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Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:22PM
File photo shows the alleged leader of Mexico’s Zetas drug cartel, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, alias “Z-40.”

File photo shows the alleged leader of Mexico’s Zetas drug cartel, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, alias “Z-40.”

A brutal and feared gangster blamed for a new round of bloodshed in Mexico’s once relatively tranquil central states has seized leadership of the Zetas drug cartel. Miguel Angel Trevino Morales recently won a showdown with Zetas founder Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano to lead the violent criminal gang, The Associated Press reported on Friday. Lawmen and even competing drug capos picture Trevino as a brutal assassin who favors getting rid of foes by stuffing them into oil drums, dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire - a practice known as a "guiso," or "stew." "There was a lot of talk that he was pushing really hard on Lazcano Lazcano and was basically taking over the Zetas, because he had the personality, he was the guy who was out there basically fighting in the streets with the troops," Jere Miles, a Zetas expert and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent, said. He added, "Lazcano Lazcano, at the beginning he was kind of happy just to sit back and let Trevino do this, but I don't think he understood how that works in the criminal underworld." "When you allow someone to take that much power, and get out in front like that, pretty soon the people start paying loyalty to him and they quit paying to Lazcano." Miles noted. The rise of Trevino Morales, known as "Z-40," for Zetas leadership has sent jitters across Mexico, with one gang chieftain urging criminal gangs, drug cartels, civic groups and even the government to form a united front to fight him. "Let's unite and form a common front against the Zetas, and particularly against Z-40, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, because this person with his unbridled ambition has caused so much terror and confusion in our country," Servando Gomez, leader of the Knights Templar cartel, said in a video posted on the internet. He went on to say, "He is the main cause of everything that is happening in Mexico, the robberies, kidnappings, extortion." "We are inviting all the groups ... everyone to form a common front to attack Z-40 and put an end to him," Gomez said. Trevino Morales is on Mexico's most-wanted list, with a reward of 30 million pesos ($2.28 million) offered for information leading to his capture. The Zetas has been blamed for a large share of the tens of thousands of deaths in Mexico's war on drugs. Drug violence has reportedly killed more than 50,000 people since former President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against Mexico's cartels, when he took office in December 2006. MP/JR
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