A Los Zetas medal on display in Mexico city.
Courtesy Reuters

For all its reputed sophistication, Mexico’s premier criminal organization is finally faltering. The Zetas was dealt a heavy blow on July 15, when its leader, Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, was arrested. But it is much too soon to write the Zetas’ obituary -- not least because the group has left an enduring legacy in the region. Throughout Central America, criminal groups have been following the Zetas’ fearsome blueprint for criminal enterprise. Even if it fades away, the organization’s ruthless business model will live on.

The U.S. State Department has described the Zetas as “the most technologically advanced,

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.