CIUDAD VICTORIA, Tamaulipas – Mexican authorities this week arrested one of the top leaders with the “Old School” faction of Los Zetas Cartel. The man spent some time in Texas and is linked to much of the ongoing violence in this city and other parts of the northern border state.

Mexican federal authorities in the western coastal state of Jalisco arrested Jose Roberto “La Barbie” Stolberg Becerra during a drug house raid. Stolberg is wanted in Tamaulipas on kidnapping and organized crime charges in connection with numerous disappearances, extortion, and murders tied to his cartel’s play for control of the region. His sister is married to the son of former Tamaulipas Governor Egidio Torre Cantu.

Authorities with Mexico’s Office of the Attorney General say they raided the house as part of a drug distribution investigation in Tlajomulco, Jalisco. Officials reportedly seized baggies with marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Once in custody, police were able to identify Stolberg and link him with warrants from Tamaulipas. He will be transferred to face charges in the northern border state.

Stolberg, aka “Bravo 7,” is classified as a “narco-junior” — someone from an upper-middle-class family who joined the drug trade for adventure, as opposed to economic need. According to top law enforcement sources, Stolberg fell into organized crime in the mid-2000s when Los Zetas were still part of the Gulf Cartel and Ciudad Victoria was controlled by the now-jailed kingpin Rogelio “El Rojo” Diaz Cuellar.

After the cartels split in early 2011, Stolberg sided with Los Zetas and began carrying out ransom kidnappings and extorted local businesses.

By 2014, Los Zetas splintered into two factions, one led by Miguel Angel “Z-40” Trevino Morales called Cartel Del Noreste (CDN) — at war with “Vieja Escuela Z.” The “Old School Z” formed when the late Luis “El Rex” Reyes Enriquez convinced other Zetas that Trevino betrayed the greater cartel’s values to take power for himself. Soon after, the Gulf Cartel sided with Vieja Escuela Z and began targeting the CDN.

Vieja Escuela Z and the Gulf Cartel created “Grupo Bravo,” a strike team that began targeting CDN members for gruesome executions. Grupo Bravo was led by Javier “El Shaggy or Bravo 1” Morales Valencia, who was killed in Nuevo Leon in 2016. Stolberg was a close ally of Morales and Daniel “El Arqui or Joker” Lara Salazar, along with Juan Pablo “El Oaxaco” Perez Garcia and associates. The group is responsible for more than 200 murders in Ciudad Victoria alone.

After the leaders of Grupo Bravo were either captured or killed, Stolberg fled to Weslaco, Texas. The cartel boss regularly moved between Weslaco and Ciudad Victoria until late 2017 or early 2018, when he returned to performing kidnappings and extortion schemes in the border state capital.

Mexico’s National Security Commission says authorities received information in 2017 about Stolberg attending a wedding at a ranch in the central state of Guanajuato. There, his sister married Egidio Torre Jr., the son of former Tamaulipas Governor Egidio Torre Cantu. An arrest operation was canceled at the last minute due to pressure from the Guanajuato state government.

Editor’s Note: Breitbart News traveled to the Mexican 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 in their original Spanish. This article was written by “Francisco Morales” from Tamaulipas. 

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