Ok, so it’s been a while since the last update to this column. It is not that I’ve been THAT busy, I’ve just been a victim of my own laziness (I suspect it’s related to my pill and smoke habit certainly, not that I’m complaining). And since I no longer have a job, I’ve been having to go back to find old ways of making money in order to pay for my fucking Nextel bill and my other assorted expenses.
And to be honest there wasn’t really much to write about. The drug war, at least here in Monterrey, has been losing wind for a while. All the high profile detentions deflated it like a balloon of heroin that popped in some poor mule’s stomach.
And then the cops faced off against the army in a tense standoff, setting the tune for the rest of “black June”, which has been called black, by the way, because it’s been the bloodiest month since President Calderon declared war on the drug cartels, 769 narco-related deaths jsut at the national level. It’s been particularly negro for cops, since they were the ones being targeted by the army. Which ain’t all that bad if you ask me. To be really honest, I was hoping—and still do—that cops would litter the streets with squishy red cop-chunks. And that’s something that didn’t quite get to see.
Sure, I’m a bit disappointed but there is still hope. And while we wait, let me tell you about one particular incident that caught my attention: a shootout this past May in Apodaca between soldiers and Zetas, in which a Zeta comandante, “El Colosio”, was whisked away to safety right in the nick of time by a bunch of municipal cops.
It’s been pretty obvious to everyone in Monterrey that the Zetas controlled the cops, but until the Apodaca shootout, it was never really “proven.” But this incident finally shut up all the disbelievers, showing that cops here have no shame anymore, if they ever had any to begin with (not).
Some days after the scuffle, the Army captured the municipal cop, called “El Tiburon”, who rescued the commander and drove him to a waiting hummer. El Tiburon would kick off a chain of revelations which showed how far and deep the collusion between organized crime and the Monterrey metropolitan police really was.
Then, the federal operations against the police started. And this time, the soldiers weren’t just shaking cops down, looking for rifles and bribe money and other compromising crap. No, this time, they had the entire dossier on the Monterrey police force: names and ranks of the crooked cops who were on the Zeta’s payroll. In all, around 100 cops were arrested.
But it was the news of the army’s supposed levanton (kidnapping) of a female cop from the San Nicolas district, named Aida, which sent cops calling for back up from every available unit to come to their rescue.
When they arrived, it turned out that Aida was in fact the right-hand and girlfriend of “El Colosio”, the jefe de plaza of San Nicolas, Nuevo Leon. It was a clear example of just how narcos make cops their bitches, literally.
Aita was important because she was in charge of paying off cops on the payroll of Colosio, a figure that hovered at about 300. It implicated cops from 3 different districts in the of the metropolitan area: San Nicolas, Apodaca, Escobedo.
At first the cops claimed that they arrived on the scene to stop a supposed kidnapping of a fellow officer, but when they confirmed the presence of federal forces (newly reorganized: good bye AFI, you corrupt motherfuckers, welcome PFM same as the old feds) and said the reason they were there was to block two major intersections in protest of mistreatment and irregularities in regards to detentions during army operations. This of course created a traffic chaos that required more federal forces to be mobilized into the area to remove the blockade. (If you remember, I wrote about the los tapados protests, after which the state moved to have a law against such demonstrations. Now they are labelled as a “blockade or attack on roads of communication”, and they are a federal offense).
This is a video of the standoff. Watch for the blonde female cop.
Things got tense between the cops and feds right then. They were pointing their pistols and rifles at each other, locking and loading and generally acting like they were in a scene out of Face/Off. This of course sent the poor civilians caught in the middle abandoning their cars and running for cover. Shit, who wouldn’t be fearing a rain of balazos in that kind of situation.
Ok, so this posed a problem, because it threathened to expose the web of corruption sown by the Zetas for the last couple of years.
As if it wasnt enough, the soldiers later busted a massive narco-warehouse, a vertical production node where drugs were stored, cut and distributed to different tienditas. Along with “drug packaging” paraphernilia, there was also an R-15 with a telescopic sight, a shrine with various statues of “La Santa Muerte” and the infamous tabla (which I wrote about here) with the following inscriptions: “z”, “cartel del golfo”, “el Billy y el Borolas”, “para los policias culones.” The first three you can probably decipher yourself, but the last one translates to “for all fat-ass cops.”
The big loot did not came in the form of drugs confiscated but rather from information relating to the operations of the Zetas in the north side of the city. This included another one of those “narco-lists”, payroll info with names and ranks of corrupt cops. This one was 10 pages long and it included municipal cops, SWAT members and ministerial agents—all from Monterrey.
During this operation, soldiers captured only a single suspect, the others managed to escape, jumping across back fences and scrambling over rooftops.
And this is just the Zetas-related stuff that happened last month, maybe a little later I’ll write something about the Beltran, who’ve also had their share of headlines this month. But for now, I have to go earn a living.
Pancho Montana is an eXiled Special Mexican War on Drugs Correspondent.
As a native of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, located in northern Mexico, Mr. Montana lives in Gulf Cartel territory. That means the streets belong to the Zetas, a paramilitary organization trained by the Yankees and hired by the Gulf Cartel to keep things civilized and business booming.
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