Miguel Angel Treviño, alias “Z40,” was a top commander of the Zetas criminal organization in Mexico before his capture by Mexican Marines on July 15, 2013.
Z40 was one of the first to join the Gulf Cartel’s security arm, the Zetas. When Zetas commander Arturo Guzman Decena was killed in 2002, he rose through the ranks.
In July 2012, the Zetas reportedly split into two factions, one side headed by Z40, the other by Heriberto Lazcano, alias “Z3.” The rival capos each accused the other of betrayal and became embroiled in a bitter and violent power struggle. In October 2012, Mexican security forces reported shooting and killing Z3, leaving Treviño as the most senior Zetas commander. In October 2012, a Zetas splinter group comprised of opponents of Z40 announced they had formed a new group, Los Legionarios (the Legionaries), with the express purpose of waging war against Z40 and his organization.
Treviño worked to consolidate his hold over his Zetas. However, he was captured in July 2013 in Anahuac, a town southwest of Nuevo Laredo.
DOB: November 18, 1970
Criminal Activities: Drug trafficking, money laundering, counterfeit trade
Status: Captured, July 2013
Area of Operation: Southern Mexico; Northern Guatemala
Around 2007, Z40 was sent to Veracruz following the death of a high-ranking member of the group. He took control of that drug trafficking corridor, while simultaneously taking over other illicit industries such as trade in pirated DVDs and CDs, and human trafficking.
Several of his family members also became involved in crime. His brother and uncle laundered money on the Zetas’ behalf in the United States, using a horse-breeding company as a cover-up. They were captured after a raid on US territory in 2012.
Z40 was once the “plaza” boss in Nuevo Laredo, the Zetas’ longtime base of operations. He is also thought to have run the Zetas’ operations in Guatemala, where the group had established bases in the northern states of Peten and Alta Verapaz.
Allies and Enemies
A Zetas splinter group known as the Legionaries was created in 2012 with the mission of killing Z40 and those aligned with him. The Zetas have also made enemies with several other criminal groups, as they rely on collecting “piso,” or a tax, from other underworld organizations. The Zetas’ two most prominent rivalries are with their progenitor, the Gulf Cartel, and the Sinaloa Cartel.
At the time, Z40’s capture was the most important since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in December 2012. He is wanted by the United States, but due to the shaky US-Mexico relationship surrounding extradition, it is unclear if or when the Zetas boss will be sent to face justice in the United States.