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Sep-30-2011 03:55printcommentsVideo

Mata Zetas - Has Los Zetas Cartel Met its Own Murderous Match?

Five masked men; one says they're called the "Mata Zetas," or Zeta Killers, an "extermination" force.

Zeta Killers? Heroes or villains?
These are the men from the recently released video.
Zeta Killers? Heroes or villains?

(SALEM, Ore.) - A group in Mexico says they are putting an end to the terror streak inflicted on the population by 'Los Zetas' cartel by giving them a dose of their own medicine. The vigilantism is getting mixed reviews and the Mexican government rejects it.

It also doesn't help matters if the group calling itself, "Mata Zetas," or Zetas Killers - is actually linked to the rival Sinaloa cartel, as many agencies are reporting, and their possible connection to the torture/murders of 35 people including women and children with ties to the Zeta cartel raises more questions. It all leads back to the old saying: you can't wash away blood with more blood. reports that no group has formally claimed responsibility for that video. However the language and the style of the group's declaration were similar to a video that was released in July. In that clip, about two dozen armed men claimed to be "Mata Zetas" from the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel, or New Generation cartel, a group that is linked to the Sinaloa cartel.

Government Siding with Sinaloa Cartel?

The 'Zeta Killers' reportedly (there is a language barrier and a reliance on translation at hand) say they admire the work of the Mexican authorities in fighting cartels, yet this seems out of place if the group has its own affiliation with the Sinaloa cartel.

It also seems indicative of some type of pandering to the government, which could be indicative of cooperation with government agencies, of which there are many, on both sides of the border.

There are allegations that the Mexican Navy and Marines, which have taken a strong position in fighting narco crime, are actually backing the Sinaloa cartel that is a rival to Los Zetas.

There are local media reports of banners appearing in Vera Cruz over the weekend, that accused Mexico's Navy of favoring the Sinaloa cartel, and also having kidnapped people in the local area. The government did not comment on that allegation.

This activity if true, would possibly give credence to similar reports about U.S. influence and support of particular 'selected' cartels, and narco traffickers having received funding and weapons supplies. Now that we know without any doubt that the C.I.A. is operating in Mexico, the scenario seems all the more possible.

Bloody Butchery - Los Zetas Cartel

For more than three years now, Los Zetas cartel, which was a band of elite Mexican Army special forces prior to turning to crime, has been relentlessly terrorizing the citizens of Mexico; leaving it its wake a bloody trail of murder and torture, extortion and drug running. The original members of Los Zetas are all dead now, but that hasn't slowed the murderous tactics of this cartel.

The Zetas are known for murdering rivals, police, politicians, activists for women, and those who dare to reveal information. Their goal has been to convince people that they are so insanely brutally cruel, that nobody is safe unless they fully cooperate with this relentless band of bloody bandits.

Zetas Bury Little Girl Alive

Robert 'Tosh' Plumlee tells a story that is completely heartbreaking - one that stands out even among the roughly 40,000 Murder victims from Mexico's terrible drug war declared by President Calderon. He sent pictures a few months ago that were taken at a grave site of who turned out to be, a nine-year old girl.

I knew that this site was one of many that Robert had documented and dispatched reports over. I know there are many such sites that he has photographed and documented, that officials have not responded to investigate. It is one thing when a site is reported by someone passing by, something easily explained, but in Tosh Plumlee's case we are talking about a longtime C.I.A. contract pilot reporting visible human remains and he officially notes the locations by setting his GPS (Global Positioning System) device in the picture as you see here.

What we see in these images are grave photos of a possible skull and a buried forearm, a little girl's bloodstained jacket... and an arm bone which is too large to be from an animal, about the size of a small child's.

Tosh says at minimum, each time a discovery is made, the graves are GPS'ed, logged and tagged with brass marker numbers. In this case the remains were sent to New Mexico State University for examination. That is how and why we came to know what we do about this girl's death. We know almost nothing about her life, I hope her nine brief years were good.

Tosh says what they do know, is that the girl and her grandmother were traveling from Deming New Mexico south on the highway to see the girl's grandfather in Mexico. Along with the girl and her grandma was a two-year old Labador dog that was the little girl's best friend and her teddy bear.

"We found out that her older brother had been dealing guns for a rival cartel in Palomas and the Los Zetas received information about this, and knew that he had been supplying another cartel". Tosh believes it was for this reason, that the Zetas apparently pulled over the grandmother's car on the highway.

They speculate, or are aware of Los Zetas' habits well enough, to conclude that the girl's grandmother likely was forced to watch as they buried her little granddaughter without having killed her first, along with her small dog.

This grave was fully excavated and that is how Tosh and the others working the site had this grim information. It gets worse. Tosh said, "They found her grandmother a mile away, she had been decapitated".

It is mind numbing and it defies all logic. Surely one can understand that cartels kill to protect their interests, and that rival's families are targeted, I suppose that is par for the course with the more vicious cartels, but to bury a little girl alive? And why decapitate her grandmother a mile away?

Tosh answered, "It is because the Zeta boys want to instill fear, they want obeisance, so they put the fear of God into these terrified people, and they respond accordingly".

Heroic Claims and Dead, Tortured Children?

The heroic claims now being posted in online videos by "Mata Zetas" - or the group believed to be the 'Zeta Killers', may be linked to another incredible case of butchery; where the bound, semi-nude bodies of 35 people who bore signs of torture, were dumped on a freeway in Mexico's Gulf state of Veracruz.

The dead, including 12 women and two minors, had connections to the Zetas cartel.

Mata Zetas did not, contrary to media reports, claim to have killed the 35 people associated with Los Zetas. They say their attacks are motivated by the Zeta gang's history of kidnappings and extortion and that their own philosophy bars them from committing similar acts. In the video the spokesman claimed, "We are the armed wing of the people, and for the people. We are anonymous warriors, with faces, but proudly Mexican."

Killing women and minors, after torturing them, even if they were with the Zetas, is totally wrong under any conditions. There is no proof that this group committed these murders, but if they did, then they would be no better than those they oppose. I hope they didn't, and really I can't imagine the bloodbath this will lead to.

On one hand an uprising against Los Zetas is well-deserved and long overdue, however I can't imagine it taking place without terrible collateral damage. The 35 people dumped onto the freeway whose bodies showed signs of torture place that act of vigilantism, if that is what it is, at the bottom of the barrel of anything resembling rational, legal human treatment. I hope we learn that this group was not ultimately responsible for it.


Tim King: Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

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ramsey October 9, 2011 5:11 pm (Pacific time)

well if the government cant stop the cartels and innocent people are dying... eventually people are going to have enough of this... If one of my family members died by one of these cartels organization and the government is not doing anything to stop it, you are going to start seeing vigilantes groups pop out... Just as long that they kept to their word and kill only cartel members and not innocent people... something has to be done, enough is enough!!! Let's just hope that they are doing this for the good of the people!!

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