Despite a pledge to take a progressive approach on the Mexican Drug War, the relatively new administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto has apparently regressed back to the militant style favored by his predecessor.
On Saturday afternoon, Gulf Cartel boss Mario Armando Ramírez Treviño was arrested near the Texas border by the Mexican military.
The 51-year old Ramírez Treviño, aka "X-20,” has allegedly murdered Gulf Cartel rivals in an attempt to seize control of the cartel in the wake of the September 2012 arrest of the Gulf's former top-ranking capo, Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, aka "El Coss.”
Ramírez Treviño's capture came on the heels of Mexican authorities arresting Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, aka "Z-40,” chieftain of the notorious Zetas Cartel. Treviño Morales was apprehended on July 15 in the city of Anáhuac with $2 million and weapons.
The saturation of the Mexican military in these Drug War operations signals a departure from the Peña Nieto administration's December 2012 pledge to break away from the cycle of taking out cartel capos only to have them replaced in a violent process that increases drug-related mayhem and murder.
At a press conference on Sunday, Federal security spokesman Eduardo Sanchez claimed the government has changed their strategy from that of immediate predecessor Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), resulting in a correlated drop in violence, though there is doubt as to whether the drug killings have actually decreased.
And the dramatic militaristic takedowns of Treviño Morales and Ramírez Treviño make it clear that President Nieto is not heeding the wisdom of another of his predecessors, former Mexican President Vicente Fox (2000-2006), who has called for marijuana legalization.
Despite the diminished power of the Gulf Cartel, they are still reportedly in control of most of the international cocaine and marijuana trafficking that runs through the Mexican border city of Matamoros directly into Brownsville, Texas. Regardless of who is running the cartels, as long as there is a demand for illegal drugs, there will be black-market suppliers to reap the profits.