A Mexican hitwoman, Juana N. but known as La Peque Sicaria worked for one of Mexico’s most dangerous cartels, the Zetas. In 2016, she was incarcerated in Baja, California, which is when she admitted to becoming sexually aroused by blood, murder and gore.
Juana lived in Hidalgo, not far from Mexico City. Her entry into this world started when she was a sex slave for the cartel members as a pre-teen. Not surprisingly she became addicted to alcohol and drugs.
At the age of 15, she became pregnant by a 35-year-old man. To support herself and her son she turned to prostitution.
Here she became acquainted with many of the cartel's sicarios or in-house assassins. These were the ones that gave her the moniker of La Peque which alludes to her young age and not her stature.
The Zeta cartel were the first to allow women into their ranks.
However before she became an assassin, she started in 2010 as a lookout or "hawk" (halcón). Ironically her own brother had been murdered a few months before by the cartel she worked for.
Juana said that at first she was disgusted and saddened by the torture and murders she witnessed, but over time she grew to enjoy it.
At some point she moved beyond being a look out to being a killer. She would first behead her victims, also drinking their blood while it was still hot, and then shockingly would use both the dead bodies and the severed heads for sexual gratification. Even among the sicarios this was considered deviant.
She would be sent out to kill someone over something as banal as a late rent payment.
Some have theorized that in a subculture where murders and beheadings are common, maybe she had to do something more extreme to rise above and get noticed.
In an article in The Daily Mail she stated that she was required to stand guard for eight hours at a stretch, looking out for police or army patrols, and if she wasn’t able to do this task correctly, she was tied up for a week and only allowed one taco to eat per day.
Other Zetas members have been accused of chopping up their victims and also cooking them with diesel fuel.
Present day she is still a prisoner within the California penal system, with a release date scheduled for this decade. What she was arrested and convicted of is unknown. Considering that her victims were in another country, prosecuting her for these crimes would be difficult.
Besides Mexico, the Zeta cartel can be found in Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru and Venezuela. The Zetas started out as enforcers for the Gulf Cartel, before they became a massive criminal organization. They were originally composed from military deserters from Mexico’s special forces, trained by U.S. Special Forces. They were the country’s first paramilitary cartel and a harbinger of a more brutal, militarized conflict to come.
Miguel Angel Treviño Morales who became leader of the cartel was known for his brutality. It was reported, "his preferred method of torture was called the "guiso", or stew, dumping his victims into petrol barrels, then dousing them with gasoline and burning them alive.Legend had it that he’d also killed the baby of rival in a microwave. Another that he’d slit a man’s chest open, because he owed him a drug debt, then pulled out his still beating heart."
Newly formed criminal enterprises adopted the cartel's black paramilitary uniform, and exploited their reputation for torture for their own profit.
At its height, the Zeta Cartel, held more territory then the Sinaloa Cartel which was ruled over by famous drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.
Treviño's brother Jose, who lived near Dallas, was a U.S. citizen with a spotless criminal record. He ran the family's racing stable Tremor Enterprises. In 24 months their horses had swept through major races in America, taking million dollar purses in Texas, California and New Mexico. Straw buyers purchased the horses in private sales or auctions for Miguel Treviño and his brother.
"Horses with names like Forty Force, after his cartel moniker Z-40, Big Daddy Cartel and Break Out the Bullets ran under the Tremor Enterprises colors."
In 2012, an FBI task force indicted Treviño and his co-conspirators for money-laundering. His brother and an and accountant were also arrested in Mexico and extradited to the United States. Within the next 5 to 6 years, the Teviño Morales brothers were convicted for a variety of charges and imprisoned either in Mexico or the United States.
Miguel Treviño Morales who was second-in-command when he led a rival faction with the cartel, produced a civil war that led to fragmenting of the cartel's power. The original leader, Heriberto Lazcano was killed in 2012, and only 10 of the original 34 Special Forces-trained gang members survive, living as fugitives; their whereabouts unknown.
The Zetas hold sway over 11 Mexican states but are less powerful than they once were.
In November, 2022, two high-ranking cartel members of Los Zetas were sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking. Jose Maria Guizar-Valencia, 43, of Tulare, CA was sentenced to 40 years, and Francisco Hernandez-Garcia, 53, of San Luis Potosi, Mexico received the same sentence.
In January , 2010 authorities started investigating Los Zetas and their drug trafficking activities. It revealed that from 2007 to 2014, they were involved in drug trafficking, money laundering and firearms trafficking in the Eastern District of Texas and other places. Heriberto Lazcano AKA "Z-3" was the leader, who gave the final OK, including authorization to kill. The Treviño-Morales brothers were identified as top cartel leaders.
In October 2022, other high-level members were also sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Recently, The Dallas Morning News ran a story titled, "Blood cult or religion? Feds say narcos prayed for blessings and hexes in Dallas houses."
Inside a small house in a southern Dallas neighborhood, people gathered around altars, slaughtered animals and doused themselves in the blood.
Santa Muerte or Holy Death is an underworld deity associated with the narco-trafficking crime syndicates. Money and blood offerings are made to safeguard drug transactions as well as hexing enemies.
If there is any spirituality among the narco-traffickers, it comes in the form of superstition. The belief in Santa Muerte is not a modern thing. The image also known as La Flaca, or the Skinny One was popular among prostitutes, thieves and those who had difficult lives. Belief in Santa Muerte can coexist with Catholicism for her followers.
Agents also found $250,000 in cash, a money-counting machine, a digital scale, three guns and a kilogram of cocaine.
One of the defendants said they also practiced Santeria an African religion that developed in Cuba. This is reminiscent of drug traffickers during the Miami 1970s-1980s Cocaine Wars who sought the favor of non-Christian deities to safeguard their illegal activities.
Surveillance footage when reviewed showed the defendant and others making animal sacrifices and bathing themselves in animal's blood.
Another altar from Los Angeles had a Santisima Muerte candle illuminating a horse's skull that holds a photograph of Charles Manson.
The altar was made to venerate Manson. A tape recorded message was Manson speaking in a 2010 interview. The image along with a video was posted on the internet by the environmental group ATWAR, 3 days after Manson's death in 2017. One of the promoters of ATWAR is Manson's grandson, Jason Freeman Manson.
"Sometimes, members of La Santa Muerte have attacked Catholic churches, and some people have destroyed their temples. The problem is complicated." The story presented is enthralling and alarming.
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer