Ruthless Mexican Drug Cartel Recruiting in U.S.; Los Zetas Looks to Prisons, Street Gangs

Jerry Seper, Washington Times, July 7, 2013

A Mexican drug cartel known for kidnapping random civilians and beheading its rivals has expanded its operations into the U.S.

The gang known as Los Zetas is recruiting U.S. prison and street gangs, and non-Mexicans, for its drug trafficking and support operations in Mexico and the U.S.

An FBI intelligence bulletin notes that “multiple sources” reported the shift in Los Zetas recruiting. The cartel sought to maintain a highly disciplined and structured hierarchy by recruiting members with specialized training, such as former military and law enforcement officers.

“The FBI judges with high confidence that Los Zetas will continue to increase its recruitment efforts and establish pacts with non-military trained, nontraditional associates to maintain their drug-trafficking and support operations, which may increase violence along the Southwest border posing a threat to U.S. national security,” the bulletin says.

The expansion of Los Zetas operations across the southwestern border has long been a concern of U.S. authorities. Trained as an elite band of Mexican anti-drug commandos, Los Zetas evolved into mercenaries for the infamous Gulf Cartel, unleashing a wave of brutality in Mexico’s drug wars.

Bolstered by an influx of assassins, bandits, thieves and thugs, as well as corrupt federal, state and local police officers, the gang has evolved into a well-financed and heavily armed drug-smuggling force of its own.

Known for mounting the severed heads of its rivals on poles or hanging their dismembered bodies from bridges in cities throughout Mexico, Los Zetas easily has become the most feared criminal gang in Mexico.

“The Zetas are determined to gain the reputation of being the most sadistic, cruel and beastly organization that ever existed,” said George W. Grayson, a professor of government at the College of William & Mary and a specialist on Mexican drug gangs. “Many of Mexico’s existing drug cartels will kill their enemies, but not go out of their way to do it. The Zetas look forward to inflicting fear on their targets. They won’t just cut off your ear; they’ll cut off your head and think nothing of it.”


The bulletin says the FBI had “moderate confidence” that Los Zetas likely will pose a higher national security threat to the U.S., based on “demonstrated capabilities for violence, their recent killings of U.S. citizens, increased kidnappings of U.S. citizens on both sides of the border, and their continued participation in the U.S. drug trade.”

According to the FBI, Los Zetas:

• Made contact with the Texas Mexican Mafia prison gang and tasked its members to collect debts, carry out hits and traffic drugs into and through Laredo, Texas.

• Tried to recruit U.S. gang members in Houston to join Los Zetas’ war against the Gulf Cartel on both sides of the border.

• Was buying AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifles from the Tango Blast, a Houston-based street gang.

• Had contacted the McAllen, Texas-based Los Piojos drug gang to purchase vehicles for Los Zetas members through thefts, carjackings and auto auctions in Texas.


Los Zetas activity has not been limited to the border states.

In November, five reputed Los Zetas members were named in a federal grand jury indictment in a Chicago-based drug operation that transported more than $12 million in drug profits between Chicago and Mexico. FBI agents also seized more than 550 pounds of the gang’s cocaine in the Chicago area.


The Midwest and the Northeast aren’t the only spots targeted by Los Zetas for its drug trafficking operations. The Department of Homeland Security has said Mexican drug cartels, including Los Zetas, have infiltrated 276 U.S. cities and represent the nation’s most serious organized-crime threat.


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  • The__Bobster

    Diversity is our strength.

    Mestizo values don’t stop at the border.

    • Erasmus

      And Bush is now shilling for amnesty. I have news for Bush. No one listens to him any longer. Even his wife tunes him out most of the time. That rictus grin of hers? Drugs. Lots and lots of drugs.

  • I put this in the category of “where there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.”

    Not my words, Vincente Fox’s.

  • So CAL Snowman

    Meanwhile we are spending $680 billion a year at the Department of Defense to fight terrorism in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the middle east. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

  • libertarian1234

    “Was buying AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifles from the Tango Blast, a Houston-based street gang.”

