“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat

A former member of the “Mara Salvatrucha” told Univision how he and at least 24 other gang members were trained by the Sinaloa Cartel to fight Los Zetas; a former member of the U.S. Navy trained them.

Video translation is as follows:

Azucena Uresti: A former member of the gang known as the Mara Salvatrucha told Univision how he and at least 24 other gang members were trained by the Sinaloa Cartel to fight Los Zetas. In his words, they were out of control in 2016. It was allegedly a former member of the US Navy who trained them.

Pedro: El Chapo sent a communiqué to the Mara in Los Angeles that he needed, you could say, support so that we could confront the Zetas cartel because they were already out of control.

Female Reporter: A member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang in California told the Univision news network how the Sinaloa Cartel recruited and trained gang members to defend their territory and their drug shipments in that country.

Pedro: The communiqué that arrived in Los Angeles, I was present in that, in that, in that purge that was done with Los Zetas and yes, I had to come to Mexico.

Female Reporter: The letter was sent in 2016 shortly after the second capture of El Chapo. That’s when 25 Mareros enlisted and were taken to a military training camp in Sinaloa where they were trained by a former member of the U.S. Navy.

Pedro: They teach you the use of weapons, self-defense, hand to hand combat, the person who trains us is a U.S. Marine. You’re given two weeks of training…before they send you to war.

Female Reporter: Pedro spent several years in prison because he was caught receiving a drug shipment in Northern California. And he says his criminal ties began because a family member worked for the Sinaloa Cartel.

Pedro: They give you everything you need, right? From tactical boots, to M-16 rifles, vests, which is practically the U.S. Army stuff.

Female Reporter: Once they learned everything they needed, they were sent to northwest Mexico.

Pedro: I was in Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Piedras Negras, and Coahuila. Personally, I was carrying a Glock 40 and practically like a military man, all camouflaged.

Female Reporter: The relationship that La Mara has with the Sinaloa Cartel dates back to the 1990s when it joined the prison gang the Mafia Mexican or La Eme in California and added the number 13 to its acronym.

Pedro: We are what you could call the armed wing of the Sinaloa Cartel in Los Angeles.

Female Reporter: However, there is no exclusive contract with any criminal group.

Pedro: You could say that you’re under contract for so long. But once that contract runs out you just stop working there.

Female Reporter: And it is through these alliances that the Mara Salvatrucha has managed to take control of some of the territories through which the freight train known as La Bestia passes. Where they extort, rob, and even kidnap immigrants seeking to reach the United States.