Mexico Captures Leader of Ultra-Violent Zetas Drug Cartel

Guillermo Barros
July 16, 2013

mexican drug kingpin
Hopefully they don’t “accidentally lose the body” of this one.

Mexican marines captured the head of the country’s ultraviolent Zetas drug cartel, giving the new government its biggest catch as it seeks to rein in violence.

Miguel Angel Trevino, alias “Z-40,” was detained in Nuevo Laredo, the northeastern Tamaulipas state city bordering Texas, along with two other people.

“They carried out an important arrest, of Miguel Angel Trevino, in the early hours of Monday,” an official from the federal attorney general’s office said on condition of anonymity. An interior ministry official confirmed the arrest.

The Zetas are considered one of the most powerful and feared organized crime groups in Mexico, founded by former elite soldiers and known for their brutality. Trevino is an ex-police officer.

Originally, the Zetas acted as the armed enforcers of the Gulf Cartel, but the two groups split in 2010, sparking brutal turf wars in the north of the country.

The Zetas are also engaged in a fight for lucrative drug routes to the United States against the Sinaloa cartel, led by the most wanted man in Mexico, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Officials have described Trevino — born in Nuevo Laredo but who spent part of his life in Dallas, Texas — as a brutal killer who liked to “stew” his enemies by plunging them in containers of oil and fuel that he would set on fire.

His capture comes eight months after Mexican troops killed his predecessor, Heriberto Lazcano, in a gunfight in the northern state of Coahuila, only to lose his corpse hours later.

After Lazcano was killed, gunmen burst into a funeral home and stole his body, which has never been recovered.

Trevino is the highest-profile drug kingpin detained since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in December. The US government offered $5 million for information leading to Trevino’s capture, while Mexico had pledged a $2.3 million bounty.