New Zetas Cartel Leader Violent 'To the Point of Sadism'

Civil War Inside the Zetas Drug Cartel

By 2011, however, there was a schism within the new cartel between Trevino Morales and those loyal to Heriberto Lazcano. When Zetas boss "El Mamito," Enrique Rejon Aguilar, was arrested in July, he said that he had been betrayed. Though he did not name any names, the next month someone uploaded a slickly produced music video to YouTube that bluntly accused Trevino Morales of being a "Judas" who was disloyal to Lazcano and had betrayed Mamito and other Zetas to the authorities.

Addressed to all the members of "the Mafia," every major drug organization in Mexico by name, and to the general public, "The True Story of Z 40" uses a specially written "narcoballad" to detail the alleged offenses of Trevino Morales against his fellow Zetas, especially leader Heriberto Lazcano.

One of the first images in the five-minute video is a picture of Judas whispering in the ear of Jesus. It then shows repeated images of Trevino Morales with the words "El Judas" under his face, and displays arrest photos of all the Zetas bosses he has allegedly betrayed, who were "captured because they trusted Z 40." Intended as a warning to Lazcano, it asks "El Lazca" why he thinks so many of his underlings have been arrested.

The video also mocks Trevino Morales as a former car washer for Los Tejas, and plasters his face onto photos of police officers and a shiny-suited pop idol.

Rival groups have also disparaged Trevino Morales as a car washer. In March, Joaquin Guzman, AKA El Chapo or Shorty, the head of Mexico's other dominant drug organization, the Sinaloa Cartel, sent his men into Trevino Morales' territory to murder and dismember Zetas soldiers. He issued a public challenge to Trevino Morales on huge banners above the body parts of his victims.

One banner, accompanied by seven severed heads, accused Trevino Morales of failing to use his own head, and of being Heriberto Lazcano's jockstrap. "You will always be a car washer to me," said the banner, which was signed "El Chapo." Another mocked Trevino Morales as a shoeshine boy, car washer and traitor who killed innocent people.

In the summer of 2012, Trevino Morales' brother Jose, a U.S. citizen, was arrested in the U.S. for moneylaundering after allegedly channeling the Zetas's drug money through a successful horseracing operation. Not long after his arrest, the split within the Zetas apparently cost 14 lives. The survivor of a mass execution in San Luis Potosi state in mid-August said that the victims and the killers were Zetas. Authorities believe the massacre was revenge by Trevino Morales on "El Taliban," a leader opposed to EL 40's ascent.

By the end of August, U.S. officials began saying that Trevino Morales seemed to have merged as the winner in the Zetas' civil war, and had officially taken operational control of the Zetas in Mexico from Lazcano.

High-ranking Zetas then began to fall. El Taliban was arrested in late September, "The Squirrel" just last Saturday. Lazcano, who was attending a baseball game with two other men, died in a firefight on Sunday.

Grayson speculates that Trevino Morales may have shared information with U.S. authorities to get better treatment for his brother Jose, who is in U.S. custody.

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