Seven suspected gunmen who belong to Gente Nueva, a gang that works for the Sinaloa drug cartel, were arrested in Ciudad Juarez, a gritty border metropolis that has become Mexico’s murder capital, the Public Safety Secretariat said.
Federal Police officers seized five AK-47 assault rifles, more than 300 rounds of ammunition, four hoods and two vehicles from the suspects.
The suspects were arrested after the Federal Police received an anonymous telephone tip about two suspicious vehicles carrying armed men who were driving back and forth in Praderas de la Sierra, a neighborhood in the southern section of Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas.
Jose Angel Juarez, Hector Triana Aldaba, Gilberto Roman Arguijo Rosales, Angel Horacio Valles Peña, Juan Carlos Ramirez Rodriguez, Cristian Raymundo Miranda Juarez and Julian Ernesto Ordoñez Oliva were arrested in the operation, the secretariat said.
The suspects, who range in age from 18 to 39, are almost all from Chihuahua state, where Ciudad Juarez is located, the secretariat said.
Jose Angel Juarez, Angel Horacio Valles, Juan Carlos Ramirez and Julian Ernesto Ordoñez have prior criminal records, according to the Federal Police’s Intelligence Center, for robbery and drug trafficking.
Gente Nueva has been battling La Linea, which is allied with the Juarez cartel, for control of smuggling routes from the border city into the United States.
The Sinaloa organization is the oldest cartel in Mexico and is led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001.
Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him.
The Juarez cartel was founded in 1993 by Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who was known as the “Lord of the Skies” for his fleet of aircraft.
Amado’s brother, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, and his son, Vicente Carrillo Leyva, who was arrested in 2009, took control of the cartel following the drug lord’s 1997 death after undergoing plastic surgery to disguise his identity.