takes over Mexico's Zetas". Bloomberg Businessweek. p. 2. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- Stevenson, Mark (24 August 2012). "Miguel Angel Trevino, Mexico Assassin, Rises In Zetas Cartel". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- "Feared Mexican Zetas leader Z-40 now top target". The Monitor. 24 August 2012. Archived from the original on 24 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "Los Zetas, una cronologia de sangre". Mundo | Noticias. 14 February 2011.
- "Zetas ejecutaron por la espalda a los 72 migrantes; no pudieron pagar rescate". La Jornada | UNAM. 26 August 2010.
- Flores, Xavier (7 June 2011). "Localizan 7 nuevas narcofosas en San Fernando, suman 193 víctimas". International Business Times.
- "Policía encuentra 27 cadáveres en Guatemala; vincula a Los Zetas". CNN Mexico. 15 May 2011.
- "Presentan a los Zetas que incendiaron el Casino Royale en Monterrey NL México". Multimedios TV. 30 August 2011.
- "Confirman 31 muertos en cárcel mexicana". TeleSUR (in Spanish). 5 January 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Dozens killed in Mexico prison fight". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
- "Del penal de Apodaca se fugaron 37 reos, no 29, corrigen las autoridades". Animal Politico (in Spanish). 16 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- "Thieves blamed in Mexico pipeline blast that kills;28". Seattle Times. 19 December 2010. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011.
- "Victims of Mexico's drug war: Tracing the missing". The Economist. 14 June 2014.
- "Mexico town fears nightclub shooting means drug war has come". Retrieved 19 January 2017.
- "At least 5 dead, 15 hurt in shooting at Mexico's BPM music festival". Reuters. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
- "Mexican cartel demanded payment from BPM festival ahead of nightclub killings: source". CBC News. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "El Universal - - Diez ms, prfugos: indagatorias". 23 June 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "WebCite query result". Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "Detienen a lugarteniente de Los Zetas". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- Milenio Digital. "Confirma Rubido muerte de 'El Z-9'". Milenio. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- Vega, Aurora. "Los Zetas son la organización delictiva que controla el mayor territorio". Excélsior (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 March 2012.
- "Los Zetas" dominan más territorios que "El Chapo". Milenio Noticias (in Spanish). 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Nueva ofensiva contra Los Zetas; instalarán cuarteles en frontera norte. Excélsior". Excelsior.com.mx. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "Zetas cartel leader Heriberto Lazcano's corpse stolen by gunmen after dying in firefight | World | News | National Post". News.nationalpost.com. 9 October 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- International Crisis Group. "Corridor of Violence: The Guatemala-Honduras Border". CrisisGroup.org. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- CBS News. "Mexican army captures Zetas drug lord Miguel Angel Trevino Morales". CBS News. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- "Omar Treviño, el Z 42, se perfila como cabecilla Zeta". Univision (in Spanish). 16 July 2013. Archived from the original on 25 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- Wells, Miriam. "Zetas' Top Guatemala Operative Captured in Mexico". "InSightCrime.org". 15 October 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- "BBC News - Mexican troops 'kill Zetas cartel founder Mellado'". BBC News. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "Officials: Leader of Mexico's Zetas drug cartel captured". Fox News. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- "Declara "El Rama", sucesor de Treviño Morales | Azteca Noticias". aztecanoticias.com.mx. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- "Mexico: Zetas drugs cartel leader caught". bbc.com. 9 February 2018.
- Nájar, Alberto (13 April 2011). "Tamaulipas, ¿en camino de convertirse en un estado fallido?". BBC Mundo. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "Migrantes, 72 muertos de fosa en Tamaulipas". El Universal. 25 August 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Sánchez López, Daniel (9 April 2011). "Sin resolver origen de narcofosas en Tamaulipas". Sexenio. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "Asesinan a Rodolfo Torre Cantú, candidato al gobierno de Tamaulipas". Milenio Noticias. 28 June 2011. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Miglierini, Julian (13 April 2011). "Tamaulipas: 'Failed state' in Mexico's war on drugs". BBC News, Mexico City. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Longmire, Sylvia. "Mexico's PRI Names Presidential Candidate". Mexico's Drug War. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Andreas, Peter (April 1998). The Political Economy of Narco-Corruption in Mexico (PDF). Brown University.
- "Mexico's drug war: A pax narcotica?". The Economist. 7 January 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Klepak, Hal (August 2010). "Mexico: Current and Future Political, Economic and Security Trends" (PDF). Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2012.
