Mexican media and Stratfor intelligence agency are reporting the Zetas are becoming an independent drug cartel. The new cartel is an alliance between Heriberto Lazcano, believed to be leader of the Zetas, and Arturo Beltran-Levya, a former commander of the Sinaloa drug cartel. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency says the Zetas can “beat any cartel currently known and become a real national security problem for Mexico and the United States.”
As you may know, for the past several years the Zetas, former Mexican Special Forces turned Gulf Cartel mercenaries, have been wreaking havoc along the US Mexican border. As Msthirteen.com predicted, the Zetas have finally realized that they need not subordinate themselves to a less competent organization like the Gulf Cartel. This is definitely bad news for the US, specifically the border communities of Laredo and Brownsville Texas. As reported by Msthirteen.com in the past, members of MS-13 are sometimes hired as low level operatives within the Zetas. The increasing scope of operations the Zetas will now be undertaking may necessitate an increase in the recruitment of Central American street gang members. Military prowess doesn’t necessarily always transfer into business success, so I would expect the Zetas to have the same types of purely business issues as other cartels. However, there sophisticated special operations background will certainly help. It remains to be seen whether this sophistication will trickle down into their newly developing distribution networks.