MEXICO CITY – A suspected Tijuana drug cartel member was captured by army troops in Tijuana, a border city in the northwestern Mexican state of Baja California, the Defense Secretariat said.
Julio Salas was detained on Monday by soldiers conducting “land reconnaissance in Tijuana,” the secretariat said.
Salas has been a member of the Tijuana cartel since the 1990s, “dedicating himself to trafficking drugs, kidnappings, murders and extortion,” the secretariat said.
The suspect is the subject of an arrest warrant issued on criminal conspiracy, smuggling and drug charges.
Salas allegedly participated in the clandestine landing in northwestern Mexico in 1995 of a plane carrying 10 tons of cocaine, the Defense Secretariat said.
Soldiers seized a rifle, three handguns, ammunition, a vehicle and communications gear from Salas, the secretariat said.
The Tijuana cartel, one of Mexico’s oldest criminal organizations, was founded by Fernando Sanchez Arellano’s uncles, the Arellano Felix brothers.
Sanchez Arellano’s mother, Enedina Arellano Felix, is considered the cartel’s financial brains.
The Tijuana cartel, once one of Mexico’s most powerful criminal organizations, has been weakened dramatically in recent years by the arrests of some of its top leaders.
The cartel has also been hurt by the successful overhaul of the police departments in Baja California state, a strategy that reduced the criminal organization’s ability to operate and the murder rate in the border state. EFE