A Sinaloa cartel member who was the subject of a $5 million reward being offered by the United States was arrested at the Mexico City international airport, the Public Safety Secretariat said Wednesday.
Luis Rodriguez Olivera, El Güero, was detained Tuesday after he was spotted by a group of Federal Police officers, the secretariat said.
The 39-year-old suspect also used the alias Jose Luis Sanchez Jimenez.
“This suspected criminal is accused of money laundering, as well as criminal conspiracy to import, possess and distribute cocaine in the United States, where there is a warrant out for his arrest with the aim of international extradition,” the secretariat said in a statement.
Rodriguez Olivera, who was born in Tototlan, Jalisco, is the subject of an arrest warrant issued by a federal court in New York on May 22, 2010.
The suspect, according to intelligence reports, smuggled cocaine into the United States via Texas.
Rodriguez Olivera and his brothers, Esteban, Daniel and Miguel, ran the Los Gueritos gang, which smuggled several tons of cocaine into the United States between 1996 and 2008, the secretariat said.
The gang reportedly works for the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s oldest and most powerful drug trafficking organization.
Of the other brothers, Esteban was arrested in Mexico in 2008 for extradition to the United States, Miguel died in Yucatan state in August and Daniel remains a fugitive.
Luis Rodriguez Olivera was taken to a federal prison, where the Attorney General’s office will take custody of him.
This is the second arrest in the past week of a powerful Sinaloa cartel member.
Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, suspected of being in charge of the Sinaloa cartel’s operations in Durango state and of being the security chief for Guzman, was paraded before reporters Monday in Mexico City.
Cabrera, who was captured by army troops last Friday, is being held in preventive detention for 40 days, allowing prosecutors to gather more evidence against him.
Army special forces troops detained Cabrera in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state.
Cabrera was the “right-hand man” of Guzman and ran the criminal organization’s business in Durango and the southern part of Chihuahua state, officials said.
Cabrera supposedly served as Guzman’s security chief at his headquarters in the mountains of Durango, where U.S. officials suspect Mexico’s most-wanted man has been hiding for several years.
The Sinaloa organization, sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration is offering a reward of $5 million for him.
Forbes magazine estimates that Guzman has a fortune of more than $1 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world.
The Sinaloa cartel, according to intelligence agencies, is a transnational business empire that operates in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Asia.
Guzman, who was born in 1957 in La Tuna, Sinaloa, 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.