The domain of fear

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The domain of fear

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[LeChef/Bjeff: Google translated and article is from 2014]

by Eduardo Guerrero Gutiérrez

In the midday sun, about 20 people wait in line outside the Piedras Negras restaurant. Although it is one of the most expensive restaurants in Matamoros, those who line up are peasants or day laborers, and the occasional merchant. They do not go to the Piedras Negras to eat but to talk with Don Juan, owner of the restaurant and with a reputation for fulfilling the favors that people ask of him. Around Juan Nepomuceno Guerra are told this and other less compassionate stories (such as that he killed a son of Pancho Villa and shot one of his wives for talking to another man), but still retained his reputation as a just man and for several years he was the maximum boss in this border town.

In the late 1920s Juan and his brothers Arturo and Roberto smuggled tequila, whiskey and beer north of the Rio Grande. To Texas they brought alcohol, then banned in the United States by the Volstead Law, and there they brought dollars and various products to order, such as appliances and tires. When the dry law was repealed in 1933, Juan Nepomuceno - an already rich and famous man in Matamoros - added to his smuggling activities the control of betting houses, human trafficking and car theft.

To start up his lucrative business, Juan established a network of political contacts throughout the Northeast region: he maintained a close friendship with union chiefs of the transport and customs branches -such as Agapito Hernández and Pedro Pérez-, and with governors of Tamaulipas -as Norberto Treviño (1957-1963), Práxedis Balboa (1963-1969) and Enrique Cárdenas (1975-1981) -. Juan's bond with the local political power was such that Roberto, his younger brother, was part of the state cabinet of the Balboa government, and his son, also named Roberto, became mayor of Matamoros in 1984. This network of links was not circumscribed to the regional circle, because Juan was also related to national political figures such as Joaquín Hernández Galicia, La Quina , and Raúl Salinas Lozano.

It was not until the mid-1970s that the criminal organization of Juan Nepomuceno entered the drug trade. To Juan the idea of ​​entering this new business generated doubts because he considered that he would put them in the sights of the US Drug Control Agency (DEA), but as the proposal was from his nephew and protected Juan García Ábrego, Nepomuceno Guerra agreed to with some conditions. First, Nepomuceno did not want to participate directly in the negotiations with the Colombian cartels, a task that he delegated to his nephew; and second, it would only allow the transport and government protection networks to be used to move the drugs, but it would not try to recover confiscated cargoes nor would it investigate what would happen to them.

At the end of the eighties, the patrols of the US authorities made it increasingly difficult for Colombians to transport drugs through the Caribbean. The cargo losses were so high that the Rodríguez Orejuela brothers of the Cártel de Cali offered Juan García Ábrego an irrevocable offer: 50% of the profits if he transported drug shipments from the southern border of Mexico to Texas. Such an operation would require large-scale logistics coordination, purchase of light aircraft, construction of airways and clandestine warehouses, bribing authorities on the southern border, the northeast and along the Gulf of Mexico. The Matamoros Cartel wanted to stop being a regional criminal organization subsidiary of the Colombian cartels to become a preponderant actor in the transnational drug trafficking.

In order to achieve a triumphant entry into transnational drug trafficking, García Ábrego and his associates were convinced that a generational change in the leadership of the cartel was necessary. To relegate his uncle in the hierarchical structure, Juan García began hiring new operators throughout the country and distributing the booty among the authorities, who would now render accounts to him. The influence of Juan Nepomuceno waned and he withdrew peacefully from the business - although he was still considered the patriarch of organized crime in Tamaulipas until his death in 2001.

Under the leadership of García Ábrego, the now called Gulf Cartel became the most powerful criminal organization on the continent. Its success was due to the fact that it took advantage of three fundamental assets. The first of these is the privileged geographic location of Tamaulipas: a long border with the United States and four of the most active border crossings in the country (Matamoros, Miguel Alemán, Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa); It has an extensive coastal belt that is poorly monitored and is the closest point between the United States and the Pacific ports and the southern border. The second asset was the solid network of complicity with authorities of all levels that his uncle built for five decades.

