Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Seven Members of Drug Gang Arrested in Mexico

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 |


Eznel Cortes Jimenez, aka "El Teniente," is guarded by a federal police officer as he is presented to the press in Mexico City, Tuesday, June 15, 2010. According to federal police, Cortes Jimenez is a member of criminal organizations led by alleged drug trafficker Edgar Valdez Villareal, aka "La Barbie."

A man suspected of being in charge of drug sales in the southern part of Mexico City for the gang led by Edgar Valdez Villarreal and six of his associates have been arrested, the Mexican government said Tuesday.

Eznel Cortes Jimenez was arrested Monday in Acapulco, a resort city in Guerrero state, the Public Safety Secretariat said.

The 31-year-old Cortes was a Federal Police officer from 2001 to 2008.

Cortes was recruited by the Beltran Leyva drug cartel after leaving the force and participated in clashes in Acapulco against the rival La Familia Michoacana cartel, officials said.

After cartel leader Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed in a shootout with Mexican marines on Dec. 16 in Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos state, the criminal organization split in two, with Valdez Villarreal taking control of one of the factions.

The 36-year-old Valdez Villarreal was the right-hand man and most ruthless gunman employed by Beltran Leyva.

Cortes joined the group headed by Valdez Villarreal, who is known as “La Barbie” and is one of the most-wanted drug traffickers in the United States.

The former federal law enforcement officer corrupted police and officials in Acapulco to obtain “privileged information” about operations targeting members of the Valdez Villarreal organization, the secretariat said.

Cortes’s main job, however, was to handle cocaine sales in Tlalpan, a borough in the southern part of Mexico City.

Three alleged accomplices were detained along with Cortes, while three others were arrested Tuesday.

Police confiscated five AK-47 assault rifles, a .223-caliber rifle, eight ammunition clips, a grenade, 1,377 rounds of ammunition, a bullet-proof vest, a kilo of cocaine and five vehicles, among other items, from the second group of suspects.

Mexican Federal Policewomen keep watch during the presentation to the press of alleged drug traffickers of the Beltran Leyva Cartel in Mexico City. Mexicansoldiers clashed with suspected drug-traffickers in a cemetery Tuesday leaving 10 dead in a fierce shoot-out, as a spasm of violence rocks
Mexico.

Valdez Villarreal’s faction has been battling the group led by Hector Beltran Leyva for control of territory.

The Beltran Leyva cartel is involved in smuggling cocaine, marijuana and heroin, as well as in people trafficking, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, contract hits and arms trafficking.

Arturo Beltran Leyva and another brother, Mario Alberto, shared the leadership of the Beltran Leyva cartel, which arose as a splinter group of the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s oldest and largest cartel.

Alleged drug trafficker of the Beltran Leyva Cartel, Eznel Cortes, is presented to the press along with other gang members and seized weapons, on June15, 2010, in Mexico City

The Beltran Leyva brothers reportedly broke with Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman after the January 2008 arrest of Alfredo Beltran Leyva.

The brothers blamed Alfredo’s arrest on Guzman and killed one of the Sinaloa cartel chief’s sons in a grenade attack on a Culiacan shopping center.

The betrayals and killings sparked a war between Guzman and the Beltran Leyvas, who allied themselves with the Gulf cartel, a bitter enemy of the Sinaloa cartel boss.

The Beltran Leyva cartel managed to infiltrate the security forces and put Noe Ramirez Mandujano, who served as Mexico’s drug czar, on their payroll.

Ramirez Mandujano was arrested in November 2008 during “Operation Clean-Up,” an initiative to root out corruption in the upper reaches of the Federal Police and Attorney General’s Office.

The former drug czar had been taking $450,000 monthly from drug traffickers, officials said.

U.S. authorities are offering a $2 million reward for information leading to the capture of Valdez Villarreal, who was indicted last week in Atlanta, Georgia.



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