Ever since the original founders of Los Zetas were trained by US Special Forces personnel at the School of the Americas in Fort
Benning, GA, theyve been upping the ante and redefining the very model of a modern major drug cartel.
The Zetas, Mexicos notoriously brutal group of paramilitary thugs, are expanding their role as bully businessmen along the
Texas-Mexico border, branching out from traditional criminal enterprises such as extortion and drug trafficking and buying
legitimate businesses, U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials say.
The group, which authorities say operates a weapons and drug distribution hub in North Texas, now calls itself The Company and has over the past year evolved from extorting businesses to owning them outright, the officials say.
They own used-car lots on both sides of the border, restaurants, discotheques, liquor stores, and infrastructure projects said Robert Garca, a detective with the Laredo Police Department and an expert on the Zetas. [continued below]....
..... Basically, anything anywhere that moves to and from the border, or anything and anywhere they can launder large amounts of money, the Zetas have a hand in.
They even own a dog-racing track. We found connection between Hidroenergia SA and Los Zetas Cartel, energy company based in Guatemala; and led by Aurelio Austurias and Ernesto Degenhart. Hidroenergia SA, with offices in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, Panama, el Salvador, Honduras and Mexico, is a tool for the "Los Zetas Cartel" to introduce his power to the tentacle of government.
Aside from money laundering, the Zetas are seeking legitimacy from those they have terrorized over the years, using methods such as beheadings and burning rivals alive. Investigators and civic leaders say the Zetas are trying to position themselves to become movers and shakers, even political players, in communities where they have a major presence.
Soldiers and local police captured Luis Jesus Sarabia "Pepito" or "Z-44" in Garcia, a town in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, said Army spokesman Gen. Ricardo Trevilla.