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Witnesses testify in the trial of Los Zetas boss detail the cartel’s brutal tactics

July 19, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Witnesses testify in the trial of Los Zetas boss detail the cartel’s brutal tactics

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A father, whose son went missing back in Mexico back in 2011, testified along with other cooperating witnesses last week an alleged war commander for Los Zetas drug cartel in San Antonio Federal Court.

According to KENS 5,  multiple witnesses took the stand against the defendant, Mariano Millan-Vasquez, better known as “Chano,” who stands accused of controlling the region around Piedras Negras for the ruthless Los Zetas cartel and is also responsible for countless murders and kidnappings.

Even previous Zetas members testified against the man, claiming that he and the cartel were responsible for a bloody slaughter in Piedras Negras back in 2011.

Jaime Abascal Reyna was called to the stand on Wednesday. The last time Reyna saw his son was back in September of 2011. He said that they spoke every day, and when he didn’t hear from his son, he began assuming the worst.

Reyna soon found out that his son’s girlfriend and a co-worker were also nowhere to be found. The concerned father was told to contact a target person from the Los Zetas, Jose Luis Rodriguez, to see if they had any knowledge regarding their whereabouts.

Rodriguez testified last Tuesday about a violent massacre that involved the deaths of over 300 individuals. He explained that the Zetas’ top figure ordered the murders because there was a government informant within the group. They ordered that the informant be killed along with anyone associated with him.

Rodriguez also told the court that when he asked a leader about Reyna’s son’s disappearance, the commander demanded him to stop asking about it, because they just finished “cooking him.”

Reyna  said when he never heard back from the cartel member, he  went straight to the Mexican government.

“[The government] told me not to go asking questions about my son. They told me to stop doing that,” Reyna said on the stand.

A former member of Los Zetas attested that he was captured twice by the cartel and was forced to observe several brutal acts.

In other testimony, at least two jurors held back tears as they listened to Jorge De Leon Navarro detailed how the cartel killed their prisoners.

De Leon also stated that he didn’t volunteer to start working for the cartel. Instead, he was kidnapped and coerced to participate.

“The first time [I was kidnapped], they took me with a group of about seven people. They picked us up and told us we had to work for someone, for Los Zetas,” said DeLeon.

He further added: “The first person they asked didn’t want to work for them, [cartel members] said, ‘that’s fine.’ He turned around, and they shot him in the head. The rest of us agreed.”

De Leon admitted to authorities that he assisted the Los Zetas in stashing drugs, transporting firearms, and delivering marijuana to drug mules to be smuggled into the United States. He insisted that the drugs came from Zetas commanders, including Millan-Vasquez.

When prosecutors questioned if De Leon feared being caught while delivering the firearms to “Chano,” he replied that he wasn’t concerned because the bulk of police officers were “bought out.” He stated that officers would escort him to distant locations so he could deliver firearms to Millan-Vasquez.

Back in July of 2012, authorities intercepted over 50 kilos of marijuana at the Del Rio Port of Entry, which allegedly belonged to De Leon.

The witness also testified that Zetas’ commanders abducted him and his two bosses and held them hostage until they repaid what they owed for the captured shipment of marijuana. De Leon’s two superiors were reportedly released after they paid.

However, he didn’t have the $100,000 the cartel was requesting. He said that he was kidnapped again and held captive for 13 days.

De Leon declared that during his imprisonment, he observed the Zetas’ dismember people alive and then subsequently threw their body parts into a flaming container. He also insisted that he was handcuffed, blindfolded, and brought to random locations around Piedras Negras, where he would be forced to kneel and view these brutal killings.

He said in court that “They did this so I would tell my family if they didn’t obtain the money, this would happen to them.”

Jurors wept when the witness described an incident where a mother and father were pulled by their hair and were forced to watch their 6-year-old daughter be dismembered alive before the Zetas’ did the same to them. De Leon further noted that Millan-Vasquez would laugh as he committed these horrific acts.

De Leon said that his mother was forced to sell her home for $20,000 to help him get the money and that the Zetas released him under the notion he had one week to pay $100,000.

In March of 2013, De Leon and his father were arrested by Border Patrol agents about three miles from the Comstock, Texas border. The two informed agents that they worried for their lives if they remained in Mexico.

De Leon’s Blackberry cell phone was analyzed by computer forensics experts with Homeland Security Investigations. They discovered deleted death threats from Millan-Vasquez and other information concerning Zetas operations. De Leon is now assisting authorities in their investigation.

After pleading guilty to a marijuana charge, De Leon will serve some time in prison.

When prosecutors asked the witness if “Chano” was in the courtroom, De Leon stood up and stared at the courtroom for almost three minutes before he pointed out Millan-Vasquez.

Prosecutors questioned De Leon why it took him that long to point out Millan-Vasquez, to which he replied, “I’m afraid for my family.”

Millan-Vasquez is facing multiple charges, including enticing minors to sell drugs, conspiracy to distribute narcotics, giving false identification to authorities, as well as charges for at least nine murders in Northern Mexico and South Texas. Prosecutors have announced that they are not seeking the death penalty.

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