Thursday, January 30, 2014

Border Wars - Warning Order

Coronel Roberto Valdez and his long time right hand man, Sargento Primero Hector Hernandez, were in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. They’d been tasked with observing, advising and standing by with sixteen highly trained commandos of the GAFE, the Mexican Army’s elite Special Forces, in case they were needed by the local commander during Operation “Lince Norte,” ( Northern Lynx).

Coronel Valdez was a solidly built man of olive complexion in his mid to late forties, he stood tall amongst his peers at five foot ten inches and one hundred ninety pounds. His black hair was cut short with some evidence of greying visible at the temples, over dark brown eyes grew full eye brows and was complimented by a full bush of a mustache on his upper lip. Valdez  had been the Commander of 3rd Battalion of the Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales, He was now assigned to the Alto Mando. the ‘High Command’.  These were amongst Mexico’s most elite warriors, the Special Forces of the High Command. The GAFE High Command was called upon to complete the most clandestine of the Mexican government’s black operations.

 The Alto Mando detachment had been busy during the past three weeks, over the course of Operation “Lince Norte,” (Northern Lynx) the objective of which was the targeting of  Los Zetas operations in northeastern Mexico. The men of the Alto Mando had been at the forefront of the military operation which included the deployment of 4,000 regular Army troops.

While there had been street battles in the town of  Nuevo Laredo, with helicopter gunships engaging targets,  none of Coronel Valdez’s commandos were involved in that combat, instead they focused their attention on the ‘Command Element’ of Los Zetas in the border region and targeted Jorge Luis “Pompín” de la Peña Brizuela, the Zetas' Nuevo Laredo gang boss, who had been hunted by the Alto Mando for two weeks before his location was verified, he was holed up on a ranchero in the outskirts of Nuevo Laredo.

Hector Hernandez was leading Fire Team Enrique through the breech that they had blown through the wall of Los Zetas command center. It was a warehouse building on a small ranchero complex, a group of four buildings set about a kilometer from the main road. It was not the first time in his twenty year career in the Mexican military that he had personally led an assault, he hoped it would not be the last. Sargento Hernandez stood about five feet eight inches tall, and weighed in at a solid 180 pounds, his strict personal regimen of daily exercise kept his mind sharp and body battle ready.

Enrique, Hector’s ‘el Segundo’ was on his heels as the Sargento Primera entered the building through the remains of the doorway. Each member of the breeching team had their FN P90 up and in firing position, welded to his shoulder. There were no friendlies in the building, or anywhere to the front, for that matter.  Hector was tracking right after making the dynamic entry, Enrique was moving left when he saw movement to his front right, to a casual observer it would have appeared instinctive, but it was his training and muscle memory that kicked in. The barrel of Enrique’s P90 swept towards the spot where a man was coming up off the floor. Enrique put three of the 5.7x28mm high velocity rounds into his head.

The Fabrique Naitonale P90 and ther 5.7x28mm round that it fires are two parts of a weapons and munition system specifically designed for NATO, to be utilized in close quarter combat. The high velocity 5.7×28mm projectiles consistently turn base over point upon impact with the target, in simple terms; they ‘tumble’.  The FN P90 is a bullpup designed sub-machine gun that functions as well as it is formed, as modern and intimidating a piece of polymeric plastic and steel as a fellow is ever apt to run into.

Behind Enrique came the rest of the six man breeching team, as the rushed into the room, Hector went to the interior doorway of the room they had just entered and tossed a flash bang grenade down the hallway, which exploded five seconds later, Jose and Pedro, the two newest members of the fire team moved into the hall way, working their way towards the central area of the warehouse building. In that open area of about three thousand square feet there were dozens of pallets full of marijuana packaged for shipment. There were eight cots set haphazardly by a side door ,and near to four of those cots men were gathering themselves, obviously having been awakened by the blast that created the entry breech. Pedro fired first, with two quick three round bursts finding their mark, sending a red mist into the air as the back of the first man’s head exploded. Pedro’s second target made a running dive towards the AK-47 that was leaning against the wall, about six feet away from him, a little more than his body length.  The man seemed to have good traction and power as he pushed off, and the three round burst from the P90 added to his momentum as his body slammed into the wall, like so much dead meat.

Jose had a good sight picture as the two men to his center left were beginning to comprehend their situation, with the taller of the two men just beginning to reach for the pistol that was lying on a small table to his right. His hand never came close, as four of the 5.7mm rounds from Jose’s weapon slammed into his chest, their combined kinetic energy blowing him backwards, right off his feet. Jose released the pressure on the trigger as he moved to acquire a sight picture on the second target, the man just stood there as if dumbstruck, until he was struck with three of the high velocity bullets square in his chest, which killed him.

Then from the top of the stairway, which went up to a small office at the far end of the warehouse space, there came shouts of rage and indignation, accompanied by a half dozen shots from an AK-47. The shooter, wearing khaki pants and a sleeveless white undershirt was firing from the hip, the 7.62x54mm rounds from the Soviet era assault rifle impacting high and wide of their intended targets. Sargento Primera Hernandez took steady aim and squeezed the trigger of his P90, dropping the last of the Los Zetas personnel that were in the building.

The Los Zetas criminal cartel had originated almost a decade before, when a group of Mexico’s most elite soldiers, men who had been assigned to combat the Gulf Cartel had, instead, joined the criminals they’d been sent to eradicate. One of their leaders, Heriberto Lazcano, had gathered thirty-two of his comrades, most of whom had been members of the Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales, the GAFE, the Mexican Army’s Special Forces.

The men of the GAFE had been utilized as an elite band of Mexican anti-drug commandos, instead of serving the people of Mexico, the Zetas had gone rouge. Quickly morphing into mercenaries for the infamous Gulf Cartel, bringing a new level of brutality to Mexico’s ever escalating drug wars.

 Over a decade of criminal activity the Zetas, reinforced by a combination of street thugs and corrupt federal, state and local police officers, had grown into a well-financed and heavily armed criminal cartel of their own. Their tactics included decapitating their rivals, then hanging their dismembered bodies from bridges and highway over passes, the Zetas had gained the reputation as the most feared criminal gang in Mexico

The Zetas were not the archetypal drug-smuggling organization. They had managed to diversify their revenue stream. Beyond drug trafficking the Zetas had expanded their range of activities to include piracy, extortion, kidnapping, and migrant smuggling. They had expanded their operations to include theft from Pemex oil pipelines and had even begun to levy taxes on other criminal organizations.

The official press release said that the Operation “Lince Norte,” ( Northern Lynx)
“… had the objective of affecting the management, financial operation and logistical structures of criminal groups in the states of San Luis Potosí, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.”
 For those who are not familiar with Mexican geography Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas all border the state of Texas. 

 There had been one other mission undertaken by Hector Hernandez and Enrique Henderson on the first day of the operation, together they had gone to the home of Miguel Angel Lopez Velasco, a magazine editor who was following up on the reporting of a reporter that had been murdered in May, Noel Lopez. When the two commandos got to the house, Enrique hit the door lock with a small battering ram, shattering the door frame. 

The two men entered the house and moved quickly to the stairway, Enrique was in the lead and bounded up the stairs, his FN 5.7 pistol in his right hand. Reaching the second floor he found Miguel Angel Lopez standing in the doorway of his bedroom, with a baseball bat in his hand. Angel raised the bat over his head and started running at Enrique, who raising his pistol, firing two rounds into the chest of Migual Angel, and killed him. Entering the man’s bedroom Enrique quickly shot Lopez’s wife, while she was still in bed. Lopez’s fifteen year old son came into the hallway and Hector, who had followed Enrique up the stairs, shot him in the head.

Migual Angel had been writing a regular column in ‘Notiver’, writing stories that often touched on the activities of individuals involved with Mexico's criminal underworld. His interest in telling the world of the criminal activities of the Mexican Drug Cartels had gotten his family killed. It was the last news story he would be involved in.

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson

Anonymous – who art thou.

I had become interested in the growth of the Anonymous Collective, an amorphous group of internet activists, or pranksters, depending upon the perspective of the reader. They were often allied with the interests of the ‘Occupy’ movement, which in the Spring and Summer of 2011 was making headlines by camping out in city parks in some of the major urban centers of the United States.

The World Wide Web and digital technologies, blogs, chat rooms, even mass texts through a cell phone network had become tools of social manipulation on an unprecedented level, the ability to channel information and target messaging was becoming pervasive. The power of it had been recognized in the Islamic Arc, marketed as the ‘Arab Spring’ by the main stream media of the United States. It looked like the beginnings of a long hard Arabian Winter to me, their societies imploding after years of political repression, with the outlook being one of increasing religious oppression.

I received a call from Ricardo Gonzalez; he had gotten my number from Eduardo Carsaraz, an old family friend from Merida, Mexico. Ricardo is a security and protection officer who works with ‘Article 19’, an extension of ‘Reporters without Borders’ in Mexico. Ricardo explained to me the problem they were having, in 2010 alone, ten reporters had been murdered, dozens kidnapped and hundreds had been threatened, all instigated by the Drug Cartels. 

Then he told me of Noel López Olguín, a freelance reporter that had been a columnist for the newspaper, La Verdad de Jáltipan . Seems that Noel had kidnapped on March 8, by persons unknown, but the unidentified men were carrying guns and drove away in two SUVs. It was on May 31 that his body was found in the city of Chinameca, buried in an unmarked grave.

