Is the Zetas’ Leader’s Arrest Really Such a Good Thing? We Asked an Expert
VICE: Is the capture of Z-40 really “a major victory in the battle against drug cartels”?
Steven Dudley: I don’t know what a “major victory” is for the war on drugs, to be honest. But it certainly is an important step in slowing the type of hyper-violence that this group—and this individual, in particular—promoted. Whether it will slow the flow of drugs, I don’t know.
Is violence actually going to decrease?
In many ways, Z-40 was the last stich that held the Zetas together. His capture may cause a spasm of violence within an organization that is highly prone to violent acts, and with him gone it just throws everything up in the air again. Some individuals may attempt to control the organization and step into the power void, and then you will also have rival organizations looking to take advantage.
If you were a member of one of those rival cartels, what would you be planning right now?
I think that there’s no question that the epicenter of what comes next in Mexico is going to happen in Nuevo Laredo, the most important commercial crossing point between the US and Mexico. Around 10,000 to 12,000 trucks cross every day, making it the crown jewel in terms of trafficking, as it provides such an easy way to camouflage merchandise going north and weapons and money going south. This is where you’ll find other criminal organizations gearing up to make a move. It’s an area that’s been held by the Zetas for the past ten years.