As Mexico waits to see what will unfold in the wake the capture of feared the Zetas leader Miguel Angel Treviño, alias Z40, a commander in the rival Gulf Cartel is being touted as a possible candidate to make a violent play for power in the northeast of the country.
Mario Armando Ramirez Treviño, alias X20, who leads a faction of the divided Gulf Cartel known as the Metros, and consolidated power over the organization following the September 2012 capture of Eduardo Costilla, alias "El Coss," could be even more violent than his fallen Zetas counterpart Treviño, said the Mexican newspaper El Universal.
SEE ALSO: InSight Crime's Gulf Cartel Profile
The newspaper predicts Ramirez will seek to take back "plazas," Mexican underworld parlance for trafficking corridors, starting with the valuable "Frontera Chica" area, a stretch of Tamaulipas along the Texas border, which has been in dispute since at least 2010 when Gulf and the Zetas had a violent rupture.
X20 is powerful enough to take on the Zetas, the newspaper claimed, and could even have the potential to bring the Gulf Cartel and its former armed wing back together to form a formidable new organization.
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Like the Zetas, the Gulf Cartel has been riven with infighting in recent years, divisions in which X20 has played a significant role. A divide between two factions -- the Rojos, loyal to jailed former leader Osiel Cardenas Guillen, and the Metros, supporters of El Coss and Ramirez -- has seen members kill one another or set them up for capture.
Ramirez most formidable opposition, Metro leader Hector Salgado, alias "Metro 4," was killed in January in Reynosa, possibly double-crossed by X20. Fierce fighting followed. On March 10, several people were killed in Reynosa when gun battles raged for hours between the various factions. X20 subsequently consolidated his hold on the Gulf Cartel, Reporte Indigo said.
The Zetas have fragmented even more than their rivals as numerous factions have declared their intention to go after Z40 and his brother Alejandro "Omar" Treviño, alias Z42. With the capture of Z40, any remaining hierarchy holding the organization together is largely gone, leaving them significantly weakened and vulnerable.
SEE ALSO: InSight Crime's Z42 Profile