Mexican Drug Lord’s Capture the Result of Cross-Border Cooperation

Mike O'Brien

The capture of a brutal drug kingpin by Mexico's marines represents a significant victory for authorities in both the U.S. and south of the border.

The Marines swooped on Miguel Angel Treviòo Morales’ pickup truck outside the border city of Nuevo Laredo on Monday.

Morales, leader of the notorious Zetas cartel, had $2 million and a small arsenal of weapons on him at the time.

Related: Drug Interdiction: The Rise of Terror Groups' Narco Submarines

It emerged afterwards that a contingent of about two dozen U.S. Marines have been in Mexico training their counterparts in small-unit infantry tactics.

The American contingent is made up of personnel on temporary assignment who rotate into the country and are limited to training, said John Cornelio, a spokesman for U.S. Northern Command.

U.S. military personnel were not directly involved in the raid.

The role of the U.S. military in Mexico has long been a sensitive issue that has cast a shadow over relations between the two countries.

But as Mexico's drug war began spiraling out of control, the U.S. military decided to step up its help with mobile training teams and exchange programs.

John Cornelio, a spokesman for U.S. Northern Command, told USA Today: "The relationship between the two militaries just continues to grow."

Mexico’s traditional 200,000-strong army has a strong nationalistic fervor running through its ranks, analysts say.

The U.S. has therefore focused its efforts on working with Mexico's marines and navy in the drug intrerdiction battle.

The Mexican marines currently have 21,500 troops but are swelling the ranks to 26,560.

Both the navy and the marines in Mexico have proven the ability to act more quickly on intelligence than the army.

The latest developments in the war on drugs will be covered in IDGA’s Counter Narco-Terrorism and Drug Interdiction event in September. For full details visit