A New Book Tells How Two FBI Agents Toppled Zeta Cartel Leaders In Texas

Emmy-winning writer Melissa del Bosque tells how Zeta kingpins used their wealth to pursue their love of horse racing.

By Joy DiazSeptember 12, 2017 1:45 pm

“Bloodlines: The True Story of a Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle for a Horse-Racing Dynasty.” is Melissa del Bosque’s debut non-fiction thriller about how two FBI agents dismantled elements of the Zeta cartel in Texas.

Del Bosque is an Emmy and National Magazine Award-winning journalist who specializes in reporting about the U.S.-Mexico border. “Bloodlines” tells the story of agents Scott Lawson and Alma Garcia.

Although many Texans are more familiar with the Sinaloa cartel because of the outsized reputation of its leader, El Chapo, the Zetas were Mexico’s first paramilitary cartel. Del Bosque says the Zetas changed the face of the Mexican drug wars – they practiced their own kind of hyper-violence, fought with other cartels and got the Mexican government involved. From that point on, violence in Mexico exploded.

“In the United States, we don’t pay much attention to what’s happening in Mexico – the drug war,”  del Bosque says. “I feel like we don’t really get it over here, what is causing the violence.”

One of the FBI agents, Alma Garcia, is the mom of four kids, worked a colombian cartel squad in Miami, then moved to Laredo. The other agent, Scott Lawson, is from Tennessee, had never stepped foot onto the border, and hardly speaks any Spanish. Lawson asked Garcia to help him with the Zeta investigation. Because Garcia is a female and a mother, many did not want her help in solving crimes, a bias del Bosque says she has related to.

Aside from writing about the agents, del Bosque talks about how the cartels utilized and fell in love with horseracing. Miguel Trevino, one of the Zeta leaders, was laundering millions of dollars in cocaine proceeds from the U.S. through his brother, Jose Trevino, who is a U.S. citizen with a clean record. The two began buying the most expensive race horses and winning races, ultimately dominating in the quarter horse racing industry in only about three years.

Del Bosque says she hopes people who may not be interested in the subject matter, will read the book to gain a deeper understanding of the greater conflict in Mexico.


Written by Dani Matias.