Mexican security forces have captured the leader of Los Zetas, one of the country's largest and most violent drug cartels, in an upper-class suburb of the northern city of Monterrey.

Omar Trevino Morales, known as "Z-42", was detained by federal police and soldiers in San Pedro Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leon state on Wednesday, officials have said.

Trevino, 41, took the helm of the Zetas after his brother, Miguel Angel Trevino, or "Z-40," was captured by marines in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas in July 2013.

The US State Department had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Omar Trevino's arrest. Mexican authorities offered a $2m bounty.

His arrest came just days after the government captured Mexico's most wanted man, Knights Templar cartel leader Servando "La Tuta" Gomez on Friday.

'Last solid Zetas leader'

But analysts warn that capturing cartel leaders does not necessarily mean an end to drug trafficking or violence, and that it can create smaller, vicious splinter groups.

"With Omar Trevino, the last of the solid leaders within the Zetas is gone," Mike Vigil, a retired chief of international operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration, told the AFP news agency.

"With this I think that the Zetas are going to have a very large void in terms of leadership. The big problem here, though, is that if the Zetas splinter into other organisations, then that can lead to violence in terms of the internal competition," he said.

The northeastern state of Tamaulipas has endured a spasm of violence in recent weeks, partly blamed on internal feuds within the Gulf cartel, former allies of the Zetas.

The Zetas are considered one of the most violent criminal organisations in Mexico, accused of melting enemies in a barrel of "stew" and, for example, of slaughtering 72 migrants in August 2010.

The group, founded by former elite soldiers, was originally the armed enforcer of the Gulf Cartel until the two groups split, unleashing a wave of violence in northern Mexico.

The Zetas smuggle drugs to the United States but have diversified their business by stealing fuel from pipelines and exploiting migrants.

Source: Agencies