Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican States of Tamaulipas and Coahuila to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities. The writers would face certain death at the hands of the various cartels that operate in those areas including the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas if a pseudonym were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish. This article was written by “A.C. Del Angel” from Reynosa and “J.A. Espinoza from Matamoros.
MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas — Seeking to distance themselves from the wave of kidnappings that has tormented this city, heavily armed cartel assassins claiming to be part of the Gulf Cartel questioned a cell of alleged kidnappers about their activities and then shot them while their cameras were rolling.
Breitbart Texas was one of the few outlets that was able to obtain a leaked copy of the video from Mexican law enforcement officials. In the video, the Gulf Cartel photographed a large banner where the criminal organization claims to distance themselves from extortion and kidnappings. The drug cartel further issues a threat to kidnappers, rapists, extortionist and other who hurt the public, claiming that they will meet a similar fate.
“Those who mess with the people mess with me. To us what is most important is your well being and that of your family,” the message printed in Spanish on the banner revealed.
The video shows a group of men kneeling, one of them is asked by the gunmen for the name of the members of the group and about their activities.
The man who claims to be Silverio Eduardo Armendariz Aguilar, tells the gunmen that he along with his team acted under the orders of a man named Pancho in the kidnapping of a man. Armendariz said that they had initially asked for $1 million Pesos which is about $60,000 (US). The victim’s family had only been able to make two payments of less than $20,000 pesos or a total of close to $2,500 (US), but the man named Pancho had kept the money. The kidnapping group then used trash bags to choke the man and had him buried behind a house in the Palmares neighborhood. The kidnapper said he wanted to destroy the evidence and to be able to keep extorting the family.
Once the questioning is over, the video cuts to a series of photographs that show the five kidnappers dead from apparent gunshots to the head. The dead kidnappers are shown in the photographs just below the banner that had been placed there by the cartel gunmen.
The banner was signed by the Vieja Escuela of Senor Cortez making reference to an old way of operating when drug cartels focused only on the smuggling of narcotics and stayed out of criminal activity that targeted average civilians.
U.S. law enforcement intelligence files provided to Breitbart Texas revealed that Senor Cortez or Comandante Cortez is an alias used by long time Gulf Cartel member Sergio Ortegon Silva. Known throughout the criminal underworld as a tough no-nonsense enforcer, Ortegon Silva became famous for leading a strike team of Gulf Cartel gunmen at one time known as Grupo Ceros. Hiding in the rural areas between Matamoros and Reynosa, Cortez and his heavily armed assassins earned a reputation for their ruthlessness.
As Breitbart Texas previously reported, the border city of Matamoros had become ground zero for a wave of kidnappings and extortions at the hands of the late plaza boss in Matamoros for the Gulf Cartel Odon Azua “Gordo Cherry’s” Cruces. Under his command, Matamoros saw a shift in tactics where the criminal organization focused on the ransom kidnapping and extortion of innocent civilians without any ties to organized crime.
It remains unclear if the video taken by the Gulf Cartel points to a change in tactics in an effort to focus solely on drug trafficking or if the move is simply an effort to win back sympathy from the public.