Miguel Angel Trevino Morales captured [VIDEO]: Zetas cartel leader arrested with $2M cash and 8 guns
Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, one of the world's most-feared druglords, has been captured alive on Monday by Mexican Marines in a raid in Nuevo Laredo.
The 40-year-old, who is the leader of the Zetas cartel, the most notorious drug cartel in Mexico, was captured in a pick-up truck filled with eight guns and $2 million in cash. Two accomplices - his bodyguard and accountant - were also arrested.
Trevino Morales is notorious for his brutal and merciless ways of killing his victims. He was wanted in both the U.S. and Mexico for numerous massacres.
The Zetas cartel was founded by Heriberto Lazcano but Morales took over the group in October 2012 following his death.
Shortly after his capture on Monday, government spokesman Eduardo Sanchez spoke to news agencies regarding the high-profile arrest. "Three people in the truck were detained by ground troops, who had arrived to support the naval forces, who had carried out the detention via the helicopter. Not a single shot was fired."
The Zetas cartel was initially made up of an elite military unit. Trevino Morales, known as "Zeta-40", was a civilian who reportedly worked his way up through the ranks in the cartel to become the leader. The group quickly became infamous for their brutality and by 2012, and grew to become the largest and most powerful drug cartel in Mexico.
The capture of Trevino Morales brings hope towards the destruction of the cartel. He was the world's most wanted drug trafficker, with the U.S. offering a $5 million reward for any information leading to his arrest.
Trevino Morales is charged with murder, torture, kidnapping and numerous other crimes. He and the two others arrested with him have been flown to Mexico City where they will be tried in a closed system.
72 migrants were massacred by the Zetas cartel under Trevino Morales' watch in San Fernando in 2010. Another 193 victims were kidnapped from buses and brutally murdered the following year. The druglord is charged with kidnapping and murdering the 265 migrants.
Alejandro Hope, a former member of Mexico's domestic intelligence service, said: "There continues to be the perception that capturing this type of individual has a strategic value and the logic persists that it's preferable to fragment criminal groups and reduce them in size. On this point there isn't much change."
However, Zetas cartel expert George Grayson, who is a professor at College of Williams & Mary, said the weakening of the Zetas cartel will strengthen its rival – the Sinaloa cartel, which is headed by Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman.
"El Chapo is greatly strengthened because he will now have access to the crown jewel of narco-trafficking, Nuevo Laredo."
The Zetas cartel is expected to be succeeded by Trevino Morales' brother Omar.