Jun 13, 2012 | 11:00 GMT

9 mins read

Mexico Security Memo: Body Dumps in Sinaloa and Tamaulipas

Mexico Security Memo

Ciudad Mante

Fourteen dismembered bodies were dumped with a narcomanta June 7 in front of city hall in Ciudad Mante, Tamaulipas state. While authorities did not reveal the contents of the narcomanta, social media outlets reported it was directed toward "Z-40," which presumably refers to top Zetas leader Miguel Trevino.

Ciudad Mante is a small town about 135 kilometers (85 miles) south of the Tamaulipas state capital of Ciudad Victoria. The town is located on Highway 85, a significant drug trafficking corridor terminating at the strategic Zetas plaza of Nuevo Laredo on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Los Zetas have come under attack on their own turf in the past in several cities along the trafficking corridors leading to Nuevo Laredo. Such incursions occurred in Veracruz, Ciudad Victoria and Monterrey even before the March 25 announcement — issued by narcomanta and body display — that the Sinaloa Federation was challenging Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo. The incident in Ciudad Mante is probably part of this ongoing nationwide conflict between Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Federation and their respective allies. 


Authorities in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, on June 5 discovered the remains of seven dismembered bodies in 13 black bags on a sidewalk in a residential area. Though the bodies wore police uniforms, authorities said the victims were not police officers. An accompanying narcomanta addressed to Mexican President Felipe Calderon attacked Sinaloa state authorities, including its governor, for colluding with the Sinaloa Federation. Flyers dropped May 31 over Culiacan by unidentified aircraft similarly denounced Sinaloa state authorities for colluding with the Sinaloa Federation, accusing them of permitting the murder of a Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO) member in prison.

Many media outlets have attributed the June 5 body dump to Los Zetas given the content of the narcomanta. While Los Zetas very well could have been involved, remnants of the BLO would have at least assisted. Historically, the BLO has been much more active in Sinaloa state than its ally Los Zetas. The BLO split into several groups after the death of its leader, Marcos Arturo Beltran Leyva. The BLO's successor groups still operate throughout Sinaloa, especially in the state's northern half. Some of these splinter groups, including Los Mazatlecos and the Cartel Pacifico Sur, apparently still cooperate in Sinaloa.

Mexico Weekly Map June 13, 2012

These remnants have fought the Sinaloa Federation in several areas in northern Sinaloa and in the state capital, Culiacan, ever since the Beltran Leyva brothers split with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera in 2008. Zeta supplies and gunmen have allowed the BLO splinter groups to engage in high-profile conflicts with the Sinaloa Federation and with Mexican authorities, including the five-day conflict between the BLO, the military and the Sinaloa Federation in the mountains surrounding Choix. 

By allying with BLO remnants, Los Zetas have been able to mount proxy attacks on Sinaloa Federation operations in the latter's own stronghold as part of the nationwide conflict between Mexico's two dominant transnational criminal organizations. Whether the Culiacan and Ciudad Mante body dumps represent a tit-for-tat exchange as part of this conflict remains unclear, but it is certainly plausible.

June 5

  • Soldiers arrested two minors in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero state, for distributing the autobiography of former La Familia Michoacana leader Nazario Moreno. Approximately 500 copies of the book were seized.
  • Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a ministerial police officer in Poblado Cinco, Sinaloa state.

June 6

  • In two operations, Federal Police detained seven members of Los Zetas in Linares, Nuevo Leon state. Those arrested included the Zeta plaza boss of Linares, Miguel Angel Martinez Fernandez, aka "La Manzana." Police also seized a truck, a tactical vest, ten balaclavas, communications equipment, 22 grenade launchers and a torture table.
  • Police discovered the headless body of an unidentified man at an undisclosed location on Highway 15 in Sinaloa state. A sign near the victim read, "Keep sending us these so we don't get bored."
  • Police in Altamirano, Guerrero state found the body of a local man in an open field. The victim had been shot and was wearing a dress. A message threatening several other people was found near the body.
  • Soldiers in Tuzantla, Michoacan state, arrested five suspected gunmen carrying 20 kilograms of marijuana in a truck.
  • Soldiers on the San Luis Rio Colorado-Golfo de Santa Clara highway in Sonora state arrested a man transporting 2.3 tons of marijuana.
  • Unidentified attackers decapitated a man in Zorcua, Guerrero state at kilometer 82 of the Zihuatanejo-Lazaro Cardenas highway.
  • Unidentified gunmen fired at least 40 bullets and threw a grenade at the federal police headquarters in Torreon, Coahuila state. No injuries were reported.
  • Gunmen burned cars at a Renault dealership and a Volkswagen dealership 200 meters from each other in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas state.
  • Unidentified individuals placed 15 dismembered bodies in front of city hall in Ciudad Mante, Tamaulipas state along with a message addressed to "Z-40," presumably referring to Miguel Trevino.

