Mexican army soldiers captured a leader of the Los Zetas cartel who allegedly has smuggled cocaine from northern Mexico into the United States for the past eight years, the Defense Secretariat said Saturday.
The secretariat identified Cristobal Flores Lopez as the Zetas’ main operator in the towns of Anahuac and Lampazos de Naranjo, in the northeastern state of Nuevo Leon, and in the town of Candela, in the neighboring state of Coahuila, “for approximately the last eight years.”
Flores was arrested Friday along with two other suspected cartel members, including a woman, while they were riding in an SUV in Anahuac.
Personnel from the 7th Military Zone arrested the suspects at a checkpoint and also confiscated drugs, two assault rifles, a handgun, ammunition clips, ammunition, a vehicle and communications gear, the secretariat said.
“This individual is linked to the seizure of 132 kilos (290 pounds) of cocaine by military personnel on July 14, 2011, in the town of San Nicolas de los Garza,” part of the metro area of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon’s capital, the statement said.
Los Zetas and former allies the Gulf cartel have been engaged in a brutal turf battle for more than a year for control of smuggling routes in the states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.
On July 14, the Mexican army found a vehicle abandoned with it's doors open and hazard lights on in Balcones de Anuhuac, San Nicolas de los Garza, Nuevo Leon. Inside the vehicle soldiers found 124 packages of cocaine with a total weight of slightly over 130 kg.