 Lopez had been writing regularly for La Verdad de Jáltipan, as well as freelancing for some of the weekly papers in the area, Noticias de Acayucan, El Horizonte, and Noticias de Veracruz. His regular column "Con pluma de plomo" (With a Lead Pen) was focused upon the corruption of local political figures and the drug trade that funded it. He identified the criminals, each individual had their named printed in the paper, a practice not normal in crime reporting in Vera Cruz.

Ricardo spoke of Noel Lopez’s family members saying that Noel had been digging into the back story of the Los Zetas Cartel, and thought he was onto something ‘BIG’. So big that even after two corporate executives from La Verdad de Jáltipan had been kidnapped and had, over the course of a few hours, been told to limit the inches devoted to Los Zetas, Noel was still going forward with his research. Regardless of the risks, even if La Verdad de Jáltipan would not publish his work, Noel knew that there were other outlets that would. His mother, Ricardo said, went on and on about how Noel thought it was going to be the story of a lifetime. A Mexican ‘Watergate’ he had told her.

Ricardo had Noel’s notes, and that he had the idea that he could follow up on the story that may have cost Noel Lopez his life, but he was not prepared to enter the lion’s cage without a whip and pistol. Was I available, would I be able help him and keep the lions at bay?

From the ranch in Greenback Valley, situated in the Sierra Ancha Mountains of Arizona, to Laredo, Texas is almost an even thousand miles. I had just taken delivery of a ‘new’ used airplane, a 1973 model Cessna Skymaster 337. She was kind of a high miler, but it was the airplane I had always wanted to have, I figured to have her rebuilt over the next year to eighteen months, but even with that, she was air worthy as she sat.  So, I thought it’d be good time to put a few hours on those old Continental engines, even if one failed I knew that the other would get me to the site of the crash.

I told my hired man, Billy Haught, that I’d be gone for a while, a week at least, and that he should run the ranch like it was his own. He already did that, so I wasn’t telling him anything new, or ground shaking. Billy had been out of the Marine Corps for about a year, he’d been over to Afghanistan a couple of times, he didn’t talk about it much, I didn’t bother to bring it up as a topic of conversation. He could shoot the wings off a fly at one hundred yards; we didn’t talk about that much, either, especially since I couldn’t even see the fly, at one hundred yards, any more.

I gave the Cessna a through pre-flight, topped off the fuel tanks and then took off for Laredo, Texas, figured to be about a six hour flight, the Skymaster has a ninety gallon fuel tank, at one thousand miles the city of Laredo, Texas was about at the edge of the Skymaster’s eleven hundred mile non-stop range. I figured to be there before dark.

The La Quinta Inn, right there at the airport was the best rated hotel in the town, things couldn’t get much easier than that.  I called Ricardo when I landed and arranged to meet him in the morning.

Ricardo met me that next morning right there at the La Quinta, which was convenient for me. He had brought along another man, Jan Keulen, this Keulan fella, he kind of reminded me of a slimmed down Santa Claus when I met him, his white hair and beard just took me there. Ricardo looked about as expected, not a large man, about five foot eight, with glasses and dark hair. His beard was trimmed and unlike Jan, he was not wearing a tie.

Both of these fellows worked at protecting reporters, Jan Keulen being the Director of The Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF), which is a non-profit organization working internationally for enhanced freedom of the press and quality journalism. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, funded the project and as the Sheikh’s representative Mr Keulen had just signed on to help fund Article19’s Mexico and Central America operations. The Sheikh had agreed to provide emergency financial assistance to journalists. I did seem some cynical humor in the idea that Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani was promoting freedom of expression, abroad, while at the same time funding a jihad against the Alawites in Syria, and the jihadi in Libya, but I held my tongue.

 After introductions were made and we had sat down at the conference table it became obvious why the two men were nervous, they had news from Mexico that was not mentioned on the local morning shows in Laredo.

”Miguel Angel Lopez Velasco, a friend and writer in Vera Cruz was killed last night, along with his entire family, his wife and son, they were all murdered in their own home! I got the call not more than thirty minutes ago, Jack, it is a terrible thing.”

“Is there any indication why he was targeted or by whom?” I asked, perhaps naively.

“Ahh, he had an interest in the work Noel was doing, he knew Noel and had some insights as to what is happening. It has to be that, nothing else he was doing would merit such a response, nothing he had written lately was exclusive or threatening to the kingpins of the Cartels.”

“Then, Ricardo, what is the story, what is so important that someone would be targeting reporters, killing them, to keep the story from being told?”

“In just a few words, Jack, the Mexican government is behind Los Zetas, it is part of a conspiracy by some people high in the government to take control of the drug trade, to use Los Zetas as a false flag and attempt to destabilize the United States, through drugs, crime and terrorism.”

“Is there a name that can be connected to this ‘conspiracy’, Ricardo, is there a string that can be pulled?”

“Well, Jack, there is only one name in Noel’s notes that is out of the ordinary, one name, Coronel Roberto Valdez, of the GAFE, Alto Mando. He works directly for the President, in the Alto Mando and as a member of the President’s personal guard, the GRIP (grupo de reaccion inmediata y potente, G.R.I.P.).

Valdez was at Falcon Lake, after the murder of David Hartley, he was with the Los Zetas when they went through the School of the Americas, at Fort Benning, before they deserted the GAFE. Coronel Valdez seems to be the lynch pin, but there are only rumors, no real evidence. Noel said he had an informant that was willing to speak, anonymously, but now …”

That’s when Jan Keulen spoke up,
“It seems clear that there are powerful political players involved with these crime syndicates, and with the huge financial rewards available to those in the illegal drug business, it is easy to understand the dangers of exposing them.”

“I have brought the files that I got from Noel’s mother,” Ricardo told me, “there is a lot of interesting information there, but nothing that is conclusive, nothing that could be printed with confidence. To tell you the truth, Jack, I am hesitant to move forward on this myself, the stakes are just too high, and I am no longer a reporter. I just feel awful about the whole thing, we should do something, but what? I do not wish, have no desire, to commit suicide.”

Which accurately vocalized, I thought, the obvious lack of desire on Ricardo’s part to move forward with the story. The murder of Noel López and now, with the assassination of Velasco and his family just the night before, it had taken all the wind out of his sails.

“Let me tell you what, Ricardo, I will be here in Laredo for the next couple of days, leave me the file, let me familiarize myself with the information and we will see what there is to see. If there is some way to tie the data points together, to connect the dots, maybe I’ll see it.”

So that ended my meeting with the ‘Press Protection’ services of the Sheikh  of Araby, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. I was left with couple of spiral notebooks, dozens of loose sheets of paper and a flash drive, all of which I took to my room. I decided to spend the rest of the day there at the la Quinta, there was enough material to keep me busy for hours and there was a nice workout area at the La Quinta, if I spent the day there, there would be no need of a rental car, until tomorrow.

In the morning there was no real reason to rent a car, I had decided to go into Mexico and see the sites of some of the street fighting; it turned out to be kind of a waste of time. I hired a taxi and the driver took me to the various locales around Nuevo Laredo where there were bullet scarred buildings on some of the streets, but nothing much else was to be gleaned from the tour.

I spent much of the afternoon back at the La Quinta, the telephone was a useful tool, I contacted some friends in Mexico City and up in DC. There was a real need to get some more background of this Colonel Valdez and Los Zetas.

The basic story was well known, in 1998 men of the GAFE, Mexico’s Special Forces, had been assigned to assist the local police to eradicate the Gulf Cartel, which operated out of Veracruz, Mexico. Of the three GAFE soldiers that Los Zetas wa built around, only Heriberto Lazcano survives. He had spent eight years in the Mexican Army and had even gone through the School of the America’s, now at Fort Benning.

He had received the full complement of Special Forces training in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism tactics. Fully schooled in sniper techniques; as well as jungle, mountain, desert, naval, and urban warfare tactics, Lazcano had learned how to use explosive demolitions, high-caliber rifles and grenade-launchers. Heriberto Lazcano was a well-trained combat soldier.

According to my sources in Mexico City, Lazcano had spent a lot of time with the Israeli personnel that had established a military training center in Guatemala. The Israeli were there in association with the Kaibil Special Forces command. The Kaibil later providing the most radical of the Zetas enforcers.

Lazcano was of above average height, at five foot eleven inches he towered over most of the people surrounding him, providing a physiological advantage to be sure. He was said to be smart, aggressive and sadistic. For much of his eight years in the Mexican military he had been a subordinate of Roberto Valdez.

Instead of eradicating the Gulf Cartel, the GAFE deserters had joined them and he and his compatriot, Arturo Guzmán Decena and were able to convince thirty fellow Army veterans comrades to follow them in deserting the Army and joining forces with the leaders of the Gulf Cartel, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén. Things went ‘smoothly’ until Cárdenas Guillén was arrested in Mexico, then extradited to the United States back in 2007.  

By 2010 anarchy was reigning all along the border, Lazcano was down to just a dozen of the original thirty-one GAFE Commandos, the others being killed or incarcerated. To fill the ranks of his now independent cartel, Lazcano recruited from the Mexican military, as well as from the Kaibil Commando of Guatemala, and common street criminals.
One of those common thugs was named Miguel Treviño Morales, who by 2011 had risen in the ranks to being the number two man in Los Zetas. It was reported, to me, that there was some discord within the ranks of Los Zetas and that a power struggle between Lazcano and Trevino was underway. I was told by two sources in Mexico City that Trevino was the more ‘radical’ of the two men, had a greater propensity for violence, and was even more sadistic than Lazcano.

