Friday, August 16, 2019

Borderland Beat Book Review by Robert J Bunker

SWJ El Centro Book Review - Borderland Beat: Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War
Book review by Robert J. Bunker
The Borderland Beat book focuses on more organized narco violence taking place in Mexico during the 2008 through 2013 era before the later cartel fragmentation due to kingpin targeting—when Alex Marentes was more directly involved with the blog. It draws its material via the site’s blog posts and the author’s professional (rather than academic) directed research. The book's cover is Mexican skull art based with elements of violence—bullet rounds, revolvers, barbed wire, pills, fire, and brass knuckles—combined together to create a narcocultura inspired skull.
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Mexico’s drug war diary by By Conor Fay

Mexico’s Dug War Diary by By Conor Fay

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Massacre of Allende

Excerpts from Borderland Beat book - Chapter - The Massacre of Allende

On the afternoon of March 18, 2011, a caravan of 40 SUVs with dozens of gunmen on board belonging to Los Zetas entered the town of Allende, Coahuila, Mexico. They blocked the roads to the entrance of the town. They started tearing down doors from homes, killing people and making them disappear. Men, elderly, women, children, it did not matter to them, they were all the same.

"Things began happening in the evening. Armed men began arriving. They were going house to house, looking for the people who had done them wrong. At 11 at night there was no traffic on the streets. There was no movement of any kind," said a food stand vendor.

That day they drove in to town, they started shooting at homes and abducting anyone seen in public that included four older women and two children. The next day they went to the house of a person with the name of Garza, where they abducted a man, his wife and their young son.

The Zetas put them in a police car of the Allende police department and transported them to one of the ranches where they were holding people from during the weekend. When night came, it was the end for them. They were taken out to be executed.

The Zeta attack provided evidence of collusion with the local authorities. The 20 municipal police officers of Allende were instructed "not go out on patrol, not to respond to calls for help and to detain anyone with the name of Garza," so they could be turned over to Los Zetas.

The hitmen went to the mayor's office and demanded for the home addresses from the property tax records of all the properties of the traitors and their families. The mayor of Allende, Sergio Lozano, and his municipal police cooperated with Los Zetas, to include saying nothing about the disappearances and taking no action to stop it.

The Zetas destroyed and burned everything in their path; houses, ranches, businesses. For Allende and its residents, it was converted into an apocalypse scene, all in the name of hatred and revenge.
They killed and killed, and like cattle they loaded the bodies in the back of trucks.

A few miles outside of town, the gunmen descended on several neighboring ranches along a dimly lit two-lane highway. The properties belonged to one of Allende’s oldest clans, the Garzas. The family mostly raised livestock and did odd contracting jobs, including coal mining. But according to family members, some of them also worked for the cartel.

Now those connections were proving to be deadly. Among those the Zetas suspected of being a snitch was José Luis Garza, a relatively low-level cartel operative, whose father, Luis, owned one of the ranches. It was payday, and several workers had gone to the ranch to pick up their money. When the gunmen showed up, they rounded up everyone they could find and took them hostage. After nightfall, flames began rising from one of the ranch’s large cinder-block storage sheds. The Zetas had begun burning the bodies of some of those they’d killed.

That weekend of March 18-20, 2011, Los Zetas attacked 32 houses and seven ranches in Allende, in order to take revenge on Alfonso Cuéllar, Héctor Moreno and José Luis Garza. What they could, they demolished with heavy machinery.

On Saturday, March 19, the gunmen summoned several heavy-equipment operators and ordered them to tear down dozens of houses and businesses across the region. Many of the properties were in busy, well-to-do neighborhoods within sight or earshot of not only passersby but also of government offices, police stations and military outposts. The gunmen invited townspeople to take whatever they wanted, triggering a free-for-all of looting.

Allende was transformed in to a post-apocalyptic scene, full of destruction and deserted.