Mexican Cartel leader's vicious history

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 9:13am

Mexico captures suspected boss of Zetas drug cartel.

Using troops and helicopters, Mexico's military swooped in and captured the suspected boss of one of the world's most notorious drug cartels.

And it happened only miles from the US.

In a world of bad characters, analysts say Miguel Angel Trevino Morales held a special place.

"He was the most sadistic cartel leader in the Americas."

Trevino, leader of the notorious 'Zetas' drug cartel, is now in the custody of Mexican authorities arrested Monday just across the border from the US.

William and Mary professor George Grayson, an expert on the Zetas, says with the capture of Trevino, an "absolute demon" has been removed.

One of his alleged favorite tactics: "el guiso", or "the stew".

"He delighted in putting his victims in barrels, pouring gasoline over them, and then setting them on fire until they were nothing more than a crisp set of ashes."

Trevino's other signatures: beheadings and leaving the bodies of rivals, or those who'd otherwise crossed the cartel hanging from bridges.

Analysts say he and the Zetas, in different incidents a few years ago, killed dozens of migrants trying to get to the US including these victims left in a warehouse just south of the border.

"He tried to recruit them as perhaps couriers or lookouts for Los Zetas, and when that didn't work he bashed their heads in with sledge-hammers."

Grayson cites another recruiting tactic of Trevino's detailed in a 2011 Houston Chronicle interview with a member of the Zetas.

He told the chronicle that on at least one occasion, the Zetas hijacked a bus forced the young men out and gave them weapons.

"..and he would have them fight each other until the last man was standing. And then he would say 'Well, you are now worthy to become a Zeta.'"

Analysts say Trevino relished in this kind of sadism but also did it to instill fear in rivals and the police.

It was effective.

The Zetas are now Mexico's second largest cartel controlling much of the drug-flow into America and Trevino's reach of violence also extends into the US.

"There have been reports that he was responsible for executions or killings in the US. And certainly the Zetas have, if not their own cells, they do work with gangs and organized crime units in various American cities."

With Miguel Angel Trevino's capture, who will now take over control of the zetas?

Analysts say his younger brother Omar is a potential candidate but they also say Omar is a weaker person meaning the struggle for control of this cartel will likely be messy and violent.

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