National Geographic : 2017 Jul
the making of a massacre 139 been caught driving the truck with $802,000 in the gas tank. Facing 20 years in prison, Gilberto had confessed that he was working for the Zetas and that the money belonged to the Treviños. Vasquez had arranged for his lawyer to represent Gilberto and promised not to let anyone else in the cartel know about Gilberto’s incriminating statements. Mario Alfonso “Poncho” Cuéllar, convicted Zetas operative: How did I know there was trou- ble? Because I was holding 596 kilos of cocaine for the cartel, and 40 sent a guy to take it back from me. That’s something I had seen them do many times before. Every time 40 planned to kill someone in the organization, he would first make sure he had taken back their merchandise. He sent me a photo of himself, with drawings of frogs all over it. At the bottom of the photo he wrote, “Look, the damned frogs had me shot.” Frogs is their word for snitches. I called 40 and asked him, “Hey, what’s this about?” He didn’t answer. All he said was, “I need to see you. Where are you going to be later?” I told him I was going to be at the horse track. But I didn’t go. I called a couple of my guys, and I told them to go see what was going on. After The Zetas’ hold on the state of Coahuila has been weakened, and nightlife has returned to Allende. Hundreds of people gathered last fall for the cabalgata, a festive cowboy parade that goes on for two to three days, stops at several ranches across the area, and ends with an evening rodeo.