 Between the two of them, there was over ten million dollars being offered by the US and Mexican governments for their apprehension. The size of those bounties, well I must say, they whetted my interest, to be sure. There was nothing of worth to be gained by speaking to my contacts in the DC, they were far behind the curve. There was one local Texas cop that I knew, Chief Leo Longoria, of Mission, Texas, which is a suburb of McAllen, there on the river. Leo had been dealing with the contrabandistas for years, so he got a call.

Leo Longoria had been a cop in Mission, Texas for 23 years, he told he was ready to retire, all he had to do was find his replacement. I certainly did not volunteer for the job, but instead asked him if he had any leads on Lazcano.

There was laughter echoing in my ear, as he told me that the Mexican Marines thought they had Lazcano and one of his Plaza Chiefs, Ivan Velazquez Caballero aka "El 50" or “El Taliban”, dead to rights. The two of them were going to attend a funeral for Centeno Madrid, known as “Comandante Ardilla” or “Comandante Centeno”. The story was that Madrid had been the Los Zetas boss in the Fresnillo plaza, then he got shot to pieces by the Mexican Marines, he had also been a personal friend and trusted confidant of Heriberto Lazcano.  Lazcano and ‘El 50’ were guaranteed to be there, to show their respect.

When the Mexican Marines moved in there was quite a fire fight, and when the smoke cleared there were twenty- two dead Zetas, but it turned out that neither Lazcano nor Madrid went to the funeral. The best intel that the Mexican Military Intelligence, S-2, could muster failed to pass the acid test.

Leo told me of a fire fight the Texas Rangers, Federal Game Wardens and the local Sheriff Deputies had recently had with a smuggling operation over to the west of Mission, in Abrams, Texas. Complete with Zodiac boats and sniper fire from across the river, the North Americans had fired over three hundred rounds in the altercation. There were no known casualties.

He asked if I was aware that he Mexican Army had taken up positions on the south side of the river, that they had moved in 2,800 soldiers and had replaced the civilian police officers in twenty-two cities and towns across northern part of the state of Tamaulipas, including the cities of of Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, Matamoros and smaller border towns as well as Tampico and the state capital, Ciudad Victoria. He thought that their presence could be a game changer, as far as disrupting his intelligence sources, but doubted the Army would stem the flow of drugs or people that crossed the river.

Leo went on to tell me that the Mexican Army was establishing three new battalion-strength army bases along the river. The first would be in Ciudad Mier, which is just a little way upriver from Mission; another battalion would be stationed in San Fernando and the third would be stationed in Ciudad Mante.  I thanked him for his time, he asked me to keep an eye out for a young and aggressive, smart and bi-lingual Police Chief prospect. I promised him I would.

Still trying to catch a lead on Lazcano, I thought of Ricardo, he was well connected with the reporters in Veracruz and Nueva Laredo, even if he was afraid to go forward, he would know who to see, who had the knowledge, even if they would not put what they knew into print. I called him and we spoke, he said he’d be back in the area in two days, but he texted an e-mail address for a source, someone that represented Anonymous in Nuevo Laredo. Her webcaster handle, NenaDLaredo (GirlFromLaredo), I sent her a message referencing Ricardo’s confidence in her reporting skills.

He also texted me the number of Ricardo Reyes Alvarez, the police chief of Ciudad Isla, a suburb of Veracruz, the message was that he was expecting my call and would give me as much as an hour to discuss the Los Zetas phenomenon.

I was about to contact Chief Reyes when a call came in from DC, it was a call back from another of the referrals I gotten from Congressman Harry Mitchell’s office. I knew Harry from when he was the Mayor of Tempe, lots of folk had problems with Harry back in the day, but I never did, then again I never really expected much from him. The call was from the FBI, Deputy Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigation Division, David Cardona, was on the line. I was being pleasantly surprised by the response that I was getting, by referencing Harry, I’d have to buy him lunch or donate a dollar to his next campaign.

 Assistant Director Cardona was willing to discuss an FBI sting that had involved Customs & Border Patrol agents with ties to the Gulf Cartel,

 “Amazingly these people sell their ethics for small dollar figures. There’s always a pattern. The bribes start off small, they work their way up and it’s just a constant flow. They become addicted to the illegal revenue flow of the constant bribes coming in.”

He went on to tell me that during 2010 there had been over forty-one hundred complaints against CBP agents and that the Inspector General at the DHS had opened eight hundred and seventy investigations that related to the activities of Customs and Border Patrol employees. There were few people on the border that could be trusted just on the basis of the job description or title. Director Cardona chuckled at my ‘Trust but Verify’ line, the one that I have co-opted from Ronald Reagan. I have found that it fits a variety of social situations, admirably

I was able to get through to Chief Reyes and set an appointment for the next afternoon, I would meet him at a carwash, in Veracruz, at 18:00hrs, he gave me the address. The next outside contact I had was with Ricardo’s contact, NenaDLaredo, she had blind texted my phone with a number. When I called the number it was answered almost immediately, the crux of the conversation, we would meet in the morning, in Nuevo Laredo. My thinking was I could meet with Nena and get still back to the airport in Laredo, in time to fly the 900 miles down to Veracruz, and still be able to make my appointment with the Chief. It should move like clockwork, even on Mexican time.

The next morning I was at the café that NenaDLareo had suggested we meet at, she was an attractive young woman; I thought she was in her late twenties, with long blondish hair and black rimmed glasses. She had been working the stories that the print and broadcast media were avoiding, specifically she was targeting Los Zetas, which was the dominant cartel in Nuevo Laredo.

Trying to gauge her motivation I asked her why she had become involved in battling Los Zetas. The answer was plain spoken and chilling, her sister, had been the secretary of Manuel Farfan Carriola, who after retiring from the Army as a brigadier general had come home to be the Nuevo Laredo Police Chief. He had held that job for thirty-three days, when, while leaving the police headquarters he was attacked by gunmen, killing him, his body guard and her sister. That had happened in February, she was out for revenge, utilizing the tools she knew how to use she was going to make Los Zetas pay.

 As part of that fight she had taken up the Anonymous banner and told me of her latest efforts in that regard, she explained that Anonymous was turning its’ attention  towards the bus company and Mexico’s federal government.  She told me that neither of those institutions were doing anything to halt the kidnapping of bus passengers on Mexico’s highways, claiming that thousands of people had been kidnapped, killed or forced to work against their will. That it was an all-too common scenario, that armed men to board passenger buses at drug cartel roadblocks.

“They get on the bus, take the men for ransom or to integrate them into their criminal organization,” NenaDLaredo said. “The women are raped and then kidnapped to work in brothels. The evidence is everywhere."

She told me that Central American immigrants and even Mexican nationals headed to the United States have been taken. That was the back story to the mass graves that had been discovered just 90 miles south of the Rio Grande Valley in San Fernando, back in April, the kidnappings had gone unreported until it's too late for authorities to respond, effectively.

“The bus companies do not report it to the authorities because than they have to report it to the insurance companies,” Nena told me. “Can you imagine if every bus company reported every claim in a nation that is in a state of civil war to the insurance companies? Their premiums would go sky high!"

She said that Anonymous was planning to target the bus company and government websites in August, that he final list of the targets has not been decided upon, but thta the group would release its demands later that week but was mostly interested in focusing attention to the issue and for the government to provide greater security for travelers on the highways.

"Yes, the guilty ones here are the bus companies but when the families of the raped, the kidnapped cry out, they cry out for justice to the government and here is where the government does not jump fast enough,” NenaDLaredo said.

She told me that the bus company, Tranpaís, claimed that the buses were safe, and that their use of modern GPS and communications devices allowed for drivers to stay in touch with their dispatchers all along their routes.

She scoffed at that, saying that the reality of the situation could be seen easily enough, that the American Consulate of Matamoros had issued a warning against traveling by bus in Tamaulipas due to the reported hijackings that had involved American citizens, just that past April.

After that meeting I felt like I was no closer to Lazcano or  Miguel Treviño than I had been, and no closer to the truth about Colonel Roberto Valdez, either.

Going into Mexico, through the border crossing in Laredo, had meant no guns allowed, so all I was only carrying my cane. I had trained with Dave McNeill, up in Reno, Nevada and had gotten most of his Goju-Shorei cane fighting system down. I did not have all the katas in my repertoire, but I was more than comfortable utilizing the cane in defensive combat. Mine is hickory, with a ‘birds head’ carved into the handle of the crook.

 The cane is really a great piece of gear to carry, almost no one recognizes its capabilities, in fact twice it has lulled opponents into thinking I was either infirm or crippled. As Sun Tzu said,
 “All warfare is based on deception.” 
Their preconceptions, they were good for me, bad for them.

In the plane I had a pair of Colt 1911 pistols, .45 caliber. Many consider this handgun to be an antique in this age of polymeric plastics, but in my mind it is a combat proven weapon that fires a formidable round. Even so, I would be smuggling them into Mexico and I didn’t think that carrying them to meet a police chief was a sensible course of action. Foolish me.

A buddy of mine, Bill Jack Gentry, has a lot of hours flying around Mexico, his home base is in Mississippi but he fancies himself as a tree top flyer. I had called him the night before and he knew of a landing strip right outside of Ciudad Isla, on a ranchero of a friend, he made arrangements for me to land there and for transportation while I was on the ground. He said my new used Cessna would be safe there, that the rancher, Raul Villalobos, was legitimate but respected by the local crime bosses.

