Sunday, March 6, 2011
Gulf Cartel operator "El 85" arrested in Tampico
The Federal Ministry of Public Safety (SSP/Federal Police) announced, in a press release dated 3/5/2011, the capture on Friday of the brothers Gustavo Arteaga Zaleta, "El 85" and Pablo Jesus Arteaga Zaleta, "El Enano", and alleged members of the Gulf Cartel in the city of Tampico, Tamaulipas.
The brothers are wanted on charges of kidnapping, extortion, arms and drug trafficking for the Gulf Cartel in the states of Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi.
SSP intelligence reports indicate that Gustavo Arteaga Zaleta is a former municipal policeman from Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas, and is the “jefe de plaza”, or local organized crime boss in the municipality of El Ebano, San Luis Potosi.
The Arteaga Zaleta brothers are allegedly responsible for coordinating arms and drug trafficking as well as collecting large sums of money from the extortion of businesses in the city of Ciudad Valles and the towns of Tamuín, San Vicente, Ponciano and El Ebano in the state of San Luis Potosi and in Tampico, Tamaulipas.
Also seized were a 5.56 mm AR-15 type rifle, a revolver handgun and a Ford pick-up truck.
The Arteaga Zaleta brothers were placed under the custody of a federal prosecutor pending an investigation and formal arraignment.
According to an El Milenio news story Gustavo Arteaga Zaleta was apprehended at a federal checkpoint in 2008, along with six other armed men who were traveling in a convoy on the road between Ciudad Valles and El Ebano.
The Federal Attorney General's Office announced in October of that year that the Fifth District Court of San Luis Potosi, based in Ciudad Valles, imprisoned “El 85” for the possession of military firearms and for possession of a vehicle stolen outside of Mexico.
Information on how “El 85” obtained his freedom was unavailable.
In another press release also dated 3/5/2011 the SSP announced that a federal police operation in Ciudad Victoria, the state capitol of Tamaulipas, resulted in the arrest of three men identified as members of the criminal group known as "San Fernando" linked to the Los Zetas criminal organization.
The men are allegedly responsible for carrying out extortions and collecting ransoms for kidnap victims and for serving as informants (halcones).
Also seized was a revolver handgun, several rounds of ammunition, two Volkswagen Bora sedans, and twelve baggies of marijuana.
At first glance both SSP arrests are unrelated but upon careful observation there appears to be something unusual about the handguns seized. Is it a coincidence that both the Zetas in Cd Victoria and “El 85” in Tampico were both in possession of the same model of snub nose revolver with a blued chamber on a stainless steel frame?
Maybe both parties had a similar weapon, or this is simply a website error. Or maybe this is a sign of something worse within the SSP.