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by Michael Webster
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008 at 11:59 AM
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The men are known as the Zetas, former members of the Mexican army who defected to Mexico's so-called Gulf drug cartel in the late 1990s
They were the elite "special forces" of the Mexican military, trained in the U.S. at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia and sent to "wipe out" one of the most powerful Mexican drug cartels according to anonymous US Government sources.
Investigators say the feared bands of ex-military elite forces are operating in Texas and other parts of the United States unchecked. A team of rogue Mexican commandos blamed for hundreds of killings and kidnappings along the U.S.-Mexico border has carried out at least five drug-related slayings as far north as Dallas, a sign that the group is extending its deadly operations into U.S. cities, U.S. law enforcement officials say.
The men are known as the Zetas, former members of the Mexican army who defected to Mexico's so-called Gulf drug cartel in the late 1990s.
"These guys operate like a military well trained and with precision," said Arturo A. Fontes, an FBI special investigator for border violence based in Laredo, in south Texas. "They have their hands in everything and they have eyes and ears everywhere. I've seen how they work, and they're good at what they do. They're an impressive bunch of ruthless criminals." Dallas and federal officials said that since late 2003 eight to 10 members of the Zetas have been operating in north Texas, maintaining a "shadowy existence" and sometimes hiring Texas criminal gangs, including the Mexican Mafia, M-13 and Texas Syndicate, for contract killings according to the Dallas police dept.. The Texas Syndicate is a prison gang that authorities blame for several murders nationwide.
It is also believed by some officials at the CIA that they may have Al-Qaeda and other terrorist connections and maybe helping them breach our borders.
The U.S.-Mexico border is becoming like a war zone states Texas sheriff's from El Paso, McAllen, Laredo.
The feds in El Paso alerted law enforcement throughout the country, warning them that Mexican commandos are now working for drug cartels.
Most Americans are shocked to learn where the commandos were trained.
A memo from the Justice Department warns that Mexican commandos were trained by U.S. forces, but switched sides. They are now using their deadly skills to work for the drug cartels often with the Mexican regular army.
A recent Intelligence Bulletin from ICE we obtained says the Zetas are responsible for hundreds of violent drug-related murders. It says they've executed journalists, murdered people in Dallas, El Paso, McAllen, Laredo, Tijuana and Juarez. They even detained two DEA agents and recently they've shot at Border Patrol agents, County sheriffs and the US National Guard. At the Texas and Arizona borders with Mexico agents are already seeing a major increase in murder and other violence.
Perfecting their commando training, Los Zetas are known to be extremely violent killers and have been blamed for an outbreak of violence along the Mexican border for several years now, with no real resistance from the US Government.
Federal agents stationed at the El Paso Criminal Intelligence Center told local law enforcement, "that Not only did they receive some early military training but they developed their own internal training as well increasing their violence far beyond their own original capabilities."
The normally busy streets and busy stores in El Paso, Nogales, Sonora and Laredo on both sides of the river have been less busy due to all the violence and threats. It’s reported that many shop keepers in all of those broader cities and others are scared. Many claim their business has really fallen off since the Los Zetas showed up. Most shop owners like Seth (does not want to use his last name) who fear retaliation say "it’s a direct result of drug wars and random shootings." Seth says," the tourists are simply afraid to come to our cities to shop.
U.S. Customs agents, US Boarder Patrol and county Sheriff’s all along the boarder from California to east Texas have been involved in shootouts with an enemy they had not seen before. According to one Texas sheriff’s deputy “ these guys are equipped with automatic weapons, 50 Cal machine guns, M-60’s, infrared technology body armor, Humvee’s and state-of-the-art communications, he said ," it is a combination of Los Zetas and Mexican military."
As the drug wars heat up and expand between the Gulf Cartel to the east and the Tijuana Cartel to the west, a Justice Department bulletin warns: "The violence will spill over the Mexican border into the United States and law enforcement agencies in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California can expect to encounter Los Zetas in the coming months and years."
The violence plaguing the border towns has led to dire warnings issued by the State Department saying that narco- traffickers are on the hunt for US citizens.
The military training comes in handy with the arms the Zetas carry, including 9mm weapons and infrared technology - all parts of an armory equivalent to an American SWAT team. Drug money pays for it all.
The Zeta arsenal could make the group attractive to other groups, like al-Qaeda or the Mara Salvatruchas.
According to one of there own jailed members during an interview with law enforcement said, “there are some of the Maras and al-Qaeda inside the organization". The phenomenon of the Maras, is a violent Central American gang that originated in Los Angeles and has become a nightmare in the region. ...
While the Zetas are a problem for Mexican police, they also claim to work with drug dealers in the United States. Their work includes cold-blooded killings. They told us they knew of a hit on two men outside a Rio Grande City restaurant, and the murder of two men watching a cock-fight in Starr County according to a TV report aired in Arizona.
Law enforcement including Sheriff’s, Police Chiefs and regular concerned citizens along the Mexican American border say the US Government is doing very little to support and protect our hundreds of miles of borders. And say the Zetas are operating with immunity and doing what ever they like without and repercussions. They want something done and right now it is already completely out of hand and is dangerous for there kids and everyone else. Business owners on both sides of the border and even law enforcement are reluctant to talk about the problem fearing retaliation from these thugs.
Electronic Privacy Information Center website at epic.org
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS)
United States Customs Service (USCS)
Federal Bureau Of Investigation FBI
Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
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