Photo: Galdino Mellado Cruz, alias "Z-9"
A founder of the ultraviolent Los Zetas drug cartel was killed in a gunfight with security forces in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, the Mexican government said Monday.
Galdino Mellado Cruz, alias “Z-9,” was cornered last Friday at a residence in the border city of Reynosa, the head of Mexico’s National Security Commission, Monte Alejandro Rubido, told a press conference.
Mellado, reinforced by gunmen who arrived at the home in several SUVs, resisted the federal forces, leading to a battle that left him and four of his associates dead, along with one soldier.
Forensic investigators identified Mellado’s body at the scene based on fingerprints and physical features, Rubido said.
The 41-year-old Mellado, according to Rubido, was the “second-in-command of a criminal group” operating in the area of Reynosa, which sits just across the border from McAllen, Texas.
The initial raid in Reynosa led to the arrest on Saturday of four other members of the same criminal organization and the seizure of assault rifles, grenades and 500 rounds of ammunition, Rubido said.
Two of the three top Zetas bosses have been taken out of commission since the summer of 2012.
Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, alias “Z40,” was captured last July, less than a year after Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano died in a shootout with Mexican troops.
Lazcano, known as “El Lazca,” deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with several other former members of an elite, U.S.-trained special operations unit.
After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account in early 2010 and now control several lucrative territories.
Tamaulipas has been terrorized in recent years by a brutal battle for supremacy between the Gulf outfit and the Zetas.
Read more at Blog del Narco in Spanish