Author’s Note: While the information actually wound up in this section, the second part of the series was delayed quite a bit more than I had anticipated due to me finding copies of posts from the old Nabble forum, specifically the infamous CDG thread from March 2015 to August 2017, and my decision to go through and incorporate information from it. A special thanks to Computer JA, Bjeff, MIKE7 (Ivan), El Plata, Quema Cocos, ToPHeR, and mr.browntown956, whose work helped make this better. I know at least a couple of you are still around, please hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can catch up.
Continued from Part 2: A New Generation
Los Metros Infighting
While a full accounting of the history of the Los Metros faction of the Cártel del Golfo (CDG, Gulf Cartel) is well beyond the scope of this writing, there are some details that should be touched upon before moving forward in order to provide better context.
Throughout their history, Los Metros have earned a reputation for infighting. One of the first internal purges occurred on March 10, 2013, when Mario “Pelón” Armando Ramírez Treviño had Miguel “El Gringo” Villarreal and associates working under him killed, most notably Jesús “El Puma” García Román. “Mario Pelón”, also known by his code name X-20, went on to be arrested on August 17, 2013, starting a series of subsequent leaders of Los Metros.
Another event of note is that of the head of the Reynosa plaza, Francisco “Paquito” Martínez Ramírez, code name “Metro 77” entering into a dispute with Juan “Perros” Manuel Rodríguez García, code name “Pantera 11”, in April 2014, which led to “Paquito” fleeing into hiding. In the wake of the May 25, 2014 arrest of “Juan Perros”, “Paquito” returned to Reynosa in September of that same year and was granted a reduced level of power up until his arrest on December 8, 2014.
Overlapping these events was the saga of Sergio “Cortez” Ortegón Silva, code name “C1”, the leader of the Los Ceros group within Los Metros, and his son Sergio “Junior Cortez” Ortegón, code name “C2”. “Junior Cortez” had been an associate of “El Gringo”, but was spared from the purge. Following the arrest of “Juan Perros”, José Tiburcio “El Gafe” Hernández Fuentes began clashing with both “Cortez” and “Junior Cortez” and, on August 20, 2014, “Junior Cortez” was killed. Thereafter, the father “Cortez” went into exile.
The Fall of Los Panteras
The city of Río Bravo has frequently played a major role in the history of the CDG, for instance the Los Metros incursion into Matamoros which took place in November 2013 that was mentioned in Part 2 originated from that city. At the time Río Bravo and the nearby border city of Nuevo Progreso were under the control of Los Panteras, a historic subgroup of the CDG that was allegedly founded by Mario “Pelón” Armando Ramírez Treviño and firmly linked with the Los Metros faction at the time.
The May 2014 arrest of Juan “Perros” Manuel Rodríguez García marked the beginning of a steady decline of Los Panteras in the area. On July 16 Miguel Angel “El Aleman” Aleman Salinas, was arrested; he was also known as “Pantera 12” and was a brother-in-law of “Juan Perros”.
On July 22, government forces killed a high ranking member of Los Panteras in Nuevo Progreso and two days later, the same day that government forces arrested Eleno Salazar Flores, code name “Pantera 6”, in Reynosa, the Matamoros faction made its move, killing “El Flako”, who was said to be head of plaza in Río Bravo. By the end of July, several remaining members of Los Panteras fled out of fear of being killed and it appears that the Matamoros faction took control of Nuevo Progreso.
The Path to War
By September 27, 2014 at the latest, Los Metros named Juan Francisco “El 98” Carrizales Lara as head of plaza in Río Bravo. Born in Nuevo Laredo, he was a former member of Los Lobos/Grupo L under the command of Héctor Manuel “El Karis” Sauceda Gamboa and had the code name “L-98”. His uncle, Jose Luis “El Tubi” Carrizales Coronado, was killed in prison in September 2010, allegedly by Los Zetas, which spurred “El 98” to become a key member in a campaign by Los Metros against Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo which spanned 2011 and 2012.
It did not take long for “El 98” to raise the ire of the Matamoros faction. Amidst rumors of a pending release from prison, Adrián “El Niño” González Martínez, code name “Ciclón 9”, was killed in a penitentiary in Reynosa on December 16, an act that was allegedly ordered by “El 98”. Los Ciclones retaliated that very night by attacking Río Bravo, yet a tense peace would ensue thereafter.
