The Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations remains the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States. According to Drug-Enforcement-Administration's investigations over the course of several years the Mexican TCOs have expanded their influence to different regions of the United States, showing clear signs of growth and particularly within San Andreas by using highly sophisticated command-and-control structures outside the United States; they produce, transport, and distribute illicit drugs domestically with the assistance of DTOs that are either a part of or in an alliance with the cartels.
Violence has reached unimaginable levels but still, Mexico remains a conservative, deeply traditional, country, with a lot of passion and love. It has the most corrupted politicans in North America. But in the eyes of the world, Mexico, known only for its' massive narcotics industry. On the streets of every major city, the influence of drug money can be seen like for example expensive shops, big fancy houses and in the ridiculous exclusive suburbs. The narcotics business attracts a lot of people, as it's the key to wealth and abundance above everything else. The power of the drug cartels is linked to Mexico. now deeply integrated corruption, and the strong contrasts between rich and poor.
In the huge narcotraffic-war around the late 90s the Gulf Cartel found themselves in a violent turf-war so they lured more than thirty deserters from the elite "Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales" (GAFE) to become thier loyal mercenary wing. These deserters were enticed with salaries much higher than what they were paid by the military, some of these former GAFE members reportedly received training in commando and urban warfare from the Israeli and U.S. Special Forces — The "Zs" was effective as they won the war on the streets, once the Gulf Cartel consolidated thier power, they expanded the responsibilities of Los Zetas. After sereval members of the Gulf Cartel witnessed their power-growing more and more in the federation they marked them as a threat. Upon the arrest of Guillen in March 2003 and his extradition to US in 2007, the Zetas took a more active leadership role within the Gulf Cartel thus their influence grew within the organization.
Los Zetas turned out to be extremely powerful to the point they outnumbered and outclassed the Gulf Cartel in revenue, membership, and influence. As a result of this imbalance, the Gulf Cartel tried to curtail their own enforcers' influence and ended up instigating a civil war. A whole lot of turfs had been taken by the Los Zetas Cartel in the huge civil war that erupted against their old leaders. After their impressive impact in the narco-economy it didn't last long before they took over states near the borders from the Gulf Cartel. Controlling borders changed their infulence in the political atmosphere within Mexico as they have a long range of network (corrupted politicians) their infulence was unstoppable. Analysts indicate that Los Zetas are the largest organized crime group in Mexico in terms of geographical presence. They are primarily based in the border region of Nuevo Laredo and Coahuila with hundreds more throughout the country. They have placed lookouts at arrival destinations such as airports, bus stations and main roads. In addition to conducting criminal activities along the border, they operate throughout the Gulf of Mexico, and the Zacatecas state. In the southern states of Tabasco, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, and Chiapas, and in the Pacific Coast states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Michoacán, as well as in Mexico City.
The two Los Zetas factions, the Cártel del Noreste faction, and the Old School Zetas faction, got involved in a deadly fight for the control over territory and drug trade in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas state, in the beginning of 2016. One of the most common methods for the factions to use in their fight against each other was to leave the mutilated and decapitated bodies of their opponents on the streets of Ciudad Victoria alongside with threatening messages, so-called narcomantas. The non-state conflict between Los Zetas – Cártel del Noreste faction and Los Zetas – Old School Zetas faction was first included in UCDP data in 2016. In July that year, fighting between the two factions for the control of Ciudad Victoria city resulted in more than 25 battle-related deaths. In February 9, 2018 "Vieja Escuela" faction (therefore, the original group of Los Zetas) was completely dismantled with the capture, of José María Guizar Valencia , alias Z-43 , in Mexico City as a result of it Los Zetas Cartel ceased to exist as whole and are divided to independent cartel cells that only took a bit of the Los Zetas culture and are limited on controlling territories and not allied to one another, the fractions that are confidently known to the media: Cartel de Noreste, Los Talibanes, Cartel de La Laguna, Los Dorados, Grupo Operativo Zetas, Fuerzas Especiales Zetas, Los Taxes, Cartel de San Luis Potosi Nueva Generation,Cartel de Los Alemanes, Los Zacatecas.