(CNN) — Mexican authorities have captured the leader of the ruthless Zetas cartel, state media reported Monday.
Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, known as Z-40, was detained by federal authorities Monday morning in an operation in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, Mexico’s state-run Notimex news agency said.
His arrest is the most significant blow to drug trafficking in Mexico since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in December.
Mexican authorities had been offering a reward of 30 million pesos (about $2.4 million) and the U.S. State Department had been offering an award of up to $5 million for information leading to his capture.
Trevino was arrested in the border city Nuevo Laredo, known as the headquarters of the powerful cartel.
The Zetas started out as the enforcement arm of Mexico’s Gulf cartel, but later split off and formed their own drug trafficking organization.
They have since branched out into extortion, kidnapping and human smuggling.
Last year Mexican authorities announced that they had killed Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, who had been the cartel’s leader.
The high-profile arrest came the same day that Mexico’s defense secretary and the head of Mexico’s navy met with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
A senior State Department official praised Mexican authorities for the arrest.
“Credit goes to the Mexican government for this,” the official said. “It is a very big get.
“We work well with these guys and congratulate them,” the official said.
By Catherine E. Shoichet. CNN’s Elise Labott, Mariano Castillo, Ariel Crespo and Michael Roa contributed to this report. The-CNN-Wire
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