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Mexico Drug War Dispatch / September 30, 2011
By Pancho Montana

The eXiled’s Special Drug War Correspondent

MONTERREY, MEXICO–This is the longest time that I’ve been AWOL from The Exiled. Sure I’ve never been perfect about delivering regular on-time dispatches, but since 2008, I’d at least file a couple of articles every month or so. And the strange thing is that every time I stop writing, or every time I forget to answer emails, everyone asks me if I’m still alive, how am I doing, how many bullet holes I’m nursing… It’s strange because things have been pretty uneventful here. People write to me as if I’m living in 1999 Kosovo, but everything is the same. And when I say “same” I mean the exactly the SAME. As in, we’re no better today than a year ago, or two years ago, or three, four, five years ago.

The only difference between now and 2006 is that every fucking bad thing that happens in the city just keeps getting worse: Rising death toll, more cars are stolen, more shootouts and attacks against the police than ever before, more kidnappings, more businesses closing.

Yep, it’s all the same.

A couple of years ago this was cool and exciting; like Scarface cranked up to eleven. But you can only take so much violence for so long. I’ve been a kind of  “drug war nerd” all this time, keep up on the stats, watching the movement of the cartels, tracking who controls the main corridors and plazas, and keeping tabs on the ever-rising body count.

Around that time Monterrey started gaining a name for itself as THE nightlife spot of Mexico. It had two main spots: Centrito, the posh location for the rich and spoiled brats in San Pedro; and Barrio Antiguo, a more universal (cheap) offering for the rest of us.

Barrio Antiguo is 16 blocks of baroque, colonial architecture, that was supposed to have been rescued economically when it became host to scores of night clubs in the area. But the only thing those nightclubs have done is destroy the cultural heritage of the buildings, annoy the people that still live around there and attract large numbers of  horny youngsters looking to drink themselves sick and take as many drugs as their bodies can take–you know, all the stuff that makes for a good weekend.

For the most part Barrio Antiguo fulfilled that role of nightspot for the lower- and middle classes. It had a little bit for everyone:  Dozens of bars subdivided into a variety of genres… You could find electronic, rock, reggeaton, rap, etc , etc. You do the math: It attracted everyone in the middle-low class demographic, appealing to all types. This area made a lot of money so naturally it attracted the kind of businessmen who let underage girls into their establishments to get wasted and black out…fine people.

But naturally this party utopia did not last long. Everything changed when the Zetas and the Sinaloa arrived in force, and the cartels brought their war to Monterrey.

The Zetas’ strategy was simple: total control, drug tienditas, halcones, estacas…in other words: the works. Everything they needed to set up a functional intelligence network and money-making operation. Logically, the spots to control in Barrio Antiguo were the clubs, so the Zetas started installing themselves in the clubs of Barrio Antiguo. By 2008 virtually every club in the 16-block radius had their bathrooms acting as full-on tienditas for the clients inside.

This would be a good thing if the drugs weren’t so fucking bad and so expensive. The Zetas are a bunch of goddamn cheap bastards, and that’s why nobody likes them. They never make an honest peso, dollar or euro. That goes for all narcos, even the “honest, drug traffic-only ” chapos, if you believe those bullshit stories. But the Zetas seemed to take the greed and cheapness to a whole new level.

That was when the narcos had the edge–but ever since 2009 and 2010, SEDENA (Army) and SEMARNAT (Navy) troops have been pouring into the city, making the sicario profession a very dangerous, and very short-lived one.

But as effective as the armed forces have been in wrestling control from the cartels, they can’t quite manage to bring back the peace the every Mexican now demands. If anything, the violence has gotten worse, with sicarios on both sides still trying to operate, only now they’re praying they don’t run into an army patrol.

For the rest of us civilians it’s not any better. We are caught in the crossfire of a very nasty clusterfuck: Caught between two warring cartels, the police corps they control, and the federal armed forces trying to take all of them down—and every one of these players is trigger happy. That is if they have triggers to fire–if you are from the police, it means you are not allowed to pack the heavy artillery, and that means you are pretty much fucked.

