A woman named Miriam Rodríguez Martínez hunted down members of a drug carteI in Mexico, in search of her missing daughter.
Martínez lived in the San Fernando community in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Her 20-year-old daughter, Karen Alejandra Salinas Rodríguez, disappeared in 2012.
Karen’s captors sent Miriam ransom demands in exchange for her released, but unfortunately, she was never found safe. Her remains were discovered on an abandoned ranch in 2014.
The case was recently covered by a report from The New York Times, which highlighted the woman’s fearless mission to find her daughter’s killers.
Initially, she pleaded with the carteIs to return her daughter. The Zeta carteI insisted that they did not know where she was, but they promised to be able to find her for a fee.
She paid the fee, but her daughter was never returned to her.
After that, Miriam did everything she could to track down the killers. In her short phone calls with the carteI, she managed to overhear one of their names, and was able to find his home.
She went directly to his home herself pretending to be an election official and interviewing neighbors about the individual’s activity.
At one point in her journey, Miriam cornered one of the men in an alleyway and put a gun to his back, and warned him: “If you move, I’ll shoot you.”
She continued to pursue the gangsters and helped to bring 10 members of the Zeta carteI to justice.
Unfortunately, she was assassinated before completing her mission. She was shot 12 times on Mother’s day in 2017 in front of her home.
Some of the men arrested for her daughter’s case have escaped prison after their arrest.
Along with finding her daughter, she was making efforts to help other parents whose children had disappeared, which turned into an effort called the Colectivo de Desaparecidos (The Vanished Collective) organization.
The origins of Los Zetas date back to the late 1990s when commandos of the Mexican Army deserted their ranks and began working as the enforcement arm of the Gulf CarteI.
In February of 2010, Los Zetas broke away and formed their own criminal organization.
They were at one point Mexico’s largest drug carteI in terms of geographical presence, overtaking their rivals, the Sinaloa CarteI. However, in recent times Los Zetas has become fragmented and seen its influence diminish.
As of March 2016, Grupo Bravo (Bravo Group) and Zetas Vieja Escuela (Old School Zetas) had formed an alliance with the Gulf CarteI against CarteI Del Noreste (CarteI of the Northeast).
In March 2019, Texas Republican congressman Chip Roy introduced a bill that would list the CarteI Del Noreste faction of Los Zetas, Jalisco New Generation CarteI, and Gulf CarteI as foreign terrorist organizations.
United States President Donald Trump had also expressed interest in designating carteIs as terrorist organizations. However such plans have been delayed at the request of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.