Mexican Drug Cartels Wage Publicity War
From the Associated Press:
Drug traffickers are waging a highly effective publicity campaign in Mexico that began with a chilling show of brutality in Acapulco: two police officers’ heads, streaming with blood, were stuck on metal spikes outside a downtown building with a fluorescent cardboard sign. “So that you learn to respect,” it read in thick black letters.
That set off a trend among the drug lords battling for billion-dollar smuggling routes into the United States. They’ve since left a trail of bodies and bloodstained notes across Mexico, with a goal of spreading fear – a sense of dread so deep that rivals, police, witnesses and even President Felipe Calderon won’t dare cross them.
The drug gangs now publish newspaper ads, and tack threatening notes to corpses with ice picks or tape them to trash bags filled with body parts for public display. They’re even using the Internet, posting a video on YouTube that showed the apparent beheading of an alleged hitman. Drug-related killings using corpses as message boards have been carried out in a dozen Mexican states in the past year.
Nuevo Leon Deputy State Attorney General Aldo Fasci Zuazua, whose state borders Texas, has seen nearly three dozen drug-related killings since January, including one threatening the top state prosecutor with a message stuck to a corpse with an ice pick..
In Calderon’s home state of Michoacan, The Family, a shadowy group believed allied with the Gulf cartel, took out a newspaper ad saying it wanted to stop kidnapping, robbery and the sale of methamphetamines in the state. The ad blamed violence on a rival gang and depicted The Family as entrepreneurs trying to mind their own business.The group delivered a similar message in much more grisly fashion last year, rolling five heads across a dance floor in a Michoacan town with a note that said The Family “doesn’t kill innocent people, only those who deserve to die. Everyone knows that.”
This month, a video on YouTube showed a man in his underwear, tied to a chair with a “Z” written on his chest (an apparent reference to the Zetas, former military operatives who now are Gulf cartel hitmen). The video called on Mexicans to “do something for your country, kill a Zeta.” Someone off-screen interrogates the man about the Feb. 6 killing of five Acapulco police officers and two secretaries, punching him repeatedly until he says he participated in the attacks. Then he’s shown being strangled by using metal rods to twist a cord around his neck. The video then shows his headless body.
The following video as described by a man named jerrye74 on youtube:
Here you can see 2 kidnapped members of a group called ‘Z’, an armed paramilitary group at the service of the Gulf Cartel, by an armed group called ‘new people’ at the service of Sinaloa Cartel, they are interrogating the ‘Z’ members such that they were forced to reveal their activities and their contacts(the polices, goverment contacts and journalist at their service) in the state of Veracruz, where they were captured……after this video they were executed and both bodies were found in a parking lot of a broadcasting TV network.
As U.S. and Colombian authorities began closing smuggling routes through the Caribbean in the late 1980s and 1990s, Colombian criminals began smuggling cocaine and heroin through the Central American isthmus and Pacific routes. Both smuggling routes invariably led them to Mexico.
With an intimate knowledge of the terrain, lists of corrupted officials on the payroll, and decades of perfecting smuggling skills, Mexicans can smuggle just about anything into the United States for the right price. The U.S.-Mexican border is a “soft underbelly” and a porous border. As a result of the important trade relationship between the United States and Mexico, the border cannot be closed.
Since the Colombians began selling cocaine at the wholesale level to Mexican organized crime, rival factions have battled over control of the downstream revenue, largely dictated by points of entry into the United States, such as Nuevo Laredo, and points of reception from Colombia, such as Acapulco.
Two factions of organized crime, known as the Sinaloa Cartel and the Gulf Cartel, have risen to the top and battle over trafficking routes that span the length and width of Mexico.
Osiel Cardenas Guillen leads the Gulf Cartel. It has traditionally controlled access to the Nuevo Laredo-Laredo smuggling routes, referred to as “plazas.” Joaquin Guzman Loera, also known as “El Chapo,” currently directs the Sinaloa Cartel.
Osiel Cardenas, arrested and extradited to the United States on January 20th, 2007.
Acapulco is a straight shot north from Buenaventura, Colombia, the country’s largest Pacific port. Many of Colombia’s drug trafficking organizations, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (F.A.R.C.), used the Buenaventura port to smuggle loads of pure cocaine north. The lack of coastal patrols along the Central American isthmus facilitates the route. Speed boats regularly take illicit products north to Acapulco, where they are loaded onto trucks destined for Nuevo Laredo.
The necessary involvement of police officials at the local, state, and national levels, and the Mexican military, complicates the battle over turf. Corruption pollutes well-intentioned policemen and soldiers. The law of “plata o plomo,” a choice between accepting a job on a criminal payroll or accepting a bullet in the head, perennially compromises members of the Mexican security forces at all levels. Due to constant demand for cocaine, heroine, methamphetamines, ecstasy, and other drugs, the Mexican criminal enterprise earns more than US$50 billion a year. A considerable amount of this money makes its way back to Colombia to purchase pure cocaine and heroin.
Mexican organized crime spends millions to purchase weapons and munitions. Every year, authorities trace between 5,000 and 7,000 guns from when they are seized in Mexico back to sources in the United States. The most popular guns are the AR-15, AK-47, and Tec-9 pistol.
JoaquÃn GuzmÃ¡n, head of the Sinaloa Cartel, still at large
About Los Zetas:
Los Zetas are a major criminal organization based in Mexico closely associated with the Gulf Cartel. “Zeta” comes from a radio code used by the Mexican federal police to locate high-ranking battalion commanders. Los Zetas are rumored to be ex-Army Special forces, regular troopers, police agents and common criminals who worked for Osiel Cardenas in the drug trafficking business. Members of Los Zetas have alledgedly recieved special-forces training from the U.S. Army at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.
March 2007: A recent raid and seizure in Mexico City of $250 Million USD is believed to have been a bribe to the Mexican Government by Chapo Guzman. There has been some speculation that the $250 Million USD was a “thank you” by Chapo to the Mexican Government for the recent arrests, captures and extraditions of his rivals in the Gulf Cartel. It is widely known that Chapo Guzman supported the election of the new president (Calderon) while Cardenas, the leader of the rival Gulf Cartel, supported Obrador and his failed attempt to become Mexican President.
Recently, he openly strolled into a restaurant in Nuevo Laredo with a fleet of bodyguards. After taking his seat, he told the 40 or so diners not to be alarmed and not to use their mobile phones. After eating, he dropped a handful of hundred-dollar bills on the table and walked to the door. He turned around and said, ‘Order what you want, and I’ll pay.’and went on his way.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) currently has a $5,000,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and prosecution.