Mexican Military Arrests Key Leaders Behind Border State Cartel Turf War

Within a matter of days, Mexican military forces arrested three top cartel leaders from rival factions of the Gulf Cartel and their allies. Authorities say the leaders are partly responsible for a fierce turf war being fought throughout the border state of Tamaulipas.

On Tuesday evening, military forces arrested Felipe de Jesus “Pawa” Alonzo Olmedo, the leader of the Old School Zetas gunmen in San Fernando, Tamaulipas. In a short video leaked to social media, the man known as Pawa can be seen laying on the floor while military forces question him. El Pawa claims to be the head of the “guardia” — a colloquial term used to refer to the cartel enforcers that operate in a certain city.


The arrest of the Old School Zetas top enforcer comes just days after military forces arrested Alan Alexis Cardenas and Axel Alfredo Cardenas over the weekend during two raids in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. The two men are sons of Alfredo “El Contador” Cardenas, the leader of the Matamoros faction of the Gulf Cartel. Currently, El Contador remains behind bars following his arrest in May 2022. In addition to facing various charges in Mexico, El Contador is fighting extradition efforts as he faces multiple drug trafficking and money laundering charges out of a federal court in South Texas.

Breitbart Texas reported on one of the raids where military forces arrested Alan Alexis Cardenas in the Victoria Oriente gated community. Almost at the same time, authorities carried out another raid in the Rincon de Palmas neighborhood, also in Matamoros. Authorities flew both of the Cardenas brothers to Mexico City where they are facing federal charges.

As Breitbart Texas has been reporting, at the end of April, the Gulf Cartel faction from Matamoros called Escorpiones, and the Gulf Cartel faction from Reynosa called Metros went to war. The faction from Reynosa had help from the Old School Zetas based out of San Fernando.

For their armed conflict, both sides sent out a large number of gunmen in convoys or armored vehicles that clashed in fierce shootouts along highways and rural roads throughout the state. Prior to the operations targeting the four cartel leaders, Mexican authorities played a minimal role in stopping the violence in Tamaulipas.

Editor’s Note: Breitbart Texas traveled to Mexico City and the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Nuevo León to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities.  The writers would face certain death at the hands of the various cartels that operate in those areas including the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas if a pseudonym were not used. Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and their original Spanish. This article was written by “Francisco Morales” and “J.A. Espinoza” from Tamaulipas

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