Monday, April 27, 2009

Mexico Nabs Los Zetas Hitman Linked To Kidnapping of Anti-Kidnap Expert

Via Yahoo News! (AP) -

Police on Saturday said they arrested a Mexican drug cartel hitman wanted in connection with the abduction of a US anti-kidnap expert in December and the death of at least five people.

German Torres Jimenez, who allegedly works for the powerful Gulf drug cartel, was detained after a shootout in the eastern city of Veracruz, Mexico's Public Safety Secretariat (SSP) said in a statement.

Two other suspected hitmen and two women were also arrested when police raided a home in the Poza Rica neighborhood of Veracruz.

Torres is allegedly one of the founders of Los Zetas, the armed wing of the Gulf cartel. Los Zetas reportedly took control of the organization when cartel boss Osiel Cardenas was arrested, then extradited to the United States in 2005.

Torres is suspected of involvement in the December 2008 kidnapping of Felix Batista, a US security consultant and ex-US army officer who was abducted in the northern city of Saltillo where he was giving security seminars to local businessmen.

Batista, who worked for a the security consulting firm Asi Global, is still missing and it is unknown if his kidnappers have made any ransom demands.

Torres also allegedly participated in at least five execution-style killings of hitmen from rival drug cartels, police said.

The Los Zetas group includes former members of elite Mexican military forces that the Gulf cartel hired in the 1990s.

The Gulf cartel is one of several illegal organizations currently battling for control of the lucrative drug smuggling routes to the United States, in a rising tide of bloodshed that has killed some 7,000 people in 16 months.

The Mexican government has deployed more than 36,000 soldiers, especially in northern cities bordering the United States, to help local police stem the violence.


The Los Zetas were originally members of the Mexican Army’s elite Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFE), trained in locating and apprehending drug cartel members. It is believed that they were originally trained at the military School of the Americas in the United States.

The group is extremely well armed, they wear body armor and some wear Kevlar ballistic helmets; their arsenal includes AR-15 and AK-47 rifles, MP5 submachine guns, 50 cal. machine guns, grenade launchers, ground-to-air missiles, dynamite and helicopters.[5] They are known to operate with modern wiretapping equipment and purchase the cellular phone codes of their intended targets directly from the phone companies and providers.

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