    All the drug cartels get the vast amount of their AK-47’s and other arms and ammo from the black market in Central and South America, and from those black marketeers who have stockpiles of fully automatic AK 47’s and other armaments from the Eastern bloc countries after the break-up of the USSR. There are also thousands of defections from the Mexican military and these deserters usually leave with their automatic M-16’s, most of which are also sold to the gangs. (See Fox News Latino: 56,000 soldiers deserted from 2006 to 2012 from Mexican Army.)

    While the US media has tried for years to dupe the public into believing all cartel arms and ammo come from the US it isn’t true…….like most everything else they print. The gangs prefer fully automatic weapons which are not available in the US for sale to the public. While they WILL buy semi-automatics, as we read about in the Fast and Furious debacle, they greatly prefer automatic weapons.

    • So CAL Snowman

      China and Israel are also HUGE suppliers of arms on the international black market. It’s so ridiculous how the media tries to fool the public into believing that the cartels get most of their weapons from the US. Of course the average US sheep-lemming fails to consider the COST of US weaponry vs. Chinese or USSR weaponry. American arms are amongst the most EXPENSIVE in the world. The cartels have absolutely NO incentive to buy US weapons because of the prohibitively high cost of US weapons compared to the rest of the world. Chinese and Russian arms as well as ammo are incredibly cheap.

      • Romulus

        Present company excepted, i just dont see a whole lot of intelligence that I keep reading about. The average person that i run into daily in the very densely populated northeast are about as informed as a box of rocks! My guess is, the potential IQ must be there, but for the most part it appears to have gone kinetic and went. Maybe im being to dismissive. True that media is heavily edited and biased, so one only knows as much as they choose to investigate, i suppose. The cartels plant dope all over Americas state forests and the leftists morons are calling to make it legal so that we can make more morons. Put the money in the US growers and the govt pockets while our society disintegrates. Have snoop douchedog’s potfest in Colorado shot up by a couple of smoked up groids. The smug leftist trash would take away our ability to defend ourselves!!!!!! Hope all of you guys did something constructively patriotic over the weekend. Worse things are looming on the horizon!

    • Gunrunner1

      In the coming struggle, your skin color and you weapon will be your Uniform. A White with an AR-15, probably FUSA. A Negro or Mestizo with an AK-47, not your friend.

  • Spartacus

    Diversity is strength . And we have always been at war with Eastasia .

  • Does this mean these hard-working immigrants will be beheading the cops and reporters that we lazy Gringos refuse to kill?

  • libertarian1234

    Since the war on drugs is not only an abysmal failure and the drug gangs are increasing their power and positions with every passing month, I’m just wondering if the politicos here, the judiciary and law enforcement agencies, really care about solutions that would render the cartels impotent, like the bootleggers in the 20’s and 30’s, by legalizing drugs, as was done with alcohol back then.

    How many less police personnel and various agencies would be unnecessary if drugs were legalized to take the profit out of them and to disband the cartels all the way down to the street gangs and pushers in black urban America who could not thrive without drug money?

    The judiciary would have dramatic reductions in case loads, as well as about a 50% reduction in inmates in its prisons on the federal level, and I’m assuming about the same on state levels.

    I’m not sure how much of the continuing war on drugs is supported by the authorities for plain and simple job security, but I would hope it isn’t the vast majority, because it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility for the cartels to jockey into positions here in the US whereby they would control a large part of the system behind the scenes.

    They’ve had over 30 years to try to rectify or reduce the problem and they can’t do it. If DHS Napolitano is so naïve as to expect armed swat teams to be a match for militarily equipped soldiers she’s just one more of the community organizer’s flakes who lives in La La land.

    • newscomments70

      If heavy drugs were legalized, our society would completely collapse. There would be chaos. The only solution is the death penalty. Drug traffickers should be put to death. It works in Singapore and various Muslim countries quite effectively. That is the only proven solution if we ever want to bring back law and order.