It was six hours of flight time from Laredo to Ciudad Isla and the airstrip at the Ranchero Villalobos. I was met by Raul, a man about my age, perhaps five foot eight and one hundred ninety pounds. He picked me up in a newer Ford truck and asked where I needed to go. We were about forty minutes early, getting to the carwash, so I suggested we stop somewhere for beer or bread, Raul liked the idea and knew just the place. We were both drinking Tecates as we pulled into the parking lot of the carwash; Raul recognized Chief Reyes and pointed him out to me as he parked the truck.

 As I was getting out of the Ford another truck, a green Chevy drove into the parking lot, there were three men in the bed of that truck, each holding an M16. The truck down shifted and slowed, the roar of the engine seemed to drown out all the other noise, until the men in the truck started shooting at Ricardo Reyes. I could see the rounds impacting the police chief; three times he was hit, in the left shoulder, low on the left side of his torso and once in the left leg. Reyes went down, spinning to his left as he did. The truck then sped off, jumping the curb and fleeing the scene.

Three of the people who had been standing near Chief Reyes had also been hit, two of them were on the ground, it seemed like we were in a war zone, right there at the carwash. I ran towards the Chief while Raul started the truck and drove next to where he was down, bleeding profusely from the wound in his torso. I did what I could to staunch the flow, applying direct pressure to the entry wound, while Raul dropped the tailgate of the Ford. We loaded the four wounded men into the truck and Raul climbed back behind the steering wheel, stomped on the gas and headed to the hospital. The three civilians made it there and were tended to by the medics, Chief Reyes was not so fortunate, he had bled out in the back of Raul’s truck.

While we were in the emergency room Raul was on the phone, he ended the call and came over to where I was standing, my hands and chest covered with Chief Reyes’s blood. Raul said he had called his daughter, Regina, who would be there soon, I should go and wash up, Regina would bring a clean shirt and it would be best for all of us if I was not around for the investigation. I had to agree with his assessment of the situation; nothing good could be the result, for either Raul or me, if I spoke to the investigators. Raul looked at me with an expression of real concern, it was time to fly.

Regina arrived before the police did, I got into her Nissan Sentra and we beat a hasty exit from the city, driving back to the ranchero I was in a state of shock, bordering on disbelief. The Chief of Police had just been gunned down, in broad daylight, in the middle of his jurisdiction. Even after hearing the stories of the violence that had become endemic, the reality of the situation was just then beginning to make an impact on my rattled brain.

Regina took me to the Skymaster where I grabbed the bag with my clothes, then we went to the house where I was able to shower and change clothes. Then she took me back to the plane, and I was wheels up and on my way to the airport in Veracruz within forty minutes of the murder of Ricardo Reyes. I landed in Veracruz, cleared customs without incident, had the plane fueled and went looking for a hotel. There is a new Camino Real hotel in Veracruz, I loved the service at the hotel they had managed, in Manzanillo, Las Hadas, where the film ‘10’ starring Bo Derek had been produced. So I went to their hotel in Veracruz, it was quite nice.

As I was settling in the room I made a call to Ricardo Gonzalez, he answered straight away.

“Hola, Jack, where you able to learn anything from Chief Reyes, he told me that he had some good information that he wanted to share, was it helpful?”

“Ricardo, the Chief was shot down and killed at a carwash in Ciudad Isla, before I was able to talk to him; he bled out in the back of a truck on the way to the hospital.”

“Bled out? What do you mean by that, Jack?”

“Chief Reyes is dead, Ricardo, shot three times.”

“Oh my God! When did this happen?”

“About three hours ago, Ricardo, just before I was able to talk to him a truck with three shooters drove up and ambushed him while he was having his car washed; three other people that were standing near him were wounded in the attack. I was twenty meters away, maybe less, when it happened.”

“He was the Chief of Police, this is unbelievable!”

“Believe it, Ricardo, I was there and saw it happen right in front of my eyes, Reyes died in my arms. It was broad daylight, in the middle of the city. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

“Were you hurt? Where are you now? Who is in charge of the investigation?”

“I’m fine, Ricardo, another minute later, though and I’d have been standing right next to him, right in their field of fire. Right now I am in Veracruz, at the Camino Real. As to the investigators, I did not wait around Ciudad Isla to talk to them, there was nothing to be gained, and I was not the only witness to the assassination. I think we need to meet, this is getting serious.”

“Serious? I agree, people are being killed all around us, Jack, it does not get more serious than that, does it?”

Ricardo said he could be in Veracruz by the next afternoon, unless I wanted to meet in Mexico City. There are way too many people in that metroplex to suit me, so I said I’d rather meet in Veracruz, as that was where the current chapter to the story had started, with the murder of Noel Lopez. Ricardo agreed, saying he would be at the Camino Real that next evening.

Spending the evening at the Camino Real was by no means a hardship, the restaurants are all excellent. Their spot on the beach is nice, but the beach sand was less that desirable for running. too muddy for my taste, but Veracruz being the largest commercial port in Mexico,  is not really a resort location, is it.

The next morning on the news there was a report of a prison break in Nuevo Laredo. Five of the guards left their posts, which allowed for fifty-nine inmates to walk out. Not all of the inmates cleared the fence line, seven died in the attempt to escape. The reporter said that Federal authorities had arrived and taken control at the Nuevo Laredo Detention Center (CEDES).

The facility houses over twelve hundred inmates. This was the second major break out of the year, seems that one hundred forty had walked out of the place in December. Simply amazing, I was listening to the Federal Minister on the news, he was calling it another example of local government failing its’ duties to the community.

"The absence of effective measures of control and oversight by local authorities is deplorable, and has generated frequent escapes from prisons, putting the safety of communities at risk."

The jailbreak was another factor in my thinking, it exemplified how precariously thin was the veneer of civilization. Mexico seemed to be sliding into an abyss of violence and mayhem, the effects of which would surely be finding its way north of the border.

At breakfast I noticed the shirt the maître de was wearing was of a style I really enjoy wearing, but cannot often find at Walmart. The guayabera, or ‘wedding shirt’ is comfortable and I think kind of stylish. The guayabera style is said to have originated in Veracruz, or the Yucatan, so perhaps I would be able to get a dozen while I was here. I spoke with the maître de and then with the concierge, both recommended the same shop, over in the Villa del Mar district of Veracruz.
The Villa del Mar area is in the old city, right along the shore line, just a few miles north of the Camino Real, along the Boulevard Miguel Aleman and then when it ‘T’-bones go left. Do not get off at the first exit, with Boulevard Avila Camacho. At the first Avila Camacho exit if you go right it takes you right along the coast, but it’s further and the traffic is normally much slower.

Boulevard Avila Camacho takes you right to the Villa del Mar district and the family-run store, Guayaberas Fina Cab. They have real nice, high-quality hand-stitched shirts. They are easy to find, if you happen to visit Veracruz, right there between Calles Arista and Serdán.

 I was coming out of the store with a dozen new shirts, styled with a ‘Western’ look to ‘em, when I heard the sound of gunfire, coming from the north. Looking that way I saw a mid-size SUV, a Nissan maybe, but it was white there’s no doubt of that, coming towards me, right up the main drive. There was no missing them, two men in the back seat of the SUV had the upper bodies out of the windows and they firing AK-47 style assault rifles back in the direction they were fleeing from. It did not take a genius to realize their target was the black pick-up truck with four soldiers standing in its bed.

It was obvious that I would soon be in the middle of gun battle that was rolling through the streets of Villa del Mar, Veracruz. It looked like Naval Marines were going against members of the criminal element, in a high speed pursuit. Each side exchanging volleys of fire from the back of the vehicles, as people were running for cover in their wake. Between my position in front of Guayaberas Fina Cab and the white SUV there was a family out for a walk, a man woman with two small children, a boy and a girl, about five or six years old, they were well in hand.

But the distance between me and the lead SUV was shrinking fast, the shooters in the back had their attention riveted to the Marines in pursuit. The driver appeared confident through the windshield and the man on the passenger side of the cab was sitting calmly. There was nothing to take cover behind, so going into a low crouch as they came past, I kept my attention on the two gunmen in the back. The driver’s side shooter had the AK-47 style weapons to his shoulder, trying to steady his aim in the bouncing vehicle being no easy feat. The passenger side man had his weapon hanging by a sling over his shoulder, it looked like he was tossing two green balls out of truck, underhand just as they sped by ...

I heard myself shouting “GRENADE!
I turned away from the prospective blast, and fell forward, pushing myself even further from where I thought the little green balls were going to roll in the four or five seconds since the safety spoons went flying.
These were two M67 grenades rolling on the ground, each sphere consisted of a two and a half inch diameter steel body that contained within it, six and a half ounces of composition B explosive. The fuse assembly and the surrounding steel made up the balance of the M67’s total weight of fourteen ounces. The fuse delays the grenades’ detonation between four or five seconds after the pin is pulled and spoon is released. The steel fragmenting out of the grenade body spread to produce an injury radius of approximately fifteen meters, with a fatality radius of 5 meters.

The family of four, they were down, the woman screaming, the children crying, blood everywhere. I hustled over towards the children, both were wounded, but only superficially, their scars would be more emotional than bodily.

The mother was in worse shape, but at there were other people around her tending to the bleeding. I stood and looked around, a dozen people had cell phones to their ears, the ambulances should be arrive soon I hoped. I looked to the father, but he was gone. From the looks of the scene it was not hard to surmise that as the grenade was rolling towards his wife and kids, he dove on it, smothering the blast with his own body.

