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.
    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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Venezuela's Top Beer Maker Halts Output in Dispute with Government

    President threatened earlier in week to seize any plants halted by private companies and hand them over to workers

    US Reports Its First Zika-Related Death

    Puerto Rican man in his 70s died from internal bleeding related to rare immune reaction to Zika virus infection in February

    Rio Olympic Flame Visits UN Office in Geneva

    Flame, which was lit in Greece last week, was brought to UN for first time before it heads to Brazil for torch relay ahead of opening ceremony in Rio on Aug. 5

    Britain Foreign Secretary Visits Cuba for First Time in Nearly 60 Years

    Philip Hammond signed several cooperation agreements on energy, education and financial services

    In 'Papa,' Hemingway Returns to Cuba via Silver Screen

    Film about Nobel Prize-winning author is first full-length Hollywood feature produced on island since 1959 Cuban Revolution

    Victims of Chile Colony Hope German Documents Bring Justice

    For three decades beginning in 1961, the enclave of Colonia Dignidad, or Dignity Colony, founded by Paul Schaefer, was the site of torture, slavery and child abuse