But with the rise came notoriety, and with it the harassment of the United States. In 1993, the Mexican government -pressed by Washington- created a special team of 50 agents to arrest García Ábrego and in 1995 the FBI placed him among the 10 most wanted -the first drug trafficker to enter the list-. Despite the efforts the hunt became frustrating. García Ábrego was an elusive capo, always one step ahead of those who persecuted him.

The fate of García Ábrego dissipated with the change of government. The administration of Zedillo required a coup d'état after the uprising in Chiapas and the assassinations of Colosio and Ruiz Massieu, and the capture of García Ábrego would also mean a break with the previous government, over which there was a suspicion that he had protected the capo . To achieve the arrest, the attorney Antonio Lozano Gracia created a new elite police group formed only by 15 elements of the Attorney General's Office (PGR). To avoid leaks of information, neither the Army, nor the Navy, nor the PGR were involved, and intelligence gathering was carried out by undercover agents of the DEA. In the end, such informative compartmentalization worked. On January 14, 1996, Juan García Ábrego was arrested at his ranch in Villa Juárez, Nuevo León, in an operation that did not involve a single shot. The next day, for fear of his escape, he was extradited to the United States, where he was sentenced to 11 life sentences.


The arrest of Juan García Ábrego followed a long and complex phase of recomposition within the Gulf Cartel. García Ábrego could not appoint a family member to occupy the leadership of the cartel because the natural candidate, his brother Humberto, was in prison since 1994. Forced to break with the family succession, from prison Garcia Abrego opted for his most trusted lieutenant, Óscar Malherbe , The Licensed, who lasted a few months at the head of the cartel because he was arrested in February 1997. Without heavy leadership the Gulf Cartel fragmented and became somewhat anarchic: numerous lieutenants began to operate autonomously and founded private armies to defend their preserves territorial (in those years the Metros and Los Escorpiones arose in Matamoros, Los Rojos in Reynosa, and Los Tangos and Los Sierras in Tampico, several of which still operate in Tamaulipas).

In the midst of the chaos two lieutenants began to stand out. On the one hand, Osiel Cárdenas, a skilled operator and negotiator who started selling drugs in his mechanical workshop; and on the other, Salvador Gómez, El Chava , a violent and cruel leader of sicarios. El Chava , aware that he could not only face the rest of the local leaders to consolidate himself in front of the cartel, saw in Osiel an ally that could complement him and help him in his goal of becoming a capo. Osiel, as ambitious as El Chava, he thought that his negotiation skills would be useful to coordinate logistics operations, while El Chava would be in charge of maintaining control in the plazas. An additional factor that worked in favor of the two was that for the PGR and the DEA the detention of García Ábrego had virtually wiped the Gulf Cartel off the map, so neither Salvador nor Osiel were still on the priority target lists and could operate with less pressures. And so, by eliminating antagonistic groups and buying loyalties, the dumbbell took hold in front of the cartel.

Soon the agreement would show fissures: Salvador thought that Osiel was a subordinate rather than a partner, because after all it was he who had invited him to his project; and Osiel felt that he was doing all the work, while Salvador was dedicated to enjoying the fruits of the business. Osiel, unhappy with the treatment received and fearful of being eliminated by his partner, was the first to act. In 1998, he entrusted Arturo Guzmán Decena, a deputy lieutenant of the Special Forces Aeromobile Group (GAFE), to hire a group of hired assassins to guard him and gradually isolate Salvador Gómez and his people. Guzmán Decena proposed to hire 30 of his former GAFE colleagues offering them three times the salary they received in the corporation, to which Osiel agreed. Los Zetas, as you would know the guard of Osiel, they would not have a pair among the armed arms of the other lieutenants: they had received specialized training from elite US and Israeli corps on deployment in hostile terrain, knew how to use heavy artillery, collect intelligence information and advanced communication methods. They were the perfect component for Osiel's plan, since he would replace the hand of Salvador Gómez with a refined army that would be totally under his control.

