Arrest of Zetas Cartel Leader Seen as Leading to More Mexico Violence

There will be blood.The prediction today from an expert on Mexican cartels following the weekend arrest of the head of the Zetas, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Tony Payan, who is with the Baker Center at Rice University, says the Zetas are a very profitable organization, smuggling cocaine and meth, as well as illegal immigrants and other contraband into Texas, and with all that cash on the line, the competition for his post will be bloody.

"There is an emerging consensus in the academic community now that arresting kingpins increases violence," Payan said.

And that violence in northern Mexico is already at very high levels.  Driven by changes in the climate between the U.S. and Mexico, everything from the proposed border wall to legalization of certain drugs in U.S. states to the new business of smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S. has prompted an uptick in murders in the past several months, with massacres in Monterrey, Acapulco, and other places tied to increased gang activity.

And Payan says there will be violence now from all quarters

."Because, when you pluck that guy from the top of the pyramid, they try to free that guy, they attack the police, and there is always a war for succession."

Payan says Mexican police, special forces, and soldiers have made a record number of arrests of top ranking drug cartel leaders over the past several months, and that has only fed into the increase in bloodshed.The Zetas have always been known for violence. 

The gang was formed in the late 2000s out of former Mexican soldiers who had been hired as bodyguard and enforcers for the Gulf Cartel. They decided to break away from the Gulf Cartel in 2010, and have become known for ISIS style tactics, including massacres, beheadings, and hanging victims from bridges and lamp posts.

Jose Maria Guizar Valencis, ironically a U.S. citizen born in California, was arrested by Mexican Naval Special Forces in a neighborhood in Mexico City.

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