Split between drug gangs unleashes wave of violence in Mexico
Posted : Mon, 19 May 2008 16:18:00 GMT
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Mexico City - The break-up of the alliance between drug bosses including Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and Arturo Beltran Leyva has unleashed a war in Mexico for control of drug traffic which left 21 to 34 people dead on Sunday alone, Mexican media said Monday. The killings represented an escalation of an already high level of violence in the country, particularly in the northern state of Chihuahua.
In Chihuahua, on the border with the United States, there were 12 murders on Sunday and 17 "levantones" - as kidnappings without the intention to demand ransom are known in Mexico.
According to the daily El Universal, the group of hired killers known as Los Zetas - until know the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel - formally agreed to become an independent cartel Sunday, at a meeting in the northern Mexican city of Torreon. An official of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) told the daily, on condition of anonymity, that Los Zetas "can beat any cartel known currently known and become a real national security problem for Mexico and the United States."
Los Zetas is an armed organization created by deserters of the Mexican Army who has been for a decade in the service of the Gulf Cartel. The cartel was headed by Osiel Cardenas Guillen until he was extradited to the United States last year.
According to El Universal, two of the main leaders of Los Zetas - the former military officer Heriberto Lazcano, alias "El Z1," and Miguel Angel Trevino Morales - decided to become independent and form a new cartel, although other "zetas" are still active for the Gulf Cartel.