Nuevo Laredo-based transnational criminal organization has “deep bench,” firm control of access to Interstate 35 corridor
EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The arrest and extradition of Juan Gerardo “El Huevo” Treviño Chavez is hardly the end of the powerful and ruthless Northeast drug cartel, a U.S. security expert says.
The Associated Press on Tuesday reported the U.S.-born criminal nicknamed “The Egg” was flown to Tijuana and turned over to federal authorities in San Diego to face drug and money laundering charges.
The Mexican army arrested Trevino over the weekend in Nuevo Laredo – an act that led members of his gang to shoot at, hijack and then torch vehicles throughout the city. The violence also caused an interruption of traffic at two border crossings in Laredo, Texas. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar also urged U.S. citizens to avoid the consulate in Nuevo Laredo.
“I see a lot of people saying ‘This is the end of the CDN (Northeast cartel),’ but I’m skeptical because the Treviño clan has been involved in drug smuggling for many decades now and they’re well entrenched in Nuevo Laredo,” said Scott Stewart, vice president of intelligence for TorchStone Global.
An offshoot of the old Zetas transnational criminal organization, the group has survived the 2013 arrest of leader Miguel Treviño Morales and the 2015 capture of his brother Omar Treviño Morales. Juan Gerardo Treviño (Miguel’s nephew) rose up the ranks of CDN as the leader of a hit squad known as “The Troop from Hell.”
“They have very deep roots in the area, and they have a pretty deep ‘bench.’ Nuevo Laredo is a very valuable (springboard) into the United States, with the Interstate 35 corridor next door. I can see people wanting it, but I don’t see them with the ability to make a move at this time,” Stewart said.
The Gulf cartel that controls the eastern part of Tamaulipas state remains splintered; factions of a gang called Los Metros remain at war in Reynosa, with the Gulf cartel supporting one group and the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) backing the other.
With or without “The Egg,” CDN remains in control of criminal activities in an area that stretches from Nuevo Laredo to south of the Big Bend of Texas, he said.
“They’re into everything, whether it’s synthetic drugs, cocaine, heroin or marijuana… they’re pushing all kinds of things (into the United States) in addition to being involved in criminal activities from human smuggling to kidnapping and extortion,” Stewart said.
The analyst foresees Gerardo Treviño’s cousin – Juan Cisneros Treviño, a.k.a. “Juanito” – or another member of the Treviño clan filling the power vacuum left by the arrest of “The Egg.” Cisneros was already challenging his cousin for leadership of the group, Stewart said.
But the Jalisco cartel remains a wild card in the area. CJNG has been expanding to every region of Mexico in the past few years and in late 2019 directly threatened Gerardo Trevino.