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The Mexican Drug War / August 14, 2009
By Pancho Montana


He worked in the cell led by Miguel Angel Treviño “el 40,” now a full-fledged cartel capo. But back then he was a jefe de sicarios (leader of the hit men/enforcers).

After pushing enough dope up the border, he earned his cred and took over administrative activities for the criminal cell. He quickly rose to be the main administrator of economic resources of the cell led by “el 40”.

You see how the short and stocky Juan worked his way up the criminal ranks? It not much unlike Bob from accounting kissing asses to escalate the corporate ladder so he can live the life of a CEO and fuck up the global economy.

But I’m not being fair in my comparison, not fair to Señor Juan, I mean. At least narco traffickers are honest about the shit that they are into, comparing him to a Goldman Sachs-style goon wouldn’t be just wrong, it’d be an insult.

The Sachs are a low breed, even compared to the Zetas.

Our little Juan confessed to multiple crimes, like when the Zetas used the US consulate and local TV station Televisa Monterrey as target practice; gotta test fire those R-15s, make sure those shiny toys from Arizona or Texas are working properly and as advertised.

He participated in most of the high-impact action when he was integrated into the cells of Gory and el Canicon, who where in charge of the plaza in Monterrey, including the murderings of several soldiers. Three of them got their throats cut outside a stripclub. Hey, they had style and grace.

After that, there were several other high profile hits and then he was given the plaza of Cadereyta here in Nuevo Leon, which must have made his boss el 40 happy, real happy. This is a good plaza for making the cash money, milking oil pipelines for example. I’m not sure If he was involved in oil-theft, but since Zetas want to monopolize criminal activities around here, it would not surprise me.

It will be only a matter of time before they go into pickpocketing. They’re like Google. They want have their hand in everything and be the best at it.

Ok, so brave Juan is now the boss of an important plaza in the state. And it’s around this time that he comes into the spotlight when he was wounded and then rescued by municipal cops during a shootout with the military personnel (that’s our cops for you, always ready to help) in the Viejo Mesquital area of Apodaca, NL. This generated a chain reaction that shook every metropolitan area Police Corporation, exposing them as associates/facilitators/employees and all-around bitches for the narcos. A fact everyone but Presidente Felipe knew, I guess.

After all this heat, Juan’s bosses decided that it was best if Juan was rotated out of the area until shit cooled off. So they sent him to Cancun to fill the narco-boss spot left open by a one Juan Manuel Jurado Zarzoza, or “El Puma”. The guy’s mentioned in some YouTube torture videos. If you are interested (and know spanish) search for: “matazetas”.

Anyways Colosio filled the spot left by Señor El Puma who was arrested in June this year. Puma was involved in most of the shady businesses you find around Cancun, like smuggling Cubans FOR the yanks (some aid agency funded by the US Government, but you probably don’t hear about this much in the US, do you?) and I don’t mean cigars…

So Cancun it is, I don’t think Juan complained much there. Who cares if the last two jefes de plaza didn’t last very long. Fuck it, send me to the paradise lost of the Mayan Riviera.


Well, he didn’t stick around for very long, either. He was caught wearing a construction worker vest or something, along with a bodyguard and his female accountant. Nabbing an accountant, that’s becoming more and more common when mid-to-hi level capos get detained. Not a big suprise, though. This is an international, multi-billion dollar business were talking about here.

Here’s the loot confiscated along with Juan (and the accountant):

– 6 short arms (handguns, various calibers)
– 46 chargers/magazines (doesnt specify if they are for pistols or rifles)
– 1kg of coke
– 4 vehicles (models not specified)
– 67 grams of weed (personal portion for the day? Most likely)
– $2071 american dollars
– $114,670 mexican pesos (roughly $10,000 USD)
– 1 PC
– Communications equipment (cellular phones, nextel radios and maybe some hi-end MATRAS radios)

So, is it the end for Juan? It may very well be. He’ll probably end up being sent to a maximum security prison to rot. Then one day, in the middle of the night, they’ll come for him. It’ll be military or SIEDO, and they’ll take the firmly tied-up Juan on a helicopter tour of the Pacific Ocean. And they’ll remind him of the 12 soldiers he killed in Monterrey and will be thrown out of the bird (a brand new Blackhawk, courtesy of the USA) into the open ocean, never to be seen, or heard of, or remembered… Erased. Like the “desaparecidos” (the disappeared ones) during the Guerra Sucia (Dirty War) of the 70s against communist revolutionaries. But now, instead of calling them guerrilleros, they call them narcos. The “desaparecidos” of the war against drug cartels. Amen.

Pancho Montana is an eXiled Special Mexican War on Drugs Correspondent. You can reach him at montana [at]

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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Add your own

  • 1. AE  |  August 14th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Hey don’t worry if no one reads your column. No one reads anything for the most part.

    I look forward the cartel dispatch each week. Keep it up. Don’t get bored. Don’t get shot.

  • 2. five to one  |  August 14th, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    i read it

    sounds like gangwar land down there

  • 3. Robert Hodge  |  August 14th, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Hey Pancho,

    Sometimes your columns are difficult to comment on. But I do look forward to reading them.

