Leader of Tijuana-based drug cartel arrested
American Gustavo Rivera Martinez, considered by US drug and crime units as a main financial manager of the Tijuana drug cartel, was detained by police in the Mexican state of Baja California, authorities said Wednesday.
Rivera Martinez, who was arrested with three accomplices, "concentrated his operations in drug trafficking and money laundering" and had been wanted by both the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Mexican Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino told a press conference (Banderas News).
"This individual is one of the criminals most sought after by the DEA and the FBI, who offered a reward of up to two million dollars," Mourino said (Yahoo! News).
The Arellano Felix cartel emerged in the 1980s as a drug trafficking powerhouse across the U.S. border from San Diego, but has been weakened in recent years as leaders were killed or captured.
In 2006, Francisco Javier Arellano Felix was captured on a fishing boat by the U.S. Coast Guard in international waters off the coast of southern Baja California (Yahoo! News).
A huge blow was dealt to the gang in 2002 with the arrest of Benjamin Arellano Felix, reputedly the planning chief of the gang, and the killing of Ramon Arellano Felix, the groups feared enforcer.
Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, the oldest of seven brothers, was extradited to the U.S. in 2006 by then President Vicente Fox. In March, he was deported to Mexico after being freed from a San Diego prison. He was sentenced by a U.S. judge to six years in prison on drug charges but was granted parole.
President Felipe Calderon has come under criticism for a surge in homicides and kidnappings, even as thousands of soldiers and federal police fight drug gangs across the country.
Calderon's administration also has focused on extraditing suspected traffickers to the United States, a move which U.S. anti-drug officials have praised.
A Mexican judge in July blocked the extradition to the U.S. of Benjamin Arellano Felix until a court can rule on the legality of the government's extradition order.