The Northeast Cartel, the criminal group behind the shooting near the U.S. border

Villa Unión is located 50 km away from the U.S. border

The Northeast Cartel, the criminal group behind the shooting near the U.S. border
Weapons seized in an operation against the Zetas drug cartel in San Buenaventura, Coahuila – Photo: Jorge Dan López/REUTERS
English 05/12/2019 16:30 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City EFE Actualizada 16:30

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The Northeast Cartel (CDN), created by former members of the bloody Zetas Cartel, was behind Saturday's attack in Villa Unión, in the northern state of Coahuila.

This new Mexican drug cartel is looking to control Coahuila once again.

One of the bloodiest shootings of the year took place in the small town of Villa Unión. In the end, 17 criminals, two civilians, and four police officers died. Security forces also rescued several people who were kidnapped by cartel members. It was later revealed that two Texan hunters were kidnapped and later released by the gunmen.

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But who is behind the Northeast Cartel?

According to security expert Alejandro Hope, this cartel is led by Juan Gerardo Treviño Chávez, known as “Huevo.” His uncle, Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, known as the "Z40,” who is the former leader of Los Zetas cartel.

Archives from the Defense Ministry (Sedena) explain that Los Zetas was created in 1997, when the Mexican and U.S. governments agreed to include military officers in the fight against drug trafficking in the border between both countries, in the state of Tamaulipas.

For this purpose, the Sedena deployed several officials with special training to work as civilians in the Federal Judicial Police (PJF). Back then, this organization was in charge of the fight against drug trafficking but it was full of corruption.

The team was named “Zeta,” and it was led by Arturo Guzmán Decena. A few months into the operation, the soldiers betrayed the army and joined the Gulf Cartel (CDN) as the drug lord's bodyguards.

This way, drug lord Osiel Cárdenas Guillén used the group named Los Zetas as an armed branch in order to conquer locations outside Tamaulipas, such as Piedras Negras, in Coahuila.

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In 2010. the former militaries leave the CDG and form their own cartel.

After Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales was arrested. His brother Omar Treviño, known as “Z42,” took over but he was arrested in March 2015. Francisco "Kiko" Treviño Chávez then took the lead.

Treviño renamed cartel as the “Northeast Cartel” and led the criminal organization until September 2016, when he was arrested by the DEA in Houston.

Furthermore, after internal turmoil, the Z40's took the lead but was then arrested, so now Juan Gerardo Treviño Chávez, "Huevo,” is leading the drug cartel.

Military reports indicate that the CDN mainly operates in Tamaulipas, near the U.S. border and one of the most violent states in Mexico. It also operated in Nuevo León, where Monterrey, one of the most affluent cities, is located.

In Tamaulipas, this cartel controls Nuevo Ladero and is disputing the control of other areas with the Gulf Cartel, the Old School Zetas ( Zetas Vieja Escuela), and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

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What is the “Inferno Troop”?

Treviño Chávez created a new armed branch formed by teenagers and youths and named it the “Inferno Troop.” They are trying to regain control of the areas the cartel used to control and have been quite active in recent months.

On November 15, they engaged in a shooting with soldiers in Nuevo Laredo, launched blockades, and torched cars. One soldier and six criminals died.

A few days ago, they left several bags containing human remains and messages for rival criminal groups.

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What is the CDN doing in Coahuila?

In recent months, Coahuila had been relatively calm, in contrast with the previous year and with other northern states. Nevertheless, the recent massacre in Villa Unión put Coahuila at the center stage once again.

Governor Miguel Riquelme announced the arrest of at least 10 criminals but authorities are still looking for some of the members of the Inferno Troop who managed to escape.

The violent incident took place in a town located 50 kilometers away from the U.S. border.

According to Alejandro Hope, this is “a strategic area traversed by rural roads” that take you to the U.S. border and to Tamaulipas.

After the incident in Villa Unión, Miguel Riquelme said that the government will deploy the National Guard, the army, and state and local police.

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