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Mexico's Most Feared Drug Cartel has Entered the Coal Mining Business

By Joao Peixe | Wed, 09 January 2013 22:47 | 3

According to the US government, los Zetas are the most technologically advanced, sophisticated, and dangerous cartel in Mexico, a set of qualities that has also led them to become the most violent and feared. Formed back in 1999 when commandos from the Mexican army’s elite forces deserted ranks and became the armed forces for the Gulf Cartel, they then split off to start their own gang in 2010.

In the past few years they have taken control of Mexico’s Coahuila region in the north, along the border of Texas, and are now starting to thrive like never before. Los Zetas covertly entered the region, and under the threat of extreme violence for those who didn’t cooperate they swiftly brought every aspect of commerce, politics, and business under their control in less than three years.

This expansion was not undertaken to increase its drug trafficking or prostitution ring operations, but rather to enter into the business of coal mining.

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The state of Coahuila is rich in coal, and mining the fuel offers los Zetas a rare chance to actually make money in a legal manner, as opposed to the normal rackets of drugs and sex trafficking.

The coal is mined through their own poorly paid workers, or bought at a low price from small miners, who are forced to sell their product. Los Zetas then resell the coal onto a state-owned company for a profit that is 30 times greater than the initial investment.

This setup is proving hugely lucrative for los Zetas, estimated to earn them around $25 million a year. Humberto Moreira, the former governor of Coahuila, said that the practice has even become more profitable than drug running.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com

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  • tim on January 13 2013 said:
    Coal is looking up quite significantly right now, and its future looks very bright; China and India cannot possibly escape their dependence on it for the next 50 years! And the spread between WTI and BSC has narrowed, not grown; it's currently at its smallest level since last September. But as to controlling export, all the Zetas have to do is bribe the right officials/politicians, and they will have no problem exporting it. America has lost its moral foundation, and it is unraveling rapidly.
  • John Bowmn on January 12 2013 said:
    The Texas Railroad Commission is considering granting
    a Mexican coal company a license to operate a coal mine near Eagle Pass, Texas. The "Dos Republicas" coal
    mine will be open if the license is granted. The railroad commission has stated that it can not even consider the impact this Mexican coal mine will have on crime, border violence and corruption. The coal mine is rumored to be interested in constructing a private rail line from Mexico to the United States. If this happens the Zetas will be granted a license to operate on both sides of the border, with the consent of the state of Texas.
  • Richard on January 12 2013 said:
    With american natural gas selling at $3.50 per 1000 cubic feet, I can't imagine coal holding its market for long. This will be seed money for the Los Zetas, it will be good for thier cash flow but not a long term position. We might be seeing those drug tunnels used as literal pipelines for gas and crude oil before too long. Since legal export from the US is so tightly controled I think that a risk develops as the spread grows between WTI and BSC.

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