The battle between the Zeta and Gulf drug cartels for control of the lucrative smuggling routes along the porous U.S.-Mexico border has decimated the ranks of the Zeta cartel and led its leaders to undertake a bold move to replenish their numbers. Last month’s dramatic escape from the prison at Nuevo Laredo on the Rio Grande added 153 new recruits to the battle front.
The Dec. 17 escape from Centro de Ejecución de Sentencias No. 2, known by its acronym CEDES, has been attributed to the Zetas drug gang that controls Nuevo Laredo. Among the escapees named by the Webb County Sheriff’s Office is the nephew of a high-ranking Zeta and several prisoners who were accused of killing Zeta rivals who were being held at CEDES.
After a preliminary investigation by Mexican authorities, the attorney general’s office recently announced that they are bringing formal changes against 41 prison guards who are suspected of aiding the Zeta cartel in the escape.
The prison break would seem to indicate that the tide may finally be turning in the drug war along the U.S.-Mexican border. Losses have continued to mount and recruitment has dwindled to the point at which a major prison break has become a viable means of replenishing the gangs according to Grupo Savant, a leading intelligence and security firm.
Perhaps this is a sign that after years of open warfare, governmental corruption, and brutal attacks against unarmed citizens the gangs have lost their ability to recruit new members for their ongoing war. Maybe this is a positive sign.
January 2, 2011