GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Thirteen suspected members of Mexico’s Jalisco Nueva Generacion drug cartel were arrested in connection with the kidnapping and murder of an employee of the Jalisco state Attorney General’s Office, a military commander said Wednesday.
The cartel members were involved in “kidnappings, drug sales and murders” in the Los Altos region of Jalisco, a state in western Mexico, 15th Military Zone commander Gen. Gilberto Hernandez Abreu said in a press conference in Guadalajara.
The suspects – 11 men and two women – were arrested on the basis of an anonymous tip received after gunmen kidnapped Jalisco AG’s office employee Laura Karina Aguas Trujillo on Monday in San Miguel el Alto, a city about 140 kilometers (some 84 miles) from Guadalajara, the state capital.
One of the suspects, whose name was not released, confessed that he participated in Aguas Trujillo’s kidnapping and murder, the general said, adding that the suspect told authorities where the body had been dumped.
Army troops found Aguas Trujillo’s body in a field by the highway that leads from San Miguel to the central state of Aguascalientes.
The suspects were trying to establish themselves as the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel’s cell in the area by taking control of the city of San Miguel el Alto, Hernandez Abreu said.
Soldiers seized seven rifles, four handguns, two fragmentation grenades, 650 rounds of ammunition, 26 ammunition clips, cash, three vehicles and 15 cell phones from the suspects.
The suspects, who range in age from 18 to 27, face organized crime, drug, arms and explosives charges.
The Jalisco Nueva Generacion organization was created following the death of Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, a top Sinaloa drug cartel boss, in 2010.
Erick Valencia Salazar, considered the successor to Coronel, was arrested on March 9 in Zapopan, a city in Jalisco.
Valencia was responsible for expanding the reach of the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel, officials said.
He was the operations chief for the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel before Coronel’s death in a shootout with soldiers in July 2010.
The cartel split into two criminal organizations after Coronel’s death, with Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes taking over the leadership of Jalisco Nueva Generacion with Valencia’s backing, while Elpidio Mojarro Ramirez formed the La Resistencia gang.
Jalisco Nueva Generacion has been battling Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel, for control of smuggling routes into the United States. EFE