US Arrests 17 Suspected Members of Mexican Zetas Cartel Cell Operating in Texas

Border View of Neuvo Laredo
Breitbart Texas/Brandon Darby

Federal agents arrested 17 suspected members of a Mexican Zetas cartel cell operating in Texas. Members of the cell moved massive quantities of of drugs from the Texas border city of Laredo to Dallas, Texas. The U.S. federal agencies involved in the task force ranged from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service, all the way to the U.S. Border Patrol. Eleven accused members of the group were arrested in Laredo and two were arrested near Dallas. Four others were already in custody on other charges, information released to Breitbart Texas by the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed.

The charges against them come from a federal indictment that a grand jury handed down earlier this month under seal and it was partially unsealed following the arrests.

The group, which is led by 43-year-old Erasmo Trejo Nava, is accused of multiple drug conspiracy and money laundering charges starting on June 2011.

While the court records on the new charges are still not available, according to court records from a previous charge on Trejo Nava, he would own properties near the Rio Grande which were used as stash houses from cartel mules that would bring ton quantities of marijuana. As Breitbart Texas previously reported, the area just south of the Rio Grande has little to offer as far as physical barriers making it very easy for Zeta cartel mules to get their drugs into the American side.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Trejo Nava’s group moved those large quantities of narcotics to Dallas and then in return moved large quantities of bulk cash from Dallas to Laredo and then over the river into the Zetas-controlled Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo.

Nuevo Laredo is considered by Mexican officials to be one of the main strongholds of the Zetas cartel, a ruthless criminal organization that, in addition to drug trafficking, is known for its ultra-violent executions that include beheadings, dissolving victims’ bodies in barrels of acid, and skinning the faces off of enemies.

A federal agent who works under the umbrella of Customs and Border Protection spoke with Breitbart Texas on the condition of anonymity. The agent stated, “Due to the region involved, any large narcotics trafficking cell is going to be Los Zetas. They control the region with an iron fist. The refusal on the part of the federal government to name Los Zetas in their press releases on these matters is akin to the Obama administration refusing to name radical Islam in terrorist acts or identify the beheaded Egyptians as Christians. This cell was undoubtedly Los Zetas, just as any large narcotics ring in the RGV Sector is undoubtedly the Gulf cartel, and any large trafficking ring in the Tucson sector is undoubtedly the Sinaloa Federation.” The agent continued, “If we continue refusing to identify who we are fighting, how can we ever possibly win?”

The suspected Zetas are:

Erasmo Trejo Nava, 43, Laredo, Texas

Gerardo Moreno Recio, 46, Laredo Texas

-Jaime Enrique Montalvo Ruiz, 44, Laredo Texas

-Felipe Gonzalez Flores, 46, Laredo Texas

-Jose Angel Trejo 42, Laredo Texas

-Salvador Saldana Medrano, 36, Laredo Texas

-Baltazar Ibarra Cardona, 54 Laredo Texas

-Ricardo Ramirez, 33, Laredo Texas

-Raquel Margarita Ramos Jimenez, 43, Laredo Texas

-Leslie Bernice Trejo, 22, Laredo Texas

-Victor Hugo Trejo Nava, 41, Nuevo Laredo Tamaulipas

-Joshua Sanchez, 32, Nuevo Laredo Tamaulipas

-Erika Alvarez, 38, Nuevo Laredo Tamaulipas

-Arturo Lozano, 47, Grand Prairies Texas

-Leocadio Ruiz, 47, Cedar Hill Texas

Juan Manuel Vargas Aguilar 45, Mexico

Mario Alberto Rodriguez, 28, Mexico

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