By Mario Andrade
July 8, 2011
This article was released by Deadline Live on July 6th.
Last Sunday, one of the original seven members of Los Zetas, Jesús Enrique Rejón Aguilar, aka El Mamito, was captured in Mexico. Rejón Aguilar was also known as Zeta 7.
He helped the then Gulf Drug Cartel leader Osiel Cardenas recruit the original Mexican special forces soldiers trained at Fort Benning, Georgia to become the most dangerous criminal organization in Mexico.
In an edited interview with Mexican Federal Police (in Spanish and now posted at YouTube), Rejón Aguilar reveals some interesting information about the origins of Los Zetas, where they get their weapons, and where they buy their drug shipments.
Rejón Aguilar probably knows he’s going to be murdered in prison, so he appears to be speaking the truth, perhaps in order to reach a deal with Mexican authorities so they can provide him witness protection.
Los Zetas are the biggest obstacle for the Mexican narco-state. They are their biggest and most dangerous competitors. In the interview Rejón Aguilar reveals that Los Zetas do not trust the Colombians, so they purchase the drug shipments (mostly cocaine) from the Guatemalans.
They know the Colombians are infiltrated by CIA and DEA, so they wait to buy the cocaine using the Guatemalans as decoys to avoid being traced.
Another interesting revelation made by Rejón Aguilar is that Los Zetas have operatives in the U.S. who have purchased (at least in the past) firearms and other weapons from different suppliers including from the ‘U.S. Government itself.’
Last March, the Mexican military raided a Zeta camp at Falcon Lake, where they seized several anti-aircraft shoulder missiles and other weapons.
The following is the (edited) interview transcript translated to English:
Interrogator: What is your name?
Rejón Aguilar: Jesús Enrique Rejón Aguilar, aka El Mamito o El Caballero.
Interrogator: What is your date of birth, where are you from and how old are you?
Rejón Aguilar: June 9th, 1976. I’m 35 years old, and I’m from Sabancuy, Campeche.
Interrogator: What do you do for a living?
Rejón Aguilar: Drug trafficking.
Interrogator: For which organization?
Rejón Aguilar: Los Zetas.
Interrogator: How did you join this organization, and when?
Rejón Aguilar: After I deserted from the army, in 1999, I went to Reynosa and I met (Arturo Guzman) Decena, aka. Zeta 1.
Interrogator: Who created Los Zetas?
Rejón Aguilar: It was Osiel (Cardenas), through Zeta 1.
Interrogator: When they were originally created, how many members were there?
Rejón Aguilar: At first we were seven. Then they brought seven more and added to the original fourteen members.
Interrogator: Were you one of the founders?
Rejón Aguilar: Yes.
Interrogator: Which (rank) number were you?
Rejón Aguilar: Zeta 7.
Interrogator: What happened after Osiel was captured?
Rejón Aguilar: When Osiel was captured, what happened later was that Jorge Costilla Sanchez took control of the organization.
Interrogator: What happened when Los Zetas separated from the Gulf Drug cartel?
Rejón Aguilar: They (the Gulf Cartel) began to do business with La Familia Michoacana, El Mayo Zambada (member of the Sinaloa Cartel, who’s son, Vicente Zambada is a DEA operative, according to court documents from his trial in Chicago), with el Chapo Guzman (leader of the Sinaloa Cartel), and people from Jalisco. They created their alliance, and when we broke away, they were already organized and began to kill our people. That’s when the organization was split in two: Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel.
Interrogator: And this is when the separation began between Gulf and Zetas?
Rejón Aguilar: That’s when the separation began.
Interrogator: Are you basically at war with everyone?
Rejón Aguilar: They, the Gulf, created an alliance, and we’re at war with El Mayo, El Chapo, La Familia Michoana, and Jalisco. We’re at war with all of them.
Interrogator: And you know La Familia is from Michoacan, El Chango Mendez (leader of La Familia who was discovered to be distributing weapons purchased from the U.S. BATF) went to Aguascalientes to dialog with Los Zetas, was he asking you for protection?
Rejón Aguilar: He was trying to reach out to us.
Rejón Aguilar: To dialog because they killed all his people and he wanted our support.
Interrogator: Would that have been possible?
Rejón Aguilar: In my opinion, who ever betrays you once, can betray you again, so it wouldn’t have been a good idea. But I don’t know what the commanders would think about that.
Interrogator: And La Tuta (member of La Familia and founder of the Knights Templar)? Is there a relation between him and Los Zetas?
