Mexican Cartel leader, Marciano Millan Vasquez, 34, is jailed for his participation in the deaths of 29 people which he carried out for Zetas, a drug gang that operate in northern Mexico, between 2009 and 2015.
Among the murders was the six-year-old girl who was slaughtered on the patio of her home in front of her parents to make sure they would ‘remember’ him. All the killings took place in Mexico, but since Millan was working living in San Antonio, Texas, and was arrested there, he was prosecuted in US court and will serve his sentence there.
A 39-year-old witness told of the girl’s appalling death, which he said he was forced to watch after being held responsible for a missing shipment of marijuana.
The witness, an imprisoned trafficker who has not been named for his own protection, told the court he was forced to witness 18 killings in a single night as punishment for losing the drugs, and as a warning to cover the loss, My San Antonio reports.
At one property was a husband, wife and little girl tied up and blindfolded on the patio, he recalled, with a fire burning in a barrel nearby. He was forced to kneel and the group had their blindfolds removed so they could watch as Millan tore the child limb from limb while she was still alive with an ax.
The man was teary while he described the girl’s screams as her arm and leg were cut off before being burned in the flaming barrel.
Laughing, Millan told the watching parents: ‘[This is] so you’ll remember me.’
During his trial, which was attended by San Antonio News, witnesses told how he began as a foot soldier for the gang but worked his way up.
Ultimately, he was given the position of boss in Piedras Negras, a city in the state of Coahuila and a hot bed for smugglers.
For years he operated with exemption, helping to smuggle millions of dollars’ worth of drugs over the border and killing anyone who got in his way. The beginning of the end of Millan came in 2011 when a high-ranking member of the Zetas flipped, handing himself over to US authorities and agreeing to rat on his former paymasters.
In revenge, Zetas leaders ordered all of the man’s associates to be rounded up, anyone who ‘smelled like’ the defector, the court was told.
More than 300 people including men, women and children were all kidnapped from towns across Coahuila state, the witness said. One town, Allende, was partly destroyed by the gang during their rampage. In Piedras Negras, Millan’s territory, 40 people disappeared.
Asked what happened to those people, the witness said: ‘They got killed.’
In order to dispose of the bodies, the cartel ‘cooked’ them, the man said, either by dissolving them in barrels of acid or burning them with diesel fuel.
Millan was arrested in July 2015 in the San Antonio home where he was living under a fake name.
In spite of the fact that the killings were carried out in a foreign country, because Zetas has links to the US, the government allowed the case to be tried in Texas. Throughout his trial, Millan had objected his innocence, pointing to his clean criminal record in Mexico as evidence that he was a law-abiding citizen.
Defense attorney Jaime Cavazos also called a character witness who testified that Millan was ‘a good father and human being…’
KSAT news reported the witness saying Millan was ‘a happy person, a good father, responsible and law abiding.’
Cavazos tried to paint Millan as a humble farmer, saying he ran a small ranch in Mexico where he bought and sold pigs and goats.
On Thursday, Vasquez said nothing as he was handed seven consecutive life sentences.
US Attorney Richard L. Durbin Jr. said afterwards: ‘Without mercy or compunction, he brutally murdered anyone and everyone as it suited him and his cartel, at times inflicting the cruelest of pain, forcing relatives to watch their loved ones murdered before he turned his blades on them.
‘Today’s sentence marks an end to his reign of terror over the drug plaza in Piedras Negras.’