MEXICO CITY – A nephew of violent Los Zetas drug cartel chief Heriberto Lazcano and a police chief who was getting $16,000 a month to provide protection for the criminal organization were arrested in Mexico, the Attorney General’s Office said.
Roberto Rivero Arana, who says he is Lazcano’s nephew, was arrested by Federal Police officers in the southern state of Tabasco after an investigation that lasted several months.
The suspect was in charge of operations in Tabasco, Veracruz, Campeche, Chiapas and Quintana Roo states, located in southern and southeastern Mexico, for Los Zetas, a band of Mexican special forces deserters turned hired guns.
After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own and now control several lucrative territories.
Daniel Arturo Perez Rosas, police chief of Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, was arrested with Rivero Arana for “providing protection (to the drug trafficker) in exchange for the payment of 200,000 pesos ($16,000) a month,” the AG’s office said.
A woman identified as Clarissa Yamireth Zeleta Hernandez was also arrested in the operation.
Five AK-47 assault rifles, five AR-15 assault rifles, a grenade, 4,600 rounds of ammunition of different calibers, 13 ammunition clips for AR-15s and two handguns were seized from the suspects.
Officers also seized 800 bags of marijuana, police uniforms, uniforms with the logo of state-owned oil company Pemex, two laptop computers and 26 t-shirts bearing the Federal Police and municipal police logos during the operation.
The building where the suspects were arrested contained a table for torturing people and a pair of black gloves, the AG’s office said.
Last month, giant banners heralding an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia drug cartels against Los Zetas appeared in the northern city of Monterrey.
The cartels arrayed against Los Zetas blame the group’s involvement in kidnapping, armed robbery and extortion for discrediting “true drug traffickers” in the eyes of ordinary Mexicans inclined to tolerate the illicit trade as long as the gangs stuck to their own unwritten rule against harming innocents.
The gang war has especially affected the northern states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.