In July 1999, Osiel proposed Salvador Gómez to meet with him and other lieutenants in the port of El Mezquital, Tamaulipas, to discuss urgent matters. Osiel picked up Salvador in his truck to go to the meeting place and after greeting him, from the back seat Arturo Guzmán Decena pointed to the head of Salvador Gómez and executed him. Without El Chava in between, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, El Mata Amigos , became the capo of the cartel, and Arturo Guzmán Decena, El Z1 , in the leader of his relentless army of assassins.


The emergence of Los Zetas meant a paradigm shift in the operations of drug trafficking groups, as it inaugurated the construction phase of the professional criminal armies. The other cartels observed with resentment the way in which Los Zetas had consolidated control of Osiel Cárdenas in Tamaulipas, and had spread it throughout the rest of the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the southern border; above all, they were disturbed by the ease with which they had displaced Los Valencia de Michoacán and had opened the route between the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico. A sample of the effectiveness of the Zetas occurred in 2001, when naively the Sinaloa Cartel sent a contingent to Nuevo Laredo to take over the plaza, taking advantage of Osiel's sending the Zetas to Michoacán. The Los Zetas response was blunt,

Osiel's paranoia increased proportionally to his power. He avoided sleeping more than two days at the same address and feared being betrayed by his accomplices and his closest collaborators, including his lovers. To avoid leaks or betrayal, Osiel demanded that the Z1 , his security chief, exercise absolute control in all the operative areas of the cartel, investigate the background and behavior of everyone around him and, given the slightest suspicion, he did not hesitate to execute the sneak. He did not want any loose ends: in addition to his contacts in the state and municipal government, he took advantage of Guzmán Decena's ties with the Army to incorporate them into the payroll of the cartel, and hired local reporters and columnists. Osiel felt that to operate quietly was not enough with protection from political power, it was also necessary for the fourth power to help maintain a low profile, without scandals that linked it with the overwhelming corruption and violence that was lived in Tamaulipas

Osiel Cárdenas converted the Gulf Cartel into his personal enterprise -as he called it-, to Tamaulipas in his fortress, and to Los Zetas in the protective wall that guarded it. But the influence of Los Zetas went further. Their responsibilities were no longer confined to protecting the life of the drug lord, but transcended all cartel operations, from the racking of drug shipments to the payment of payroll. In a few months Los Zetas built training bases in places as distant as Chiapas, Guerrero and Veracruz; and launched recruitment campaigns to attract more military. His modus operandiIt consisted of grouping between 10 and 15 men into "stakes", which were moved to different cities -or "plazas" -to establish control over all the criminal activities that took place there. The procedure for getting control was simple: they met with local criminal leaders to inform them that from now on everyone would have to cover a fee depending on their activity; if the leader refused he was executed, if he agreed, he was offered protection from authorities or other gangs. It was thus that the Zetas, when associating with criminals dedicated to different activities, learned to operate new lines of business that allowed them to diversify their sources of income. In particular, the illegal protection service proved to be a very lucrative area, quickly the clientele expanded from criminal gangs to informal traders and blacks, and from there to any kind of legitimate trade; that is, they integrated into their portfolio the systematic and widespread spoliation of civil society.

By 2002 the Los Zetas virus had spread from Tamaulipas to Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Veracruz, Tabasco, and also to the western part of the country, to Guerrero, Michoacán, Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit, Sinaloa, Sonora, Durango and Baja California . They even expanded to Guatemala and began recruiting kaibiles, the elite forces specialized in fighting guerrillas. The introduction of the kaibiles meant another qualitative change in the violence of drug trafficking that our country suffered, because they imported their own forms and methods: more bloodthirsty, less sophisticated than those used by Los Zetas. This change was reflected in the volume of journalistic reports that reported the finding of decapitated bodies hanging on bridges, of human heads in coolers and of dismembered bodies wrapped in sheets. Possibly these new methods fulfilled a practical function, as is the saving of ammunition; but most likely they were used in a symbolic way, to send a message to the victim and the rivals: if his tongue was missing or a finger was an informer, if the penis or testicles were amputated it meant that The victim did not have the courage to fulfill a commitment.

