Kingpin of feared Mexican drug cartel arrested

Treviño has been linked to several murders,also has $5 mn US bounty on his head

Written by New York Times | Mexico City | Published: July 17, 2013 1:08 am

The leader of one of Mexico’s most violent and feared drug organisations,the Zetas,was captured Monday in a city near the Texas border,an emphatic retort from the new government to questions over whether it would go after top organised crime leaders.

The man,Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales,40,who goes by the nickname Z-40 and is one of the most wanted people on both sides of the border,was detained by Mexican marines Monday morning,Mexican officials said at a news conference Monday night.

He was detained about 3:45 am,without a shot being fired,as he traveled in a pickup truck near Nuevo Laredo,opposite Laredo,Texas,with two other men who were also detained,the officials said,adding that the marines seized $2 million in cash and weapons.

Treviño was ranked among the most ruthless crime bosses,wanted for murder,organised crime,and torture; he has been linked to the killing and disappearance of 265 migrants in northeastern Mexico,including 72 found dead in August 2010. He also faces drug and gun charges in the US,which has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.

Eduardo Sánchez,the spokesman on security matters for the Mexican government,declined to say what role the US played in the capture,though American law enforcement tips have often been behind high-profile arrests. An American law enforcement official declined to provide details,deferring to the Mexican government announcement of the arrest,which was first reported by The Dallas Morning News on its website.

The Zetas operate primarily in Mexico,but their drug trafficking and organised crime violence have spread to other countries,and they have been known to recruit members in Texas and even to launder money through the quarter-horse industry in the US.

Started by former soldiers and once the enforcement arm of another large cartel,the gang is known in Mexico for its brutality,and its members’ calling card is often beheaded victims,body parts on highways and bodies hanged from bridges.

Treviño is the highest-ranking and most-sought-after drug capo arrested by the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico,whose aides had questioned the so-called kingpin strategy of his predecessor,which had emphasized high-profile arrests. The leadership voids,battles for turf and confrontations with Mexican forces all sent violence soaring in the past several years,with tens of thousands dead or missing. NYT

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