10/14/11 — On Wednesday, October 12, 2011, the Secretary of National Defense (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, Sedena) announced the capture of Carlos Oliva Castillo, “La Rana”, the alleged third in command of the Zeta cartel and its principal leader over the Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas territories. La Rana, captured near his base in Saltillo, Nuevo León, is said to have ordered the attack on a Monterrey casino in late August, which left over 50 people dead. According to Milenio, Oliva Castillo’s capture was due at least in part to the “Scorpion Operation” recently launched by the Mexican military to “undermine the command, financial, operational, and logistical structures of the Zeta and Gulf cartels and to reduce violence in the region resulting from the dispute between the two groups.”
Oliva Castillo’s capture was not without consequence, however, as it is said to have caused inter-prison conflict in the Cadereyta jail located in Nuevo León, which resulted in the death of seven inmates, and three gravely wounded. Despite the organization of Zeta cell groups to free La Rana after his capture, attempts were unsuccessful.
The two remaining Zeta leaders, Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, “El Lazca”, and Miguel Trevino, “El Z40,” are still at large. According to El Universal, a security operation will soon be established in La Laguna, Coahuila, which authorities hope will aid in El Lazca’s and El Z40’s arrests as they have been thought to run their Zeta operations from this area. Similar to pre-existing operations in the states of Nuevo León and Veracruz, these operations will aid in decreasing violence and improving security in Coahuila through an increase in the number of federal forces, strengthened intelligence, and improved tracking mechanisms.