Mexican troops arrested the Los Zetas cartel commander who allegedly ordered the murder and decapitation of 49 people last week.
Daniel de Jesus Elizondo Ramirez, known as El Loco, was captured after a showdown with security forces outside Monterrey. Elizondo, reportedly the local leader of Los Zetas in Cadereyta, threw grenades and fired at troops on Friday before he was eventually brought in. The arrest was made public on Sunday, and Elizondo was paraded in front of the media on Monday, a common facet of President Felipe Calderon's war on drugs.
Police also engaged in a shootout with Zetas members in the state of Zacatecas on Saturday afternoon, killing at least six. Local police seized six assault rifles, along with ammunition and three vehicles, according to the Borderland Beat blog.
Brig. Gen. Edgar Luis Villegas said on Monday that the final order to kill the 43 men and six women, whose bodies were found dumped on the side of a highway in Cadereyta in the Nuevo Leon state on May 12, was given by Zetas kingpin Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano as part of an ongoing turf war with the rival Gulf cartel.
Last week, Los Zetas denied its involvement in the killings, hanging narco mantas banners from several highway bridges around Nuevo Leon and Zacatecas.
The Zetas group distance ourselves (from responsibility) from the 49 dismembered bodies in Nuevo Leon, and we ask that before blaming us, check real good, INVESTIGATE. Do your job like you are supposed to, the cartel said in one of the public notes.
Police first fingered Los Zetas because the words 100% Z were spray-painted on a white stone arch where the 49 bodies were discovered. Los Zetas often leave notes signed with the letter Z at crime scenes.
Just because somebody goes and dumps a truck full of bodies and leave a message (supposedly) from zetas, you are not suppose to continue with your job (?), the latest Zetas banner asked of police investigators. “Gentlemen don't be fools, those who did this want to make us responsible ... we are not responsible for the 49 deaths. We accept responsibility for the ones in Jalisco and the nine hanged in Nuevo Laredo. We accept responsibility for those and the banner in Nuevo Laredo.
Some, such as Mexico's Blog del Narco, claim that the notes were an attempt by the Zetas to pin the killings on their rivals.
This was part of a strategy to blame the actions on opposing criminal organizations ... to cause confusion among authorities and in the public opinion, Villegas said Monday.