Photo: Former Mexican Pres. Felipe Calderon
Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, the Zetas drug cartel boss arrested earlier this week, threatened to kill former President Felipe Calderon, the Mexico City daily El Universal reported Wednesday.
Treviño Morales, alias “Z40,” threatened to shoot down the presidential aircraft during a trip Calderon made to the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, aides to the former president told the newspaper.
The Zetas cartel, considered Mexico’s second-biggest criminal organization, operates across the country, as well as in Central America and other countries.
Calderon, who governed Mexico from 2006 to 2012, received death threats on at least five occasions, the unidentified former officials told El Universal.
Treviño Morales, who was arrested in the early hours of Monday along with a bodyguard and the cartel’s money manager, made at least one threat while the cartel was being run by Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, who was killed by marines on Oct. 7, 2012, just weeks before Calderon left office.
Lazcano, known as “El Lazca,” deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with three other soldiers, all members of an elite, U.S.-trained special operations unit.
After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account in early 2010 and now control several lucrative territories.
Treviño Morales’s vehicle was spotted at 3:45 a.m. Monday southwest of Nuevo Laredo, a city just across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas, officials said.
“Not a single shot” was fired, federal security spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said earlier this week.
Calderon, who declared war on Mexico’s drug cartels in 2006, referred on two occasions to death threats, once in 2007 and the second time in August 2012 while celebrating his 50th birthday with a group of friends, business leaders and politicians, the newspaper said.
The threats against Calderon were made in e-mails and investigated by the Siedo organized crime unit of the federal Attorney General’s Office.
The Reforma newspaper, meanwhile, published new details Wedsnesday about the capture of the drug lord.
A six-man marine special forces team backed by a Black Hawk helicopter nabbed Treviño Morales in an operation that lasted just seven minutes, Reforma said.
The U.S. and Mexican governments shared intelligence about Treviño Morales and knew he was making frequent trips to Nuevo Laredo to visit his girlfriend, who just gave birth, Reforma said, confirming information published by The New York Times.
Treviño Morales and his two associates had $2 million in cash, eight assault rifles and some 500 rounds of ammunition at the time of his capture, officials said.
Lazcano’s death and the capture of Treviño Morales leaves the latter’s brother, Oscar Omar Treviño Morales, as the only top Zetas leader still at large.