Rejón Aguilar: No. His organization is with the Gulf, so he’s our enemy.
Interrogator: That relationship between La Tuta, La Familia Michoacana and the Knights Templar with the Gulf makes them your enemies?
Rejón Aguilar: Yes, because they’re killing our people and we’re trying to stop them.
Interrogator: With respect to the relationship between Arturo Beltran (former partner of DEA Operative Edgar ‘Barbie’ Valdez who was betrayed and killed by the military) and La Familia, then Beltran falls, then el Chayo falls, later el Chango, what do you think happened in Michoacan?
Rejón Aguilar: Michoacan collapsed because in essence, they didn’t keep their word. There was never a deal reached with them. In fact, when Arturo went down, there was a cease-fire, but they (La Familia) broke it, and they went to war against Arturo and sought refuge with el Valencia.
Interrogator: So after that, everyone started to break away and work for themselves?
Rejón Aguilar: Yes. That’s when the war started. By that time, we were already working for ourselves.
Interrogator: How did you all begin to work independently?
Rejón Aguilar: Since we no longer had ties with anybody, we began to bring the material (the drugs) ourselves.
Interrogator: How do you obtain the drugs? Which Colombian cartel do you work with?
Rejón Aguilar: I do not know. That’s handled by different personnel. But it has always been brought through Guatemala because the Colombians are not trustworthy.
Interrogator: They bring it from somewhere else?
Rejón Aguilar: From Guatemala. It can be bought from Colombia, Panama, or Guatemala. We buy it from Guatemala.
Interrogator: And where do you get your weapons?
Rejón Aguilar: From the United States. All weapons come from the U.S.
Interrogator: How are they brought here?
Rejón Aguilar: Crossing the river. We used to bring them through the bridge, but it’s become harder to do that.
Interrogator: Who purchases the weapons?
Rejón Aguilar: They are bought in the U.S. The buyers (on the U.S. side of the border) have said in the past that sometimes they would acquire them from the U.S. Government itself.
Interrogator: And nowadays, who distribute them to you?
Rejón Aguilar: It’s more difficult for us to acquire weapons nowadays, but we find ways. But it’s easier for the Gulf Cartel to bring them across the border.
Rejón Aguilar: We don’t know why, but they bring them (accross the bridge) in the trunk of their cars without being checked (by Mexican Customs). One can only think that they must have reached a deal with the (Mexican) government.
Interrogator: How often are they smuggled?
Rejón Aguilar: Today it’s more difficult so it’s more sporadic, like every month, every 20 days, or every month and a half. It’s done when ever there’s an opportunity.
Interrogator: And the drugs?
Rejón Aguilar: The drugs are handled by a group of accountants. They handle that in private. It’s compartmentalized. Only they know how and when it’s smuggled to the United States. I suppose, with the way that things are right now, they probably smuggle the drug shipments every two or three months.
Interrogator: How are the drug shipments smuggled to the U.S.?
Rejón Aguilar: They bring it to the U.S. through Laredo, but that’s done by a compartmentalized group handled by the accountants. They are responsible for all that.
Interrogator: Let’s talk about San Luis Potosi, do you remember the attack on the U.S. ICE agents?
Rejón Aguilar: Yes. They (Los Zetas) were travelling in a caravan of bullet-proof vehicles. They mistook them for other people and cut them off.
Interrogator: What’s happening in Tamaulipas?
Rejón Aguilar: In Tamaulipas, there’s a war because of the separation of the cartels. But we’re on hold because there is too much government (troops) presence.
Interrogator: Tell me about the armored (monster) vehicles. How were they made? How many of these vehicles were under your command?
Rejón Aguilar: Three… five at one time.
Interrogator: And out of these five vehicles, what type were they?
Rejón Aguilar: They were armored trucks typically known as monsters.
Interrogator: Were you ever prepared for being captured?
Rejón Aguilar: One always knows that sooner or later, we will be captured.
Interrogator: Is there someone you would like to ask for forgiveness?
Rejón Aguilar: Like how?
Interrogator: Yes. Like for your actions, or for disappointing somebody, like your children or your family?
Rejón Aguilar: Yes. To my mother, because since all of this happened, I haven’t seen her for 17 years.
Interrogator: And knowing that you haven’t seen your mother and she’s still alive, how do you feel?
Rejón Aguilar: Well, it’s hard. It’s cruel but oh well…