That’s why most people in Monterrey will tell you that they are “afraid” of the night. That’s why they don’t go to restaurants, why they avoid clubs or casinos, and why they have reverted to having house parties and reunions to stay safe.

The once mighty clubs here in Monterrey, who had asshole face-control policies when it came to who could go in, are now pretty much begging for customers. Their competitors are no longer other clubs but people’s homes.

This situation has resulted in probably 30-40% of Monterrey’s restaurants and clubs closing down in the Barrio Antiguo, mainly as a result of extortion and racketeering from organized crime groups who started charging them anywhere from 20% to 30% of their weekly profits in return for protection. More than 5,000 workers in these establishments have lost their jobs as a result.

But there is a positive angle to all this: With all the night clubs closed down, the number of drunk-driving related accidents has also taken a major dive. In May 2010 there were 89 deadly drunk-driving accidents; this past May, 2011, had only 31. But no one’s fooled into thinking this is some kind of silver lining. It only reflects how bad things have gotten in Monterrey–where no one dares have much fun unless they’re safely inside someone’s home.

Pancho Montana is the eXiled Online’s 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. Although it could be that the Zetas won’t be around for long…

Read more of his stuff…


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Add your own

  • 1. Fischbyne  |  September 30th, 2011 at 5:54 pm


    Done! Muchas gracias, ese!

  • 2. CensusLouie  |  September 30th, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    It’s really ironic how ferociously hateful the tea party crowd is towards Mexicans, yet their beliefs in extreme wealth concentration and weak government is exactly the situation Mexico is in.

    Fun anecdote: in many Latin American countries, taxis (and a lot of drivers) will blitz through urban areas at 50+ mph and ignore all stop signs/lights for fear of hijackings if they ever slow down.

  • 3. iCONOCLAST  |  September 30th, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Haven’t heard about news from that part of the world in ages!

    Listen to your friends, buddy. Stay alive!

  • 4. WeNeed  |  September 30th, 2011 at 10:16 pm



    (really though, why is the President of Mexico such an asshole about this?)

  • 5. Rehmat  |  October 1st, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    America’s ‘War on Drugs’ is as much phony as America’s ‘War on Terrorism’. The fact is, American make frofits from both drugs and terrorism. This was the main reason why the US attacked and occupied Afghanistan ten years ago.

  • 6. Scarface  |  October 1st, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    This article made my day! Welcome back Pancho!

  • 7. I am the best  |  October 1st, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    The solution is simple

    Execute everyone who does and sells drugs

    When all drug users are dead there will be a very small relapse rate

    If people are to soft too do that, then there is always the option of copying what several countries did in south east Asia, like Thailand, Vietnam etc, which is to massively increase crime time for drug users and execute top sellers

    But my way is the best, just shoot all drug users, and sellers , they are all damaged goods and it is better if they all die

  • 8. frank  |  October 1st, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Hey man I was wondering if san pedro garza garcia is safe I have some friends that live there.

  • 9. pmx?  |  October 1st, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Safe-er, but still better than the other metropol municipios.

  • 10. Rehmat  |  October 2nd, 2011 at 10:54 am

    In the UNODC World Drug Report 2011, Islamic Republic ranks first among all countries in shutting down drug routes into its territory. Tehran has spent more than $700 million to seal its 560 mile-long border with US occupied Afghanistan and prevent the transit of illicit drugs destined for European, Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries. Iran also lost 3,600 soldiers in its fight against drug trafficking.

    Australian professor Dr. Gideon Polya have posted a research article, entitled June 26: UN Anti-Drug Day proving how Anglo-American drug mafia (dominated by Russian Lizard People) has used drugs to carry-out genocide around the world. It is estimated that global opiate drug-related deaths from US restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry now total about 1 million with 200,000 such deaths in the US, 11,900 in the UK, 7,600 in Canada, 3,400 in Australia, 6,700 (Germany), 1,450 (France), 2,800 (Italy) and 680 (the Netherlands). In contrast, US Alliance military deaths in Afghanistan now total 27 (Australia), 156 (Canada), 1,637 (the US), 374 (the UK), 62 (France), 53 (Germany), 36 (Italy) and 25 (the Netherlands).

