MEXICO CITY – The Mexican navy announced Tuesday the arrest of the alleged head of the Los Zetas drug cartel in the city of Saltillo, capital of the northern state of Coahuila, five days after his predecessor had been captured.
The arrested man – identified by two names, Mario Arturo Zurita Berrones and Adrian Hernandez Sanchez, and by the alias “El Zacapapaz” – was arrested on Monday in Saltillo by a Marine Infantry patrol, the navy said in a communique.
According to the report, the arrested man said that the leadership of Los Zetas, a drug trafficking cartel noted for the cruelty of its methods, had designated him its chief in Saltillo only recently.
The former capo of the group in the northern Mexican city, Said Omar Juarez, was arrested on Nov. 7 there and it was reported that he had a “probable direct connection” with Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, alias “Z40,” who is thought to be the current overall chief of Los Zetas.
The navy said that El Zacapapaz was arrested after being pursued by naval personnel through the streets of Saltillo. He was riding in a stolen vehicle inside of which authorities found two hand grenades, an automatic rifle, a pistol and ammunition, according to the official communique.
Los Zetas, the second-most-important criminal group in Mexico, has a strong presence in the northern and northeastern part of the country, areas where it is vying for control with the powerful Gulf Cartel.
Originally, the members of Los Zetas were assassins, hitmen and enforcers who worked for the Gulf Cartel, but later they broke away and began undertaking criminal activities for their own account.
Until recently, Los Zetas were headed by former elite Mexican soldier Heriberto Lazcano, also known as “El Lazca,” who died in an armed clash with Marines on Oct. 7 in Coahuila. EFE