Mexico this week confirmed the arrest of Ramiro Perez Ramos, known as “El Rama,” a regional commander of the violent Zetas drug cartel who was reportedly trying to assume control of the organization. It’s another blow to the Zetas’ leadership after cartel boss Omar Treviño Morales was captured just weeks ago, but there are few expectations the recent spate of arrests will dismantle the group anytime soon.
Perez Ramos, 34, was the head of the Zetas’ operations in the eastern states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, a statement by Mexico’s navy said. Federal authorities reportedly captured him early Monday with four other accomplices as they were traveling in an SUV in the city of Nuevo Laredo. No shots were fired in the operation, local reports said.
The Zetas have gone through a rapid succession of leaders in recent years as the group has lost both territory and organizational strength. Earlier this month, authorities captured Omar Treviño Morales, who had been the head of the group since 2013; before that, his brother Miguel Angel Treviño Morales had been the Zetas leader for less than a year before being arrested by federal security forces.
Perez Ramos was reportedly angling to be the Zetas’ next leader in the wake of the latest power vacuum. But a U.S. intelligence cable obtained by Mexican newspaper Reporte Indigo earlier this month named four other potential successors, including a third Treviño Morales brother, Juan Francisco Treviño Morales.