Drug War Grinds On After Cartel Arrest

Mexico’s capture of Miguel Ángel Treviño—who authorities say ran the Zetas drug gang with such ferocity that he’d sometimes boil enemies alive in grease—leaves the government a key challenge: How to dismantle the rest of the decentralized cartel.

The Mexican navy has captured the alleged leader of the country’s most violent drug-trafficking organization, an important victory for the new administration of Mexican President . Nicholas Casey reports.

Some experts said the Mexican Navy’s detention on Monday of the Dallas-raised Mr. Treviño was a victory for the country’s new government but was unlikely to change the course of its fight against organized crime. They said it could spark a power struggle within the Zetas and with rival gangs over territory.

The Zetas differ from other drug cartels in that local cells handle most of the crime, from transporting drugs to extorting local businesses, law-enforcement officials and analysts said on Tuesday.

Members often work like franchisees, paying Zetas leadership fees to use the name and the right to run local rackets. That model has allowed the gang to expand rapidly through Mexico and Central America while complicating the government’s task in crippling it by targeting its leaders.

– Read the entire article at The Wall Street Journal.



  1. bhonze on

    Where did he get that Nautica shirt from? Hmmmm

  2. Mrs. Ratsrectum on

    This is a telenovela we’ve seen before. Prohibitionist law enforcement authorities arrest the head of a crime organization, and someone else steps in to take their place. The backbone of the operations is still in place so the question becomes will the opening be filled from within the organization or will an outsider get the job? That’s where violence over the turf comes in. If an outsider wants the job, as in a different cartel wants to fill the opening, you have the shootouts and killings, kidnappings and other associated violence beyond the daily norm of the thugs employed at the low end of the hierarchy to delivery the goods, collect and deliver the cash for the payrolls.

    This is all show.

    Prohibitionists can argue that they got the cartels fighting each other. At some point, the power vacuum will be filled, and the violence between the cartels will subside and then they’ll turn their attention back to law enforcement targets, unfortunately. There’s no good reason for law enforcement or civilians to be put in the line of fire over cannabis.

    The demand is there in the U.S. The poverty is here in Mexico so you will always have campesinos moving from location to location year after year to put up shacks and sheds to tend their fields, then moving on to the next site for the next growing season. They don’t stay in one place, but after a few years may return to a previous site.

    Water is always a problem in major parts of Mexico, for irrigation and daily human survival, so a cash crop like Mary Jane would, of course, be preferred over a crop needing much irrigation. Campesinos don’t have that kind of money–they’re dirt poor–so abandoning the fields and moving on to a new location lets the soil replenish itself–little or no money for fertilizer–and reduces predictability as to their whereabouts so as to evade authorities. Campesino-style grows are popping up on U.S. public lands.

    Are there enough prisons for all the poor people doing what they have to do just to survive?

    You will never arrest your way out of the problem that you created by continuing to keep cannabis illegal since the 1970s when it was obvious the U.S. government (Shafer Commission) should have legalized. You need to amend the international treaties preventing cannabis legalization so that these international agreements are no longer an obstacle.

    Stop stalling and get it done!

  3. Anonymous on

    Is there any reason to think what we did to end the violence of alcohol prohibition wouldn’t work for other drugs? Do we have any rationale for not learning from our own mistakes of the past?