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Drug Lord Known as 'Z-42' Is Second Mexican Capo to Fall In Less Than a Week

The current leader of the Zetas cartel will likely be extradited to the United States to face charges. His arrest came less than a week after the capture of Knights Templar leader 'La Tuta.'
Photo by Eduardo Verdugo/AP

Omar Treviño Morales, the leader of the Zetas cartel, was captured by security forces early Wednesday in the city of Monterrey, the second high-profile kingpin capture in Mexico in less than a week.

The arrest came early Wednesday in the wealthy San Pedro Garza Garcia suburb of Monterrey, without a single shot fired, authorities said.

Treviño Morales, known by his codename "Z-42," took over the Zetas leadership after the arrest of his older brother, Miguel Angel Morales, also known as Z-40, in July 2013.


His arrest may offer a further boost to President Enrique Peña Nieto's government as the president wraps up his trip to the UK. Last Friday, Mexican authorities caught Knights Templar leader Servando Gomez Martinez, also known as "La Tuta," in an operation in Morelia, Michoacan.

Related: Mexican Drug Lord Lived In a Cave and Was Caught Because His Girlfriend Brought Him Birthday Cake.

The Zetas cartel has steadily lost its leaders in government campaigns against them in recent years. The cartel began as the enforcer wing of the Gulf cartel, and expanded to violently rule over large areas of eastern and northeastern Mexico.

The US State Department had offered a reward of $5 million for information leading to his arrest or conviction.

Mexican officials hinted in press statements at Mexico City's international airport that they would honor an extradition order to the United States held against Treviño. The last cartel leader extradited to the US was a figure in the Beltran Leyva organization, Alfredo Beltran Leyva, or "El Mochomo," in November 2014.

Monte Alejandro Rubido, Mexico's national security commissioner, described latest captured capo "extremely violent" on Wednesday.

In a statement, DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart praised Mexico's arrest, calling it a blow to the once-powerful Zetas.

"The Zetas represent the worst in global organized crime: violence, intimidation, corruption, and brutal killings," the statement read. "Today's arrest strikes at the heart of the leadership structure of the Zetas and should serve as yet another warning that no criminal is immune from arrest and prosecution."

Related: Legal Pot In the US Is Crippling Mexican Cartels.

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