The ambulances were soon there to load up the fella’s wife and kids.

I gathered up my shirts and headed off; walking towards the south, in the general direction of the Camino Real, but that was not my destination, but more of a general direction. Here I was, come to protect a journalist as he explored a ‘Mexican Watergate’ and all I’ve been doing, watching as someone or other die, almost every day.

The bodies were mounting up, the magazine editor, Miguel Angel, his wife and son. Those three died the night I arrived, so while I was not witness to it, it did effect the principle client, Ricardo Gonzalez, and his decision not to go forward with the investigation. Then I went to see Chief Reyes, he was shot in the minute just prior to when I would have been standing next to him. Then, just today a total stranger, the father of Christopher and Joselyn Sanchez Bonilla, had died in front of me. Those kids, five and six years old, their lives would never be the same.

I had walked about a kilometer when I noticed a crowd gathered by a white SUV on the side of the road, the Marine vehicles from the chase seemed to be parked there, too. It did not take long to reach the crowd; out of curiosity I worked my way to the front of the crowd, for the opportunity to see five dead ‘evil doers’.

The talk was that the men in the vehicle had been involved in the shootout earlier in the day, when someone had ambushed three buses, each full of Marines, in the Boca del Rio district. They had orphaned those two kids, for nothin’, dying like this was too easy thing for scum like them. I could feel the rage building deep down in the bottom of my gut, I’d felt it before, the results of which are usually not found in Ms Manners hand book for pleasant living.

I waited on Ricardo before going to dinner, I figured he’d like be running on standard Mexican time, meaning a late dinner, and I was correct. We went to the patio restaurant, La Vela and had the ‘Special’

Ricardo was confident that NenaDLorado had a solid lead on the leadership of Los Zetas, he had communicated with her earlier and was excited by what she had said. I asked him, then, at the height of his enthusiasm, I asked.

“What’s the objective, Ricardo?”

“The objective, I don’t understand, Jack, what do you mean?”

“Meaning what is the objective, the goal, what are we trying to obtain? If we do not know the objective, how do we know when we’ve obtained it? An endless pursuit of ghosts, with no objective other to be in the chase, I have no need for that. But if we can hurt these sons of bitches, and get paid to do it at the same time, that Ricardo is a game I’d play in. How about you, what do you want from this?”

“I thought, when I started this, when I called you, that we could obtain justice for Noel if we could write his story. Expose the corruption, but now I think that even if we do, it will have no meaning. With death staring us in the face, the proofs for the story, they will never be gained. Can you hurt them, Jack, the force of their evil seems insurmountable.”

“Ricardo, these fellas are bullies, they’re big on breaking down doors in the middle of the night and then shooting unarmed folks, women and children. With my own eyes I’ve watched them run like rabbits when the Marines were chasin’ them. No, these boys aren’t insurmountable, they are nothin’ but bluster. We find out where the head shed is, we can take ‘em down when the targets the US government has the bounties on are in the house.”

“You mean to kidnap the leaders of Los Zetas?!?!”

“No, Ricardo, I mean to capture and then proceed to turn those leaders over to the legal authorities that will pay the bounty offered. There are million of dollars on the table.”

“That’s insane, Jack, those men are killers!”

“They’re not the only people around with that skill set, Ricardo, in fact from what I’ve seen; they are not skilled at all. If we can find them, we can take them.”

“Not me, Jack Hawkins, I am not going out with you to catch Zetas, you may be crazy but I am not!”

“Not to worry, Ricardo, you won’t be near the Zetas, we just need to be able to track them down. Fix them in time and space; why even the second tier people have bounties of a million dollars or more on their heads. You don’t write about finding them, until after we turn them over to the police, Army or DEA, if you even write the story at all.”

“You’re looking for a private intelligence network, of your own?”

“I’m thinking that reporters should report. If the reports are timely, we can take direct action against the mala gente. You know, Ricardo, there are warrants for almost all of these people in both the US and Mexico, big rewards offered by each government. We cannot provide every reporter a body guard, even if the Sheikh of Araby would pay for it. Even if he would pay and then we did provide the reporters body guards, the Zetas kill the guards along with the targets. They kill police chiefs, what chance would a reporter have? These bastards have declared war, Ricardo, your people have to answer in kind.”

“Millions of dollars? You are sure about that, it is not an urban legend, these multi million dollar bounties on criminals?”

“If we can find ‘em, Ricardo, we can collect on ‘em, guaranteed.”

Before we left the patio at the La Vela restaurant Ricardo texted NenaDLarado and got an almost immediate response, she sent two names and a phone number. ‘El Mamito’ and ‘Adal’ were the names, Ricardo called the number. Nena said she knew where those two were having a meeting, tomorrow night. They were going to be in La Escondida, which is a small community on the highway between Agualeguas and Sabinas Hidalgo.

Agualeguas is located northeast of Monterrey, off the Monterrey-Ciudad Mier highway and approximately 50 miles from the Texas border. Both El Mamito and Adal would be there, along with their body guards. It was a walled compound that included a main house, a couple of out buildings and a barn.

Going to the men’s room provided the time and privacy to put a call into Leo Longoria, up in Mission, Texas. After mentioning the two names, he inhaled and whistled.

“Those are two good sized fishes, Jack. Are you sure of the source?”

“I’m sure she’s legit, I’m not sure her intel is. Though I plan on moving as if it is. Can you provide a bridge to the Feds for me on this?”

“For those two, you better believe it. I’ll call my Federal contact in DC, we’re going to bypass the locals, you know the bounty for those two, together, is three million bucks, Jack.”

“In for a penny, in for a pound, Leo. I should be there in Laredo by noon, I’ll talk to you then.”

Returning to the table on the patio at the Camino Real Veracruz, it was easy to see that Ricardo was in a state of emotional turmoil.

“As much as I would like to participate in your schemes, Jack, it is impossible. I have responsibilities and duties. The goal is to illuminate the world, your proposal would requires that the work be done in the shadows, that is a condition that I cannot accept. Don’t get me wrong, I hope and pray that you succeed, but I cannot be involved.”

With that he got up and left the table and the hotel, he didn’t leave any cash on the table for his part of the tab.

Now that Ricardo was gone there was no difficulty in making a couple more calls from the patio, it was pleasant there, sitting in the comfortable embrace of a five star hotel, in the early evening. After having enjoyed a good meal, taking the time to savor a snifter of Azteca del Oro brandy, well it just made good sense.

The basic plan was to be checking out of the hotel, about 01:00hrs, then take the Skymaster and fly to the Del Norte airport in Monterey landing there about dawn. That was where the meeting with Nena would be, face to face, after which we’d see about putting some eyes on this compound.

 The whole team should be in Laredo by noon. There would be time for a face to face with Leo, where we’d set-up the particulars for the how the delivery of El Mamito and Agal should go down, after the raid.

Nena was there at the airport when I landed, so we wasted no time, I arranged for tying down the Skymaster and we headed out of town on Highway 54, traveling northwest towards Ciudad Mier and the CBP border crossing at Roma, Texas. We had not gone more than fifteen minutes when Nena pull onto a dirt road and we were traveling west, the country was hilly and broken by steep ravines, as we drew ever closer to the base of the Sierra Picachos. We drove past a couple of well kept ranchero style estates, before driving by the target compound, it appeared to be on about two hectres, that’s just short of five acres, with a six foot wall around the perimeter of it. At the front gate, where the driveway intersected the dirt road we were driving on, the gates were shut.

We continued along the dirt road until we were well out of sight of any observers from the house when we stopped.

Out of the black duffle I took a tripod and video and  telephoto package. The lens, from the optical division of Marshal Electronics, has a 140mm focal length with a F1.0 aperture lens. Together that combination produces super low light performance imagery in video cameras. This lens / camera combination provides performance closely approaching that of amplified light scope devices used by the military at a fraction of their cost. The camera can be remotely controlled and the feed can be transmitted onto the net through a wifi hotspot connection, Being this close to Highway 54, we were in a cell zone,  and had a strong signal. I moved off into the hills behind the compound, trying to find a good observation point to set the camera system.

It took almost an hour to find and then move to the right spot. From here I’d be able to keep eyes not only the front gate, but both of the doors of the main house and the approaches from the rear.

I set the system up, manually set the aim points and focus, then connected the roll up solar panels that keep a trickle charge into the batteries, extending their service times tremendously I scooted back from the line of sight of the compound and headed back to the car. While I was moving a texted Billy Haught with the GPS coordinates for the target compound. I wanted our ‘Eye in the Sky’ on its way; it was to be his first priority after he landed in Laredo. 

In the drive back to the airport the need for operational security was discussed, the need to be more than just Anonymous. I gave her a thousand dollars, to cover gas and such, telling her to keep a low profile, and that I would be in touch with her in a couple of days. I called Leo and he wanted to meet at Putz’s field, over on Abram’s Road. He said he’d have the Federal contact person with him, on the ground.

Putz’s place is right on the border, a crop duster field, there are quite a few of them in that par of Texas, on both sides of the frontier. The fellas were waiting at the northwest end of the field and I taxied right over to them. Leo was with a Suit, he stood about five foot eleven in black leather shoes. He had a narrow black tie, knotted high and tight, white shirt and gray suit coat. His dark hair was combed and greased back, extenuating his high forehead, though it didn’t look like he was going bald. Leo introduced him as Tom Sunday, with the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), the State Department in-house intel service.

