A co-founder of the brutal Mexican drug cartel, Los Zetas, was allegedly killed in a shootout with the Mexican military in the border town of Reynosa on May 9.     

Galindo Mellado Cruz – aka “Z-9” – is believed to have died in a gunfight during a raid on his sanctuary in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Mellado was among five gunmen who perished in the attack, along with one Mexican soldier.  

Though Tamaulipas officials would not confirm Mellado’s death, anonymous local officials as well as a US law enforcement official confirmed their belief that Mellado died in the raid. Mellado had been targeted by the US and Mexico for years due to his leadership role in the Gulf Cartel.

Mellado served in the Mexican Army from 1992 until 1999, when he joined 30 other commandos in deserting their national service to become enforcers for the Gulf Cartel. But all that changed in 2010 when Los Zetas emerged as a separate drug trafficking syndicate in Mexico.

However, Mellado remained with the Gulf Cartel during the bloody power struggle and was one of the primary Gulf members controlling the border region known as La Ribereña. Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel are among eight syndicates currently battling over the key Tamaulipas drug market.