Mexican authorities apprehended Zetas drug cartel boss Omar Treviño Morales near the northern city of Monterrey before dawn Wednesday, they said. Morales, also known by the moniker “Z-42,” has led the cartel since his brother, Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, was arrested in July 2013.
Treviño Morales was taken into custody in a joint police and military raid in the town of San Pedro Garza Garcia, a federal official told the Associated Press. Mexican authorities, who had sought Treviño Morales on organized crime and weapons charges, placed a $2 million reward on information leading to his capture. The Zetas leader was also wanted in the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration offered a $5 million reward.
U.S. authorities listed Treviño Morales’ true first name as “Alejandro” and identified “Omar” as an alias. “We certainly are excited and congratulate Mexico for another great arrest,” DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said.
Initially composed of deserters from Mexico’s army, the Zetas cartel has been blamed for dozens of murders throughout the country’s north since its formal establishment in 2010, the Guardian reported. Treviño Morales’ brother Miguel was known for burning his enemies alive before his capture in 2013, according to CNN.
Treviño Morales’ capture was Mexico’s second arrest of a top cartel leader in a matter of days. Authorities apprehended Servando Gomez, the schoolteacher-turned-boss of the Knights Templar cartel, in a bloodless raid on a home in Morelia, according to Reuters. Gomez stands accused of various crimes, including drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and murder. His cartel operates in the western state of Michoacán, where vigilantes rose up to battle the Knights until the Mexican army established a presence in the area last year.
The arrests are part of the Mexican government’s long war against drug cartels that have terrorized the country in recent years. More than 100,000 people have reportedly died in the conflict since 2007.