    I, Rehmat, hater of the Lizard People, follow all of your commandments, o Holy eXiled Moderator, including this one: “Thou will not useth the Holy eXiled Comment Section to promote thy shitty blog .”

  • 11. iSockpuppet  |  October 2nd, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    What a boring, uninformative comment I’m planning to write about your “dispatch.”

    Here’s what I’m going to write, give me a shout and let me know how effective it is in proving that I’m not bothered at all:

    How do stay safe by having “house parties.” What does that even mean?

    If it is so bad, why don’t you move somewhere else?

    Tell me what life is like in Queretaro? I lived there in the 80s. Is it still the same?

    You don’t make Mexico sound any more dangerous than LA.

    Drugs are a bad way of life. Why do you expect cheap prices and high quality? Drug people are scum.

    Do you not get that yet?

  • 12. CensusLouie  |  October 2nd, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I am all for #7’s totalitarian approach as long as it means Rush Limbaugh will be first against the wall.

  • 13. Jedi Mind Trick  |  October 2nd, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Are the Cartels hiring?

  • 14. Rehmat  |  October 2nd, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I, Rehmat, hater of the Lizard People, follow all of your commandments, o Holy eXiled Moderator, including this one: “Thou will not useth the Holy eXiled Comment Section to promote thy shitty blog .”

    [b]Rehmat happens to have similar feelings for the SHITTY filth like my mom[/b]

  • 15. RobertD  |  October 2nd, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    @7. Iamthebest

    Why don’t you have a look at what “tough penalties for dealers and users” has done for drug use in places like Thailand and Vietnam, numbnuts.

    Pretty much the same thing that goes on in the US and every other damn place that tries to take a hard line on drugs. Drug use stays more or less the same, you just get drastically increased rates of incarceration. The prisons get overpopulated, addicts go untreated and police spend all their time running down drug cases as opposed to tackling genuine crime.

    Yeah, let’s throw somebody in a Thai prison where they’ll be eating maggoty rice and shitting through the eye of a needle for the next 20 years, all for the “crime” of popping an energy pill. That makes a lot of fucking sense, doesn’t it?

    When will you Harry J Anslinger jockriding types wake the fuck up and realise that taking a hard line on drugs has been a complete and utter fucking failure in every country in the world for the last 100 years or so now.

    @ 11. iSockPuppet

    Why do people expect cheap prices and high quality when it comes to drugs? Duhhhhhhhh when did people ever want high prices and shitty quality for any consumer product?

  • 16. pmx?  |  October 2nd, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    @RobertD: Applause, applause! You are too fucking right, sir.

  • 17. I am The Best  |  October 3rd, 2011 at 12:52 am

    @15. RobertD

    The problem is that there is NOT a hard line in the US, there is a middle of the road line

    It is this middle in the road way that doesn’t work

    And since I am against drugs I say go all the way and kill all drugs users, ALL OF THEM!

  • 18. Rehmat  |  October 3rd, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Why don’t YOU ‘mother fucker’ have the courage to listen to simple Rehmat whine about himself in the third person and instead of improving the contents of Rehmat the Simpleton’s comments?

    I know it’s very hard for a closeted zionist like Rehmat to face the truth…

    Shalom = “What’s good for antisemitic hicks,” Sun Myung Moon.

    La, la, la, la …..

  • 19. CensusLouie  |  October 3rd, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I am the Best’s approach to crime: either you let all criminals run free or you shoot everyone. After all, once everyone is shot, wouldn’t crime disappear?

  • 20. I am the best  |  October 3rd, 2011 at 11:02 am


    Not ALL crime, but ALL Narco crime Yes

    Because it is the only option left, that will work, and is acceptable to me

    Execute all drug users and sellers, and continue to do so

    And that is how you win the war on drugs

    Victory through extermination

  • 21. Scarface  |  October 3rd, 2011 at 11:47 am

    You should give us your opinion on that nut Perry’s idea for US troops to invade Mexico….in order to help you with your drug “war” ><

  • 22. RobertD  |  October 3rd, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I’m more in favour of shooting all of the people who have NOT taken any drugs.

