Mexican security forces backed by helicopter arrested one of the leaders of a major drug cartel in a dramatic military raid in the country’s second-largest city.
Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez, known as “El Menchito,” is believed to be the second-in-command of the powerful Jalisco New Generation cartel, which is led by his father, and controlled the group’s economic resources.
Authorities suspect Oseguera also ordered the execution of people who refused to work with him, planned the theft and sale of fuel in the region and was responsible for preventing the intrusion of rivals onto the cartel’s territory.
Oseguera was among five people detained by security forces in Guadalajara on Thursday, Public Security Undersecretary Monte Alejandro Rubido told reporters.
He “is presumed to be responsible for coordinating the sale and transfer of drugs from South America,” Rubido added.
Backed by a helicopter, dozens of soldiers sealed streets and raided farm properties in the Zapopan section of Guadalajara, a city of 4.4 million people that is the state capital of Jalisco.
In apparent response, armed men set fire to at least three vehicles – two buses and a milk lorry – in the south of the city.
“It’s an operation against organised crime, an investigation we’ve been conducting,” a military commander who requested anonymity told AFP news agency.
Oseguera was arrested with 13 guns made for the exclusive use of the army, fragmentation grenades and large sums of cash, according to Rubido.
Officials say the suspect’s father, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, known as “El Mencho,” controls Jalisco New Generation and its drug trafficking along the Pacific coast, particularly at the port of Manzanillo, where cocaine and the chemicals to make it are transported.
Oseguera’s capture comes after the federal government launched a vast operation to take control of the troubled western state of Michoacan, which borders Jalisco.
Jalisco New Generation is one of the country’s most recently formed cartels and is locked in a heated turf battle with the rival Knights Templar in Michoacan.
Michoacan has been the scene of an unfolding showdown between the government, vigilante groups and the Knights Templar cartel.
On Monday, authorities arrested Dionicio Loya Plancarte, alias “El Tio” (The Uncle), one of the Knights Templar’s top five leaders.
Drug-related violence has killed tens of thousands of people in Mexico since late 2006, when former president Felipe Calderon launched a nationwide crackdown on cartels.