      • I’m not so sure. The people who want to use hard drugs already do. The people who don’t use hard drugs generally abstain because they have better things to do with their money, time and health. If crack and meth were legalized tomorrow and given away for free, I still wouldn’t use them. I’m not interested in poisoning myself and wrecking my cognitive abilities. As a husband and father also, my life isn’t just about me. Last night I finished building a small desktop computer to set up at my mother’s house. This morning, I sewed replacement velcro closures onto an old pair of sandals which otherwise still had plenty of useful life in them. After making Ariadne and myself some lunch, I took her fishing. She caught two catfish and one bass, which we took home. I cleaned these, sliced them up and I stir-fried them with mixed frozen vegetables, which we ate with rice and ponzu sauce.

        Who would want to get high or even drunk instead of having a pleasant day like that? That’s just the last 24 hours. The hard drug users don’t just get messed up once in a while; they make a lifestyle out of it to the point where they never have days like this, and most of us non-users know it.

        • newscomments70

          I believe that availibility and desensitization would significantly increase drug use. You and I might not use it…but what about impressionable teenagers at the age of experimentation? In Singapore, users of small amounts will spend many years in prison, if caught. Larger amounts of drugs and trafficking will yield the death penalty. People think twice before doing drugs in Singapore. Drug use is very uncommon in that country because of that deterrent. I have heard drug users say, “well, I just wouldn’t go into that country. no way.” We need to have them saying the same about our country as well.

        • fuzzypook

          I love reading your stories Michael! I wish the best for you and your family.

        • fuzzypook

          I like your stories Michael. I tried to say that before but my post didn’t show up, well it did and then it disappeared. I hope it doesn’t happen this time.

        • MBlanc46

          ” The people who don’t use hard drugs generally abstain because they have better things to do with their money, time and health.”

          Which is almost everybody. The idea that everyone would become a junkie if junk were legalized is completely unfounded. It was so before opiates were legalized.

      • Gunrunner1

        Why? Washington State legalized Pot and we didn’t collapse, though Pizza delivery did have a brisk increase in business. People who use drugs to their detriment, like alcohol need treatment. Other than that, freedom should prevail. People who use heroin or crack already do, you are not going to get 10’s of thousands of people running into a pharmacy to grab a quick pack of crack to “try”. But this debate is useless, we don’t even have the money or the political will to drive out 30 million illegals, let alone dismantle the drug war fueled Prison industrial complex.

      • MBlanc46

        Let’s get the drinkers, too. And the cigarette smokers. Hang ’em all!

        • Hanging’s a bit rough, but certainly flogging the cigarette smokers could be usefully tried. Pipe tobacco smoke smells pleasant, but cigarette smoke smells like burning garbage.

          • MBlanc46

            I keep threatening to take up cigar smoking. My wife says that’s fine, as long as I don’t mind living in the garage and dying alone.

        • newscomments70

          I guess I will have to be sacrificed then. oh well, I will die for my country.

          • MBlanc46

            Either that, or we don’t sacrifice anyone. Let folks do what they want so long as it’s not infringing on the rights of others. If it injures them, that’s their lookout. And society didn’t collapse before opiates were criminalized in 1914.

    • How many less police personnel and various agencies would be unnecessary if drugs were legalized to take the profit out of them and to disband the cartels all the way down to the street gangs and pushers in black urban America who could not thrive without drug money?

      Libertaians seem to think the government isn’t going to get in on the action if drugs were legalized. Any legalized drugs would be taxed as heavily or more heavily than tobacco and booze. Legalization also takes most of the illegal players of the game then.

      What do you think unemployable, career dealers will do when their livelihood is taken away?

      Robbery, theft, and home invasions would be the only thing they could fall back on. Which would require even more police officers.

      And the other added bonus of legalized drugs would be a unemployable needle user panhandling on every corner, sleeping in every alley, prostituting her/his self anywhere they could.

      • MBlanc46

        There are better ways to deal with robbers, thieves, and home invaders than to criminalize substance use in order to give them employment.

        • libertarian1234

          Your right.

          That the illegal drug trade offers employment isn’t much of a reason not to want to disband it.

