Posted: Dec 5, 2011 10:23 AM
Updated: Dec 13, 2011 11:35 AM
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - A strong new message on the streets of Mexico looks like it's signed by one of the leaders of the Zeta cartel. It says the Zetas are stronger than the Mexican and U.S. governments and they're here to stay.
It's hard to know if this sign is really from Miguel Angel Trevino, one of the two leaders who run the Zetas. If it is, it says a lot about why they put it up. The message is addressed to the Mexican government and the federal forces. It says the Mexican military and the United States won't be able to stop the Zetas. They are in control.
The message says the proof is in Sinaloa and Guadalajara. It's signed by Trevino, one of the heads of the Zeta cartel. It's not dated, and nobody knows where in Mexico these signs are posted.
"If this is true, it means a lot. The Zetas is giving a sign to the whole nation to the federal forces," says Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor in the government department at the University of Texas at Brownsville with a specialty in Mexico and the cartels. "The Zetas have suffered a lot of losses, and there have been many actions against them."
The Mexican military hit the Zetas hard in the last several months. Two months ago, they took out the Zetas' entire communication network cell of phones, walkie talkies, Nextels in Veracruz.
The military took out another communication network in San Luis Potosi, Saltillo, Coahuila and Reynosa this week. They are vital drug trafficking routes into the United States. The military won't say if the Zetas owned the latest network.
"In these four states, the Zetas have a strong presence," says Correa-Cabrera.
The Zetas are fighting back. They mutilated and killed dozens of people in Guadalajara a few weeks ago. Guadalajara was a safe zone controlled by the Sinaloa cartel.
"This ad appeared at the same time Zetas are showing their presence in areas in areas not their areas," says Correa-Cabrera.
Correa-Cabrera says the message might be the Zetas' way of showing they are in control or it could show they are weakening and desperate to stay on top. They are still one of the most powerful cartels in the world.
Some experts say there's a possibility the Zetas didn't write this message at all. It could be one of their enemies, maybe the Gulf Cartel hoping it will incite the Mexican military to come down on the Zetas even harder.