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While Zeta Leader May Be Captured, Threats Remain to Homeland Security South of the Border

Customs and Border Protection personnel walk along a section of the recently-constructed fence at the U.S.-Mexico border on February 26, 2013 in Nogales, Arizona. The newest generation of fencing allows Border Patrol agents to see through the fence and is harder to scale from the Mexican side. (Credit: Getty Images)

The infamously violent leader of the notorious Zeta drug cartel, Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, was arrested late Monday night by the Mexican government after a months-long investigation. With the killing of the previous Zeta commander last year, the Christian Science Monitor writers that the arrest without violence of the man known as "Z-40" is major win for the new Mexican administration.

The capture represents the biggest success yet in security matters for the eight-month-old administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto.


In the short term, the regions controlled by Treviño Morales could see a spike in violence as a fight ensues among his underlings to assume control, Dudley says.

The Zetas not only move large quantities of drugs but are also responsible for piracy, human trafficking, and the extortion, kidnapping, and murder of hundreds of migrants headed to the US. Specifically, Treviño Morales is accused of organized crime, torture, homicide, and money laundering, said Eduardo Sanchez, spokesman for the government’s security cabinet, in a press conference.

While the capture may be a big feather in the new President's hat, the Zeta cartel has fractured into affiliate organizations that use equal force and brutality all under the Zeta banner and the violent drug war remains in flux, as The New York Times reports:

The danger remains that the splintering of the Zetas will leave smaller, dangerous gangs copying their name and tactics as they continue to extort, kidnap and deal drugs. State and local police forces are generally too corrupted, ill prepared or not committed to take them on.

The continued flow of violent leader to violent leader and splintering of cartels is remeniscent of another popular topic on "Real News," Al-Qaeda. While Al-Qaeda gets due coverage from the media and homeland security efforts, can the same be said about Mexican cartels like the Zetas and their affiliates who may pose an equal national security threat?

Furthermore, with the Zetas in the news, how do violent Mexican cartels and the overall drug war play into the ongoing immigration reform debate in Washington?


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