Osiel and Los Zetas transformed the traditional way in which the cartels operated in Mexico. They went from being predominantly family hierarchical companies and guarded by amateur gunmen, restricted to a territorial space and a specific activity, to more horizontal organizations, which had a professional armed wing, with aggressive expansionist aspirations and with interests in various criminal activities. Much of this transformation was due to the fact that the Zetas injected a marked territorial character into the drug trafficking business, where it was not enough to control strategic points on the route to transport drugs, but everything had to be controlled to minimize the risks.

But the model used by the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas also had its flaws. One of them is that in the absence of family ties that would give certainty and confidence to the relations between members, the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas would resort more frequently to violence as a method of discipline and internal control, which in turn generated tension among its members and instability in leadership. Another problem was that the indiscriminate use of violence generated fear and made it impossible to build a social base to conceal and support their activities-a valuable asset for the Sinaloa, Tijuana and Juárez cartels. Finally, the other cartels usually recruited their members through family or friendship references, so that if the performance of the new recruit was not satisfactory, it could be claimed from the person who had "sponsored" him. These controls were initially maintained thanks to the fact that Los Zetas only recruited soldiers and applied a strict militarized discipline, but over time they were weakened by incorporating into their ranks any local criminal who agreed to work for them.


On March 14, 2003, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén was arrested in Matamoros. Osiel named his brother Antonio, Tony Tormenta , as his successor, although from the prison of La Palma he held the reins of the cartel. Osiel's rivals, in particular El Chapo Guzmán, from Sinaloa, and Vicente Carrillo, from Ciudad Juárez, considered that their arrest opened an opportunity for them to finally settle in Tamaulipas. For this reason, in mid-2003 they commissioned Arturo Beltrán Leyva, El Barbas , to open the plaza starting with Nuevo Laredo. The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas responded to the aggressions of the Sinaloa and Juárez cartels by opening battle fronts in their own plazas, which meant the spread of violence by several states in the country.

According to the official narrative, the violence was a product of the rearrangement of the criminal gangs and, against that, the most effective response consisted of reinforcing security by sending contingents of federal forces. In accordance with this logic, the federal government launched Operation Mexico Seguro in June 2005, which managed to quell the conflict in Tamaulipas in a few months. While in Michoacán a new crisis was glimpsed where Los Zetas were also protagonists.

The predominant role that Los Zetas played in these critical years reinforced in Heriberto Lazcano, El Lazca -leader of Los Zetas since the end of 2004-, the conviction that his group deserved a higher status within the cartel, especially in relation to the great drug trafficking business, in which they remained on the sidelines. After the extradition of Osiel in January 2007 Lazcano tried, without success, to establish a new agreement on the distribution of drug trafficking places and routes. In these years tensions between the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel increased, to the extent that often hired assassins of the two groups clashed in Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa. The most significant confrontation occurred on January 24, 2010 in Reynosa, in which Sergio Mendoza was killed, El Concord 3, man close to Lazcano. In response to the murder Lazcano issued an ultimatum for the Gulf Cartel to hand over to those responsible; the deadline was 24 hours, otherwise the consequences would suffer. The deadline was met and the Gulf Cartel did not deliver the killers; In retaliation, Lazcano ordered the execution of 16 hit men of the Gulf Cartel. Tamaulipas burned again.

With the split of Los Zetas of the Gulf Cartel, it began almost immediately one of the most violent conflicts in the history of organized crime in the country. Originally, the conflict spread throughout the northeast. However, in Nuevo León, which was initially where the greatest increase in violence occurred, a sustained recovery has been observed over the past two years. Of the three entities in which the conflict between Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel was concentrated, Tamaulipas is the only one in which the number of executions in 2014 is expected to be greater than that registered in 2012 (see figure 1).

