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Split in Mexico’s Zetas drug gang raises fears of bloody war

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Los Zetas started life in the late 1990s as enforcers for the Gulf Cartel. Tasked with protecting the cartel’s drug-trafficking empire, the Zetas were primarily comprised of defectors from an elite unit of the Mexican army called El Gafe.

By 2005, they had broken away from their paymasters and started to run criminal enterprises themselves.

Now, it seems the group has split again, this time internally.

One faction is led by one of the founders of Los Zetas, a former Gafe officer called Heriberto Lazcano, alias “El Lazca” or “Z-3″.

The other is led by Miguel Angel Trevino, known as “Z-40″, a former member of the Gulf Cartel who is thought to be responsible for some of the most heinous and bloodthirsty crimes committed by the Zetas.

Mexico’s Attorney General Marisela Morales recently confirmed that reports from government intelligence sources indicated that the Zetas were now at war with themselves…

Some local crime reporters have pointed to recent “narco-mantas” – banners put up in public places by drug gangs – accusing Heriberto Lazcano of betrayal as further proof of the split…

Meanwhile, the prospect of Zeta-on-Zeta violence fills people in some Mexican states with dread

The Zetas already operate like a franchise and are involved in more than 20 different criminal activities, from extortion to human trafficking…

“The Zetas as a brand-name may survive. But the changes within that organisation will be tremendous,” Steven Dudley predicts.

The worry is that a lot more blood will be spilled along the way.

RTFA for disgusting details. Decades of corruption in every aspect of Mexico’s politics and bureaucracy appear to have made any hope of cleaning-up that country a dream deferred.

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Written by Ed Campbell

September 14, 2012 at 6:00 am

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