On July 24, 2010 at 4:11 AM I broke a story that incoming information indicated there was a seizure of two ranches in Laredo, Texas
by the notoriously brutal and highly trained Los Zetas hit squad. Los Zetas was formerly working as enforcers for the Gulf Cartel in Mexico, but in March had split with the cartel and is currently at war with them. Whether it was a small group of Los Zetas was not known. The incident was believed to have started the night before, but there was no information at the time of whether it was an ongoing incident or had already been resolved within hours.
(Update: August 13, 2010 7PM : Laredo PD has confirmed that the evidence below is real )
At the time I was tipped to the story I was not certain to the veracity of the story. The information was coming from one source within law enforcement. The story carried within it a disclaimer that it was unconfirmed at that time. The initial "tip" came from Jeff Schwilk of the San Diego Minutemen, but it was not his source. The sources were from Kimberly Dvorak of the San Diego Examiner. The deliberate lies in many reports and stories critical of the truth of the incident, is just one example of the distortion that has been spread on how this story developed. Those calling the story a hoax or outright lie try to state that the sources were Minutemen and that they were just trying to stir things up. Some even went as far as to claim that militias were making the story up, though militias were not mentioned in the story. The truth is that none of the law enforcement sources were Jeff Schwilk's; he simply contacted me with a tip and pointed me to Dvorak.
As time went on, individuals contacted law enforcement in the area and were receiving a mixture of curious denials and brush-offs. This was just a smattering of attempts to confirm or deny the story. Local media was also contacted to find out if they had any information. They stated that they had no information and seemed uninterested in pursuing any. The story was virtually ignored by many and until further word was received I did not think there was any need to push it nationally. I was simply passing on the word of information I had received to others.
We now know that there was a concerted effort to cover up the incident. Los Zetas indeed did take over ranches along the border. Kimberly Dvorak has released information passed to her, including a photo of the police blotter for the incident when it occurred. The blotter shows that multiple law enforcement agencies were notified and responded to the incident near Mines Rd and Minerales in Laredo, Texas. Below is a photo taken of that exact police blotter.
The blotter states:
"On Friday 7-23-10 Laredo Webb informed that their county SWAT Team is conducting an operation in the Mines Rd. area. According to LT. Garcia with LSO (Laredo Sheriff Office) received a call from a ranch owner stating that the Zetas had taken over his ranch. As per the 17 (reporting person) he informed them that they stated La Compania (area business) was taking the ranch and no one was permitted on the ranch without permission. SO (Sheriff Office) will have an unmarked green Ford Taurus with two officers stationed at Los Compadres and a white Chevy Tahoe with two officers stationed at Mineral Rd. The LSO (Laredo Sheriff Office) will maintain surveillance in the area and advise if action is taken. Susp (suspect) Veh (vehicle) are described as a gray or silver Audi, a BLK (black) Escalade or Navigator and a van truck with a logo of a car wash spot free on the side. Border Patrol also has their response team on scene. Also known info of BMW’s and Corvettes entering and leaving the area. Auth LT Lichtenberger if assistance is requested LPD (Laredo Police Department) will secure the outer perimeter. (07/24/10 07:42:10 NR1873)"
In the video below you will see a joint press conference of law enforcement in the Laredo area to denounce the reports of the Los Zetas Ranch story. Note that they held this press conference on July 29, 2010 - five days after the incident and five days after the report that is in the police blotter. These people at the press conference are lying. Who they are trying to cover-up for is not known. Is it themselves, a local politician or does it go even higher?
Joint Press Conference Saying That No Incident With Los Zetas Occurred At Ranches In Laredo
A big question to ask yourself after watching the above video is if the Los Zetas ranch seizure never happened, why are the law enforcement agents all of the sudden boosting security and patrols in the area? A thinking person would assume that there was a credible reason or event that occurred.
In March, 2010, I broke the story of Rob Krentz, the Arizona rancher who was shot to death, along with his dog, on his ranch. The murderer is believed to be an illegal alien who has not been caught as of this date - and sadly probably will never be brought to justice. When I pushed the story it quickly went national and spread around the internet and eventually hit major media. The nature and impact of releasing such a story is clear to me now and was clear to me at the time of the Zetas incident and I have always been very careful about releasing information and making sure it is confirmed (and in which cases it is not and clearly stating that). That is why I did not send the Zetas story to anyone at the time it broke - including media.
I did not contemplate the national or local impact this story would have at the time. Yes, it is the horrific story of dangerous foreigners coming across the border and terrorizing American Citizens and taking over their property. It was believed that there was a media blackout until the situation could be resolved by law enforcement. I saw it as just more proof that our borders need to be secured and saw no reason that the story could not possibly be true. Most Americans would agree that our borders are wide open to anyone who wishes to cross them whether they are terrorists, drug dealers or groups like the Los Zetas (terrorists and Los Zetas is actually redundant).
What I mean by "contemplating the impact" though is that I did not look at the political ramifications of the story. It was just one more example of the ineptitude of our government and its failure to protect its citizens. The next series of events that occurred though would tell a far greater tale.
Kim Dvorak, the contact with the source, was looking further into the story. I was receiving additional tips and information coming in to me from others that pointed to confirmation of the story, but none were credible enough to publish. As the morning wore on I started taking more interest in the story as information came in. Something was fishy. Why was everyone ignoring this story or trying to dub it a hoax so fast?
Then the Laredo Police Department and Webb County Sheriff's office went from neither confirming nor denying the story, to having what appeared to be a set template of response to inquiries. It was like they had received word from top down on how to answer with as obscure a reply as they could. How high that top went is still to be determined.
Things were about to explode though.
At approximately 1:40 PM I received word that Dvorak had found a second source within law enforcement that was confirming the story… and that changed everything.
Continue on to the next part: The Internet Explodes As Los Zetas Story Ignites