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Trial continues for Zetas drug cartel leader at locked-down Texas federal building

July 20, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Trial continues for Zetas drug cartel leader at locked-down Texas federal building

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Testimony began at a locked-down federal courthouse in Waco, Texas for Juan Francisco Treviño Chávez Jr. who  is charged with being the leader of the ruthless Zetas drug cartel.

The 38-year-old American citizen was arrested back in 2016 outside of Houston, on charges of drug conspiracy, KWTX reported.

At the time, agents alleged that he was a leading figure within the Cartel de Noreste, a faction of the Zetas, Mexico’s most violent cartel that funnels illegal drugs to the U.S. through Texas and has been responsible for thousands of deaths south of the border.

Chavez has been charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute at least 1,000 kilos of marijuana, but detectives believe he is responsible for smuggling thousands of kilos of marijuana and cocaine into the U.S. and in the process laundering millions of illegal profits.

The government’s case against Juan Francisco Treviño Chávez Jr.  also referred to as “Kiko” or “Comandante Kiko,” dates back to 2012, when a judge in Mexico released him after an arrest and he snuck back into the U.S.

Chávez is the nephew of the former brutal Zetas leaders Miguel Angel “Z-40” Treviño Morales and Omar Trevino. He reportedly transitioned into the premier leader position, after his uncles were arrested in Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

His uncles’ arrests led to a split within the Zetas cartel which left Kiko as the leader of the “CDN” (Cartel Del Noreste) and the splinter faction led by several founding members called “Vieja Escuela Z” (Old School Zetas).

Kiko is the second in his family to face trial in the United States, after another uncle, Jose Treviño, was found guilty in 2016 for laundering the Zetas’ drug profits through quarter horse races.

Kiko’s father is Juan Francisco Trevino, the oldest Trevino brother, who was released two years ago after serving 20 years in a U.S. federal lockup.

Kiko’s brother is now the brutal leader of the cartel, as shown by the horrific violence that has engulfed Tamaulipas since the fighting erupted between the two factions.

“His (Juan’s) uncles kept him in check, once he began as leader, grotesque killings and dismemberments returned and became the norm again, much like when Heriberto Lazcano (Lazca) was alive and in charge of ‘Sicarios,’” an MSNBC report stated.

Kiko worked out of the  Northern Mexican border regions surrounding the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, and  also in the state of Coahuila, region where CDN remains the dominant cartel.

According to Mexican press outlet Proceso, several of the Zetas’ original members are expected to testify for the government about how Kiko Treviño helped the Zetas control large swaths of the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, and Coahuila from its home base of Nuevo Laredo.

Because of Chavez’s prior ties, the U.S. Marshal’s Service increased security at the building in Waco, although USMS has not revealed to what degree the security would be visible, or intrusive.

Unconfirmed reports claim that lanes of traffic may be affected by closure during the trial, which could span a few days.

Waco police did not comment about their role in the enhanced security precautions.

A local police officer who has prior experience as a federal official said security at the courthouse is the responsibility of USMA, but they can request assistance from other federal, state, county and local law units if necessary.

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