- "Hay pruebas sobre nexos de priistas con narco: PAN". El Universal. 21 October 2004. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "Narcopolítica en Tamaulipas". El Universal. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Salas, Alejandro (February 2010). "Blindaje contra narcopolíticos en Tamaulipas". Milenio. Archived from the original on 2012-07-16. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- Moreno, Martín (10 April 2011). "Tamaulipas: gobierno fallido". Excélsior. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "Busca PGR contra 3 ex gobernadores de Tamaulipas". El Siglo de Torreon. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- "PGR emitió alerta migratoria contra tres ex gobernadores de Tamaulipas". Univision. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- "Mexican cartels paid $4.5 million in political bribes". Kuwait Times. Archived from the original on 29 May 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Chapa, Sergio (10 February 2012). "Former Tamaulipas governor named in Texas money laundering case". KRGV News. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- "Arrestan nuevamente a Óscar Pérez Inguanzo, ex alcalde de Tampico". Milenio. 12 November 2011. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Ciudadana graba evidencias de balaceras en Tamaulipas". El Universal. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "La violencia nos rebasó, acepta Eugenio Hernández". Milenio. 28 August 2010. Archived from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "Alcalde admite psicosis por violencia en Reynosa". El Universal. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "Se fugan 40 reos de penal en Matamoros". El Universal. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Se fugan 40 reos de Penal de Matamoros". El Economista. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "40 reos se fugan de penal de Matamoros". CNN Mexico. 25 March 2010. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Un comando libera a trece prisioneros de un penal de Reynosa". CNN Mexico. 5 April 2010. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "85 reos escaparon del penal de Reynosa, precisa el gobierno". CNN México. 10 September 2010. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Al menos 71 reos se fugan de un penal de Reynosa, en Tamaulipas". CNN México. 10 September 2010. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Al menos 148 presos se escapan de una cárcel de Tamaulipas". CNNMéxico. 17 December 2010. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Tamaulipas cesa a directivos de penal por la fuga de los 141 reos". CNN México. 17 December 2010. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Al menos siete muertos y 59 reos fugados en una cárcel de Nuevo Laredo". CNN México. 15 July 2011. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Se fugan 59 reos en Nuevo Laredo". El Universal. 16 July 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Tras las fugas de reos en Tamaulipas, el gobierno federal se defiende". CNN Mexico. 7 April 2010. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Se fugan 59 reos en Nuevo Laredo tras enfrentamiento". Terra Noticias. 15 July 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Más de 400 reos se fugaron de cárceles de Tamaulipas en 14 meses". CNN México. 15 July 2011. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- Pone, Alyssa (20 September 2012). "Zetas Drug Cartel Arranged Prison Break, Say Officials". ABC News. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Se fugan al menos 130 presos del Cereso de Piedras Negras". Milenio (in Spanish). 17 September 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Policías de Tamaulipas ganan 3 mil 618 pesos". Excelsior. 25 September 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Policías de Tamaulipas, los peores pagados de México; ganan menos de 4 mil pesos al mes". Animal Politico. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Policías de Tamaulipas aun no son confiables: Lomelí". Hoy Tamaulipas. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Acusan a estados de incumplir homologación salarial policiaca". El Universal. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "México enviará más Fuerzas Armadas a Nuevo León y Tamaulipas". CNN Mexico. 24 November 2011. Archived from the original on 2 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Sedena desarma a policías de Tamaulipas". TV Milenio. 9 May 2011.
- "El gobierno de México desplegará 2,790 militares en Tamaulipas". CNN Mexico. 24 June 2011. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- Castillo, Mariano (26 June 2011). "Tropas mexicanas reemplazan a los policías en la mitad de Tamaulipas". CNN Mexico. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "'Batallones son parte de la estrategia de seguridad'". El Diario de Ciudad Victoria. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- "Expulsan a mil 650 policías de Tamaulipas por pérdida de confianza". Excelsior. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- Cook, Colleen W., ed. (16 October 2007). "Mexico's Drug Cartels" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress (PDF). Congressional Research Service. p. 10. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
- "2011 National Gang Threat Assessment – Emerging Trends". Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2011. Archived from the original on 16 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- "Zetas Now Mexico's Biggest Cartel, Report Says". Fox News. 26 January 2012. Archived from the original on 28 January 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
- Alejandro Gutierrez, "Narcotráfico: El gran desafío de Calderón." Mexico City: Lilaneta, 2007, Chapters 1 and 5.
