EXCLUSIVE: Los Zetas Lieutenant ‘Suicided’ in Border State Prison in Mexico

Tamaulipas Prison
Breitbart Texas / Cartel Chronicles

Authorities in Mexico are trying to cover up the killing of a cartel lieutenant inside a Mexican border state prison. The killing comes at a time when various drug cartels continue to operate in Tamaulipas with the complicity of government officials.

This week, jailers inside the Tamaulipas state prison in Ciudad Victoria found the body of Javier “El Jaibo” Niño Betancourt, the leader of a cell of gunmen from Los Zetas known as Los Jaibos.

Breitbart Texas obtained exclusive access to prison records revealing that guards found Niño Betancourt’s body hanging from an extension chord inside his cell while they were doing the normal roll calls. State authorities are trying to cover up the case and classify it as a suicide. However, law enforcement sources pointed to the strong possibility that the man known as El Jaibo was killed by rival cartel members with the help of corrupt authorities.

The decedent was serving a 20-year prison sentence for the killing of several victims on a rural road near the town of Hidalgo Nuevo Leon. That mass killing is linked to a long-standing turf war between Niño Betancourt and Octavio Leal Moncada — the leader of a Gulf Cartel faction that tried to pass itself off as a self-defense group called Columna Armada Pedro J. Mendez.

As Breitbart Texas reported, Moncada, who was in jail at the time, had his group help current Governor Americo Villarreal during his election campaign. Soon after taking office, Moncada had his pending cases dismissed, and he was released from prison. Breitbart Texas reported on Leal Moncada and his use in the past of explosive devices and bombs.

Before 2010, when the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas were together, Moncada and Niño Betancourt were part of the Gulf Cartel. They worked together since they both operated in the central part of Tamaulipas. However, after the two cartels split, both drug bosses had a falling out over the split of funds from the theft of fuel and the trafficking of drugs and migrants. Since then, both groups have been at war for control of the central part of Tamaulipas.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at bdarby@breitbart.com.     

“Francisco Morales” from Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project contributed to this report. 


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.