Mr. Sunday wanted an action after briefing, before there was any action, seems he thought the Federals deserved to know the particulars of the operation, I demurred. My questions were basic and to the point, did he confirm the bounties, the answer was yes, and Leo had the documentation. I told Mr. Sunday that after we had snatched the targets he would have a sanitized mission brief dropped into the e-mail account of his choice. He would learn where to send the Mexican police to perform whatever cover operations were deemed required, at their end. If all went according to plan, El Mamito and Adal would be in our hands by dawn, tomorrow. The question of where he wanted to take delivery received a surprising answer, bring ‘’em right back to Putz’s as soon as you can, he said. Leo, who was standing a bit behind Tom Sunday raised his eyebrows, incredulously.

As Leo walked with me to the plane, we had a private talk.

“You know better than to come back here, don’t you Jack?

“You better believe, Leo, this place could be hotter than a Hell’s Half-acre after we snatch El Mamito. No I’m not bringing him here, after I have ‘em I’ll text you a rendezvous and rally point. Then we’ll arrange getting them to the Feds, after we have ‘em in hand.”

“You’re good to go then. Good luck, Jack.”

“You know, Leo, Luck is jut a matter of preparation, see you when we get back.”

We shook hands and  I left Putz’s field and flew to the main airport in Laredo, where I tied down and headed to the La Quinta. Billy was already there, he had rented a suite and was up in it, monitoring the flight of the surveillance drone that was on its way to orbit the Zetas compound. He had flown in from the ranch, landing about the time I had left La Escondida. With him were two old friends of mine, ‘Rico’ Fandan and Bill Dolworth, seeing them brought a smile to my lips.

Rico stood about six foo two, a big man, but lean. His hair was about snow white, but for a tad of color that remained in his forelock. Rico was an experienced combatant, he and his partner, Bill Dolworth, had been working the borderlands for most oft heir lives. I met them on a hostage recovery mission we had all been hired for; it was the beginning of a long association.

Bill Dolworth stood about the same height, but his hair still held its color, a dirty curly blonde look. Dolworth looked like he was an athlete, and he moved like a cat. Best demo man in the business, well except for me, of course. The two of them were in the process of cleaning their personal weapons, both men prefer to carry shotguns, rather than assault rifles or submachine guns. I share their sentiments, which may be why we all get along.

Dolworth packed the Winchester Model 1901 lever-action shotgun, in 10 gauge. Five rounds in the tubular magazine, plus one in the chamber.

While my old buddy, Rico Fardan, he prefers the Winchester Model 1912, pump action shotgun, in 12 gauge. The 1912 was often called the "trench gun" by US troops, who used it extensively  in both World Wars. The military version was a short barreled weapon with a heat shield over the barrel and an adapter to mount a bayonet, The weapon has a magazine capacity of six rounds. The Winchester 1912 is unique amongst modern pump action shotguns in that there is no trigger disconnect. If you keep the trigger pulled, the weapon will fire each time the pump action is cycled.

Billy had picked them up in El Paso, on his way here from the ranch. He had flown to Texas in the Cessna 180, it is the plane I was replacing with the new used Skymaster. The Cessna 180, called a Skywagon is a single engine, high wing aircraft, mine is a 1968 model, the 180H. She’s got six seats and is powered by a 230 hp Continental O-470-L, oh yea, she’s a classic taildragger to boot.

A text came in from Jacob Sharp, he was running a little behind schedule, but would be at the hotel by 16:00hrs. Bill and Rico were both pleased to learn that Jacob was riding with us on this operation. It was time for the going over the operation order, Jacob would be able to go with the flow, after he got here, it was better not to wait.

“This is a basic snatch. Two targets in the same locale, we enter Mexico in the two aircraft, the 180 and the 337. Eduardo Padellia, you two,”
 looking at Rico and Dolworth,
“both know Eduardo pretty well, he will be at the landing field, which is a stretch of well maintained dirt road, about five kilometers southeast from the target. He is providing site security for the planes and two vehicles and drivers for the ground transportation.”

“You got Eduardo involved in this, that old goat keeper, you know I had my doubts about him, but he turned out to be as solid as they come. Good choice. How many men is he bringing?” this came from Dolworth.

“Yeah, I trust Eduardo. He didn’t talk numbers, but two at the plane, two drivers, Eduardo himself ... I’d say four or five. Does it matter?”

“No, not really. They aren’t part of the entry operation, right?”

“No, Bill, that’s just us. We should have aerial observation at any time, and we have the live feed from the camera I set this morning. The assault team should enter the compound from the rear, either at that gate, or we go over the wall, depends on what we find on the ground. We sneak up to the rear entrance and set the breaching charges. We enter in two locations, with two man teams, Rico and you , me and Billy.

When we detonate the breach charges, Jacob will lob some 40mm high explosive grenades into the front of the compound, tries to blow the gate and then drops another four or five in and around the front of the house. We have the M79 in the Skywagon, right Billy?”

“Confirmed, boss”

“We move through the building, clear it and capture the two targets. When we exfiltrate the site, Jacob will be in a sniper overwatch position to cover our withdrawal. We skedaddle back to the planes and fly to Falcon State Park, in Texas. After we have the targets in hand, I’ll contact Leo to set up the swap.”

“What’s the money look like, Jack?” this question was from Rico.

“The straight up reward, for the two of them, is three million. Ten shares, you three and Jacob all get a share, Eduardo he gets a share, the girl that supplied the intel and the newspaper man, they split a share. That’s, ahh, six shares, which leaves four shares for me. Any loot that we retrieve splits the same way.”

“I’m good to go, that seems straight” again, that was from Rico, Dolworth was nodding. Young Billy Haught, he didn’t say a word.

Dolworth was looking at the pictures of the targets, glancing at the compound’s image on computer screen, “Seems easy enough” he said, almost to himself.

“Yeah, all we gotta do, make ‘em think that we are the Mexican Army” said my old friend Rico Fardan.

Jacob showed up just at 16:00hrs, he’s an interesting character study, to be sure. Jacob was a mix of Black and American Indian bloodlines, both of his parents were themselves, children of previous genetic mixing of American Indian and African Black backgrounds.

Jacob is a bit taller than me, so that puts him at six feet, he probably weighs two hundred, maybe a little more, but there is little, let me rephrase, there is no body fat on his frame. Squat thrusts, sit-ups, push-ups, and jumping jacks, five hundred repetitions of each exercise, those form the basis of his daily callisthenic workout. Jacob is an excellent man tracker; he excels at both knife and stick fighting, is an excellent archer and can dot an eye at eight hundred yards with a rifle.

We all left for the airport together, there was no reason to be clandestine at the La Quinta, and took two taxis over to the planes. Billy had arranged to get the Skywagon parked next to the Skymaster, so it was pretty easy to move some of the arsenal he had brought, and get stuff sorted out.

I would be carrying a Remington 870, pump action 12 gauge shot gun,  with seven rounds in the magazine. On my left thigh there was the always dependable Colt 1911, carried on my vest were two Tasers, each of us that were entering the house would have two. I had my other Colt in a shoulder holster, slung under my right arm. 

 Billy, fresh from Afghanistan took a different approach from us older veterans. He didn’t carry a long weapon, but three of the Sig P226 pistols. The P226 sets the new standard for combat handguns. I have to admit that the ergonomics and balance of the pistol make it easy to handle. Folks that carry ‘em, they will tell you that the longer barrel provides better ballistic performance and greater accuracy. The P226 pistol is issued to the U.S. Navy SEALs. During the breech he’ll carry one in each hand and one strapped on his right thigh.

Ballistic vests and webgear, each man carried his own. Everyone was given a radio and headset and there were four placed on the side for Eduardo and his team, one for each driver, the security team at the planes and one for him, if he was not driving one of the two vehicles.

Billy and Jacob left first, in the 180H, it’s only fifty miles to the landing strip, so they would be there in thirty minutes, it’ll take the Skymaster about twenty minutes. We’d been taking turns watching the surveillance coverage, three SUVs had arrived in the hour before we went wheels up, Billy was sure he recognized ‘El Mamito’ getting out of the second vehicle. That was enough for me.

The shadows were getting long during the fly-by of the landing strip, Eduardo was there with two pickup trucks and four other men. I banked the Skymaster around and brought her down to earth, There was amble space to put the planes, and Billy touched down right on time and taxied over.

Eduardo had not changed much, he was still bald, but his remaining hair had gotten longer and his mustache had grown even more extreme, but he was on the ball. His people all carried their own radios, he gave me one, while Billy handed out the radios we had brought for them. His men were all carrying AK-47 variants, probably Norincos from China, but it didn’t really matter. Their weapons were all clean and looked functional, which did matter.

On the hood of Eduardo’s truck we went over the route I wanted to take to the target I made sure that Jacob knew the route to the sniper position and that he had the M79 and bandolier of grenades. 
The sky was clear, but the moon was in its’ last quarter and would not rise until 02:30hrs. Our ‘Eye in the Sky’ was about to go dark, from the lack of ambient light, so Billy brought it to us and landed it on the road. We had it in pieces and stowed away in the 180 Skywagon a few minutes later.

Everything was set; we were good to go, just waiting on the clock. The surveillance system I had placed on the hill south of the compound was still providing a strong signal, but there was not much to see. There were still five vehicles parked outside the wall, there were lights on inside the main house, but not much movement to be seen at the windows nor outside on the patios.

