Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, a Mexican drug lord who was the leader of the Knights Templar cartel, was arrested on Friday, Feb. 27. Gomez ran 50 of the most active methamphetamine labs in Mexico. Thanks to his girlfriend who delivered a cake to his hideout in the Mexican town of Morelia for his 49th birthday, authorities were able to discover Gomez’s location.
While in hiding, Gomez rode horseback, lived in a cave, and did not use a cellphone, instead using a messenger to communicate with his cartel, a gang known for ceremonial human sacrifices and for attacking corrupt Mexican officials.
“As a Colombian that had to flee her country because of the drug cartel violence, seeing a neighboring country go through the same problematic internal war is concerning and heartbreaking,” first-year political science student Paula Munera said. “Drug cartels are successful in retiring an entire nation to glorify easy money and achieving power through fear,” she added. “The people will show continuous support to these cartels because they receive more monetary benefits from them than their own government.”
Gomez’s capture comes a year after the arrest of Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman and right before the arrest of Alejandro Trevino-Morales, the leader of Mexico’s infamous Zetas drug cartel, who was caught last Wednesday.
Trevino Morales was wanted in Mexico on weapons and organized crime charges with a $2 million reward for his capture. The U.S. State Department had offered a reward of up to $5 million. The Zetas cartel grew from a group of Mexican Special Forces deserters.
“Capturing the leaders of the cartels doesn’t slow down the drug trade immediately, as they are quickly replaced by new ones,” Professor of Anthropology Anthony Andrews said. “It is like a game of Wack-A-Mole. The most productive aspect of capturing them is the intelligence they get out of them,” he added.
“It is the army and Special Forces in the military who are doing the capturing, not the police,” Andrews explained. “The police sometimes provide the army with intelligence, but it is carefully vetted, as in most situations the army does not trust the police. The police forces are corrupt as ever, and some military personnel have been compromised as well.”
Despite these hard truths, more than 1,500 people have been arrested since Guzman’s capture around this time last year and almost all of the top leaders have been arrested or killed. The subsequent capture of Gomez and Trevino-Morales are important developments in Mexico’s fight against the drug cartel and reveal progress in that country’s Special Forces.