For as long as I’ve been immersed in the world and stories of the Monterrey criminal underworld, Huerta has always been a powerful figure. To keep his security detail professional and effective, Huerto recruited many of his sicarios from the elite SWAT-like police force in San Pedro. I first heard about him in 2006 when the Army raided one of his houses. He escaped. The army found only his father—who was lying ill in bed, recovering from two execution attempts—and two bodyguards left behind to protect the old man. (In 1996, Huerta survived a hit when rival narcos sprayed his then-new Pontiac Trans Am. He was shot five times.)
Then the fun began in Monterrey when the Zetas arrived in force to take control of the city from the Sinaloan Cartel back in 2007. (Yes, there was a three-way battle between the Sinaloans, the Gulf Cartel and the Beltran-Levyas.) “El Chelelo,” a high ranking Zetas leader, was welcomed to the city by a pack of Sinaloan sicarios who sprayed his Jeep Commader with bullets. The SUV got all fucked up, but because it had a level-5 bullet-proofing or higher, none of the bullets penetrated. El Chelelo and his cell escaped by stealing a car in the middle of the highway, GTA-style. The rest of his crew was picked up Zetas dispatched to rescue their stranded comrades.
Aaah! The memories! Well, after that, all kinds of hell unfolded on Monterrey. The carnage was really getting out of control, with running car chases and gunfights all over the city, lawyers executed outside their offices, high-impact executions in broad daylight, executados with icepicks to their chests holding messages, grenade blasts in clubs, etc., etc., etc. That’s when Chelelo and La Burra started meeting to divide the city. The fun was getting out of hand and the plaza was getting too hot. On top of everything, they were forgetting about business. The two sides got tired of it all, and figured it would be better for everyone if things calmed down. The Sineloans were given control of the municipality of San Pedro Garza Garcia, the richest municipio in ALL of Latin America, and the Zetas got everything else.
That’s how the non-aggression pact began in Monterrey, and after that life in Monterrey came back to normal, sort of. But after Chelelo was captured back in 2007, a lot of Zetas went rogue. There were a lot of criminals with no affiliation to the organization using the name to intimidate victims in extortion and kidnapping rackets. So the Zetas started “cleaning house” and giving it a fresh coat of red paint provided by all the impostors they gutted like fish.
If you’re wondering what all the fuss over Monterrey is, you gotta remember that it is THE place to do business in Mexico. It’s close to the border so you can use it to stockpile drugs before sending them up. And to the Zetas it acts like a buffer zone to further protect their strongholds in Tamaulipas. It also doesn’t hurt that it is a pretty nice place to live, with tons of viewtiful mountain vistas, good neighborhoods, good shopping, good nightlife, wide drug selection (transit point, remember?) and slamming hot regias (regios, this is what you call people who are from Monterrey, like calling someone from New York a New Yorker or someone from Argentina an Asshole—not Argentinian ladies though), who are some of the most beautiful women in Mexico.
But I’m getting off topic here. The arrest of El Burro released some interesting drug trade trivia. As it turns out, he was the one that ordered the hit on Monterrey’s Chief of Police Marcelo Garza y Garza in 2006 (which was a huge deal around here, by the way). The beef between the two went back to the 20 or so commandos the police chief arrested in Monterrey. The group was led by two characters named “El Tubi” and “El Capi,” whose names still carry a lot of weight here in the city. The other big piece of info that came out of El Burro’s capture was about cells of female sicarias (or hitwomen) working for the Zetas. These brutal babes called themselves “Las Panteras,” the Panthers. Sexy, huh? Haha! If you could see these panthers, sexy would be the last thing you’d think of them.
So, what does it all mean? The recent arrests have potentially thrown the local drug equilibrium out of whack now the plazas are without command from any side. And that means we may have to go back to having a full-on dispute over the control of the state’s drug business. And you don’t have to be here to know how these little territorial disputes can get out of control pretty fast. Thanks, Army! Just when everything was getting calm, you have to go and jam your M-16 into a beehive.
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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