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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. (more…)

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Posted: September 30th, 2011

The eXiled’s special Drug War Correspondent

MONTERREY, NUEVO LEÓN–I just learned that a friend of mine got his human rights violated by the Mexican army, when he was grabbed off the street by a couple of soldiers, thrown into some dirty room, tied to a chair, stripped of his clothes and interrogated with the help of a friendly blowtorch. The soldiers waved the flame close enough to his naked torso that, by the time they were through, it looked like a blackened rack of BBQed ribs. All that was missing was the BBQ sauce. (more…)

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Posted: May 18th, 2011

dead ice agent mexico

The eXiled’s special Drug War Correspondent

MONTERREY, NUEVO LEÓN–While meeting Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon at the White House today, Barack Obama is expected to discuss the idea of letting armed US agents operate on Mexican territory. You know, to help us deal with our deadly drug violence. Boy oh boy do we Mexicans feel safe now!

I wonder if the idea to put US troops on Mexican soil has anything to with a recent trip by a few ICE agents into Northern Mexico that ended with one dead, one injured and one SUV turned to swiss cheese?


Posted: March 3rd, 2011


This brutal video, which just came out, pretty much speaks for itself…that is, if you can understand Spanish. If not, I’ll explain it to you so you understand what’s going on. It was filmed in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, and it shows various Gulf Cartel sicarios (assassins) posing with two decapitated Zetas who were supposedly part of cell run by a guy called  “The Guide.” In the video, not only do they issue some pretty gruesome threats against two powerful leaders of the Zetas–Miguel Treviño (aka “Z-40”) and Heriberto Lazcano (aka “Z-3”)–but, well, it’s also kind of funny. (more…)

Posted: February 14th, 2011

zeta allende 21JAN2011

The eXiled’s special Drug War Correspondent

MONTERREY, NUEVO LEÓN–Here we go again, a new year and a fresh new wave of narco-war porn to go along with it.

If you’ve been paying close attention to the drug war in Monterrey (and if you’re reading this you must have) you will have noticed that the new year has only meant more violence, more drugs and more black SUVs shooting it out in the streets, 3-sided full-bore firefights between rival narco gangs and the army, pretty much like a Michael Bay movie.

Life in Monterrey right now is like living in the set of Bad Boys 2. Non-stop car-chases and multiple shootouts, but no point to it, no reason for the apparently  random, senseless violence. Shit, MTV should make a reality show based on Monterrey or even better, a “Tampico Shores” show, only in this version we get to watch the entire cast having their bodies dissolved in acid.

That’s what it looks like from here, anyway. But I´ve come to figuring out how to follow this mess and make some sense of the violence. (more…)

Posted: February 1st, 2011

The Z is for Zeta

The “Z” is for “Zetas”

It’s been a long, long time since my last article, but believe me it’s not because there hasn’t been any news. If anything, it’s because too much has been happening too fast to really explain the situation―even by Mexico’s Drug War standards, the news here is a fast-moving target and getting faster―and bloodier―by the day. I haven’t been able to finish a fucking paragraph without some new and bigger development changing the game.

If you’ve been paying attention to Monterrey’s drug wars (that’s my beat), then you probably heard about how there are roadblocks all over the city, and how there’s a kind of civil war going on, pitting the Gulf Cartel against their former armed wing, Los Zetas. And while it’s true that this mostly accounts for all the recent carnage, to understand the recent dark turn of events, you have to backtrack a bit. (more…)

Posted: November 1st, 2010


This afternoon the bullets were once again flying over my city, as Mexican Army soldiers captured the JEFE DE PLAZA of the Zetas in Monterrey Héctor Luna “El Tori” (short for Hector), along with other collaborators in an operation in the city’s northeastern sector. (more…)

Posted: June 9th, 2010