Mexican marines arrested a reputed boss of the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel, an organization allied with the country’s most powerful drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, officials said.
Adolfo Solis Bejarano, also known as Ernando Mendoza, the alleged leader of the drug mob’s operations in Veracruz, was arrested when the marines raided a home in that port city in response to an anonymous tip, the Navy Secretariat said in a statement Thursday.
It added that Tuesday’s arrest was carried out as part of “Operation Safe Veracruz,” an initiative aimed at cleaning up police departments, gathering intelligence and fighting drug-related violence in that Gulf coast state.
Several armed men found inside the home managed to escape after spotting the marines, although one of them was later captured after trying to hide out in another residence.
The 42-year-old Solis, known by several aliases including “El Fito” and “El Apa,” confessed that he was the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel’s boss in Veracruz.
Marines confiscated an AK-47 assault rifle, numerous ammunition clips for that weapon and a packet containing 10 kilos of marijuana from the suspect.
The detainee was turned over to authorities responsible for investigating drug-trafficking cases.
Veracruz has been plagued by a turf war between rival drug cartels that has sent the state’s murder rate skyrocketing.
Residents of Veracruz city were stunned on Sept. 20, 2011, by the discovery of 35 bodies dumped on a busy thoroughfare.
A week later, 32 bodies were found at three drug-gang “safe houses” in the Veracruz-Boca del Rio metro area.
The Gulf, Los Zetas and relatively new Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels, as well as breakaway members of the once-powerful La Familia Michoacana organization, are fueling the violence in Veracruz, which is Mexico’s third-most populous state and coveted as a key drug-trafficking corridor to the United States, officials say.
The Jalisco gang is allied with Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel, whose stronghold is western and northwestern Mexico.
Mexico’s drug war death toll stood at 47,515 from December 2006 to Sept. 30, 2011.
The death total has grown every year of President Felipe Calderon’s military offensive against the well-funded, heavily armed drug cartels.
Unofficial tallies published in December by independent daily La Jornada put the death toll from Mexico’s drug war at more than 50,000.