Mexico has captured the head of the notoriously vicious Zetas drug cartel. Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, known as “Z-40,” was caught in Nuevo Laredo by Mexican Marines. He’s reputed to be exceptionally dangerous and violent—he's known to burn his enemies alive in 55-gallon drums. The Zetas have spread terror through Mexico in the brutal drug war as they’ve made their name displaying bodies of their murdered victims throughout the country. Trevino Morales’s capture is thought to be the first major blow against organized crime by President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose campaign promised to drive down crime figures.
The capture of the purported leader of Mexico’s savage Zetas drug gang has boosted the crime-fighting bona fides of new President Enrique Peña Nieto, analysts say, but they warn that it may bring a new flood of violence to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Helicopter-mounted Mexican marines chased down the pickup truck of alleged cartel boss Miguel Ángel Treviño, a.k.a. “Z-40,” and took him into custody outside the border city of Nuevo Laredo on Monday without firing a shot. They also grabbed two other cartel suspects, $2 million in cash and a small arsenal of guns and ammunition.
It was the first major cartel takedown for Peña Nieto, who began his term in December amid doubts about whether his government would hunt crime bosses as aggressively as his predecessor, Felipe Calderón, given the reputation of Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, for making deals with Mexico’s underworld.
On Tuesday, the new president praised the capture of Treviño, saying it was an example of “coordinating intelligence and technology to fight gangsters and criminality.” Neither Mexican nor U.S. officials would say whether American agents had a hand in the operation.
Mexico’s marines, in particular, have worked closely for years with the CIA and the Drug Enforcement Administration to target cartel bosses, but policy changes ordered by Peña Nieto have put limits on those contacts, leading Washington to grumble that the crime-fighting partnership would suffer.
Peña Nieto hopes that this operation will lead to a notable decrease in crime statistics, and for the sake of innocent civilians, I hope that works out for him. It always seems that when one of these cartels are taken down, half a dozen more take their place.
Why can't they seriously consider just ending the "war on drugs"?