  • 4. whaaat  |  August 15th, 2009 at 4:33 am

    Hey, I like reading your columns too. Please keep the stories coming, you’ve got a level-headed angle on things that’s hard to find elsewhere.

  • 5. EyesWideOpen  |  August 15th, 2009 at 5:30 am

    this is the first of your columns that I’ve read. It will not be the last. And I will tell my friends.

    Keep writing, please!

  • 6. J Dubb  |  August 15th, 2009 at 10:09 am

    The beginning of this column reads just like a Jim Anchower article from the Onion.

    “Hola, amigos. How’s it going with you? I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya.”

  • 7. Eye  |  August 15th, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I also read every column from Pancho. It’s an interesting perspective of the “Mexican Drug War”, and more accurate than the habitual shit that spits the television…

    Saludos desde España.

  • 8. Thuggin  |  August 15th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    this is some of the greatest writing I’ve read. your comparing the 70s “counter culture” to the zetas is interesting and thought provoking as fuck. and you’re probably high when you wrote it… all hail to pancho the great!

  • 9. mx?  |  August 15th, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    the zetas are more like the death squads you invented during your central american adventures, the counterculture reference refers more to the wide acceptance and/or tolerance of the community, but the narcos have no interest in replacing the state.

    Why? so we can convert to a true, fully-fledged narco-state and give the Americans a reason to invade AGAIN? NO, Thank you very mucho but no, but we would like our land back seeing as you stole it and all, or at least give us some casinos like you did with the indians, motherfuckers! native-americans I mean.
    Or is the drug trade our “indian casinos”? hmm, maybe…

  • 10. Cuppy  |  August 15th, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Hey do you know if the cartels have any internships open. I can help them make powder instead of tar heroin. I’m sure they already know how but I wonder why they don’t do it? anyone know?

  • 11. Jimbo  |  August 16th, 2009 at 4:46 am

    The American people must like being Mexico’s bitch. They don’t want to elect some officials who will really enforce the border and keep all that ugliness and craziness down south then they must just like the abuse. It’s just like an S&M homosexual relationship and white American trash like being the bottom.

  • 12. aleke  |  August 16th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I don’t usually comment, but I damn well make sure to read your columns. Keep writing! Maybe find some speed, it seems to do a load of good for the Exile.

  • 13. Gautam  |  August 17th, 2009 at 12:52 am

    I love the photograph on page 2 – BATISTA!

  • 14. Johan  |  August 17th, 2009 at 1:08 am

    I too always look forward to your column. Thanks for the writing.

  • 15. mx?  |  August 17th, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Hey Eye, who has presence in España, Golfo o Sinaloa? or do “they outsource” to local gangs?

  • 16. mx?  |  August 17th, 2009 at 7:15 am

    Well cuppy you could always start as a sicario and work your way up, I hear there are a lot of vacant spots in Cd.Juarez/El Paso, with the thousands death last year in the city alone and all.

    Hey, You know Im jokin around, right?, DONT GO TO CHIHUAHA, I say again, DO-NOT-GO-TO-CHI-HUA-HUA, that place is a fucking warzone, specially the border.

  • 17. badnewswade  |  August 17th, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    The Google of organised crime… Like it!

    Keep ’em coming, dude!

  • 18. Sender  |  August 18th, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Interesting war. As such it is for control of territory and it involves a multiple tier liquid alliances stance. As the attrition rate is getting high, even for Narco Standards it can be seen that truces have been signed amongst the most significant players. The army walking into one of Chapo’s 2.4 km2 compound is one of those interesting moments where one of the most firm alliances of this war has been weakened. The government actually touching Chapo’s interests??? well, maybe not. Nobody was captured there so who knows what really happened. Maybe since satellites could see the little city in the sirra churning hundreds of kilos of crystal meth a day it became too embarrasing…
    Calderón’s adventure begins now when there are no true victories to claim. Drugs, any kind, can be had in the street at any time so here’s when the paradox of irregular wars begins to bite: Defining victory; Mission creep in an age of reduced budgets; water rationing in México city; no border to run to (nobody’s hiring up north) colapsing oil exports (That last one is the most frightening of all and it is not a scenario, It’s a solid bet for end of 2010). Calderón used to boast he enjoyed exercizing power…
    It’s pretty certain he isn’t so comfy now, confronting the possibility that there will be a very hostile takeover of the presidency at his mandate’s end…

  • 19. Jyp  |  August 23rd, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Hey Ponch, this is great shit, man. Fits right in here, on the best fucking mag in America. All you guys, you rock.

  • 20. Noah  |  August 24th, 2009 at 6:18 am

    keep it up

    — Faithful Reader

  • 21. mx?  |  August 25th, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    hey sender you make some very good points.
    Well see what happens in 2012 or maybe in 2010 for the celebration of the hundred years of la revolucion with the threaths of an awakening guerrilla in…you guessed it, the state of Guerrero. Its in the name, I guess.

  • 22. Antonio Garcia  |  October 25th, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Thank goodness I’m out of jail now since they took that picture of me and my freinds

  • 23. EL Compa Sicario  |  November 6th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    vete a la verga puro sinaloa compa
    compa r-r6 te vo a matar

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