LAREDO, Texas, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The notorious Mexican drug cartel enforcers known as the Zetas are branching out into legitimate businesses, law enforcement officials say.
The group, which has operations in northern Texas, have renamed themselves "The Company" and have graduated from extorting businesses to owning them, including used-car lots, restaurants, discotheques and liquor stores, The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday.
"Basically, anything anywhere that moves to and from the border, or anything and anywhere they can launder large amounts of money, the Zetas have a hand in," Robert Garcia, a detective with the Laredo, Texas, Police Department and an expert on the Zetas, told the newspapers. "They even own a dog-racing track."
Investigators and community leaders in the Mexican border cities of Ciudad Acuna, Piedras Negras, Reynosa, Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo say the Zetas are positioning themselves as legitimate business interests in order to gain political power, the newspaper reported.
"We could see them running for mayor, even governor, in the future," one unnamed Nuevo Laredo civic leader told the Morning News.
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