October 2, 2011: It happened in Colombia, and it may be happening in Mexico, too. A group calling itself a people's defense organization has declared that it has taken armed action against a drug cartel. The group issued a press statement on video and claimed that it had killed 49 members of Los Zetas, in and around the city of Veracruz (Veracruz State). Hence the group’s name: the Zeta Killers (Mata Zetas). The group said that it respects the Mexican military but understands that the military is handcuffed by the law. The extortion, kidnapping, and murders committed by Zetas gang members are so out of control someone had to do something. Mexican officials called the group a criminal gang. It is portraying itself, however, as a paramilitary organization. This happened in Colombia when right-wing paramilitaries began to take action against left-wing guerrilla groups. The truth was, many right and left wing groups proved to have drug cartel connections. Mexican officials point out that some towns have legitimate people's defense organizations, particularly in rural areas where there are few policemen. The difference between these organizations and a paramilitary group (or gang) like the Zeta Killers is that government authorities know about the local defense and security units, and know who is in them.
October 1, 2011: The governor of Texas, while campaigning for president, said that in cooperation with the Mexican government, he would consider using U.S. military forces to beef-up border security and fight drug cartels.
September 30, 2011: Mexican security forces announced the arrest of a top Los Zetas gunman. Angel Mora (nom de guerre is Commander Devil) operated out of the city of Veracruz. Mora is officially charged with the murder of three Mexican marines. He may be involved in at least two-dozen other murders in the Veracruz area.
September 29, 2011: Federal police arrested a member of Los Zetas who allegedly help plan the August 25 terror attack on a casino in Monterrey (Nuevo Leon State). The arrest took place in the city of Guadalajara (Jalisco State, western Mexico).
September 22, 2011: An American criminal from El Paso, Texas, pleaded guilty to involvement in the murder of a U.S. consular official in Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua State, across the border from El Paso).
September 25, 2011: A headless body found in the city of Nuevo Laredo (Tamaulipas State) was identified as that of a local newspaper editor. Drug cartels have threatened and killed numerous journalists in Mexico. The threats and murders are designed to silence journalists who report on the cartels’ criminal activities.
September 21, 2011: Marcelo Ebrard, the mayor of Mexico City, said he intends to seek the presidential nomination of the left-wing Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) in the 2012 election.
September 20, 2011: Suspected Sinaloa cartel gunmen abandoned two vehicles in a suburb of Veracruz. The vehicles contained 35 dead bodies. Police reported many of the dead had been tortured and executed. Many of the dead may be members of Los Zetas cartel.
September 19, 2011: Prisoners escaped from three jails in Veracruz State (eastern Mexico). Officials reported a total of 32 prisoners broke out of the jails, although 14 were quickly recaptured. Mexican troops continued to search for the remaining escapees. The escape appeared to be coordinated.
September 18, 2011: Police in Guerrero State discovered the badly decomposed bodies of Mexican congressman Moises Villanueva and his driver. The men had been missing since September 4. Villaneuva is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
September 13, 2011: Two bodies, both showing signs of torture, were found hanging from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo. Messages attached to the bodies warned people to avoid using Twitter and other social media to report on drug cartel activities. There was also a warning to local bloggers to avoid posting on two websites that discuss drug cartels.
September 9, 2011: The federal government is asking the governor of Nuevo Leon state and the mayor of the city of Monterrey to temporarily step down from their offices as federal police investigate the August 25 terror attack on a casino in the city, which left 52 people dead.
The Mexican Navy reported that naval forces (likely marines) seized a sophisticated communications center operated by Los Zetas. The center was in Veracruz State. The center included mobile radio transmitters and encryption devices. The center linked Los Zetas operations in ten cities and towns in Veracruz State.
September 8, 2011: Police arrested a U.S. citizen accused of smuggling grenade parts and weapons into Mexico. Authorities said the suspect was likely working for the Sinaloa cartel.