The strategic value of the border crossings of the entity is probably the factor that explains the continuity of the violence. Tamaulipas is the main route of illicit substances access to US territory (of the total cocaine confiscated by Sedena from 2006 to 2013 in the states of the northern border, 56% corresponds to Tamaulipas). Therefore, the ability to operate in the Tamaulipas border generates huge rents for organized crime.

After the break with Los Zetas, the Gulf Cartel was severely weakened. However, it was replicated to the border cities where it traditionally had its operational bases (Matamoros, place of origin of Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, and Reynosa). The presence in these cities allowed the Gulf Cartel to operate as a "collection booth" for drug shipments from all over the country, and maintain a stable source of resources. The Zetas, on the other hand, occupied Nuevo Laredo. Finally, the smaller border populations -particularly the so-called "Frontera Chica", to the west of Reynosa, which includes the municipalities of Guerrero, Mier, Miguel Alemán, Camargo and Díaz Ordaz-remained as a zone of continuous conflict between Los Zetas and the Cartel of the Gulf.

On the other hand, the theft of hydrocarbons has offered the cartels that operate in Tamaulipas an opportunity to diversify their income. In the entity there is a high density of pipelines, in many cases in the vicinity of ranches and ejidos that have been able to occupy. For years, criminal organizations have intimidated and kidnapped Pemex engineers (which allowed them to develop the necessary know-how to install clandestine shots in the region). The proximity to the border has also led to drug trafficking networks being used to export stolen fuel north of the border.


The strategic nature of drug trafficking routes is not the only exceptional feature of Tamaulipas. In Ciudad Juarez, violence was generated largely by antagonistic local gangs (sponsored by the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels). In the municipalities of Tierra Caliente, in Michoacán, practically in all communities there is a dispute between local actors linked to the Knights Templar and those who support the self-defense groups. In contrast, in Tamaulipas, criminals do not seem to have a broad "social base". That is, they have not developed a great density of social and economic ties that allow them to massively incorporate the population into their activities. For example, Neither the Gulf Cartel nor Los Zetas appear to carry out regular recruitment activities in school entities of the entity, comparable to those carried out by Los Zetas in the schools of Michoacán. Unlike the capos of organizations such as the Sinaloa Cartel or the Knights Templar, the criminal leaders operating in Tamaulipas do not seek to appear as benefactors of the community, but instead privilege intimidation and even terror as mechanisms to subdue the population and Get your cooperation.

The limited social base of organized crime has limited conflicts between criminal organizations. Violence in Tamaulipas does not have a chronic character, as we observed in Chihuahua, where month after month, since February 2008, there have been at least 50 executions; o Jalisco, where the number of executions has been maintained monthly above 30, since January 2011. In contrast, in Tamaulipas episodes of high conflict are alternated with periods in which there are virtually no executions (see graph 2).

The "episodic" nature of the violence in Tamaulipas suggests that the main criminal organizations with presence in the entity - that is, the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas, and the factions that have detached from them - do not have the resources to sustain conflicts. in the long term. Therefore, these organizations follow a strategy of mobilization of forces and large-scale attacks in the situations in which they perceive that they have a higher probability of displacing their rivals. The displacement of large convoys of assassins (up to 50 trucks) that has been registered at the beginning of the episodes of greater violence is very likely part of this strategy. Also, criminals have taken measures to try to control the entry into the state of people who could be recruited as hit men,  


In Tamaulipas, there are also some assets that have allowed violence against other entities. The testimonies of public officials and opinion leaders from Baja California, Chihuahua and Nuevo Leon coincide in pointing out that the formation of broad coalitions of citizens with enough force to demand an effective response from the authorities (and with a prominent participation of the business sector ) was a decisive element in overcoming the crisis of insecurity experienced by the three entities in previous years. However, organized civil society and the business community of Tamaulipas have not articulated a comparable movement. The high incidence of kidnappings in Tampico led, from the early stages of the crisis, that the business community of that city, traditionally the most buoyant of the state, will emigrate in a massive way. Given the magnitude of the exodus, a high percentage of businesses closed, and many properties that were impossible to sell were abandoned (many already show a marked deterioration, particularly in the Center, where you can see trees growing in the shells of several historic buildings).

