"Today, Los Zetas are not what they used to be. The fragmentation of the Zetas has been enormous. The Zetas Old School and the Southeast Cartel are now the most important factions of the Zetas. It's hard to identify, due to this severe fragmentation, whether or not some elements of these groups were even part of the original Zetas."
"It’s difficult to link them to the personnel of the initial members because most of them are dead or in jail now." - Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera
Lazcano was placed as third in command in Los Zetas and after the famous capture of Rogelio González Pizaña in 2004, he became the commander. Under the leadership of Lazcano, Los Zetas recruited more people into the organization, most of them were former soldiers of the Mexican military. Lazcano instilled "military culture" in his squadron due to his military background. They were professionally trained using real military tactics and later used in criminal activities. This made Los Zetas one of the deadliest Cartels in Mexico alongside with the famous Sinaloa Cartel. Lazcano was famous for his brutality, massive violence and torture methods. "La Paleta" ( The Popsicle ) is torture method that was invented by Lazcano. Victims were tied to objects and stripped naked while getting beaten with a board to death.
( Los Zetas members with tortured victim ) - LiveLeak
Los Zetas infighting
2010 - year when Los Zetas started to slowly crumble into pieces. Miguel Treviño Morales was one of the leaders in Los Zetas along with Lazcano himself and Eduardo Manzanares. Miguel had the power and respect to do anything. He used them to get himself the loyalty and respect of many people in Los Zetas and eventually they stopped paying loyalty to Lazcano. The rumors started appearing, about Miguel removing Lazcano from leadership, in mid-2012, when public banners and music videos about betrayal between the two leaders were published. After the death of Lazcano it was confirmed that the leaders kept alliance with each other. Regardless their relationship, Lazcano was killed by Mexican Navy soldiers. However, many think it was inside job made by Miguel. Shortly after, Omar Treviño Morales, one of the main leaders along with Miguel Treviño Morales was arrested in 2015. Due the arrest of Omar, Los Zetas fragmented and got at the weakest point that we see today. Most of the original top brass of Los Zetas either vanished, went to prison or died during the infighting.
( A timeline of the Zetas’ )
Cartel Del Suroeste
Eduardo Manzanares - one of few who made out alive during the Los Zetas infights between leaders. Before the Zetas fragmentation, Eduardo was third in command under Lazcano leadership. He took the opportunity, while others were fighting, and settled himself in Los Santos, Paleto Bay with all his contacts and established a new cell of Los Zetas, Cartel Del Suroeste. Eduardo continued his operations in Paleto under new Los Zetas leader, Miguel Treviño Morales for quite a while. After the arrest of Omar Treviño Morales, which caused the famous fragmentation of Zetas, Eduardo pushed Cartel Del Suroeste for independence with the help of his people and succeeded, making Cartel Del Suroeste independent.
Today, Eduardo Manzanares is considered one of successor of the notorious Los Zetas leader, Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano. Eduardo managed to keep low profile as he was establishing his organization in the US while the media was focused on the Los Zetas infights and their mass murders. Cartel Del Suroeste is currently running in Los Santos county, Paleto bay. Organization is known for their activity such as extortion, murder for hire, drug and human trafficking, arms dealing. Apart from the activities, Eduardo seeks to continue the culture he lived in and spread it across USA.
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