A transportation bus of the company Autobuses de Oriente made its obligatory stop at San Fernando, Tamaulipas before reaching its destination in Reynosa. At the terminal, two people got off the bus, and a couple of others got on board, making a total of 15 passengers. The bus then left the terminal at around 8:30 p.m. on 25 March 2011 as quickly as possible, fearing that they may be victims of the cartels that operated in the city.
While the bus was leaving San Fernando, the bus driver saw at a distance that there were several trucks blocking the highway up ahead, and that there were several men wearing ski-masks and holding AR-15s. The gunmen ordered the bus to stop, and the bus driver obeyed. The cartel members approached the bus pointing their guns and yelling, “Open the door, asshole! Move, you son of a bitch, unless you want me to shoot you dead.” The chauffeur, trembling, opened the door for the gunmen, who quickly stormed the bus as soon as the door was opened. “You are all fucked,” yelled one of the gunmen to the people on board; the passengers were frightened, and some of them cried, thinking it was simply a regular armed robbery. But that was not the case this time. The cartel members then ordered the bus driver to drive the bus deep into a dirt road for about ten kilometers before reaching a plain area, “in the middle of nowhere.” In the area there were about twenty luxurious trucks and three passenger buses, some of them with bullet holes, flat tires, and broken windows. The driver was then ordered to stop the bus, and all the men were then told to descend from the vehicle. They were asked to form a line, and the cartel members began to organize them from youngest to oldest and from strongest to weakest. Those who looked old or weak were separated from the group, tied from their feet, and then taken elsewhere. Those who were left were ordered to take off their shirts and remain where they were. A man wearing black military uniform, a bulletproof vest, and a kit belt was called from the trucks that were parked nearby. All of the triggermen referred to him as Commander 40, better known as Miguel Treviño Morales, one of the top leaders of Los Zetas. The man approached the passengers that were lined up in front of him, and said in an energetic voice: “Let’s see, assholes. Who wants to live?” But no one answered. One teenager accidentally wet himself out of nervousness, and Commander 40 killed him with a shot to the head. Treviño Morales then yelled: “I will ask all of you one more time. Who the fuck wants to live?” All of the men raised their hands. “Good. We will test your abilities to see how capable you are. If you make it, you’ll survive; if you do not, you’re fucked.” Commander 40 then asked his henchmen to bring the bats and clubs, and each of the passengers was given one. He then said, “Look, each of you will get in pairs and beat the shit out of each other. Those who survive will work for Los Zetas, those who don’t, well, they’re fucked.” All of the passengers were shocked, and could not believe that the orders the individual in front of them gave sounded more like those of a Nazi than those of a drug lord. Everyone got their bats and clubs, joined up as a pair, and stared at their partners nervously. Treviño Morales then said: “Now beat the shit out of each other.”
One of the passengers of the bus approached Treviño Morales weeping and saying: “Please, sir. I do not want to do this. I will give you all the money I have and my own house, but please let us go.” Treviño Morales stared at him firmly, took away his club and then said, “Okay, stupid asshole. Leave,” and while the crying man was walking away, Treviño Morales swung his bat and hit him in the back of the head—and then struck him more than 20 times until his head was completely destroyed. He then turned around and said to the kidnapped victims: “This is what you have to do. Have some balls (courage). Anyone who does not want to can tell me and I will beat the hell out of you.” All of the men started fighting. Several other Zeta members, who were still on a bus with other passengers, ordered the women whom they considered the most beautiful to descend the vehicle so they could rape them. Then they took away the children from their mothers, and shot the rest of the bus passengers. The women were taken to a warehouse where many other women were held captive. Inside a dark room, the women were reportedly raped and beaten, while the one heard the screams of the women and of the kids being put in acid. A driver of one of the buses was then asked to turn on the bus engine, and then ordered to move the bus to where the kidnapped victims were handcuffed and laid down on the dirt floor. “Drive on top of them,” one of the killers told the bus driver, who stood there motionless. “Drive on top of them or I will put you there too, asshole,” the killer repeated. The driver had no other option but to drive over the victims. As he rode over his own passengers with the bus, he felt like the vehicle was passing over speed bumps, but the only difference was that the bus driver and the passengers could actually hear the cries of the people as their being run over. The gunmen, once the driver was finished, shot him in the head and shot the rest on board. The bus was then set on fire by the Zetas. Treviño Morales then gathered all the Zetas and said, “We have had enough fun for tonight. Bring the winners.” His men brought all of those who had passed the gladiator-like competitions, and they were gathered in front of Treviño Morales.
Commander 40 then said to everyone, “Welcome to Los Zetas special forces, the ‘other’ military.”