June 7

  • Federal police arrested 12 suspected members of the Knights Templar in Cuernavaca, Morelos state, believed responsible for the kidnapping of a woman in Temixco. The kidnappers previously held other victims at a house in the Plan de Ayala neighborhood.
  • Gunmen shot and killed the regional attorney general for Acapulco, Guerrero state, outside her home in Acapulco.
  • A grenade injured seven people at La Flecha Bar in Amecameca, Mexico state. The grenade apparently detonated in the bathroom of the bar, though it is unclear whether it was placed there or thrown from outside.
  • A decapitated man was found in Tlacojalpan, Veracruz state. The man's hands had been nearly severed.
  • Mexican authorities discovered a weapons cache hidden in bushes in La Huacana, Michoacan state. Authorities seized two Barrett .50 caliber rifles with 433 rounds, 490 7.62x39 rounds, and 500 .223 rounds.
  • The Mexican navy detained Fernando Herrera Zurita aka "El Orejon," an alleged financial operator and drug-and-weapons distributor for Los Zetas, along Federal Highway 140 between Veracruz and Xalapa. Authorities seized a side arm, four hand grenades, 73 bags of marijuana, a 40 mm grenade launcher, seven 40 mm grenades, 10 magazines, and 722 rounds of 7.62x39 ammunition. According to authorities, Herrera admitted to coordinating drug shipments from Guatemala to Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon state.
  • Unidentified gunmen in Tlalpan, Mexico City, opened fire on five people travelling in a vehicle. Two of the people died at the scene.
  • Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a truck driver in Tanhuato, Michoacan state. Authorities discovered a strangled truck driver in the same area June 6.

June 8

  • A cell of Sinaloa Cartel gunmen presumed to be working for Israel Zambada was arrested in Tijuana, Baja California state. Police freed two kidnapping victims held by the cell. The gunmen claimed to be receiving protection from the State Investigative Agency.
  • A man shot and killed a police officer in Culiacan, Sinaloa state. The police officer had just exited an official vehicle in front of his residence when the gunman shot him in the back.
  • An ammonia tank exploded in a methamphetamine lab in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, killing one lab worker and wounding three others.
  • A narcomanta threatening the Morelos state prison director was found in the Ruben Jaramillo neighborhood of Temixco, Morales state. The narcomanta claimed that the director had allowed another cartel to smuggle items into the prisons and threatened to kill him or his guards if he continued doing so.
  • Authorities discovered the bodies of an executed couple in a cornfield in Villa de Ahome, Sinaloa state
  • Authorities discovered the bodies of three men in a taxi along Vicente Guerrero Boulevard in Acapulco, Guerrero state.
  • Authorities discovered two heads in Ticuman, Morelos state along with a narcomessage attributing the killings to a criminal group. According to unspecified sources, the message threatened the police chief of Zacatepec, Morelos state.
  • Soldiers in Tecamac, Mexico state arrested Raul Diaz Roman, aka "Comandante Hierro," the man believed to be behind the 2011 killing of Mexican poet Javier Sicilia's son.

June 9

  • A drug dealer died in a firefight with police in Chavez Talamantes, Sinaloa state.
  • A gunman shot and killed a man outside of a gas station in Chihuahua, Chihuahua state.
  • A SWAT officer died in Saltillo, Coahuila state, after a car chase and subsequent firefight. The gunmen traveled in a white truck and a taxi during the incident.
  • Mexican authorities announced the arrest of Gulf Cartel hit man Leo Ismael "El Flaco" Ordaz Sauceda for the murder of four individuals in San Nicolas de los Garza, Nuevo Leon state. According to authorities, Ordaz Sauceda confessed to the killings and revealed the identities of the other Gulf Cartel members involved.
  • Police discovered decomposing human remains in seven black bags along the Sayula-San Gabriel highway near Sayula, Jalisco state.
  • Authorities discovered the body of an executed male on the shore of the San Lorenzo canal in Culiacan, Sinaloa state. According to unofficial reports, the victim may have been a hit man.
  • Gunmen in a truck shot and killed a bicyclist on a street in Chihuahua, Chihuahua state.
  • Gunmen opened fire on two men sitting outside a residence in Colonia Luis Echeverria in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, killing one and wounding the other.

June 10

  • Authorities detained four members of La Barredora on the Xaltianguis highway in Guerrero state. The arrestees included Jose Luis Garcia, aka "El Camote," a financial operator and plaza boss in San Marcos, Guerrero state.
  • Police arrested three police officers in Iburtide, Nuevo Leon state, connected to Los Zetas in the wake of the June 6 arrest of seven Los Zetas members in Linares, Nuevo Leon state. Iburtide police chief Luis Alberto Cueva Plazas, who police accuse of links to Los Zetas, fled before the arrests.
  • Unidentified attackers killed two men at an intersection in the Portal del Roble neighborhood of Chihuahua, Chihuahua state. 

June 11

  • Unidentified gunmen shot and killed Margarito Genchi Casiano, a Guerrero state legislative candidate, as he arrived at his home in Llano Grande, Guerrero state. Genchi Casiano was running on the Party of the Democratic Revolution ticket for a seat representing Costa Chica, Guerrero state.
  • Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a local businessman in Uruapan, Michoacan state. The killing occurred outside the victim's home in the Lomas del Valle neighborhood.
  • Unidentified gunmen arrived at a funeral home during a murder victim's wake, killing a female mourner and setting her body on fire with gasoline. The attackers then threw Molotov cocktails at the building, injuring five children identified as the murder victim's children and nephews.

Editor's Note: Beginning next week, Stratfor will modify the Mexico Security Memo to better suit our general subscribers' interests by focusing on the broader trends in Mexico's cartel war. If you are interested in a daily intelligence summary of cartel-related developments and critical real-time alerts, please contact us at [email protected] to learn about a new fee-based custom product.

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