Saturday, February 4, 2012

Federal Police capture head of the Gente Nueva in Chihuahua

Mexico's Federal Police announced the capture of an important Sinaloa cartel capo in a press conference held by Ramón Eduardo Pequeño, head of the anti-narcotics division.

The suspect was presented to the press and identified as José Antonio Torres Marrufo, alias 'El Marrufo' or 'El Jaguar', head of la Gente Nueva in Chihuahua and reportedly the Sinaloa cartel's top man in Ciudad Juarez.

The suspect was arrested Friday at a residence in the city of Leon, Guanajuato. Also arrested was a personal bodyguard, Manuel Alonso Magaña Barajas. Also seized were four weapons, radio equipment, a small amount of methamphetamine and fraudulent media credentials and voter registration cards.

Pequeño emphasizied in the press conference that the arrest of El Marrufo was a significant blow to the structure of the Sinaloa cartel headed by Chapo Guzman.

El Marrufo was responsible for drug trafficking operations as well as other organized criminal activities such as kidnapping, extortion and the murder of persons associated with rival criminal groups, in particular those belonging to the Juarez cartel such as Los Aztecas and La Linea.

Among the murders linked to El Marrufo is the mass homicide that occurred on September, 2009, at a drug rehab center in Ciudad Juarez known as the Centro de Rehabilitación El Aliviane. Eighteen residents were killed in that raid carried out by the Artistas Asesinos, a gang of hitmen that El Marrufo headed at the time. The Artistas Asesinos operate in Chihuahua under the Gente Nueva umbrella.

El Marrufo became the operational head of la Gente Nueva in Chihuahua after the arrest of Noel Salgueiro "el Flaco Salgueiro" in October, 2011.

The suspect is also wanted in the United States for drug trafficking and was the recipient of high powered weapons smuggled into Mexico as a result of the ATF's operation Fast and Furious gun walking operation.

AP image of a weapons cache seized in a safe house in Ciudad Juarez in April 2011 that reportedly belonged to El Marrufo. Several of the arms were identified by authorities as Fast and Furious weapons.

A more indepth report posted by Havana can be read in the Forum section.