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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Hurricane Cristobal Kills Four, Moves Toward Bermuda

Storm is not expected to threaten US, but could cause deadly surf and rip currents from Florida to North Carolina
More

Peru's Congress Narrowly OKs Humala's New Cabinet on 3rd Vote

Lawmakers ratify president's embattled cabinet after ruling party offers to suspend rule requiring independent workers to pay into a pension program
More

Brazil's Deadly Prison Riot Ends

Officials say two inmates were beheaded during the Cascavel riot; two others were thrown to their deaths from the roof, and police are investigating how a fifth inmate died
More

Amid Slowdown, Chileans Adjust to New Economic Reality

Most economists now predict overall growth in country's economy of between 2.0 and 2.5 percent this year, down from 4.1 percent in 2013
More

Video Yiddish Tango Reflects Jewish Life in Argentina

Jewish people from Europe, Russia who have emigrated to Argentina for hundreds of years have fused klezmer and Argentine tango, creating Yiddish tango
More

Magnitude 6.9 Earthquake Hits Peru

Peru's civil defense institute said there were no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage
More