The leader of the Pacifico Sur drug cartel in the central state of Morelos has been arrested, the Mexican Public Safety Secretariat said.
Jose Efrain Zarco Cardenas, who also went by the alias Jose Villalobos, was arrested in Mexico City, the secretariat said.
Zarco Cardenas had taken over the cartel’s operations in the state from Miguel Angel Cedillo Gonzalez, who was arrested in April.
“Zarco Cardenas was currently restructuring the organization, and he was in contact with the Gulf cartel, in Tamaulipas, and the La Familia-Los Caballeros Templarios (organization), in Michoacan,” the secretariat said.
The Pacifico Sur cartel boss was apparently seeking a truce with Servando Gomez Martinez, who is the leader of La Familia-Los Caballeros Templarios, and with the operations leader of the Gulf cartel in Reynosa, a border city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.
Zarco Cardenas may have been seeking an alliance based on his links to Pacifico Sur cartel leader Edgar Valdez Villarreal, who was arrested last year, the secretariat said.
Valdez Villarreal, known as “La Barbie,” was arrested by the Federal Police on Aug. 30, 2010.
Drug cartels have expanded their presence in Morelos, located in central Mexico, in recent years, analysts say.
Morelos has been plagued by a war between rival drug cartels since Arturo Beltran Leyva died in a shootout with marines at a luxury condo in Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos, on Dec. 16, 2009.
Beltran Leyva’s death put control of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel up for grabs, setting off a power grab by Valdez Villarreal, one of the drug lord’s top associates.
Hector Beltran Leyva took over control of the cartel after Arturo’s death, but he had to battle a rival faction led by Valdez Villarreal for control of the organization.
Zarco Cardenas previously served as a liaison between the cartel and police officers who were on the criminal organization’s payroll.