Zetas Leader Z-42 Captured

by ALLAN WALL March 17, 2015

Just five days after the capture of Servando Gomez Martinez, leader of southern Michoacan state's Caballeros Templarios,  Mexican authorities captured another big narco boss,  Alejandro "Omar" Trevino Morales, known as Z-42, leader of the infamous Zetas cartel.

Trevino  was captured by Mexican  federal police and  Mexican Army  soldiers on March 4th, 2015 in San Pedro Garza Garcia, in the  Monterrey metroplex of northern Mexico.   

The head Zeta was captured in an early morning  raid beginning  about 3 a.m.   in which no shots were fired.   Simultaneously,  authorities captured  Zetas finance man Carlos Arturo Jimenez Encinas.  In total,  six Zetas were arrested and flown to Mexico City in a military plane. 

The Mexican government had a 30 million peso bounty on Trevino's head, while the U.S.  Drug Enforcement administration (DEA)  had a 5 million dollar bounty.

This leader, Z-42, had been in command of the Zetas since 2013, when he succeeded his brother Miguel Trevino Morales, known as Z-40,  who was captured .   (See The Mexican Navy Downs a Cartel Leader but Loses an Admiral .)     Before that, Omar had run the financial side of the Zetas' operations in the state of Nuevo Leon (where Monterrey is).

The  Zetas  organization was originally formed as an enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel.  The Zetas' original operatives were recruited from Mexican Special Forces.  The Zetas later broke with the Gulf Cartel and the two groups are now enemies. 

The Zetas have branched out and have their tentacles in migrant smuggling, kidnapping, extortion, prostitution and product counterfeiting.  In fact, only about 50% of the cartel's revenue derives from the trafficking of narcotics.

All the drug cartels are violent, but the Zetas  may  be the most ruthless, which is saying a lot.  Torture, beheadings and indiscriminate killings are part of the Zetas' modus operandi. They've killed politicians and siphoned oil from pipelines.

The Zetas are  responsible for the killings of illegal aliens passing through Mexico, including a mass slaughter of 72 Central and South American illegal aliens in 2010. 

Mass killings perpetrated by Zetas in the year 2011 included:
          - The  2011  burning of the Casino Royale in Monterrey which killed 52.  
          - The San Fernando Massacres of 2011, which killed 193.
         -  The Allende, Coahuila  Massacres, in which 300-500 local people were systematically    
              massacred in reprisal for two men who had betrayed the Zetas. 

The Zetas have also engineered some spectacular prison breaks:
           - In March of 2010, forty prisoners escaped from a prison in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.
          - In April of 2010, gunmen in ten trucks drove into a prison in Reynosa and removed 13 prisoners.

-        Six months later, 85 escaped from the same  prison

-        In December of 2010, 141 escaped from a prison in Nuevo Laredo.

-        In 2012 over 130 Zetas prisoners simply walked out the front of the prison into waiting trucks.

The Zetas' base is Nuevo Laredo, on the border with Texas. On the Laredo, Texas side,
 Interstate I-35 (I-35) begins.    Crossing the American heartland from south to north, I-35 is a major drug smuggling route.  Thus Nuevo Laredo is very strategic and the Zetas want to maintain their control of the "plaza", the drug smuggling route.

On March 4th, 2015, Omar Trevino Morales, Z-42, was captured.  So his current residence  is in  Mexico's  Federal  Social Readaptation Center Number 1 "Altiplano", a maximum security prison at  Almoloya, where many other infamous prisoners reside.

So who is now the Zetas chief?  It's thought to be another Trevino Morales brother -Juan Francisco, who is older than Omar (Z-42) and Miguel (Z-40) and reportedly more low-key.   Francisco lived for years in the Dallas, Texas area, and did prison time  in Texas and Colorado.

According to one analysis, even before his capture, authority had already passed from Omar to Francisco, with Omar serving more as a figurehead in the organization.

At any rate, the Zetas aren't as tight-knit  and centralized as they once were, with  violent internal divisions.  According to Javier Oliva, of Mexico's UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México),  "The truth is that this is a group that has been fragmented.  Their influence is now more on a local level.."    Oliva still says  a bloody succession struggle could occur among the Zetas, so Juan Francisco is doubtless watching his back.

NOTE:  On March 12th I was a guest on Silvio Canto, Jr's  Canto Talk program.  We discussed various Mexico issues and talked a little about Cuba.  You can listen to the interview here.

Contributing Editor Allan Wall is an American who formerly resided in Mexico. Allan's website is located at http://www.allanwall.info/. He also writes at VDARE.com. He can be contacted at allan39@provalue.net.


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