Magazine article The Spectator

A H It Man at 13 DANIEL KAL D ER

Magazine article The Spectator

A H It Man at 13 DANIEL KAL D ER

Article excerpt

Woodville, Texas

After a long wait in the

visiting room of the

maximum security wing of the

'Gib Lewis Unit', Rosalio Reta

finally arrived for our interview.

He was only five feet tall, but

even so projected an air of

menace. The demonic face tattoos

helped. That face was the last

thing many people saw before

they died, I thought. When he

started talking, his voice was soft

and mellifluous.

Until his arrest in 2006

Reta was a sicario, a hit man

responsible for at least 30

murders in the USA and Mexico.

He started at the age of 13, when

he executed a man as an audition

to join the Zetas. His fluent

Spanish and American citizenship

meant he could operate on

either side of the border without

attracting attention. Reta boasted

to police that he enjoyed killing: 'I

volunteered. "Me, me, me, me, I'll

kill them!"' Killing made him feel

'like Superman'. He enjoyed the

'James Bond game' of tracking

his prey. This is why I wanted to

interview him: you don't meet

such openly enthusiastic killers

very often.

Impressed, the Zetas

dispatched the young killer to

a camp in Mexico where for six

months he received training

in surveillance, tracking, handto-

hand combat and the use of

weapons. Then he returned to his

hometown of Laredo, where he

and two other teenage assassins

lived in a fancy neighbourhood,

awaiting the summons to murder.

Reta and his pal earned up to

$50,000 per hit and were also

rewarded with big bags of coke. If

the neighbours noticed anything,

they kept quiet.

Now 23, Reta claims that his

earlier tough talk was just bluster.

He was only 16 at the time, he

said, he was scared. His new story

is that his criminal career was an


'I met this person who

had a friend and his brother was working for some people in Mexico.' According to Reta, this 'person' invited him out to eat, then left early. Reta, curious, hid in the truck and soon found himself at a ranch where men with assault rifles were executing people and burning bodies in 55 gallon oil drums.

'I was so shocked at the scene that I couldn't see anything, I couldn't hear anything.' But the cartel head saw him. Reta says, 'That's when he gave me the gun.

"If you don't wanna be one of them dudes in the oil drums then shoot this person." What other choice did I have?'

I asked if anyone enjoyed it.

'I remember this person. He was kinda young and he would always try and take their teeth out, cut their fingers off, cut their tongues off, ears, nose, everything.

He liked torturing people. He was happy, like . . . that's everything he'd been looking for all his life.'

Suspecting that Reta was talking about himself, I pushed for detail, but he became evasive. …

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