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Texas authorities bust Los Zetas cartel auto theft ring

December 8, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Texas authorities bust Los Zetas cartel auto theft ring

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On Friday, a man was arrested for his purported association with a car theft group that worked in Central and South Texas and delivered vehicles to the Los Zetas drug cartel.

Laredo police said 43-year-old Emilio Vidales, who has been charged with theft, reportedly worked out of San Antonio with two other suspects identified as Ramon “Mon” Mendoza Jr., 44, and Jorge “Pelon” Lopez, 39.

Vidales and Lopez reportedly worked under Mendoza, who was the mastermind of the criminal enterprise. Mendoza and Lopez remain on the lam, The Laredo Morning Times reported.

Left to right: Jorge “Pelon” Lopez, 39, Jaime Raymond Arteaga, 43, and Ramon “Mon” Mendoza, 44.

In March, authorities revealed that they had dismantled an auto-theft organization in an enforcement action titled Operation Metal Rain. Investigators said they arrested 16 people. Six others, including Vidales, Mendoza, and Lopez, had arrest warrants issued.

The three and several other defendants are identified in an indictment filed in December 2016.

Police said Mendoza, Lopez, and Vidales were responsible for delivering stolen vehicles to a group referred to as “crossers,” who would then drive them into Mexico.

Officials added that the vehicles were used in Mexico for human and firearms smuggling, as well as to carry out assassinations.

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