Enrique Delgado Fraire, identified by authorities as the Zetas’ boss in the southern zone of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas and organizer of a 2009 breakout of 53 inmates from a prison in the northern state of Zacatecas, was killed in Thursday’s shootout at a ranch.
Delgado Fraire, alias “Mando Quique,” also had served as the Zetas’ boss in the states of Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas the secretariat said in a statement, which noted that he had been a police officer in the northern state of Coahuila in the late 1990s.
The clash erupted when members of the federal police were conducting an operation on a highway near the border between the states of Veracruz and Tamaulipas, the statement said.
According to the secretariat, after detecting the presence of the federal forces, several people took shelter at the Flor de Maria ranch and opened fire.
After the clash, authorities detained Guadalupe Angulo Serrano, alias “Mando Sinaloa,” the suspected Zetas chief in the northern zone of Veracruz, and seven other alleged members of that drug cartel.
According to intelligence reports, Angulo “was responsible for coordinating and ordering the kidnap-murders of members of rival gangs,” as well as drug distribution and extortion activities.
The federal police also arrested 18 people who were working at the ranch and confiscated six firearms, a grenade launcher, two grenades, two Jet Skis, an amphibious vehicle, 13 other vehicles of different models, drug packets and short wave radios, among other items.
Founded by deserters from an elite special forces unit, the Zetas began as the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel, but ended that relationship in March 2010 to go into business for themselves.
Regarded as Mexico’s most ruthless cartel, the Zetas were behind last August’s daytime arson attack on a casino in the northern metropolis of Monterrey that left 52 employees and gamblers dead. Zetas gunmen allegedly torched the gaming establishment after its owner refused to pay protection money.
The drug mob also is blamed for the murder of around 200 people whose bodies were found in 2011 in a series of clandestine graves in Tamaulipas.
The Zetas have drawn the ire of older, established cartels through their extensive involvement in extortion, kidnapping for ransom and robbery, crimes that the other drug mobs generally eschew out of a desire to avoid antagonizing the general public.