          I don’t think this is a liberal, conservative, libertarian issue. (Incidentally, I’m not a true libertarian by the way.)

          It’s a common sense issue. Anybody that wants to buy drugs can buy them right now. A whole new world of drug availability is not going to magically open if they’re legal, and certainly they need to be taxed.

          The dispensing of them needs to be worked out also.

          But whatever………… the bottom line is that the cartels have already infiltrated this country and I suspect have a few US politicians on their payroll right now. That will increase.

          DHS just announced the drug gangs have 276 points of distribution in the US. Just a year ago there were 200.

          The entire illegal drug trade is getting worse not better, and the amount of time and money devoted to the war on drugs has created a criminal class more powerful and wealthier than anything the mafia has ever accomplished.

          The organizations of the drug barons are growing by leaps and bounds and getting wealthier by the year, earning more revenue than many nations in the world today.

          If something isn’t done soon, the cartels are going to be too strong to oppose at all.

          • MBlanc46

            The elites wanted to integrate the North American economies. This is part of that integration.

    • Jim Henry

      Legalizing drugs would impact the US Criminal Justice-Industrial Complex.

      Think about it, mass unemployment, shutting down prisons, lawyers and judges not earning massive salaries, cutbacks to DEA, BATF, FBI, DHS, USCG, DOJ, BOP, ETC.

      Why its, its…un-American.

      • MBlanc46

        Well said. It’s not going to happen, whatever happens in public opinion (which seems to be moving toward favoring legalization).

  • Tinfoil A22hat

    How do you solve the Hispanic problem? Tell blacks they taste like fried chicken o_O

  • Jefferson

    Hispanics are doing the criminal jobs that the Irish and the Italians are no longer willing to do.

  • No; Israel sells their own production. Very strict end-user rules apply to US weapons exports. Their army uses US-made M-16s, but they still produce Galil rifles they sell all over. Many South American armies use the Galil: Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, etc. Israel’s biggest arms customer is India, with major sales also having been made to Columbia, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan. Columbia, for instance is buying the Merkava IV tank, as Venezuela has equipped with the T-72.

    When Israel got rid of their old Kfir fighter jets, they needed US permission for each individual customer, even though the jet was locally built, because the engine was a US-designed General Electric J-79.

  • newscomments70

    In all fairness, I don’t know the statistics. I do know that the hashish bars in Amsterdam have attracted Muslim drug dealers and Muslim pedophile gangs. Even liberal Amsterdam is shutting down these “coffee shops” in a futile effort to fight crime.

  • We read all the time here about corrupt US Hispanic cops, corrupt Hispanic ICE agents, and the like. It won’t be long before we read about some Hispanic FBI agents or Hispanic Green Berets having been caught working for the Zetas.

  • Rhialto

    The FBI is a powerful police force. If the Zetas become big enough to be a major annoyance to the Feds, the FBI will do to them what it did to the Mafia and the Communist party: take them down, one way or another.

    • Even after J.E. Hoover was dead and no longer running interference for the Mafia, it still required several decades.

      • MBlanc46

        It’s just within the last two or three years (the Family Secrets trial) that they seem to finally have dismantled the Outfit in Chicago. And apparently the Russians have taken over where the Italians left off; I see no signs of Fed takedowns of the Russians.

        • An additional handicap faced by the FBI is that they’re part of the Department of Justice, so they’re told what to do by appointed hacks like Janet Reno and Eric Holder, both of whom have placed political games ahead of actual law-enforcement.

          • MBlanc46

            True. But even with a hard-ass attorney general, they’d still be a bunch of bureaucratic paper pushers. If they can’t catch you with a wiretap, they can’t catch you,

  • Gunrunner1

    “Bolstered by an influx of assassins, bandits, thieves and thugs, as
    well as corrupt federal, state and local police officers, the gang has
    evolved into a well-financed and heavily armed drug-smuggling force of
    its own. Known for mounting the severed heads of its rivals on poles or
    hanging their dismembered bodies from bridges in cities throughout
    Mexico, Los Zetas easily has become the most feared criminal gang in

    Read that paragraph again. This is what is coming to the FUSA. In a healthy society, local militia would form, a minor border war would develop to drive them out, but we are not a healthy society. In fact, we are paralyzed by Marxo-capitalist PC angst.

