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Zeta Founding Member, “Z9″ Believed Killed in Reynosa Shootout

Sunday, May 11, 2014 9:02
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A Friday shootout in Reynosa may have claimed the life of an original member of Los Zetas, a group of paramilitary deserters that grew into one of Mexico’s largest and most feared drug cartels.
Authorities in both the U.S. and Mexico believe that Galindo “El Mellado” or “Z-9” Mellado Cruz died Friday morning in a hail of gunfire during a raid at his hideout in the Las Fuentes neighborhood.
It remains unclear why Tamaulipas officials have not made any public announcements about Mellado’s apparent death.
But a U.S. law enforcement official and Tamaulipas law enforcement official, both not authorized to speak publicly, said Saturday they have received information that points to the slaying of the former Zeta.
While not a household name in regards to popular drug lords, Mellado had been a key target of U.S. law enforcement agencies in recent years for his role as a leading figure within the Gulf Cartel — while at the same time keeping a low profile, the U.S. official said.
On Friday evening, the Tamaulipas government issued out a news release briefly describing a firefight where a gunman and a Mexican soldier died, confirming the deaths of four other gunmen in another firefight.
The news release doesn’t identify those killed, one of whom is believed to be Galindo, the Tamaulipas official said.
A photograph provided to The Monitor by the Tamaulipas law enforcement official shows a bloodied disfigured Mellado lying next to a wall.
Mexican soldiers “had gone out to get him, but his people put up a fight and things got bad very, very quickly,” the official said in Spanish.
While Galindo and his men fought with authorities, Gulf Cartel gunmen set off a series of blockades and threw road spikes throughout the city’s main avenues in order to slow down military reinforcements, he said.
The only known photograph of Mellado — apart from the bloodied body photographed Friday — comes from his days in the Mexican army, showing a young man with thick eyebrows, large cheeks and slicked back hair, wearing a white shirt and black coat.
Other than the small black-and-white photograph, little was known about Mellado’s current appearance.
According to information released by the Mexican army, Mellado signed up for military service Sept. 1, 1992 and requested his discharge May 1, 1999, which was granted.
The U.S. official said after leaving the military, Mellado joined the Gulf Cartel as one of the first members of a new enforcement wing that would evolve into the Zetas.
Originally made up of former military and federal police, the Zetas earned a name for their fighting skill and their ruthlessness, carrying out various executions in Mexico and South Texas. In early 2010, the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas split up, setting off a bloody war that has lasted for more than four years.
According to the U.S. law enforcement official, during that split, Mellado Cruz sided with the Gulf Cartel managed to avoid public attention. Still, he has been a key figure in controlling the area just south of Starr County, commonly known as La Ribereña.
Reynosa in recent days has seen the return of regular firefights between warring factions from the Gulf Cartel, who are vying for control of the city.
Tamaulipas government figures show the recent firefights in Reynosa have claimed 23 lives, including two uninvolved civilians, two federal police officers, one soldier and 18 gunmen.
As a result of the perceived lack of security in Reynosa due to the constant firefights, on Saturday — which is Mother’s Day in Mexico — the border city’s residents took to social media to voice their discontent by sending out expletive-laden messages to the accounts of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Tamaulipas Governor Egidio Torre Cantu.
The messages blamed the government officials for the widespread violence in Tamaulipas.

Sourced from The Monitor, thank you to readers for the heads up


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