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Report details how Los Zetas Cartel controlled all levels of power in Mexican border state, expanded to Houston

November 9, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Report details how Los Zetas Cartel controlled all levels of power in Mexican border state, expanded to Houston

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On Monday, a report was published detailing how the Los Zetas drug cartel managed all levels of government operations in the Mexica state of Coahuila, including through issuing bribes to current and former governors with millions of dollars.

The report, which was published by The Houston Chronicle also noted the that Los Zetas, which are one of the most violent and advanced cartels, has also penetrated several U.S. territories. Coahuila, which lies on the border of Texas, is the heart of the Zetas operations.

The report, released by the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law, along with the Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios in Coahuila, is based on an examination of witness testimonies from U.S.trials against Zeta members in Texas between 2013 and 2016.

The report states that the cartel carried out numerous human rights violations and that public institutions, law enforcement agencies and politicians participated in the commission and impunity of them.

“We found connections between the Zetas and all levels of government, from municipalities and police chiefs up to the current and previous governors,” Ariel Dulitzky, a law professor and director of the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin, stated.

Dulitzky noted that this is the first document that compiled and examined the information about the Zetas’ involvement with officials and perpetration of human right violations stemming from court documents from trials in Austin, San Antonio, and Del Rio.

The report added that multiple witnesses detailed how the Zetas cartel bribed governors of Coahuila, the brothers Ruben Moreira Valdez and Humberto Moreira Valdez, respectively, to overtake control of the area.

Rodrigo Humberto Uribe Tapia, a key witness against the Zetas drug cartel, was arrested Oct. 6, 2016, on misdemeanor assault charges.

In one instance discussed in the report, a witness named Rodrigo Humberto Uribe Tapia, who was an investment adviser in Piedras Negras and a Zetas accountant, said he gave two payments of $2 million in cash to the current governor.

Rodrigo Humberto Uribe Tapia, a primary witness against the Zetas, was taken into custody in October 2016 on charges of misdemeanor assault.

The witness said the cash was transferred via the governor’s secretary, Vicente Chaires, and the state’s attorney general, Jesus Torres Charles.

Ruben Moreira, who took over the governorship in 2011 and concluded his term, has rejected allegations of involvement with the cartel..

When talking about the former governor, the report mentions witness Adolfo Efren Tavira-Alvarado, who recounted an instance where “the Zetas delivered a payment to Ruben Moreira at a ranch belonging to another trafficker, Beto Casas, in a Suburban filled with money.”

However, the report added that testimonies show that the corruption and penetration in the power hierarchy of government and politics allowed the Zetas to work with impunity in the state. Many officers were given wages not only to look the other way but to carry out tasks for Los Zetas directly, including fighting rival groups.

Tthe only exception to the Zetas’ power over authorities and law enforcement agencies seems to have been the country’s navy.

Another conclusion put forth from the analysis “is that the Zetas cartel is operating in the United States,” Dulitzky added.

Among areas in the U.S. places identified as having a Zetas presence are San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Eagle Pass, and Dallas. It also has a presence in cities such as Chicago and Atlanta and the states of New Mexico, California, and Oklahoma.

“It’s important to note the international nature of cartels and the role the U.S. plays in this dynamic,” Dulitzky continued
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For example, the report said that witnesses spoke to the smuggling of weapons – such as AK-47s – from the U.S. to Mexico.

Dulitzky also noted that from all the data examined, ” the U.S. government has significant undisclosed information that could be helpful in helping to address human right violations” in Mexico.

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