    This would not be happening if Whites had a Country of Our Own

  • Charles Lincoln

    U.S. Drug Policies have actually favored and fostered the growth of the drug cartels and drug consumption. The goal is to turn everyone into a criminal of one sort or another: (a) you can be a small-time criminal “drug user” whose activities can be discredited by drug use, (b) you can be a big time “drug dealer” who can provide the needed drugs at the risk of 10-30 years behind bars unless you are a major officer of a bank or government which is sponsoring the drug trade, and if you ever get out of line, of course, even then, by definition you’re a criminal, (c) you can oppose the drug trade and be either a “bigot” or a “social misfit” or “some sort of crazy moralistic religious fanatic” or even (if you support the constitution) a dangerous terrorist.

  • Charles Lincoln

    Your chain of causation doesn’t go back quite far enough here when you say “the very low wage labor policy of both the Republicans and the Democratic Parties which has transformed “America” into a gigantic globalized low wage scab labor market.” You see, you’re only looking at the tip of the iceberg. You need to ask: how did we ever come to need low wage labor from outside the Country? The simple answer here is: the New Deal, the ever rising minimum wage, regulations and a legal regime which make productivity unprofitable, and has in fact driven almost all manufacturing to China and India. They have de facto Slavery in China, but because they call it “communism” they are “morally advanced” compared to the Southern Troglodytes who were open and honest about wanting slave labor prior to 1865 and sharecroppers afterwards. So long as you lie and conceal the truth (however flimsily and transparently)—it seems you can prevail in this world. Even in the 1950s-1960s, less than 30 full years after the “dustbowl” drove hundreds of thousands from the agricultural fields of the Midwest to California, California started importing “Braceros” to engage in farm labor. Why was this? it was because of the minimum wage and welfare. Let there be no doubt: Socialism and a Centrally Planned Economy are the death and destruction of America and Europe. Under Obama we are progressing into genuine communism, and if this persists, it will be time to forget about the seeds that were planted in Jamestown and Plymouth, which matured into a great and rich harvest of liberty and freedom for just about 100 years, maybe a 157 years in some places, after 1776. But it’s been straight downhill since 1933 with no interruptions.

  • MBlanc46

    We’ve got to have diversity everywhere else, no reason it shouldn’t be in organized crime, too. These SOBs might give the Russian gangsters, who are known for being a nasty lot, a run for their money.

  • MBlanc46

    Legal until 1914. Hickman, The Secret Leprosy of Modern Days: Narcotic Addiction and Cultural Crisis in the US, 1870-1920, has a good account of the framing of opiate addiction and the passage of the Harrison Act.

  • Interesting; I hadn’t read that. The article is a bit confusing because first it mentions “Iron Dome”, which uses the Tamir missile and not Patriot. Then Patriot. It also shows an alleged Chinese “copy” of the F-22, except it isn’t a copy at all. While the Raptor has a conventional wing/tail layout, the Chinese airplane shown has rear-mounted wings and forward canards, like the Dassault Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

    The issue of the Washington Post the missile story first appeared in would be useful for clarification, but this is never mentioned in the VT article. Using Google, I found a CBS article that says the Finns have no more concerns about the missiles – indeed Patriots – because the ship’s manifest shows them consigned to South Korea.

    I hope this helps.

  • Charles Lincoln

    I’d say that the Department of Homeland Security is probably more dangerous—some of its agents probably trained the Zetas—while others may be LEADING the Zetas…. And beyond that we have President Obama, who’s a lot more dangerous than the Senate and House of Representatives because he doesn’t seem to think those Article I bodies actually exist anymore…. Congress is dangerous mainly because it does not think—or do anything else—except rubber stamp the current dictatorship…. I pray every day that someone in the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary will wake up and start a motion to Impeach Obama, Holder, and the lot of them.