Latin America

Leader of Mexico’s bloodthirsty Los Zetas drug cartel captured

Omar Treviño took control of the gang after his brother Miguel Ángel was captured in 2013

Police in Mexico on Wednesday captured the leader of the Zetas, the drug cartel that has for several years terrorized the north of the country.

Omar Treviño, who was also known as Z-42, was arrested in Monterrey, Nuevo León state, police said. Details of his capture were not immediately released.

Treviño assumed control of the Zetas after his brother Miguel Ángel was arrested by authorities in 2013.

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Miguel Ángel, or Z-40, was known for his cruelty in dealing with rivals. He would order the decapitations of his enemies and sometimes take out the hearts of victims while they were still alive, later dumping the bodies in acid or burning them in barrels of burning oil.

Wednesday's capture of Omar Treviño is seen as a major victory for the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto, who made it his priority to crack down on the country’s drug traffickers when he came to office two years ago.

The arrest comes after last week’s detention of Servando La Tuta Gómez, leader of the Knights Templar cartel in Michoacán.

Among other crimes, Omar Treviño is suspected of ordering the forced disappearance of 300 people in 2011 in Coahuila state as an act of revenge.

Known for their bloody drug wars, the Zetas were formed from a group of army deserters to serve as a protective arm for the Gulf cartel, whose leader, Osiel Cárdenas, was captured in 2003 and extradited to the United States where he is serving a long prison sentence.

Many of the tortures and brutal killings the Zetas performed on their victims were videotaped and posted on YouTube.

In 2010, the Zetas broke away from the Gulf cartel and embarked on their own terror campaign.


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