Crime and Violence

Narcobanner announces alleged alliance between Los Zetas and Gulf Cartel

The narcobanner (narcomanta) hung alleging a truce between Los Zetas and Gulf Cartel. Photo: Valor por Tamaulipas.
The narcobanner (narcomanta) hung alleging a truce between Los Zetas and Gulf Cartel. Photo: Valor por Tamaulipas.

11/27/14 (written by rorosco) — Just two months after a story by Reforma reported on the proposed alliance among several top Mexican cartels, a new message by Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo, CDG) was released that now announces an additional alliance between the two. Proceso reported that the two groups have indeed ceased hostilities with each other, and published a joint message on a narcomanta (narco-banner) to the public recently acknowledging that truce in mid-November. The message stated that the groups are collaborating, and that they would purge elements in their ranks that commit crimes against the general public. It also stated that their illicit activities of kidnappings, extortions, and homicide would end—although several factions within the groups deny it—, allowing them to refocus on their original narcotrafficking buisness model. According to 20 Minutos, CDG leader Juan Reyes Mejía González, also known as R-1, stated that, “We have never been more united and we want peace for Tamaulipas.”

The alleged truce and reunification of Los Zetas and Gulf Cartel coincides with the release of Rogelio González Pizaña, also known as “El Kelin” or “Zeta-2.” El Kelin was the last leader of the Zetas in the ‘Old Guard’ when the CDG and Los Zetas were originally united before the latter splintered off. El Kelin was in the process of serving a 16-year prison sentence when he was released by the Mexican courts. There is no confirmation that he has had any contact with Los Zetas since his release and there is no indication that the alleged reunification between Los Zetas and CDG is due to his release from prison.

Meanwhile, the reports that broke back in September speculated that four organized crime groups (OCGs) were collaborating as a result of several years of being the target of continued government pressure. These groups (Los Zetas, Juárez Cartel, Beltrán Leyva Organization, and Jalisco New Generation Cartel), as well as other prominent Mexican cartels, have arguably been weakened by the government’s takedown of cartel leadership, along with continued blows to mid- and lower-level command. In 2014 alone, for example, eight of the 14 top organized-crime targets identified in the ongoing Tamaulipas Security Strategy have been arrested, including three regional leaders from Los Zetas—one of whom, Mario Alberto Arce Moreno, was detained on August 31—and a regional leader from the Gulf Cartel. Within just the first four months of the year, the government arrested Mexico’s most wanted man, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera of the Sinaloa Cartel; arrested the Beltrán Leyva Organization’s second-in-command, Arnoldo Villa Sánchez; and arrested or killed three of the four leaders of the Knights Templar Organization (Caballeros Templarios, KTO), leaving only Servando “La Tuta” Gómez Martínez in command of the KTO.

With such an ever-changing and dynamic organized crime power structure, rumors and allegations of inter-cartel alliances emerging, like that between the Zetas and Gulf Cartel, continue to surface.


Barajas, Abel. “Detecta Gobierno cártel de cárteles.” Reforma. August 29, 2014.

“Reports indicate that four OCGs are forming a ‘cartel of cartels’ alliance.” Justice in Mexico. September 7, 2014.

Martinez, Chivis. “Rumors of CDG Los Rojos and Zetas Alliance.” Borderland Beat. November 10, 2014.

“Facciones del Cártel del Golfo y “Los Zetas” buscan aliarse para poner fin a agresiones contra la población.” Processo. November 11, 2014.

“El Cártel del Golfo y Zetas podrían aliarse para acabar con las agresiones a la población.” 20Minutos. November 21, 2014.

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