LIMA – The suspected leader of an international drug trafficking network linked to Mexico’s Tijuana drug cartel was arrested in Lima with 300 kilos of cocaine in his possession, Peru’s La Republica newspaper reported Sunday.
Saulo Mauricio Parra Tejada, a Colombian-born Mexican citizen, is considered by drug enforcement agents to be “one of the most important men in the drug trafficking (network) that supplies the cartel of the Arellano Felix brothers,” the newspaper said.
The 38-year-old suspect was accompanied by another individual, who managed to get away from police.
The two men were driving through Lima on Saturday when a police patrol car ordered them to stop, setting off a short chase.
The suspects were intercepted by police, but Parra’s associate forced a taxi driver to spirit him away from the scene.
The cocaine, which may have a street value of $2 million and was bound for Mexico, was in four suitcases in the suspects’ car, investigators said.
Parra, who is being questioned by drug enforcement agents, entered Peru posing as a textile businessman.
Peru is the world’s second-largest cocaine producer, trailing only Colombia.
Police have detected the growing presence of Mexico’s drug cartels in the Andean nation in recent years.
Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficking organizations, according to experts, are the Tijuana cartel, which is run by the Arellano Felix family, and the Gulf, Juarez and Sinaloa cartels.
Two other large drug trafficking organizations, the Colima and Milenio cartels, also operate in the country.
Teodoro Garcia Simental, known as “El Teo,” is believed to now run one of the factions of the cartel.
El Teo and Fernando Sanchez Arellano, a nephew of the Arellano Felix brothers, went to war last year over control of the Tijuana cartel, the majority of whose former leaders are in prison or dead.