By Chris Covert
Harking to tactics of their Los Zetas rivals, armed suspects with the Jalisco Nuevo Generacion drug cartel spent several hours Friday afternoon blocking roads and setting vehicles alight in Jalisco state as two of their top leaders were arrested, according to Mexican news accounts.
Erick Valencia Salazar, AKA El 85, was detained along with another top leader of the Jalisoc Nuevo Generacion drug cartel, Nemesio Oseguera, AKA El Mencho, in an operation involving Mexican Army troops and about 1,700 state as well as local police agents Friday.
Soldiers also seized about 30 rifles and undisclosed quantities of munitions following the arrests.
According to news reports 25 vehicles and several blocks were reported in and around Guadalajara following the arrest of Valencia Salazar. Most of the blocks involved vehicles which were hijacked and torched to block roads. Some report say as many as 13 block were put up in Guadalajara.
|Roadblock in Guadalajara|
Locations that were blocked included calles Miguel Blanco and Rayon in Zona Centro and Calle Enrique Díaz de León and Avenida. Maestro.
Los Zetas operatives in Monterrey in early 2010 used blocked roads whenever they had a sharp reverse, such a a capture of a top operative, to block security forces from intervening in gunfights, or to prevent security forces from intervening in other drug gang operations. In confrontations with Gulf cartel operatives, Los Zetas also made use of roadblock later that summer in Reynosa and Matamoros in Tamaulipas state.
La Familia operatives blocked roads in a similar fashion early 2011 when several of their top leaders were captured or killed in Michoacan state by Policia Federal agents.
According to press accounts, Partido Accion Nacional governor of Jalisco, Emilio Gonzalez Marquez, said that as of 1800 hrs most of the blocks had been cleared. Local media,however said that ten roads were still blocked. A local TV news station said that one unidentified truck driver had been killed in a hijacking to make a roadblock.
Army troops and cartel shooters exchanged gunfire at about 1400 hrs in a remote area of Zapopan municipality in Lomas Altas near the intersection of calles Leo and Cancer, but no reports have emerged concerning the outcome of that firefight. It is presumed that that gunfight ended with the capture of the two Jalisco Nuevo Generacion leaders. Reports say gunfire was heard for two or three minutes.
Roads were also blocked in neighboring Michoacan state, in San Jose de Gracia, where three vehicles were set afire to block a road. No injuries were reported in the Michoacan state roadblock.
News reports say Valencia Salazar was responsible for the formation of the Matazetas group, which at first tried to pass itself off to Mexican press as a vigilante group. It was later learned the Matazetas were in fact a criminal group. Valencia Salazar allegedly masterminded the murder of 35 Los Zetas operatives in Veracruz state last fall.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com