Jose Eduardo Moreira

The son of a former PRI leader has been gunned down in the northern state of Coahuila, with the hit allegedly ordered by Zetas leader Z-40 as revenge for the killing of his nephew.

Jose Eduardo Moreira, son of former Coahuila governor and ex-leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Humberto Moreira, was found shot dead near Ciudad Acuña on October 3. He was a state employee and his uncle, Ruben Moreira, is the serving governor of Coahuila, reported Milenio.

According to the Associated Press, federal police, soldiers and criminal investigators have been deployed to the area to track down the assailants. 

The motive for the killing is so far unclear. However, one possibility to emerge is that it could have been a revenge attack by the Zetas leader Miguel Treviño Morales, "Z-40." According to Blog del Narco, state sources said that Z-40's nephew was among five people killed on Wednesday in a shootout with Mexican forces. This line is reportedly being investigated though officials have refused to publicly speculate about the motive.

Humberto Moreira described his son as a "clean youth ... [who was] dedicated to his work."

InSight Crime Analysis

If reports are true that this was indeed a revenge killing ordered by Z-40, it would be a particularly bold move by the embattled Zetas leader. Since it emerged in July that Z-40 had split with Zetas commander Heriberto Lazcano, alias "Z-3," he has been locked in a battle with a rival Zetas faction headed  by the recently captured Ivan Velazquez Caballero, alias “El Taliban."

Though El Taliban's capture may well ease internal pressure on Z-40, the battle has brought the attention of Mexico's federal forces with one deployment made to Coahuila in August and another promised last week. The killing of Moreira is only going to up the pressure, making it questionable as to whether Z-40 would indeed have ordered the murder.

However, as there is so far no indication that Moreira was involved in any criminal activity, and if Z-40's nephew was definitely among those killed October 3, revenge cannot be ruled out, no matter how risky a move it may be for the Zetas leader.