José Antonio Acosta Hernández, alias El Diego, a top leader of a group of killers and drug traffickers known as “La Linea”, was captured Friday afternoon in the Colinas del Sol area of the city of Chihuahua.
Acosta Hernandez is believed to have ordered the car bomb attack that killed several Federal police officers and civilians last year in Ciudad Juarez and at the time of his arrest was one of the most wanted men in Mexico with a reward of 15 million pesos for information leading to his arrest.
The manhunt for Acosta Hernandez had accelerated after messages signed by him and his organization threatening attacks on DEA agents had recently appeared in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua. The U.S consulate in Ciudad Juarez had also issued warnings that an unnamed criminal organization was planning car bomb attacks on the consulate and the international bridges linking that city with El Paso, Tx.
La Linea is the operational group that coordinates dug trafficking into the U.S. for the Juarez cartel headed by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes “El Viceroy”. La Linea also coordinates attacks against law enforcement and rival criminal groups, extorsions and kidnappings in the state of Chihuahua and is considered one of the most ruthless armed paramilitary groups in northern Mexico.
Acosta Hernandez is believed to operate under the orders of Juan Pablo Ledezma “el JL” who is Vicente Carrillo's right hand person within the Juarez cartel. El JL also commands Los Linces, a group of ex-military sicarios, or assassins, and Grupo Condor.
Acosta Hernandez is a former member of Chihuahua’s state investigative police and its anti-kidnapping unit. He was dropped from the force in 2007 for failing a vetting exam for state police agents.
The capture of El Diego resulted from a surprise operation where a several block area of the Colinas del Sur neighborhood was sealed off by Federal police and Army troops. Federal preventive and ministerial police then entered a home at the intersection of Avenida Francisco Villa and Fenix. A brief gun battle ensued in which one Federal police official was wounded after which El Diego and an accomplice were arrested.
The operation was undertaken without the knowledge of municipal and state police forces in Chihuahua. Chihuahua is the capitol city of the state with the same name and is part of the Juarez cartel "plaza".
A photograph reportedly taken during the operation and posted on a Chihuahua news website, La Parada Digital, shows what posters to Mexican drug war forums say may be at least two DEA agents in Federal police uniform.
The PGR, Mexico's Attorney General's office, is also offering 15 million peso rewards for information leading to the capture of the two other top operatives of the Juarezcartel, Juan Pablo Ledezma "El JL" and Juan Pablo Guijarro Fragosa "El Mónico".
The reward for information leading to the capture of the Juarez Cartel kingpin, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, stands at 30 million pesos.