Here is the translated excerpt of Ignacio Alzaga's story on Milenio.com:
"In the town of Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, elements of the Army captured Daniel 'El Loco' Elizondo, a member of the Gulf cartel and alleged perpetrator of the execution of 49 people found in the town of Cadereyta. The Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA) reported that, 'After the discovery of 49 bodies, military personnel conducted ground surveys and other specific actions to identify, locate and arrest the alleged perpetrators of these crimes with positive results, which will be announced soon, as operations continue,' the agency said in a statement. The National Defense said during the arrest on Thursday in China, Nuevo León, of eight alleged members of the Gulf cartel, they secured four rifles, a handgun, three hand grenades, 881 cartridges of different calibers, 34 magazines for different weapons, a kilogram of cocaine, two vehicles, tactical gear and a radio." Link to Full Article
Here is an excerpt from a post about the story on Blog del Narco:
"Daniel de Jesús Elizondo Ramirez, alias "El Loco", who was the leader of "Los Zetas" in the municipality of Cadareyta, Nuevo León, was arrested in a subdivision in the municipality of Guadalupe for his participation in the event. Edgar Villegas Ruiz, the Department of Defense Director of Operations, said 'El Loco' would have received from Heriberto Lazcano, the leader of the criminal organization 'Los Zetas,' the order to transfer human remains to the main square of Cadereyta, but it was Elizondo who decided to leave them on the road... Another eight [people] were arrested in the town of China. Following that arrest, [authorities] located five mass graves, where there were nine bodies." Link to Full Article
Analysis: Based on the information I've received about this over the past two days, I think I have more questions than answers at this point. One of my TCO sources first told me about the arrest on Friday; media outlets are only reporting on it now, which is disappointing, to say the least. You probably noticed that there's a major disparity between the first story, as reported by Milenio, and the second, as reported by Blog del Narco and echoed by Associated Press reports. The initial information on the ground matched up with the first report - that Elizondo was a member of the Gulf cartel, not Los Zetas. But that didn't add up for my source, and wouldn't for anyone who's been following drug war events.
Anyway, assuming the press finally got their act straight, and we're dealing with captured suspects from Los Zetas, let's take a look at the plan (again, according to what the press is telling us from a suspect's confession). El Lazca, head of Los Zetas, ordered the murder of the 49 people. He wanted the bodies on display in the town's main square, but Elizondo took it upon himself to dump the bodies on the side of the road. They left a sign next to the bodies claiming the Zetas did it. Then days later, they hung narcobanners around town accepting responsibility for other mass killings, but denying blame for this one. Huh? If you're scratching your head, then join the party.
While things may have actually happened this way, there are a couple of things that are bugging me. First, Elizondo defied a direct order by El Lazca. No, Los Zetas are not organized hierarchically like an old-school TCO, and work more like a franchise operation. But still, they're rooted in military discipline. To defy the orders of No.1 and make decisions on your own like that, especially in the midst of one of Mexico's biggest narco body dumps? Very odd.
Then there's the blame game. El Loco says the disparate information coming from the sign and banners was meant to cause confusion. Among who? The police and military? Local residents? Rivals? From my view here in the US, it caused more curiosity than anything else, just trying to figure out who killed all those people when TCOs are usually clambering all over each other to take credit. The investigators would have been confused if they had taken Los Zetas at their word, which isn't necessarily the best investigative tactic when you're trying to get to the bottom of things in Mexico.
I'm not sure if the location of the body dump is significant, especially if what Elizondo said is true. Who knows what was going on inside his head when he picked that spot. It's well east of downtown Monterrey, and enough of a distance away from the primary conflict between Los Zetas and the CDG. The other arrests were made in China, which is another appreciable distance east of Cadereyta, somewhat in the middle of nowhere. Honestly, the body dump in the town square would have made a more dramatic impact, if that's even possible.
But we still come back to the real question everyone wants an answer to: Who were the victims? I still believe they're either migrants or innocent locals. If the killers had left any identifiable parts on them, some may have been associated with the CDG or another rival group, lending more credibility and strength to this intimidation campaign. But if any of those people had been traced back to an absence of criminal record or association, it would be another huge black mark on Los Zetas' record - which they haven't really cared about in the past, to make note. This is actually pretty tidy for the Mexican authorities; they can claim the victims were likely whomever they want them to be for convenience - and in most cases, it's better if the victims are "bad guys."
Bottom line, I don't know if they arrested the right people; we never do. I think it was most likely Los Zetas who did the killing, and if their plan was some sort of deception operation to make their rivals look bad or bring heat upon themselves, it was a fail. And, we'll probably never know who those victims were or where they came from. We can only wait to see if, by some miracle, investigators can provide some solid, reliable answers.