News / Americas

Leader of Brutal Mexican Drug Cartel Captured

This mug shot released by Mexico's Interior Ministry on July 15, 2013, shows Zetas drug cartel leader Miguel Angel Trevino after his arrest.
This mug shot released by Mexico's Interior Ministry on July 15, 2013, shows Zetas drug cartel leader Miguel Angel Trevino after his arrest.
Greg Flakus
The arrest of one of Mexico's most notorious and brutal drug cartel leaders is being hailed as a major victory for the Latin American country's president, Enrique Pena Nieto and the U.S.-Mexico cooperative program to fight drug trafficking.  But the capture of the leader of the Zetas kingpin is also a gain for his rivals in the illicit trade.
 
Mexican Marines apprehended Miguel Angel Trevino on a road south of Nuevo Laredo, which sits on the U.S. border across from Laredo, Texas.  The reputed leader of Los Zetas was with two associates in a car that contained large amounts of cash, automatic weapons and ammunition.
 
The security spokesman for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Eduardo Sanchez Hernandez, says Trevino is facing a long list of charges in Mexico.
 
He says the charges include involvement in organized crime, murder, torture, possession of illegal firearms, money laundering and the murder of immigrants from Central America and elsewhere who were kidnapped by the Zetas.
 
Coming one year after the Mexican military killed the former head of the Zetas, this is a strong blow to the criminal organization and a grand prize for the Mexican government.  But Mexico expert George Grayson, who teaches at the College of William and Mary and who wrote a book on the Zetas, says the real beneficiary may be Mexico's top drug lord.
 
“The big winner is (Joaquin) El Chapo Guzman, who is head of the Sinaloa cartel, because he has been trying for years to gain access to Nuevo Laredo, which is the major portal for shipping goods, services, drugs, illegal immigrants and cash between Mexico and the United States," he said. 
 
Grayson says the Zetas, which began as a renegade military outfit that provided protection to the Gulf cartel along Mexico's eastern border with the United States, no longer operates with a vertically structured command. 
 
"Los Zetas have lost most of their founders and most of their key regional leaders.  Over the years, they have evolved from a vertical organization, with an extremely competent control and command capability, into McDonald's-like franchises," he said. 
 
The loose structure may have contributed to reckless acts of violence that have made the Zetas the most hated and feared organized crime group in Mexico. 
 
Miguel Angel Trevino is an example of the "new" Zetas, who have no military background.  He was born in Mexico, but raised around Dallas, Texas and went back to Mexico as a young man to earn a reputation as a ruthless killer. According to indictments against him in the United States, his brother once told an informer that Miguel Angel Trevino had killed more than 2,000 people, including 385 U.S. citizens.
 
Trevino also is accused of ordering the murder of more than 260 migrant workers, mostly from Central America, whom the Zetas kidnapped as they made their way north to the U.S. border in 2010.  Grayson says the gang often obtained as much ransom money as possible from relatives of kidnapped migrants before trying to force them to work for the gang.
 
"In addition to extorting them, they would also recruit them as possible lookouts, couriers and maybe, ultimately, gunmen.  And if they resisted, they would bash their heads in with sledge hammers.  Cruelty, meanness, sadism was the brand of Los Zetas," he said. 
 
In the United States, there are federal indictments against Miguel Angel Trevino for drug trafficking and weapons violations.  A few years ago, the U.S. government issued a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest. 
 
George Grayson says it is very likely that intelligence from U.S. law enforcement agencies played a role in guiding the Mexican Marines to his location in northern Mexico.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Vazquez Is Favorite to Win Uruguay Presidential Vote

Leftist ruling party candidate buoyed by widespread affection for country's outgoing leader, strong economic growth
More

Brazil's Rousseff Struggles to Limit Petrobras Scandal's Damage

President expects bribery scandal at state-run oil company to deteriorate in coming months, aides say, with arrests possible for some political allies
More

Mexico, Central America Hail Obama's Immigration Reform

Mexican leader calls US president's proposals 'most important measures taken in several decades'
More

Torturers of Chilean President's Father Sentenced to Jail

Judge sentences 2 retired colonels to prison for committing 'crime of torture resulting in the death' of Alberto Bachelet Martinez during early days of Pinochet dictatorship
More

NYC Immigrant Advocates Praise Obama Move, Vow to Continue Fight

Threatened refusal by Republican congressional leaders to cooperate will backfire politically, attorney insists
More

Obama's Immigration Action: What It All Means

Attorney Camille Mackler is director of legal initiatives at advocacy group New York Immigration Coalition, and she discusses specifics of the action
More