Tamaulipas is probably the state of the country in which the aggressions against journalists have reached greater intensity. Threats and attacks on local newspaper installations - and even Televisa's facilities in Nuevo Laredo - generated a marked decrease in coverage of acts of violence and insecurity in the state. The population of Tamaulipas has resorted to social networks to compensate for the information gap, particularly the "Valor por Tamaulipas" profile, which disseminates risk situations. Even though its administrators have also been victims of threats, the profile currently has almost half a million likeson Facebook, and 82 thousand 500 followers on Twitter (Governor Egidio Torre Cantu only has one thousand 255). However, the limited coverage of the press in Tamaulipas inevitably reduces the visibility of the security crisis in the state, and puts it at a disadvantage compared to other entities in the competition for the support of federal security agencies.

The high-profile arrests that have taken place throughout 2013 and 2014 have contributed to the fragmentation, both of the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, into various factions and antagonistic cells. This scenario is similar to what was observed in Acapulco in 2010, after the main leaders of the Beltrán Leyva Organization were captured. The extreme fragmentation generates a high risk of violence, while there is a greater number of actors that dispute the control of the income from drug trafficking.

In the case of Los Zetas, the most prominent target was Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, alias Z40 , captured in July 2013, with which his brother, Omar Treviño Morales, was at the head of the organization. In the following months, the abatments and captures of several Zetas leaders in Tamaulipas were recorded, including Román Ricardo Palomo Rincones, alias El Coyote , who is identified as the main responsible for the massacres of migrants in San Fernando. On the other hand, the arrest of Mario Ramírez Treviño, X20, in August 2013, caused the division of the Gulf Cartel into three factions: Los Metros, which operate in Reynosa; The Cyclones, settled in Matamoros; and the Gulf-South Cartel, in Tampico. Despite this territorial distribution, the relations between the three factions have been conflicting, mainly because Homero Cárdenas Guillén -leader of Los Ciclones- has tried to consolidate himself as the sole head of the Gulf Cartel. In November 2013, the Metros moved to Matamoros with the purpose of executing Homero Cárdenas Guillén, who, in response, sent a contingent to Reynosa to eliminate rival operators.

After some months of relative calm, in April and May of 2014 the exacerbated violence returned to Tamaulipas. The arrest, on April 1, of Jesús Alejandro Leal, El Simple , leader of Los Metros, was the event that triggered this latest escalation of violence. The attacks that were unleashed with the capture of El Simple affected several municipalities. In the two subsequent months (April and May 2014) there were at least 10 executions in Ciudad Madero, Hidalgo, Miguel Alemán, San Fernando and Victoria. However, violence has been noticeably concentrated in Reynosa (where there were 64 executions over the two months) and Tampico (45) (see figure 1).

In Reynosa clashes have taken place mainly between Los Metros (the group that headed El Simple ) and Los Ciclones. In April alone, 10 shootings were registered, plus seven drug traffickers, several of them with the purpose of blocking the passage or circulation of federal forces that were transporting a leader of the Gulf Cartel. Also, several schools suspended classes because of the intensity of the clashes.

In Tampico (as in Altamira and Madero, which are part of the same metropolitan area) the escalation of violence is due to the confrontation, apparently, between one side made up of the Dragón and Sheyla groups, and another by the Grupo del Chive or Strawberries. Some days the criminals announced the realization of "curfews", in order to paralyze the circulation through the streets of the city. The attacks have also included clashes, as well as the burning of shops and businesses.


