Mexican police announced they've arrested one of the most wanted drug traffickers in the nation, the second major bust of a cartel leader this month. Authorities say Ivan Velazquez Caballero was one of the leaders of Mexico's most powerful and violent drug gangs, the Zetas, which controls many of the major drug routes into the United States. However, Velazquez (known as "El Taliban") allegedly split with Zetas in recent weeks amid other reports that the entire gang has been divided by a brutal power struggle, that has led to a surge in drug murders.
The latest rift has exposed the many shifting rivalries with Mexico's criminal empires and may help explain some of the Mexican government's recent gains against the cartels. According to the BBC, Velazquez left the Zetas to join the rival Gulf Cartel after a fight with another Zetas leader, Miguel Trevino Morales, who himself was a former member of the Gulf Cartel. Police learned about the split from a man who survived a mass shooting. He was dumped into a van with 14 other dead bodies, all believed to supporters of "El Taliban."
Earlier this month, they arrested Mario Cardenas Guillen (a.k.a., El Gordo), another former leader of the Gulf Cartel. Although, even the latest arrest was announced with a degree of caution as mistaken identity is often an issue when dealing with top drug lords, who often go to great lengths to conceal their appearance and identity.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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