Baker Institute expert available to comment on aftermath of Zetas drug cartel leader arrest


David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Baker Institute expert available to comment on aftermath of Zetas drug cartel leader arrest
Jones: Arrest yesterday of Miguel Trevino could be profound for Mexico 

HOUSTON – (July 16, 2013) – Monday’s arrest of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, the notorious leader of the Mexican Zetas drug cartel, near the border city of Nuevo Laredo has been heralded as the first major blow against an organized crime leader by the new Mexican administration.

Nathan Jones, the Alfred C. Glassell III Postdoctoral Fellow in Drug Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and an expert on Mexican drug violence, is available to comment on the near- and long-term implications of this arrest.

“The implications of the arrest yesterday of Trevino could be profound for Mexico,” Jones said. “On the one hand it sets an important precedent, namely that no one is above the law, even the leader of one of the most powerful organized crime groups in Mexico. On the other hand, his removal may portend increased violence as new leadership figures vie for power within the organization and rivals pounce on perceived vulnerability.”

Jones said the arrest is indicative of violence-targeting strategies of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration. These strategies are a continuation of the policies of the second half of the preceding Felipe Calderon administration. “As a presidential candidate, Pena Nieto argued he had been persuaded by counter violence strategies — the notion that the most violent organizations should be targeted most heavily by the state to get all trafficking groups to minimize violence,” he said. “The arrest demonstrates the continued potency of the Mexican navy when it comes to capturing or killing kingpins or ‘high value targets,’ giving the navy an important place in the counterviolence calculus.”

The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Jones. For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.


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Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.