Mexican Marine forces arrested Miguel Angel Trevino Morales on Sunday night, nabbing the leader of one of the nation's most brutal drug cartels, and they did it without firing a shot. Trevino and two other men were arrested in Anáhuac, near the border of Texas, after being stopped in a pickup truck carrying weapons and $2 million in cash.
Trevino, known by the nickname Z-40, is one of the most ruthless crime bosses in the world, and has been accused in the kidnappings and murders of hundreds of people. The gang he leads, the Zetas cartel, is known for its brutal and vindictive tactics, including beheading and dismembering victims and displaying their corpses as a warning to others. Officials say Trevino was personally responsible for "stewing" some victims by dumping them in drums of oil that he would then set on fire.
He also has connections to the United States, who put a $5 million bounty on his head. He was born in Nuevo Laredo, the sister city of Laredo, Texas, and once lived in Dallas. His brother, Jose, lived in the United States and was convicted earlier this year of bringing money from the cartel across the border to launder it through racetracks and the buying and selling of horses.
The arrest is a major victory for the Mexican government, which killed Trevino's boss and previous Zetas leader Heriberto Lazcano last fall. However, shortly after what should have been a triumphant moment, Trevino's gang stole the body from the morgue, embarrassing the army and then-president Felipe Calderon.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.