Top Los Zetas Commander Surrenders at Texas Border

Photo: Reuters

MATAMOROS, Tamaulipas—A top commander with the fearsome Los Zetas cartel who may have been trying to sneak into Texas begged authorities to help him as he surrendered in this border city.

Known as Jonathan Abbid “El Jonas” Espinoza Ayala, the man is suspected of being the second in command for Los Zetas in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas. According to information provided by the Tamaulipas government to Breitbart Texas, the arrest took place on Tuesday and that night authorities had him at Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office providing his statements. 

The arrest of the Los Zetas commander took place when Mexican Federal police officers were patrolling the areas around one of the international bridges that connects this city with Brownsville, Texas.

A man walking around the area spotted the police vehicles and tried to run away and police officers went after him. Upon seeing the cops coming chasing him the man stopped and went towards them asking for help and claiming his life was in danger. Police officers got the man into a patrol car and when they searched his name they identified him as a leading Zeta boss.

During his statements before authorities Jonas admitted to being a Zeta and stated that he fled Ciudad Victoria because his own cartel was after him.

Breitbart Texas had previously reported through the Cartel Chronicles how an internal dispute within Los Zetas in Ciudad VIctoria had resulted in a series of executions and escalating violence. Espinoza’s arrest in Matamoros is significant because this border city remains under the control of the Gulf Cartel, a criminal organization that has been at war with Los Zetas since 2010. It appears to be that Espinoza feared his own cartel more than his rivals.

The capture of this leading Zeta comes just days after Mexican authorities arrested Angel Eduardo “Ciclon 7 or Orejon” Prado, one of the top leaders of the Gulf Cartel, setting off a massive military deployment to prevent a rescue attempt. As reported by Breitbart Texas, just one day after Prado’s arrest Gulf Cartel commanders began to fight for control of Prado’s turf prompting the city mayor to issue an alert asking the area residents to stay indoors.

It remains unclear if Espinoza traveled to the international bridge in an attempt to get to Texas, as other cartel members have done in the past in order to hide out from their rivals, or if he hid in a Matamoros neighborhood. Since 2010, at least 12 Gulf Cartel or Zeta commanders have been arrested on the U.S. side in the area known as the Rio Grande Valley. Breitbart Texas has reported on some of these high profile cases, including the arrest and conviction of Juan “Comandante Panochita” Tamez Saenz, considered the leader of the Gulf Cartel for a time.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas you can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.