EXCLUSIVE — Feds Capture Los Zetas Cartel Boss in Houston

Zetas Execution
Breitbart Texas / Cartel Chronicles

Authorities have arrested one the top leaders of the Los Zetas who had been hiding out in Houston. The capture comes as the cartel continues to undergo a fierce internal civil war that has spread violence throughout the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas.

Breitbart Texas has spoken with various law enforcement sources at the local, state and federal level to confirm that U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents based in Houston and Laredo arrested Jose Francisco “Comandante Kiko” Treviño on Wednesday evening in Houston. Treviño is expected to go before a judge on Thursday morning.

Law enforcement spokesmen with various federal agencies would not confirm nor deny the capture of Treviño, however sources with direct knowledge of law enforcement operations in Texas confirmed the arrest to Breitbart Texas.

As Breitbart Texas has been reporting for more than 11 months, two rival factions of the Los Zetas cartel have been fighting for control of lucrative drug trafficking routes and territories. The battles between the two factions has resulted in a massive spike in violence throughout the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

While Treviño’s reasons for traveling to Houston remain unknown, in the past, various cartel commanders have sought refuge in the U.S. when fleeing certain death at the hands of their rivals in Mexico.

In October 2014, Breitbart Texas broke the news about the capture Gulf Cartel boss Juan Francisco “Comandante Panochitas or Commander Pussy” Saenz Tamez in the border city of Edinburg, Texas.

Soon after the arrest of Saenz Tamez, authorities captured two other top cartel commanders in the Lone Star State. At the time of the multiple arrests, the Gulf Cartel had been going through a series of internal conflicts similar to the ones that Los Zetas are currently facing.

The Los Zetas cartel is considered by law enforcement to be one of the most dangerous criminal organization in the U.S. and in Mexico. Cartel enforcers have been responsible for large-scale gun battles as well a thousands of executions and other crimes. 
Earlier this year, Breitbart Texas published the findings of a three month investigation that revealed that from 2011 to 2013 Los Zetas had been responsible for the kidnapping, execution and incineration of more than 300 victims in the Mexican state of Coahuila. Most of the victims were individuals not tied to cartel activity, including women and children. The drug cartel was able to operate with impunity in Coahuila where about 150 of the 300 murdered victims were incinerated in a state prison.  
The Los Zetas cartel began as an enforcement wing and personal guard for the then leader of the Gulf Cartel Osiel Cardenas. At the time of their creation, Los Zetas were made up of military deserters and Mexican federal cops who switched sides seeking higher wages and power. In 2010, Los Zetas broke away from the Gulf Cartel setting off a war that continues to this day. 
Late last year, the Los Zetas went through a similar split as some of the older Zetas who had gone to prison and had been released turned on the new leadership of the criminal organization. 
Treviño is a relative of Miguel Angel “El 40 or Z40” Trevino Morales, who was not one of the original (military or police) Zetas. The Trevino faction has since been known as the Cartel Del Noreste while the other faction has assumed the name “Vieja Escuela Z” or Old School Z as well as Grupo Bravo.  The brutal fighting between the two cartel factions has resulted in almost daily beheadings, dismemberments and other gory executions. 

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project and you can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

This article has been updated to include additional information.


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