Manuscript Finished!

The manuscript of Christopher Zoukis’ latest non-fiction project is finished!  Hooray!  The completed manuscript will be submitted to the publisher — Headpress of the U.K. — in the next few days.  Tentatively titled United Blood Nation:  The Untold Story of the East Coast Bloods, the book was a collaborative effort between Christopher Zoukis and John […]

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Another Look at a Good Book

Image courtesy katu.com By Christopher Zoukis Genghis Khan established a vast empire during the 13th Century.  The Mongol Empire extended from the Dnepr River to the Pacific.  There’s another more contemporary group of Mongols.  It’s an outlaw motorcycle club that originated in December 1969, in a small town called Montebello, which is in Southern California.  […]

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Dark History: Mexico’s Drug Cartels – Part 4

By Christopher Zoukis / BlogCritics.org

Things continued to get worse. In 2010, the Gulf Cartel killed a member of the Zetas, Victor Mendoza Perez. Los Zetas declared war on the Gulf Cartel. Bloody battles, using explosives and helicopters, broke out all over. The news media refused to cover the clashes or report the number of dead bodies because the cartels had a nasty habit of murdering news reporters and editors who published such information.   Arturo Beltran Leyva / “The Beard”

The Zetas hooked up with the Juarez Cartel, the Tijuana Cartel and the Beltran Leyva Cartel. On the other side was the Gulf Cartel, along with the Sinaloa Cartel and La Familia.

In Taxco, authorities located a garbage dump that did not contain garbage. Instead, it held the decomposing bodies of 55 people, all murdered by the Beltran Leyva Cartel. The dead bodies were the work of Edgar Valdez Villarreal aka “Barbie,” who received the nickname because he resembled Barbie’s boyfriend Ken. Six and a half feet tall, Barbie had green eyes and long blond hair. Barbie was the leader of a gang called Los Negros, who acted as enforcers for the Beltran Leyva Cartel. Los Negros was supposed to be the Beltran Leyva Cartel’s version of what the Zetas were before they wandered off the reservation and went solo.

Shorty Guzman and his gangsters kept on slugging it out with Arturo “The Beard” Beltran Leyva and his rowdy bunch. The Beard wasn’t as careful about his whereabouts as Shorty was. The Federales received lots of tips about where The Beard could be found. Most of the tips were bogus. People were just looking for a thrill, a sense of self-importance or the chance to make some easy money by collecting the 30 million peso reward offered for information leading to the capture or death of The Beard. Still, the Federales followed up on all the tips, just in case one of them might pan out.

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Dark History: Mexico’s Drug Cartels – Part 3

By Christopher Zoukis / BlogCritics.org

Most of the Sinaloa Cartel’s gangbangers were from MS-13, Mara Salvatrucha. In other words, they were rough boys from El Salvador and the Honduras. With a reputation for brutal violence, MS-13 gangs were the baddest of the bad asses. Only it turned out the Zetas were badder, making the MS-13 gangbangers look like three-year olds at a church picnic. Using heavy weapons and military tactics, the Zetas chopped MS-13 into bits and pieces.


map-of-mexican-drug-cartels_full_600
The leader of the Zetas was Heriberto Lazcano, a twenty-eight year old former GAFE officer whose nickname was “The Executioner.” Lazcano intended to hang onto his territory.
The war was on.

Lazcano, realizing he needed more men, initiated a new recruiting strategy. He advertised. Banners hung from overpasses and bridges got right to the point: “We offer you a good salary, food, and attention for your family.” One advertisement stated: “Join the ranks of the Gulf Cartel. We offer benefits, life insurance, a house for your family and children. Stop living in the slums and riding the bus.”

It worked. Soldiers and ex-soldiers flocked in droves to join up. Lazcano recruited heavily in Guatemala, home of the Kaibil commandos, who really were the baddest of the bad. The motto of the Kaibiles was: “If I retreat, kill me.” Recruiting wasn’t Lazcano’s only talent; he also had a head for business. Zetas troops earned money for the organization through extortion, shaking down anyone and everyone: marijuana growers, dealers, local businesses, restaurants, even car dealerships.

Somewhere in this period of time, Lazcano and his Zetas went from being enforcers for the Gulf Cartel to being their own cartel. The Zetas made their own deals and moved their own product.

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Bloods Redux

By Christopher Zoukis 

History

According to Julia Dunn, a gang “is an interstitial group, original formed spontaneously, and then integrated through conflict.”  The term ‘interstitial’ refers to a culturally isolated or marginalized group of individuals, who, because of external circumstances (racism, lack of education, unemployment), have been left behind.  These individuals adopt a ‘strength through numbers’ attitude, assume collective standards of behavior, develop ad hoc structures of hierarchy and esprit de corps.  They identify with others of similar circumstances and exhibit territorial tendencies.   Image courtesy coolchaser.com

After World War I, African-American enclaves sprouted up in the urban areas of major cities with the United States.  In the 1920s, Los Angeles encompassed large black conclaves, where unemployment was prevalent and poverty was the norm.  Within these enclaves, family members and friends banded together into loose, unorganized associations that were, for the most part, non-violent.  For lack of a better term, these associations came to be known as gangs.  The gangs of this historical time were non-territorial.  The primary function of such gangs was to present a ‘tough guy’ image and facilitate the accumulation of easy money by means of prostitution, forgery and theft.

Well-known gangs of this period – the 1920s and 1930s – included the Goodlows, the Kelleys, the Magnificents, the Driver Brothers, the Boozies and the Bloodgetts.  During the following decade, the 1940s, black gangs increased their numbers, along with their activities, which now included extortion and gambling, in addition to the usual prostitution, forgery and theft.  They provided ‘protection’ for local merchants, which was nothing more than simple coercion.  Merchants paid for the privilege of not having their places of business torched by their so-called protectors.

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A Shield

By Christopher Zoukis Image courtesy commons.wikimedia.org Kali Sikaran is a martial arts system developed in Southeast Asia during the Majapahit Empire.  The Majapahit Empire, concentrated on the Island of Java in contemporary Indonesia, thrived because of its proximity to commercial trading routes on the Indian Ocean.  More specifically, the empire controlled the Straits of Malacca, […]

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