The suspected head of the Sinaloa cartel in Chilpancingo, the capital of the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, and a woman identified as the girlfriend of a Los Zetas drug cartel leader were arrested in separate operations by military personnel, the Defense Secretariat said.
Jose Carlos Moreno Flores, who also went by the alias Hector Adan Rubalcava Rivera, was arrested on Sunday in Mexico City, the secretariat said.
Soldiers seized three rifles, communications gear and a vehicle from the suspect.
Moreno Flores ran the Sinaloa cartel’s operations in the cities of Chilpancingo, Jaleaca de Catalan, Izotepec, Pueblo Viejo, Buena Vista, Tlacotepec and Leonardo Bravo, the secretariat said.
The suspect “expanded his area of influence” from Chilpancingo to several nearby cities and did “deals with ill-gotten gains and transactions with drug traffickers from Costa Rica and Guatemala for the smuggling of alkaloids (cocaine) into the state of Guerrero,” the secretariat said.
Moreno Flores allegedly smuggled drugs into the United States from Guerrero using “different routes and transportation methods,” the secretariat said.
The suspected Sinaloa cartel boss also allegedly controlled the planting and harvesting of drugs in the cities of Izotepec, Tlacotepec, Chichihualco and Chilpancingo, the secretariat said.
Moreno Flores was one of those “principally responsible for the violence unleashed in the city of Chilpancingo,” where “he was waging a war for control of drug trafficking with a rival group known as Los Rojos,” the secretariat said.
The arrest of Moreno Flores, who was turned over to federal prosecutors, is a blow to the Sinaloa cartel’s “operational, financial and smuggling capabilities from Central America to Mexico,” the secretariat said.
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.
Marines, meanwhile, arrested Marisol Lira Contreras, a suspected member of the Los Zetas drug cartel, on Saturday, the Navy Secretariat said.
The 24-year-old Lira Contreras was carrying 4.98 million pesos ($383,076) in cash, an Uzi submachine gun, 70 rounds of ammunition, 100 doses of cocaine and communications equipment, the secretariat said.
Marines arrested Lira Contreras at a house in Guadalupe, a city in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, thanks to an anonymous tip.
An armed man and a woman were spotted by marines when they arrived at the house, the secretariat said.
The man got away, but Lira Contreras was arrested, transported to Mexico City and turned over to the federal Attorney General’s Office.
Lira Contreras managed the money collected by her immediate boss, who is also her boyfriend and “the No. 2 in the financial structure” of Los Zetas in Nuevo Leon, the secretariat said.
Los Zetas, a band of Mexican special forces deserters who originally worked as hired guns for the Gulf cartel, are now in the drug business on their own and control several lucrative territories.