MEXICO CITY – The suspected regional boss of the criminal organization run by drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero was arrested by federal forces in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, the federal government said.
Oscar Pascual de la Rocha Rivera, a close associate of Caro Quintero, was captured in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora, on Sunday during “an operation, without the need to fire any shots,” federal security agencies said in a joint statement.
De la Rocha was arrested along with six other people.
The 54-year-old De la Rocha, who is from Culiacan, Sinaloa, ran the Caro Quintero organization’s operations in Sonora and coordinated the smuggling of drugs into the United States.
De la Rocha began working with Caro Quintero in the 1980s and married one of the drug lord’s relatives.
Three rifles, a handgun, synthetic drugs and a vehicle were seized in the operation.
The suspects were turned over to the SIEDO organized crime unit of the federal Attorney General’s Office in Mexico City.
Caro Quintero, considered one of Mexico’s most powerful drug traffickers in the 1980s, disappeared after being released from a penitentiary in the western state of Jalisco in the early hours of Aug. 9, 2013.
The 62-year-old Caro Quintero was serving time for the 1985 murders of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena and pilot Alfredo Zavala Avelar.
Caro Quintero, who founded the defunct Guadalajara drug cartel, was released from prison after a judge threw out the charges against him.
An arrest warrant was issued for Caro Quintero a few days after his release from prison so he could be extradited to the United States.
The U.S. State Department is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Caro Quintero, a native of Sinaloa state.
Caro Quintero is wanted by a court in California and considered a fugitive from justice.
On Nov. 6, 2013, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling that voided Caro Quintero’s murder conviction and led to his release after 28 years in prison.
Caro Quintero’s whereabouts is not known.