I had a talk with Jacob about the sniper hide, where I had set the camera, which was four hundred yards from the main house in the compound, that’s right at the maximum range of the 40mm grenade that the M79 ‘Blooper’ fires. Even though the desired effect of the grenade barrage was to provide a diversion during the breech, and area fire would provide that, there was still that gnawing feeling that the rounds should be put accurately onto the target. To do that, though, Jacob would have to close the gap, and there was not much cover between the observation post and the target. If he moved the fifty to seventy-five meters needed to lay accurate fire on the target, he would be be out in the open and exposed to return fire. The secondary challenge was that the nearer he was to the compound the more the field of fire his long gun, a M21 sniper rifle, was diminished. His ability to cover our withdrawal from the compound would be compromised, if he was at the optimum ‘Blooper’ range, which is about 325 yards.

“The answer is simple enough, Jack, as you guys infiltrate to the breech points, I’ll slide down to a good spot to launch the barrage, six rounds at what, eight or ten seconds per, that’ll take less than a minute, not any more than that. Then I bust ass back up the hill, while you’re in the building, and by the time you exit, I’ll have your backs from the high ground. If I start the ball, and you boys don’t breech until after the first grenade hits, I could be back in the hide before you have cleared the entry points.”

Rico and Eduardo were concern about where the pickup point would be, once we had the packages in hand and were leaving battle space. The preferred pickup spot was outside the front gate, but if it was blocked or locked, that could present a problem, Rather than worry on about what was really an unknowable, the answer was for Eduardo to monitor the radio and make accommodations on the fly.

Each of us going into the building were carrying grenades, two flash bangs and two M67 frags, I like to lead with a bang. During the surveillance, both from the fixed position on the hill and from the ‘Eye in the Sky’ we had not seen any dogs, which did not mean there were none. The absence of evidence not always being evidence of absence, so I left one of the 1911’s in the plane and decided to take a .22 caliber Walther P22 pistol, with a screwed on suppressor, instead, just in case there was a need for silence.

After having been on the ground for about three hours, pushing 22:00hrs, it was time to start the dance. We loaded up in the the two trucks and headed over towards the compound, stopping about a kilometer away; still well out of sight of the compound, it was time to take a hike. We moved in single file, relaxed but at the ready, slipping unobserved through the trees and then using the ravine before going up the hill just west the compound. The entire trek we were concealed from possible observation from lookouts at the compound, this was accomplished by staying below the ridgeline until in position directly behind the buildings. That’s when Jacob split off from our group to head for the OP, while we stayed belly down on the cusp of the ridge, with our eyes on the compound.

It took another fifteen minutes for Jacob to get into position at the OP, he dismantled the camera system and stowed it in a rucksack. It was another fifteen minutes, all told, until we made our way to the wall of the compound. The Zetas had only just commandeered this property, and I doubted that there were any sophisticated security systems installed. There was not even a lock on the back gate; it seemed the ‘Force’ was still with the Jedi knights. The lights were on in the house, on the first floor, but there was no sound of boisterous partying going on, the buildings were quiet, but not dark.

Maintaining radio contact with Jacob, who reported all was quiet to the front, we approached the rear of the building, Rico and Dolworth went to the door at the rear of the building, on the west side, Billy and I took the south side of the house, where there was no doorway, but a large window. Luckily, for us, the drapes were closed, and while some light leaked onto the patio, we would be unobserved placing the demo on the window frame. When both charges were set the four of us met at the southwest corner of the house, I handed the detonator, the ‘clacker; to Dolworth and then radioed Jacob, telling him we were all good.

Jacob moved down slope, to a spot a little more than two hundred fifty meters from the front gate. Another round of radio checks and then Jacob lit the fuse, I thought I heard the ‘bloop’ of the M79 being fired, but there was no mistaking the blast of the grenade when it hit the front gate, blowing it open. That was when Dolworth, looking at the three of us said

“Fire in the Hole!” and squeezed both of the clackers, the dual blasts were almost instantaneous.

 Not letting the moment slip away we all dashed for the breech points created by the blasts. Billy took the lead and cleared the remains of the window sill in a single bound, landing on both feet; he crouched low and then moved off to his left, the lights were off in the room, the blast of the breeching charge shattering the bulbs. As I cleared the window there were two pistol reports to my left, sounded like Billy had double tapped a target, that’s when I heard Dolworth’s 10 gauge cannon go off.  Billy had moved left, it was on me to cover the right side of the room, and I saw movement on the floor, a groggy Zeta was trying to gather his senses, a full load of nine buckshot pellets from the barrel of my Remington put him back down. The living room was clear; Billy was in the main entry hall, heading towards the ground floor rooms on the north side of the house. I followed him into the entry hall.

From the outside, towards the pool house to the north side of the compound I could hear the muffled explosions of 40mm grenades as they were impacting the ground, the sounds of the blast were like the ticking of a clock, every ten seconds there was another blast. Jacob had the beat down; the fella had rhythm, no doubt about it. There was movement at the top of the stairs; two men, each with an AK-47 in their hands, were starting to come down the steps, one behind the other. I gave them about five seconds, until the lead man was half way down the stairs and saw me. As his eyes widened, in recognition of his imminent demise, the double-aught buck shot from my Remington 870 hit him in the groin and thighs. As he was falling forward I racked the action of my weapon, putting a fresh round in the chamber, and stepped forward left to get a better angle on the second man, who had tried to stop in mid stride. Instead of stopping, the fellow had lost his footing and had fallen, ass first, into a sitting position on the stairs; the look of fear on his face was priceless. The third load of double-aught buckshot fired from my Remington took him square in the chest.

Dolworth’s 10 gauge sounded off, twice, as I quickly loaded three shells into the 870 before heading to the base of the stairs. The first of the stairway Zetas was laying there, moaning and groaning on the floor, holding the shotgun in my right hand and drawing the 1911 from the shoulder holster with my left, there was no feeling of remorse as one of  those big .45 caliber hollow point bullets destroyed his skull. Holstering the Colt it was time to find the object of our hunt, from the sound of things outside, the mission clock was at plus one minute, as the grenade barrage was over. So far we had four Zetas down, confirmed, in the house. Rico sounded off, telling me he was coming up on my six, and then he followed up the stairs.

Taking a frag grenade, I tossed it towards the three doors at the end of the upstairs hallway, they looked like the bedrooms, and then took cover. The blast came four seconds later, that was when I made a mad rush towards those the doors at the end of the hall, just half a heart beat after the steel fragments shredded the walls.. The door to the left had been blown open, and there was a man lying on his back, disoriented by the blast, it was El Mamito. I stepped to him and kicked him in the face, with my left boot, disorienting him even further. Then reaching down I turned him over, onto his stomach, pulling his hands behind his back to put the zip tie hand cuffs on him. As I straightened up it was my right foot that found his groin, poor El Mamito, he was really disoriented now. I started turning back to the doorway just as Rico’s Winchester went off; and I was the witness to another Zeta going down. Seems he’d gotten behind me while my eyes were on the prize. Rico had not been as tunnel focused on El Mamito, good thing for me.

I kicked in the remaining closed door and Rico charged through into the room, there he was, the accountant El Adal was crouching in the corner, yelling “No Fuego, No Fuego!”, (Don’t Fire!) He stood up when Rico approached him, that’s when Rico performed a text book ‘Horizontal Butt Stroke’ and hit him with the stock of the Winchester up side El Adal’s head. Set our boy Adal right down to his knees and then he was thrown to the floor. Rico was on top of of the prone and crying man, had him quickly cuffed then back on his feet, shoving him towards the stairway. I grabbed ‘El Mamito’ and pulled him to his feet, shoving him towards Rico, who pushed him to the stairs. El Adal was mentally beaten, you could see it in his eyes as he complied with Rico’s instructions to go down the stairs. When the Mamito failed to perform, Rico threw him down the stairwell, the take off was flawless, but the landing had to have hurt.

Over the radio I announced we had the two packages in hand, and were ready to leave the building. Jacob reported the front gate was down, but the Zetas had established a strong point in the pool house, on the north side of the compound. He, Billy and Dolworth had ‘em pinned down, but the path from the house to the gate was not secure. He reported no movement from the building to the immediate south of the compound; the lights had come on, then they were quickly turned off again. Glancing about the room where Adal had been captured, there was a medium sized duffle bag, on the floor next to the bed. It seemed to be ‘out of place’, and when opened, it appeared to be full of cash money, US green. I zipped it back closed and put the carrying strap over my shoulder.

Eduardo on the move, he already had both trucks rolling, one would approach the south wall and would be our ticket out of the trap, the other would cruise on by the front of the compound and pick up Jacob. Rico had taken charge of Mamito and Adal, who was beinge ever mor compliant as he was staring at the bodies strewn about the first floor of the house. When the four of us got to the wall of the compound, Eduardo was there with the truck, backing up to it, with one of his men standing in the truck bed, ready to help to manhandle the prisoners over the wall and into the truck. Once those two were loaded Rico used the radio to update Billy and Dolworth. They broke contact with the Zetas in the pool house, beating a hasty retreat through the house and then towards the south, to the truck.

I was standing in the back of the truck bed, watching as the other truck, the one that had picked up Jacob, pulled in amongst the vehicles that were parked outside of the compound’s wall. Jacob was moving with his normal fluidness, jumping out of the truck and then running to the Mercedes parked furthest away from where they had stopped, he began shooting the radiators and tires of each vehicle, moving swiftly back towards his ride, stopping only for a moment when he rolled his grenades underneath the fuel tanks of the two larger SUVs, right before vaulting back into the truck, as it started off again towards the highway.