    While some drug users may happen to be aresholes, they are outnumbered by the non-users who happen to be areseholes.

    If our objective is to get rid of as many arseholes as possible, then you know which group we need to go after.

    We’ve tried the softly, softly approach with all these dreadlocked Bob Marley listenin’ Bong smokers sitting on blankets and asking to please not get thrown in prison for smoking a joint. IT DIDN’T FUCKIN’ WORK!

    It’s time to step up the drug war, people! ZERO TOLERANCE for non users. The next time you’re in a bar and some smug motherfucker tells you he’s never touched a drug in his life while he’s sitting there swigging from a bud lite, you need to whip out a glock and keep pulling the trigger until the clip is empty.

    We tried being reasonable. We sat politely through your after school specials. We saw Nancy Reagan’s guest appearance on Diff’rent Strokes. We put up with all your TV shows, movies, books and advertisments telling us that what we were doing was bad, and even though we knew it was a load of horseshit, we kept our mouths shut and played along.

    But you all couldn’t all just let us be, could you? It really bothered you that much that some of us were out there having a great time, enjoying the abundance of mind altering substances our planet (and friendly laboratories) bestowed upon us. Nature’s onliest gift in a world of nasty, barbaric shit.

    Well, now you done pushed us too far. You want a drug war? I say it’s on motherfuckers.

  • 23. Cum  |  October 4th, 2011 at 7:28 am

    The Zetas just lopped off another blogger’s head 🙁 .

    Also, the US is never going to take a pro-execution stance on drug users. There’s too much money to be made in the private prison industry by bolstering inmate numbers. When the prison industry can cover food and board costs and slave-capturing with taxpayer money, and then get more rich by paying the prisoners wages of a few cents per hour of labor.

    Plus, the CIA needs to make money! Drug-running helps pay the bills! It can’t all be weapons-smuggling and human trafficking ops.

  • 24. Fnord  |  October 4th, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Good to hear youre alive. I was a bit worried with the “Cartel hits bloggers” story..

  • 25. CensusLouie  |  October 4th, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Shooting bankers and billionaires who crash the world economy and ruin millions of lives: off the table.

    Shooting Henry Kissinger for war crimes: off the table.

    Shooting people for violent assault: off the table.

    Shooting people for getting high: SIGN ME UP!

    The Exiled was right. Every single conservative platform stems not from any kind of belief or solution, but from pure spite. There is NOTHING conservatives across all cultures – whether it’s the self-flagellating Shiites in the middle east or the women’s clinic bombing Christians in America – hate more than seeing other people enjoying and living for themselves. This is why ruining so many lives with the drug war is worth it to them as long as they can “get tough” on people for just getting high.

  • 26. iSockpuppet  |  October 4th, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Oh, yeah… my bad. Cuz cocaine is a consumer product like all the others. Why didn’t that occur to me? You jackass! Go suck the glass cock.

  • 27. CKSN  |  October 4th, 2011 at 3:07 pm


    Ineffectual avant-garde conservatives like Dugin and Evola might not fit that model, but that’s probably because all of the silly occult influences.

    Disregarding those people, there are obviously many hedonistic conservative degenerates, and some of the most toxic versions of American libertarianism accommodate their behavior well, at least conceptually.

    It’s a wonder that their enemies haven’t homed in on that in any broad fashion. Putin has developed a cult around the image of himself as a great athlete and outdoorsman. Seems like crude messaging to me, but it has even caused the bobos at Gawker to fall in love with him. So, it even works on people who are probably default Russophobes.

    Where are you when we need you, Teddy?

  • 28. RobertD  |  October 4th, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Well of course cocaine is a consumer product. It’s a product purchased by consumers who then uhhhh… consume it.

    The drug trade is about as pure an illustration of free market economics as exists on our planet. I mean, if you want to understand capitalism in its most raw and unrestrained form, there’s your model right there.

    Why didn’t this occur to you indeed?