- "Brutal Mexican drug gang crosses into U.S." The Washington Times. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
- "Los Zetas: the Ruthless Army Spawned by a Mexican Drug Cartel" (in Spanish). 2008-05-00. Archived from the original on 5 August 2012. Check date values in:
- "Guatemala levanta el estado de sitio motivado por 'Los Zetas' en 2010". CNN Mexico. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
- Anderson, Curt. "talia – 'Violencia' se escribe con ZETA: Los zetas toman el control por la forza. Nicola Gratteri, zar antimafia de Reggio Calabria". Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- "Pick your poison: Drug gangs now dominate where guerrillas once reigned". The Economist. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
- "Gulf Cartel vs. Los Zetas... One year later". Borderland Beat. 26 February 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- Penhaul, Kent (21 June 2010). "La ley del silencio en Reynosa sólo la rompe... Twitter". CNN Mexico. Archived from the original on 29 January 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- "La guerra Golfo-zetas, en 11 municipios tamaulipecos; nueve son fronterizos con EU". La Jornada. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- "Los Zetas y el cártel del Golfo se pelean por Monterrey". Univision. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- "La batalla del cártel del Golfo y "Los Zetas" por la Huasteca". Proceso. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- "Two Zetas executed in Brownsville, Texas". Borderland Beat. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- "Enfrentamientos entre el cártel del Golfo y Los Zetas paralizaron Nuevo Laredo". La Jornada. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- "The Missing in Tamaulipas". Borderland Beat. 26 April 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- "La guerra del cártel del Golfo y Los Zetas, mañana 24 de febrero se cumple un año". Mundo Narco. 23 February 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- "All Tamaulipas, a War Zone". Borderland Beat. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- Grayson, George W. (2012). Executinoer's Men: Los Zetas, Rogue Soldiers, Criminal Entrepreneurs and the Shadow State they Created. Piscataway: Transaction. p. 17.
- "DEA: acuerdan 3 cárteles alianza contra Los Zetas". Milenio. 5 March 2010. Archived from the original on 14 January 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- "Sicarios de los Beltrán Leyva y Zetas atacan a gente del Chapo en Sonora". Milenio. 2 July 2010. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- Grayson, George W. (2012). Executioner's Men: Los Zetas, Rogue Soldiers, Criminal Entrepreneurs and the Shadow State they Created. Piscataway: Transaction. pp. 1–24.
- "Violence the result of fractured arrangement between Zetas and Gulf Cartel, authorities say". The Brownsville Herald. 9 March 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- "FBI — 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment". Fbi.gov. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- Womer, Sarah; Robert J. Bunker (2010). "Sureños gangs and Mexican Cartel Use of Social Networking Sites". Small Wars & Insurgencies. 21.
- Lynch; Sevastopulo; Schipani (14 February 2017). "US labels Venezuelan vice-president a drug kingpin". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
- Herrero, Ana Vanessa; Casey, Nicholas (13 February 2017). "U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Venezuela's Vice President, Calling Him a Drug 'Kingpin'". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- "El Ejército decomisa el mayor arsenal hallado en la historia de México" (in Spanish). Union Radio. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- Lacey, Marc (7 November 2008). "In Drug War, Mexico Fights Cartel and Itself". New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
- Carter, Sara A. (26 October 2008). "FBI warns of drug cartel arming". The Washington Times. Retrieved 3 November 2008.
- Roebuck, Jeremy; Ana Ley (7 November 2008). "Top Gulf Cartel leader arrested in Reynosa". The Monitor. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
- Explorando Mexico Editorial Team. "The Zetas". Explorando Mexico. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
- Juarez, Geraldine. "Mexico: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt over Anonymous' #OpCartel". GlobalVoices. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
- Cohen, David. "Combating Transnational Organized Crime". United States Department of the Treasury. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- "Narcotics Rewards Program - Target Information". State.gov. 22 January 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
-  Archived 14 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- Kellner, Tomas; Francesco Pipitone (2010). "Inside Mexico's Drug War". World Policy Journal.
- Stewart, Scott. "Anonymous vs. Zetas Amid Mexico's Cartel Violence". Stratfor. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- Beaubien, Jason. "Drug Violence Swamps A Once Peaceful Mexican City". NPR. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "After a Kidnapping, Hackers Take On a Ruthless Mexican Crime Syndicate". New York Times. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Los Zetas Cartel.|
|Wikinews has related news: Mexico and world react to murdered journalists|
- Deibert, Michael (16 May 2011). "Cartel Wars". Truthdig.com.
- Zetas, InSight Crime
- The Evolution of 'Los Zetas,' a Mexican Crime Organization
- NarcoNews.com – Zetas Burn Media's Script in War on Drugs
- FBI Assistant Director's Statement to the U.S. House of Representatitives on Zetas
- Equine Crime - A Horse Farm of a Different Color
- "Ex Troops Aiding Drug Traffickers" Washington Times. 2005