PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Coahuila–The Mexican Los Zetas cartel used a network of oven facilities to cover-up the systematic mass extermination of innocent people during the 2011-2013 period when the cartel had complete governmental control over most of the Mexican state of Coahuila. From the then-governor of Coahuila, down to the city jails, Los Zetas had complete control of every aspect of governmental process and of the lives of Mexican citizens–including news media. Their atrocities in Coahuila have remained largely unreported and undocumented by any governmental agencies; local, state, federal, or international.
After Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project launched and began to see success in exposing various factions of the Gulf cartel in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, we grew increasingly aware of the need to help bring a platform to people in Los Zetas territory who had experiences of which we knew they wanted the world to hear. It seemed as if we would never break through the barrier, as we didn’t know and trust any sources in the region whom we could utilize as a starting point to build out from.
Our access to information in the Gulf Cartel territory in most of Tamaulipas grew to an unprecedented level, but Los Zetas controls the western portion of Tamaulipas around Nuevo Laredo and the state of Coahuila and getting our foot in the door seemed impossible. That changed. People from the region began contacting us and we had to take a chance and trust them. We didn’t know at the time if they were corrupted people luring us into Mexico for the cartels to capture us or if they were good people who wanted to risk their lives and help their communities. We had to take the chance. We did it and we lucked out–or we were blessed.
We traveled to the Texas border town of Eagle Pass to meet with our new sources. The Mexican border town of Piedras Negras sits immediately across the Rio Grande. We ended up in the backseat of a car with two strangers from Mexico taking us to “meet some people.” As the car traveled to a remote industrial area, we began to look at each other nervously. We ended up in a dark industrial park and we both thought we had been set up. The driver and his partner pulled us up to a warehouse and asked us to get out. We did so and walked inside, both thinking that we might be in trouble.
Instead of kidnappers, we found a group of Mexican businessmen who were afraid that meeting with us in public would risk their lives or the lives of their families. They grilled meat and warmed up tortillas for us. We smoked cigarettes and enjoyed beers until the men began telling their stories. We heard of good people who simply disappeared. We heard of towns where mass “disappearances” had occurred and no one knew why. We were later able to verify each story and find the answers the men and their communities had sought after for so many years.
Read the Remainder at Breitbart Texas