Breakaway Zetas Form New ‘Zeta Blood’ Cartel: Report

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Mexican officials have identified three new criminal groups which splintered off from the Zetas, Sinaloa and Gulf Cartels, according to a report which cites unidentified sources from the National Security Cabinet.

Mexican newspaper La Jornada reports that the three newly identified groups are considered the most significant new threats in central and northern Mexico.

The groups include Sangre Z (Sangre Zeta, or Zeta Blood), a faction of the Zetas that rebelled against leader Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, alias “Z-40.” The faction was reportedly created by “Z-50,” an alias associated with Ivan Velazquez Caballero, alias “El Taliban,” who was arrested in September 2012. El Taliban is thought to have split from the Zetas after accusing Z-40 of betraying other members of the organization.

Another group reportedly identified by the National Security Cabinet is the Gulf New Generation (Golfo Nueva Generacion), formerly part of the Gulf Cartel. It is active in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.

The Gulf Cartel has previously struggled with infighting between two enforcer groups, the Metros and the Rojos, in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. The cartel suffered another heavy blow with the arrest of its top leader, Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, alias “El Coss,” in September 2012.

The final group, the Corona (the Crown), is made up of operatives once loyal to Sinaloa Cartel ally Ignacio Coronel Villareal, who was killed by the military in 2010. The Corona is active in several municipalities in Jalisco state and appear to be dedicated to fighting another local criminal group, the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG).

The La Jornada report adds that the federal government estimates that there are currently 70 criminal organizations active in Mexico.

InSight Crime Analysis

All three splinter groups appear to have emerged after their “mother” cartel suffered a significant blow, usually the death or the arrest of a leader. The proliferation of such splinter groups is considered the most significant driving force behind Mexico’s ongoing violence.

As these new groups face internal upheavals of their own, it is likely that violence will continue at a high level in states like Tamaulipas and Jalisco. In one indication of future uncertainty, the founder of the Corona organization, Coronel’s nephew, was recently arrested, raising the question of who will assume control of the group.

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