The murder of Rodolfo Torre Cantú, which occurred in June 2010, revealed the vulnerability of the state authorities to organized crime. Torre Cantu was the leading candidate for the election to governor that would take place that year (and was replaced in the candidacy by his brother Egidio, current governor). Four years after the attack, unfortunately it does not seem that the highest authorities of the state even have guarantees regarding their personal integrity. On May 5, Salvador Haro Muñoz, who had been appointed head of the Intelligence Unit of the Public Security Secretariat of the state, was killed in Ciudad Victoria. A few days later the PGR ordered the capture -for his alleged responsibility in the killing of Salvador Haro- of José Manuel López Guijón,

A serious consequence of both the ability of organized crime to intimidate the authorities and the lack of pressure on the part of organized civil society and the state's business sector has been the government's complete passivity, particularly in terms of strengthening institutional. Tamaulipas authorities have not taken similar measures to those promoted in other northern states to professionalize local police agencies. Until September 2013, Tamaulipas was the entity of the entire country in which a smaller number of police elements had presented the corresponding confidence control examinations; there were only 583 certified and "reliable" policemen for a population of more than three million people (in contrast,

Since April 2013, the single command operates in the 43 municipalities of the state. However, this decision does not reflect both the willingness of the municipalities to collaborate in the fight against organized crime and their inability or disinterest to assume responsibilities in the matter. In several municipalities, given the evident penetration of organized crime in local police, federal forces took over the work of public security for months. Such is the case of Nuevo Laredo, where the 600 municipal police elements were disarmed and quartered by the Army in June 2011. It was not until September 2013, more than two years later, that the Creditable State Police initiated operations in the municipality. , although with only 130 elements.

The absence of concrete advances in terms of institutional strengthening was reflected in the announcement by the federal government, on May 27, of the disappearance of the State Ministerial Police, as well as of handing over to the Sedena the operation of the Control Center, Command, Communications and Computing (C-4) of the state, and to carry out a new training of the Creditable State Police.

Recent experience in Tamaulipas also highlights the inability of the Mexican State to develop a strategy to contain violence, even when it is predictable. Attacks and shootings that have been recorded in several points of Tamaulipas do not occur discreetly. On the contrary, the current crisis of insecurity in Tamaulipas has been characterized by a spectacular display of factions in conflict. As I mentioned earlier, the displacement of convoys of several dozen trucks with armed persons has been frequent. Nor is it a secret the location of hawk networks that allow criminals to monitor the movements of the authorities and their rivals, in order to plan their attacks. The bloodiest confrontations, which have contributed the most to panic,


As described in the previous pages, organized crime is well planted in Tamaulipas. The border encouraged smuggling, and early on a cohesive organization and strong leadership emerged, giving rise to the Gulf Cartel. This cartel was a pioneer not only in the transfer of large-scale drugs in our country, but also in the development of an "armed wing" with military discipline and high firepower: Los Zetas.

The Gulf Cartel has had a close relationship with the authorities of the state since its origins. However, at least with the creation of Los Zetas (which were largely recruited within the ranks of the Army and outside Tamaulipas) lost the links with the community that existed in the time of Juan Nepomuceno Guerra. The narcos are no longer loved in Tamaulipas (if they ever were). With the break between the traditional leadership of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, a spiral of conflict and violence has begun that has led to the increase of predatory crimes, especially extortion and kidnapping, and has devastated economic activity in the state.

The most recent escalation of violence is likely to happen soon (although June 2014 began with new narco-blockades in the metropolitan area of ​​Tampico). However, if no substantive measures are taken, the next conflict between the many factions of Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel that currently operate in Tamaulipas will inevitably generate a new crisis. A lot needs to be done and the prospects are not positive; Currently, the position of the local authorities, rather than complicity, seems impotent or subordinate to criminals; while the federal government has other fronts to address. The solution, most likely, will emerge along with a leadership capable of articulating the repudiation of citizens towards violence.

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Re: The domain of fear

such a cool find!
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: The domain of fear

In reply to this post by leChef
That's an interesting piece.To see that it was put out in 2013 and could just as well apply to today or maybe even far into the future.A really good history of organized crime in Tamp.Le Chef!
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Re: The domain of fear

In reply to this post by Chivis
Thank you. It is interesting to read what someone thought 4-5 years ago. There are some inaccuracies in the piece, like Escorpiones and Metros starting in the 90's, but also some new info to me anyways, especially about the time period before Los Zetas.