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  HOME | Mexico

Drug Cartel Members Arrested in Eastern Mexico

MEXICO CITY – Several Jalisco Nueva Generacion drug cartel members were detained in separate operations staged by marines in the Gulf state of Veracruz, the Mexican Navy Secretariat said Sunday.

A telephone tip led marines to Marco Antonio Reyes, who was in charge of the cartel’s gunmen.

The 29-year-old Reyes was arrested along with Jose Manuel Sanchez, 42, Adriana Reyes Leal, 18, Noemi de la O. Rodriguez, 30, Martha Crisol Martinez, 22, and Levi Vergara Yepez, 25, the secretariat said.

Marines seized a vehicle, firearms, ammunition and doses of marijuana and crack cocaine from the suspects.

Information obtained in the operation led to the arrests of Jose Luis Feria, 23, who is suspected of being a money man for the cartel, and Jose Francisco Torres.

The two suspects were riding a motorcycle and had arms, ammunition and drugs in their possession, the secretariat said.

Noe Humberto Hernandez, suspected of being the cartel’s boss in the Gulf port of Veracruz and in neighboring Boca del Rio, was arrested in the third operation staged by marines.

Hernandez “was with a woman who called herself Claribel Casas Duran, 24,” the secretariat said, adding that arms, ammunition and substances presumed to be illegal drugs were seized from the suspects.

The Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel split into two criminal organizations after the death in a July 2010 shootout with soldiers of Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, a top Sinaloa drug cartel boss.

Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes took over the leadership of Jalisco Nueva Generacion, while Elpidio Mojarro Ramirez formed the La Resistencia gang.

The two gangs went to war and Jalisco Nueva Generacion managed to come out on top, leading La Resistencia to form an alliance with the Los Zetas cartel.

The arrests were made as part of “Operation Safe Veracruz,” the secretariat said.

“Operation Safe Veracruz,” which was launched last October and focused on the Veracruz-Boca del Rio region, has helped reduce the crime rate in that area, Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte said earlier this month.

President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006, deploying tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

The government has managed to capture or kill 22 of Mexico’s 37 most-wanted criminals, but it has been unable to stop the violence.

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 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.

Mexico’s drug war death toll stands at more than 50,000 since 2006.

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