A Los Zetas drug cartel boss and four associates were arrested by marines in Cadereyta, a city in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, the Navy Secretariat said.
Rigoberto Zamarripa Arispe, “presumably the No. 2 boss in the command of the Los Zetas criminal organization” in the area, was arrested as a result of an anonymous tip, the secretariat said.
The 36-year-old Zamarripa Arispe was arrested at a ranch in Cadereyta along with Juan Luis Martinez Perez, 54, and Juan Fidencio Perez Saucedo, 27.
Marines seized eight rifles that the suspects had buried on the property, four handguns, 48 ammunition clips, ammunition, a vehicle and communications equipment.
Jose Galvan Palacios, 43, and Ruben Nicanor Tijerina Garcia, 31, were arrested at a house in Cadereyta in a separate operation targeting members of the same Los Zetas cell.
Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel, mainly operates in Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila and San Luis Potosi states.
Los Zetas has been battling an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia drug cartels, known as the Nueva Federacion, for control of the Monterrey metropolitan area and smuggling routes into the United States.
Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as “El Lazca,” deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with three other soldiers, all members of an elite special operations unit, becoming the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel.
After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.