On Dec. 12, “narco-banners” (narcomantas) with a four-paragraph communiqué were hung from pedestrian overpasses at 10 different spots around the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, signed with the name of Miguel Angel Treviño AKA “Z-40”—a fugitive leader of Los Zetas. Not hand-scrawled like most narcomantas, but professionally printed, the messages’ first paragraph declared: “We do not govern this country, nor do we have a regime; we are not terrorists or guerillas. We concentrate on our work and the last thing we want is to have problems with any government, neither Mexico nor much less with the US.” The message went on to distance both Treviño and the Zetas from the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US, as well as an August attack in a Monterrey casino that killed more than 50.
Possibly indicating factionalism within Los Zetas, the communiqué contradicted a series of messages left in Nuevo Laredo earlier this month, in which someone writing in Treviño’s name openly challenged the governments of the US and Mexico. The earlier narcomantas boasted: “Not the army, not the marines nor the security and anti-drug agencies of the United States government can resist us. Mexico lives and will continue under the regime of the Zetas. Let it be clear that we are in control here and although the federal government controls other cartels, they cannot take our plazas.” (InsightCrime, Dec. 15; Borderland Beat, Dec. 12)
In the latest atrocity attributed by authorities to Los Zetas, five young men were lined up against a wall and shot dead Dec. 13 in an upscale district of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico’s third largest city. The men, aged between 20 and 25, were found with their shirts pulled over their heads in the Obispado district. (AFP, Dec. 13)
See our last post on Mexico’s narco wars.