MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas — A key leader within the criminal structure of the cartel known as Los Zetas has been arrested in this border city. The cartel leader has previously been linked to Mexican politicians in both federal and state government.
Known as “El Arqui” or “El Guason”, Daniel Lara Salazar has a long history within Los Zetas where he most recently was the regional leader of the small towns around Ciudad Victoria, the state capital of Tamaulipas. The region under his control has been the scene of a fierce war for control of drugs territories that has led to countless murders.
Lara Salazar is considered to be one of the 60 priority targets for the Mexican government. Such list contains the top drug lords wanted by the Mexican government for their role in the generation of violence in the country.
In Lara Salazar’s case, the cartel lieutenant was part of Los Zetas and when the criminal organization split he followed the members of the Vieja Escuela Zeta faction. The split began at the end of 2014 when Los Zetas began to experience friction between the relatives of Miguel Angel “El 40” Treviño Morales and the cartel members who were former military and remained loyal to the late Heriberto “Z-3 or Verdugo” Lazcano Lazcano. From the original group of Los Zeta which was made up of military and police officers at the end of the 1990’s, the majority was either arrested or killed. When the jailed cartel members finished their sentence and left prison, they began to fight with the Treviño Morales family who are not considered to be original Zetas.
The group loyal to Lazcano accused the Treviño Morales family of having betrayed their leader and at the same time, they demanded the return of the belongings that at one time they had when they were in charge of the organization.
During that split, Lara Salazar decided to follow the former military officers and at the same time sought the help of the Gulf Cartel to fight the Treviño Morales family who took up the name Cartel Del Noreste (CDN). By the end of 2014, Lara Salazar was named as one of the leaders of the Vieja Escuela Zetas to operate in the capital of Tamaulipas in a cell that became known as “Grupo Bravo” in order to fight the CDN.
In his cell, Lara Salazar worked with the now-jailed Juan Pablo “Oaxaco” Perez Garcia, Javier “Shaggy” or Bravo 1” Morales Valencia, who died on October 2016 in Nuevo Leon; and with Jose Roberto “La Barbie” or “Bravo 7” Stolberg who remains at large. Lara Salazar was outed in a series of narco-banners for his family ties with politicians who allegedly protected him.
Between 2014 and 2016, “Grupo Bravo” carried out a series of cartel executions that took the lives of entire families including children, adults, and elders. The cartel claimed the victims were relatives of their rivals.
By mid-2017, amid much cartel violence and tension, Los Zetas Vieja Escuela and the Gulf Cartel sent Lara Salazar as a regional boss to the towns of Guemez, Padilla, Santa Engracia, El Barretal and San Carlos. The towns were known for the farming export of quality citric fruits. During his time in those areas, Lara Salazar was behind a series of executions and shootouts with law enforcement that made him a priority target.
Editor’s Note: Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican States of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Nuevo León 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 “Francisco Morales” and “J.A. Espinoza” from Tamaulipas.