Monday, October 31, 2011

AZMEX Background 29-10-11


Note: "The groups were identified by their radio signals. The Rojos
were assigned to Reynosa, the Metros to Matamoros and the Lobos to
Laredo -- to name a few, he said."

Internal struggle in the Gulf Cartel could weaken the organization
October 29, 2011 8:42 PM
The Monitor

An internal struggle within the Gulf Cartel has led to string of
recent shootouts, kidnappings and major drug busts throughout the
border area. Some of the kidnapping victims have relocated to the
U.S. side in order to avoid future hassles.

The struggle reportedly is being carried out by members of the R's,
or Rojos group, who have declared war against their former comrades
in arms, the Metros.

The names of the groups date back to the late 1990s, when the former
head of the Gulf Cartel, Osiel Cardenas Guillen, had groups similar
to his personal guard the Zetas established in each of the main
cities, according to a source outside of law enforcement but with
direct knowledge.

The groups were identified by their radio signals. The Rojos were
assigned to Reynosa, the Metros to Matamoros and the Lobos to Laredo
-- to name a few, he said.

A source outside law enforcement but with direct knowledge said the
bad blood began more than a year ago when Juan "R-1" Reyes Mejia was
overlooked as a candidate for plaza boss for Reynosa during a cartel
shift in plazas and sent to the "Frontera Chica" which encompasses
Miguel Aleman, Camargo and Ciudad Mier -- just across the border from
Starr County. Reynosa remained under Samuel "Metro-3" Flores Borrego,
which put him above Reyes in the organization's structure.

Flores Borrego is blamed for starting the war between the Gulf Cartel
and the Zetas after he killed Victor "El Concord 3" Peña Mendoza in
Reynosa in early 2010. However, in October 2009, sources close to The
Monitor already had said a split between the Zetas and the Gulf
Cartel was coming over discussions about alliances and trade routes.

Unconfirmed information received from sources outside law
enforcement said that recently captured Rafael (El Junior) Cardenas
Vela, the so-called "heir" to the Gulf Cartel teamed up with Reyes
Mejia to take out Flores Borrego. The source claimed that Cardenas
held a grudge after believing that the Gulf Cartel led the Mexican
military straight to his uncle, the late Antonio Ezekiel (Tony
Tormenta) Cardenas Guillen, the former Plaza boss for Matamoros and
former co-leader of the Gulf Cartel.

The feud ignited Sept. 2 when the body Of Flores Borrego and the body
of a high-ranking Tamaulipas police officer named Eloy Lerma Garcia
were found. The Mexican military said Flores Borrego had been killed
because of an internal struggle in a criminal organization.

The bodies of the two men had been tortured, bound and left in the
bed of a Ford Lobo with messages against the Metros, a Tamaulipas
police officer said, adding that Flores' jeweled pistol and other
forms of identification were found near the body.

A U.S. law enforcement official who is not authorized to speak to the
media said that soon after the death of Flores Borrego, the Metros
and the Erres, as the Rojos are more commonly called, began an open

On Oct. 11, the struggle intensified when Mexican authorities found
the body of Cesar "Gama" Davila Garcia in an abandoned house in
Reynosa. There were gunshot wounds, the authorities said.

Davila worked as one of the top financial gurus for the Gulf Cartel
and had been Antonio Cardenas' personal accountant. Neither side has
claimed responsibility for his death, but a source with direct
knowledge confirmed that Davila had been trying to help an associate
named Oscar "La Peseta" Gonzalez, who was in charge of security in
the area of El Mezquital and Playa Baghdad before being kidnapped.

When the two armed groups clash, the firefights lead to road
blockades throughout border cities and, occasionally, the temporary
closings of international bridges. Some of the known casualties of
the war include Rogelio "El Guerra" Guerra and another known as
Comandante Nectar.

A source outside law enforcement but with direct knowledge said the
two sides also have used authorities to hurt the opposing sides. The
strategy deals with the use of anonymous tips that are sent to hot
lines run by authorities and lead them straight into stash houses.

According to the source, the worst hit by this have been the Rojos,
who in recent weeks have has numerous multi-ton seizures of marijuana
and weapons in the Frontera Chica area.

On Oct. 8, an apparent tip as to the whereabouts of Reyes Mejia led a
contingent of Mexican marines to storm the town of Miguel Aleman.

As a result of the firefight, which lasted several hours, the Mexican
military killed 10 gunmen and captured 22, including the plaza boss
for Miguel Aleman Ricardo Salazar Pequeño. Prior to that, authorities
had arrested other Gulf Cartel members near Reynosa. As a result of
the two operations, authorities made 36 arrests.

Eight days after the shootout in Miguel Aleman, 20 inmates were
killed and 12 injured during a prison riot in the Matamoros State
Prison—CEDES, which sources confirmed was related to the struggle
between Rojos and Metros.

A U.S. law enforcement official said the Rojos who have now been
decimated and are struggling for money, have been hit hardest.

Various residents in the border town have contacted the newspaper
reporting a large number of kidnappings in throughout the border
area. A source outside law enforcement said the Rojos have been
trying to make money any way they can.

George W. Grayson, a government professor at the College of William
and Mary and author of "Mexico: Narcoviolence And A Failed State?,"
said the split between the Rojos and the Metros will hurt the
leadership of Eduardo "El Coss" Costilla because his followers will
see him as a weak leader unless he can get the warring parties under

"He's always been a very reclusive figure," Grayson said. "He's never
had a permanent spot -- only when he retreats to one of his ranches
where he gives orders from. He never gets personally involved in the
day-to-day operations."

According to Grayson, when lieutenants are warring for power like the
Metros and Rojos are, another split like the Zeta-Gulf split could
occur. Or it may lead his close guard to move in for a slice of the
action. One example is la Linea, which began playing bigger role in
the Juarez cartel operations because their leadership was perceived
as weak.

The current struggle between the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas already
has weakened both organizations; however the Zetas have what seems to
be limitless recruiting potential because of their reach into South
America. The Gulf Cartel, on the other hand, seems to be recruiting
younger, less-experienced gunmen.

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