NUEVO LAREDO, Tamaulipas — The day after Christmas, gunmen with the Los Zetas cartel worked out in the open with complete impunity, delivering toys to the poor communities around this city. Some local news outlets praised the bloodthirsty cartel for their giveaway, while ignoring the countless acts of violence, murder, torture, and disappearances that the criminal organizations is responsible for.
The giveaway was carried out by the Los Zetas cartel faction which has rebranded themselves as the Cartel Del Noreste (CDN). The criminal organization has been waging a fierce war for territories with their rival Zeta cartel factions called Grupo Bravo and Vieja Escuela Z. The fighting between the two organizations has resulted in almost daily kidnappings, gun battles, murders, and gory executions in Tamaulipas and other states.
Trucks loaded with toys, turkeys, ham and other food items drove through the poorest neighborhoods in this city including La Joya, El Recuerdo, and others handing out the gifts. Each basket included a Christmas card signed by the Cartel Del Noreste.
In response to the giveaway, the Tamaulipas Attorney General began an investigation into the actions of the criminal organization, state officials confirmed to Breitbart Texas. State authorities also notified their federal counterparts in order for them to carry out an investigation into the case. Part of the investigation deals with how authorities only learned about the event after local news outlets ran exclusive stories with great detail about the actions of the cartel.
The news outlets described by Mexican authorities as appearing to have inside knowledge of the giveaway include El Grafico newspaper, El Lider newspaper, the radio station Stereo 91 and the online news outlets Revista Sin Fronteras, Corporativo RadioNet and Rtnoticias.com.mx.
Breitbart Texas has learned that former Nuevo Laredo Mayor Jose Suarez Lopez is the publisher and part owner of El Grafico and El Lider in Nuevo Laredo. Suarez Lopez was the mayor of Nuevo Laredo during the same time that Tomas Yarrington served as the Tamaulipas governor. As Breitbart Texas has been reporting, Yarrington and a second former governor named Eugenio Hernandez Flores are both listed as wanted fugitives by the U.S. Department of Justice. Despite being wanted fugitives, a Breitbart Texas investigation revealed that both fugitive governors had been receiving state funded personal security details.
While Suarez Lopez is not facing charges in the U.S., he has been implicated in Mexican court records by the witness testimony of Cesar Eduardo “El Pollo” Garcia Martinez. The former cartel operative turned state’s witness claimed that Suarez Lopez would receive money from drug cartels during his term in office. Breitbart Texas has reported previously on the testimony of “El Pollo” where he has implicated mayors, governors and other public officials as having collected bribes from cartels.
As Breitbart Texas has reported in the past, Mexican drug cartels have total editorial control over news outlets not only through threats, but also through paid individuals called “links” or “enlaces”. Those individuals are connected with the criminal organization and are tasked with conveying to other beat reporters what not to publish or the appropriate spin of a story. Typically, the links are told to avoid reporting on cartel murders, gun battles, and other stories that could paint the cartel in a negative light.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.
“M.A. Navarro” from the Cartel Chronicles project contributed to this report.