Z-40 Arrest a Test of Mexico’s Kingpin Strategy

Z-40 Arrest a Test of Mexico’s Kingpin Strategy

The first major development in Mexico’s fight against drug organizations under the Enrique Pena Nieto administration came early yesterday morning when Mexican marines arrested Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, known as Z-40, the head of the ultraviolent Zetas organization. While lauding the arrest, analysts are largely united in the assessment that Z-40’s arrest will result in more violence in the near term, as the struggle to fill the power vacuum left by the arrest unfolds.

The arrest also throws into relief the issue of the so-called kingpin strategy of targeting top leaders of Mexico’s drug organizations, which the Pena Nieto administration had indicated it wanted to move away from. A recent Congressional Research Service report raised worries that targeting kingpins “has contributed to violent succession struggles, shifting alliances among the [drug trafficking organizations], a proliferation of new gangs and small DTOs, and the replacement of existing leaders and criminal groups by ones who are even more violent.”

Reacting to Trevino’s arrest, James Bosworth states bluntly, “This is going to be a clear case where the kingpin strategy won’t work.”At Insight Crime, Stephen Dudley stakes out a similar position, noting, “Miguel Trevino may have been the final stitch that held what was left of this disparate federation together. What comes next could be a spasm of violence as the group balkanizes.”

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review