Billy and Dolworth came over the wall and into the bed of our truck, just as Jacob’s driver was spewing dust and gravel into the air and the gasoline in those fuel tanks exploded in a ball of red and orange flame, the smoke disappearing into the black of the night sky. Eduardo was behind the wheel and had us rolling just as the two Bills were landing in the bed of the truck. So far, so good.

Mamito was no longer as disoriented as he had been, when we pulled up to the wide spot in the road where we’d left the planes. He started to speak and really, some of what he said was just vile. It didn’t matter that he was speaking Spanish; we all speak Spanish well enough to understand the gist of wha he was saying. He didn’t quit until Billy took a Taser to his neck, which shut him up. There was no sign of Zeta pursuit, they must have thought they’d been hit by the Alto Mando of the GAFE, it was either that or it was because their vehicles were still burning. There was a faint orange glow off in the distance to the west, visible to us because it was higher on the southeastern slope of the Sierra Piachos, right about where the Zeta compound was.

That was when the text was sent to Leo, it provided the GPS coordinates of the vehicle fire, just in case Tom Sunday wanted to report it to the appropriate Mexican fire department. Also included was confirmation of Putz’s Field as our rally and rendezvous point for the exchange. Billy grabbed a hold of Adal and pushed him towards the Skymaster, there were questions to be asked.

“How much money is in the bag?”

“In the bags, there is one million US in each bag, but I see you only have one of them. You can keep it, if you let us go.”

“I can keep it, and you too, amigo. When I let go of you, it’s another million dollars, for me and mine. You have nothing to trade.”

“That is where you are wrong, I have a lot to trade, it is all in my head, the passwords to the numbered accounts, millions more in banks in the Cayman’s and in Belize.”

Rico was standing there, taking it all in. That’s when I asked him.

“Well, Rico old buddy, what do you say?”

“I say that you, which means we, have a contract with the US government. We can, so therefore should, fulfill that contract.”

“I must agree with that assessment, Rico. Say, Billy, take one of the stowage bags from the 180 and put one hundred thousand of the captured loot in it, for Eduardo, will you please?

“On it, boss!”  he said as he trotted towards the other plane. The last ray of hope disappeared from the eyes of ‘El Adal”.

 We used those zip ties to secure both of the prisoners’ ankles, then for the Mamito, we connected the ankle ties to his wrist ties, our little pretty boy, ‘El Mamito’ was hog tied.

Both of the prisoners were loaded into the Skymaster, the loot and heavy weaponry along with the rest of the fellas, would take the 180 Skywagon. The plan was to fly, nose to tail, right to Putz’s Field, when I would call Leo and abort that rally point and send him the new coordinates for the meeting. I’d delay that part of the message, to ensure being on the ground first. Still flying in close tandem formation our pair of planes would fly on to Falcon Lake, where the two prisoners would be turned over to Tom Sunday.

Eduardo was happy as a clam, to get the one hundred thousand in cash dollar bills, he didn’t even ask about a timeline for payment of the balance, trust is a wonderful commodity. That and he knew about dealing with the Feds and getting paid, so why bring up a question that we all knew there was no good answer to.

The overflight of Putz’s Field went as planned, Billy went lights out before crossing the river and we flew on, to a destination that was unknown of by Tom Sunday. It’s not that far to Falcon Lake, from Mission, so no matter what mode of transportation Mr. Sunday was utilizing he’d be along soon enough. The field at Falcon Lake State Park is not used much these days, Leo was the one that first turned me on to it, and because it’s a State Park the local police do not patrol it. They will come if called, but they mainly leave security to the Park Police and the Texas Rangers, both groups of fellas whom Leo knows well and works with on a regular basis. The south end of the strip is being covered by blow sand, it even looked to be drifting in places when I overflew it a few days back, didn’t think much would have changed, in three days. The north end of the runway was still clear of obstructions.

The Skywagon flew the length of the airstrip, with the passengers dropping chemical light sticks out the windows. When wearing commercially available night vision equipment those sticks light up the night. Billy set her down perfect and let the boys out on the south end of the runway, then he taxied to the north end of the strip and parked. I followed him down and then taxied to the south end of the strip, and then stopped he plane close enough to be with the fellas.

We weren’t on the ground more than fifteen minutes when a Blackhawk helicopter came in and landed. Tom Sunday, Leo and four guys dressed in black BDUs complete with face masks climbed out and came over to the us, as we stood around the passenger door of the Skymaster. Unscrewing the cap to a flask of Jack Daniels, I then handed it over to Rico, who took a swig and then passed it over to Jacob, the flask went around and helped to lightened the mood. Sunday seems a little pissed, as he walked up, but his mood lightened considerably when he saw the cargo, trussed up in the back of the 337.

As the men in black removed he cargo from my plane, Tom Sunday signed a receipt for the two of them and was informed he’d be contacted by Lawyer Daggett with the payment particulars, seeing as how Lawyer Daggett,  he represented my employer,
Mag Seven Security Systems – ‘Why buy guns when you can hire Men’

The newspapers in Mexico declared that Operation Lince Norte was a public success; passing on the military reports of  the seizure of 6.5 million pesos, which is worth about $540,000USD. They also reported that over twelve hundred weapons were seized, along with three tons of marijuana, almost forty thousand dollars in U.S. currency and more than two hundred and sixty vehicles. All in what should have been a crippling blow to the Los Zetas operations on the streets of Nuevo Laredo.

Beyond that publicly acknowledged successes, the covert actions of Coronel Valdez and Fire Team Filiberto had held to the capture Jesus Rejón, a founding member of Los Zetas and head of their operations in San Luis Potosí, the capture of Rejon was officially credited to the Federal Police in Mexico City.

Federal Police agents showed off their prize, Jesus Enrique Aguilar, alias ‘El Mamito’, to the public in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini). Along with Jesus there was another important member of Los Zetas was captured in a separate action, Valdemar ‘El Adal’ Quintanilla Soriano, who was a major money mover,cash launderer, referred to as an ‘accountant’, for Los Zetas. The capture of ‘Adal’ led to the seizure of almost one million dollars in US currency, by the men of he Alto Mando, which was never mentioned in the reports made to the public

It was reported that ‘Adal’ had been captured after a gun battle between Mexican Army troops and members of a Zeta cell in the municipality of Agualeguas, Nuevo Leon, just north of Monterrey. The Army reports that the battle resulted in the deaths of ten gunmen. In addition to the dead gunmen, the Army reported the seizure of ten military style assault rifles, five vehicles, military uniforms and tactical gear. There were over two thousand rounds of ammunition and ten 40 mm grenades seized. According to the public reports six of the gunmen were killed in the house, another four were found in defensive positions outside the main residence.

A reporter who wrote crime and police stories in the Mexican port city of Veracruz was found dead Tuesday morning, but officials made an early denial that she was killed for her newsgathering.
Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz worked at Notiver (link in Spanish), the same employer of a columnist who wrote critically about politics and was killed in an ambush in his home in late June, along with two members of his family, as The Times reported.
Yet state authorities denied in a statement Tuesday that Ordaz was killed for her "journalistic work," hinting that the motive behind her death was "links to organized crime" (link in Spanish). The statement did not elaborate.
- See more at:
A reporter who wrote crime and police stories in the Mexican port city of Veracruz was found dead Tuesday morning, but officials made an early denial that she was killed for her newsgathering.
Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz worked at Notiver (link in Spanish), the same employer of a columnist who wrote critically about politics and was killed in an ambush in his home in late June, along with two members of his family, as The Times reported.
Yet state authorities denied in a statement Tuesday that Ordaz was killed for her "journalistic work," hinting that the motive behind her death was "links to organized crime" (link in Spanish). The statement did not elaborate.
- See more at:

It was all going good, back at the Greenback, when I got this in an anonymous E-mail

A reporter who wrote crime and police stories in the Mexican port city of Veracruz was found dead Tuesday morning, but officials made an early denial that she was killed for her newsgathering.

Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz worked at Notiver (link in Spanish), the same employer of a columnist who wrote critically about politics and was killed in an ambush in his home in late June, along with two members of his family, as The Times reported.

Yet state authorities denied in a statement Tuesday that Ordaz was killed for her "journalistic work," hinting that the motive behind her death was "links to organized crime" (link in Spanish). The statement did not elaborate.

A reporter who wrote crime and police stories in the Mexican port city of Veracruz was found dead Tuesday morning, but officials made an early denial that she was killed for her newsgathering.
Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz worked at Notiver (link in Spanish), the same employer of a columnist who wrote critically about politics and was killed in an ambush in his home in late June, along with two members of his family, as The Times reported.
Yet state authorities denied in a statement Tuesday that Ordaz was killed for her "journalistic work," hinting that the motive behind her death was "links to organized crime" (link in Spanish). The statement did not elaborate.
- See more at:


  1. Great story, but there were two mistakes that bothered me. In the first GAFE raid, a zeta fires an AK-47 that is said to use 7.62x54. You got it right in the arms room, 7.62x39 of course. Also your Winchester Model 1912 picture is actually an 1897, which has an external hammer while the 1912 does not.

    1. Heck, if those are all the problems that you found, it went pretty well.


  2. Wow. Nice to see you take the sting out of the dreaded 'Zetas'. Other than probably a handful of Kaibiles, the rest are just petty thugs who can't hack it being on the receiving end of a raid.