Once the governments of Mexico and United States declared Heriberto Lazcano dead, the Zeta leadership passed to Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, “El Z-40”, “La Mona”, or “El Muerto”. He is part of an extensive Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, family, made up of 13 brothers, of whom at least six have been involved in drug trafficking in the last 15 years. In intelligence files from both countries and court files from the United States, Proceso found revealing facts on the life, criminal activities and the tragedy that surrounds the Trevino clan.
Anabel Hernandez (proceso.com.mx) — El Z-40 was born June 28, 1973, in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, a Zeta bastion for more than a decade. His parents are Rodolfo Trevino, who was already 49 years old when Miguel Angel was born, and Maria Arcelia Morales, then 34.
The Trevino Morales couple procreated an extensive family: Juan Francisco, aka Kiko Ozuna (1955), Arcelia, Chelo (1957), Irma (1959), Alicia (1961), Rodolfo (1963), Maria Guadalupe (1964), Jose (1966), Ana Isabel (1968), Jesus (1970), Miguel Angel (1973), Oscar Omar, “Alejandro” or “El 42” (1976), Cristina (1978) and Adolfo (1980).
According to information from government intelligence agencies, Mexican as well as U.S., Maria Arcelia Morales was alive up to 2007; today she would be 74 years old. She lived in Nuevo Laredo, had a passport to visit some of her children and grandchildren who live in the United States and had a Lincoln Navigator wagon registered in her name.
The Trevino criminal history began 19 years ago, with Juan Francisco, aka “Kiko Ozuna“, the oldest son of the Trevino Morales couple. On December 29, 1993, in a random inspection by the U.S. customs service, Juan Francisco’s vehicle was stopped and he twice denied he was carrying more than $10,000 in cash. When they searched the car, they found $47,984.00, which was confiscated.
That year, the DEA and the Border Patrol had begun an investigation into the trafficking of tons of marihuana from Nuevo Laredo into Texas, but they only had a few pieces of the puzzle. According to criminal case file No. 3:95-CR–189-R, in the Northern District Court in Texas, of which there is a copy, in October 1994, the United States government charged Juan Francisco Trevino, another Trevino by the name of Armando
— it’s not known if they are related–, Abraham Padilla (Benny), Abel Lopez, Fernando Quiroz (Vanna), Hipolito Ortiz (Polo), Oscar de Leon (Pelon), and Edel Isaac with criminal enterprise for possession of more than 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lbs) with the intent to distribute. At that time, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales was only 21 years old.
On October 18, 1994, Juan Francisco Trevino, Armando Trevino and Pedro Sanchez appeared before a magistrate and, based on the law then in effect, asked for a speedy trial which should have been held within 70 days after they voluntarily appeared in court.
On May 26, 1995, Juan Francisco filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him for violating his right to a speedy trial. On June 15, 1995, a court of original jurisdiction held a hearing and dismissed the charges that had been filed in October, 1994.
Kiko Ozuna believed he would be freed from prison immediately. He didn’t know that some days prior, on June 7, the prosecution had filed new charges against him for another conspiracy to distribute more than a ton of marihuana in the United States. While he was waiting for a speedy trial, the DEA obtained sufficient evidence to convict him. As in the majority of these cases, the agency accomplished this through accomplices that went into the informants and protected witness program. Those statements completely sunk Juan Francisco.
Everardo Ramirez, introduced as a government witness by the prosecution, testified in court that an individual with the surnames Tovar Ozuna introduced him to Juan Francisco Trevino, who offered him employment. The work consisted of transporting marihuana from Nuevo Laredo to Dallas. Ramirez’s first duty was to store the weed in his house for several days then take it to the house of Pablo de Luna.
“The following month, at the request of Tovar Ozuna, Ramirez agreed to store and deliver marihuana that was to be transported to Dallas. Tovar’s job was to bring the marihuana across the (Rio Grande) river for Juan Trevino and (take it) to Ramirez. For his part, Ramirez would take it to Pablo de Luna’s house, where it was stored and then transported using a business on the border,” states the court file.
Ramirez testified that he had participated in trafficking marihuana from Nuevo Laredo to Dallas about three times a month for a year and a half. He added that the largest load he stored was 600 lbs (272 kilograms) and that on U.S. territory they transported the drug on Suburban station wagons, using private roads on a large ranch to avoid police checkpoints. Frank Staggs, owner of the ranch, testified that the ranch caretaker was Armando Trevino. Continued on next page
Everardo Ramirez also testified that he would go to a hotel in Dallas to meet with Jose Trevino Morales, the brother of Juan Francisco, who was in charge of paying him for his services. It took the United States government years to detect and stop Jose’s criminal activities, who, 17 years later, turned out to be the head of the Zeta money laundering network in the United States through the quarter horse racing business.
Another key prosecution witness was Joe Chavez, who worked for Kiko Ozuna. In December of 1993, he approached DEA Special Agent Armando Ramirez and offered to become an informant. “He had a feeling this thing (the criminal network) was going to collapse,” the court file points out. On January 24, 1994, Joe tipped off the DEA special agent about a marihuana shipment that was going to be delivered to Dallas on January 26. Agent Ramirez, working undercover, helped Joe Chavez load more than 463 kilograms (about 1,019 lbs) of marihuana on a Suburban (parked) next to a mobile home in Laredo.
When the load got to Dallas, (law enforcement) agents were waiting and they arrested Riky Trevino and Abel Lopez. “Chavez testified that the marihuana that was seized was destined for, or belonged to, Francisco Trevino Morales,” states the court file. That was enough for the oldest of the Trevino brothers to lose all hope of getting out of prison.
On December 1, 1995, Kiko Ozuna was sentenced to 22 years in prison, which will be completed in 2017, when he is 62 years old. He was sent to a prison close to Laredo, and, according to the terms of the sentence, when he is released he will be on supervised probation for five years “with normal conditions and with four additional conditions.”
Juan Francisco Trevino Morales is still in prison. His younger brother, Miguel Angel, followed in his footsteps and surpassed him, becoming the leader of one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the continent, the Zetas, which last year the Barack Obama administration classified as a “global menace” comparable to the Camorra in Italy, the Yakuza in Japan and the Circle of the Brothers in Russia.