While not widely reported at the time, in January 2015 Mario Alberto “El Betillo” Cárdenas Medina was said to be leader of the Matamoros faction, having been released from prison sometime in 2014. By the middle of that same month rumors spread online that Carlos Fabian “El Cuate” Martínez Pérez was plotting to take over the plaza of Matamoros, with it specifically being stated that he would enter in a dispute with “Ciclón 4” and “Ciclón 7” in order to do so. Furthermore, rumors pointed to “El Cuate” being associated with Gerardo Silva and Filiberto “El Fili” Munguía Bravo, code names Ciclón 385 and Ciclón 40, who were said to be behind photos and personal information of members of Los Ciclones being posted online at the time.
On February 1, 2015, “Ciclón 4”, also known as “El Gil”, along with his wife, son, and mother, were kidnapped and executed in an act that was immediately blamed on “El 98”, though looking back, an argument can be made that “El Cuate” may have been involved, at the very least in providing their location to “El 98”. With the killing of “Ciclón 4”, the Matamoros faction immediately retaliated against Los Metros, igniting a full scale war.
Defections from Los Metros
The war was intense, for instance in the first two weeks there were grenade attacks against Matamoros municipal president, arrests of members of Los Ciclones and battles in Río Bravo. Amidst the violence were reports that not all the high ranking members of Los Metros supported the war and many blamed “El 98” for triggering it unnecessarily.
In March 2015 periodic rumors spread of members of Los Metros defecting to join the Matamoros faction, with it being said on different occasions that Sergio “Cortez” Ortegón Silva and Eduardo “El Negro” Flores Borrego, a brother of Samuel “El Metro 3” Flores Borrego, had changed sides, as well as members of Los Panteras, and people that had worked directly under “Mario Pelón”, “El Gringo”, and “El Puma”. Furthermore, it was reported that anyone wishing to defect could contact the people of Francisco “Paquito” Martínez Ramírez to be equipped and financed by Los Ciclones.
As the war between Los Metros and the Matamoros faction continued, José Tiburcio “El Gafe” Hernández Fuentes was arrested on April 17, 2015 and “El 98” lost his primary supporter in his campaign. In the following weeks Juan Manuel “El Toro” Loisa Salinas, code name “M-42”, solidified his leadership over Los Metros.
In early May rumors spread that “Ciclón 7” was negotiating a truce with “El Toro”, giving Los Metros access to Los Indios International Bridge in exchange for peace. However, it was speculated that “El 98” remaining in power in Río Bravo was a stumbling block and, regardless, the conflict persisted.
Grenade attacks took place in Matamoros on May 21, targeting a Federal Police station and the National Electoral Institute INE), and June 2, targeting the police headquarters. While it appeared that Los Metros were behind these incidents, the fact that they took place deep within the city of Matamoros and lacked the typical signs of incursions from outside the city was noted.
Online rumors at the time would blame the attacks on Los Dinos, a Matamoros faction subgroup led by Secundino “El Dino” Mata, a close associate of “El Cuate”, who was working on behalf of Los Metros to heat up the plaza ahead of elections. To this day it is unclear if “El Cuate” was aiding Los Metros on various occasions in a possible attempt to gain power for himself or if he was being falsely accused by rivals within the Matamoros faction.
On June 10 a major clash took place between Los Metros and Los Ciclones in the town of Control, with reports of 44 killed and it was alleged that the majority of the dead were on the side of “El 98”. According to rumors at the time, “El 98” was no longer leading the Río Bravo plaza and it was actually a close associate of his, “El Laredo”, that was leading when the battle took place.
It would appear that control of Río Bravo by “El Laredo” was short-lived; on June 29 it was reported that Daniel “El Choco” León García, code name “M-90”, was the new head of plaza in Río Bravo for Los Metros and his second in command was Juan Miguel “El Miguelito” Lizardi Castro, code name “M-56”. Furthermore, it was said that a rash of vehicle thefts near Los Indios bridge were being conducted by underlings of “El Miguelito” and, it would seem, the previous rumor that access to Los Indios bridge would be part of a peace agreement was true.
Under “El Choco” and “El Miguelito”, a “cleansing” (limpia) of the plaza took place, with individuals that had been working for “El 98” being kidnapped and killed, although some rumors would claim that “El 98” was quietly still in control and “M-90” and “M-56” were acting on his behalf. Regardless, “El 98” would be arrested in Monterrey, Nuevo León on February 27, 2016 and the threat of war between Los Metros and the Matamoros faction faded away for the time being.
(To be continued…)