  • 29. I Am The Best  |  October 5th, 2011 at 4:20 am


    This article is about Drug crime

    And my solution towards narco crime is execute all sellers and users

    Do not bring in other things to move the topic away from DRUGS

    But since you did , I personally would like the death penalty for all crimes which exceed 2 years in prison, and would like to see tax crime, and financial crimes to be treated much more harshly

    And a complete revamp of the lobbying system

    Everyone should be able to make as much money as they want legally but if you cheat, steal and bribe your way towards it then you should die 🙂

    Also I am one of few people on the planet who is actually naturally to the left, unlike most others who are just wannabes. And that is why I understand that you can not allow everything there needs to be a line drawn, and once you draw it the needs to be no half measures.

  • 30. jojo  |  October 5th, 2011 at 7:41 am

    One of the best clubs I’ve ever been to was in Monterrey (but that was back in 1998). This article saddens me because I have fond memories of the few times I visited.

  • 31. Ganryu  |  October 5th, 2011 at 11:06 am

    @23 (Mr Cum) you are spot on (no pun intended). There is too much money to be made to make the game go away. Check this out from a woman who saw the beginnings of this little racket:

  • 32. CensusLouie  |  October 5th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Well yeah, the reason these drugs aren’t going to be legalized anytime in the foreseeable future is that there’s too much money to be made by BOTH sides. Cartels, government agencies, and the prison system are making mountain fulls of cash while at the same time getting an excuse and green light to militarize the police force and crack down on the populace. It’s such an insane all around winning situation for them why on Earth would they ever give it up?

  • 33. Derp  |  October 5th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Hey, as long as we’re all promoting our shitty blogs on the Exiled comments page I’m going to promote my shitty Youtube page on here! Be sure to check it out, I got some real badass videos on there, derp derp derp!

  • 34. iSockpuppet  |  October 5th, 2011 at 6:16 pm


    You sir are an idiot. Stay away from the keyboard.

  • 35. RobertD  |  October 6th, 2011 at 2:06 am

    The above comment is brought to you by somebody who ponders such weighty questions as, “why would somebody expect cheap drugs of good quality”?

    Perhaps you also devote much attention to other such puzzling matters, like “why do men want to have sex with attractive women?” and “if our government is in debt, why can’t they just print more money”?

  • 36. Fischbyne  |  October 6th, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Perhaps “idiot” was too strong — “dolt” is a better word for an otherwise intelligent person on whom satire is lost.

  • 37. John Wayne  |  October 14th, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Damn. You spit this shit out real nice and entertaining but I know my familia in Monterrey is singing the tune differently.

    Thanks for keeping us informed.

  • 38. Dan Stafford  |  November 13th, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I agree that all bakeheads should be shot, if anything to PREVENT an authoritarian society. If you let a society’s morals decay to the point where everyone can get whatever drugs they please, totally legal (and that’s where we’re heading), the situation becomes so bad that dictators can have a launching platform to take power. Here’s an idea. Kill everyone involved with drugs and then burn them off the face of the planet. Tell me, what will we lose in doing this? Many more jobs, less crime and no annoying friends sleeping on your couch and wetting themselves because they got high.

  • 39. Tariq Hassan  |  January 24th, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I was hyped to reading something about MX in the exiled, knowing the high quality articles that appear in here, but this is a fucking joke. Not only because you live her in mty it means whatever you say is interesting, couldnt you research a little? Couldnt yoy at leaste mention the massacres and killings that destroyed the “nightlife”? or at least some of the gruesome killings that made people terrified to go out? and what the fuck are you thinking “But as effective as the armed forces have been in wrestling control from the cartels, they can’t quite manage (…)If anything, the violence has gotten worse” how are they effective if the violence has gotten worse? and how can you talk about army effectiveness without mentioning the dissapeared, human right abuses, torture and extrajudicial executions made by the army? Also barrio antiguo isnt 30-40% of clubs closing down is wrong bato, its like 80-90% in barrio antiguo. And Golfo are at war with zetas that ending parragraph is disgustingly fucking outdated… theres other shit but im to fucking tired…

  • 40. Megumi Terui  |  February 12th, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    SEMARNAT is NOT the Mexican Navy… it’s the Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat… just saying.

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