Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Breaking: Mexican Drug Capo Caught? (Updated: Yes)

Mexican officials claimed one of the country's most wanted drug lords, Hector Beltran Leyva, was apprehended on Wednesday.

The chief of Mexico's criminal investigations bureau, Tomás Zerón de Lucio, said at a news conference that the suspected head of the Beltran Levya drug gang was nabbed while eating at a seafood restaurant in Guanajuato state.  Hector was allegedly nabbed in a rapid operation where not even a single shot was fired and at the end of an eleven-month law enforcement investigation.
Zerón noted that the man nicknamed "El H" maintained a low profile by pretending to be a local businessmen involved in real estate and the buying and selling of art.
Hector was believed to have lead the Beltran Levya drug cartel since the death of his brother Arturo in a 2009 shootout with Mexican troops. (Two other Beltran Levya brothers are currently in prison over their respective roles with the drug gang). 

Two U.S. federal courts have indicted Hector while U.S. officials placed a $5 million bounty on top of the $3.7 million reward offered by Mexican authorities for his capture.

The Beltran Leyva cartel, which was originally part of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa drug gang, has been blamed for trafficking cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine.
According to the Associated Press, Hector presided over a cartel that had been weakened but supposedly trying to regain strength:

The gang terrorized parts of central Mexico for years, including Morelos state to the south of Mexico City, although it declined somewhat after the brothers' arrests and killing. Last November, the U.S. Treasury Department said the cartel appeared to be reorganizing and regaining some power.

"Obviously this is not the Beltran Leyvas' organization in its strongest moment ... but it continues to be a criminal organization capable of generating localized violence in some states," Mexican security expert Jorge Chabat said.
Hector Beltran Leyva thus becomes the third major Mexican drug gang leader captured under the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto. ("El Chapo" was apprehended earlier this year while the head of the Zetas cartel was nabbed in 2013).  It also occurred days in the same week that a member of the Knights Templar drug gang wanted for killing ten policemen was captured by Mexican troops.
The capture of Hector serves as a "credit to the police and federal prosecutors who seek to bring the peace we need (in Mexico)" tweeted Peña Nieto on Wednesday night.
Despite the captures and a decline in Mexico's high murder rates in recent years, drug cartels have increasingly opted to base their activities out of neighboring Central American countries.  (This in turn has helped fuel the influx of Central American migrants including more and more minors).  Furthermore, the drug gangs have branched out into other criminal activities while also adapting to the increased pressure against cartel bosses.
"They aren't strictly hierarchical, but consist of relatively autonomous sub-organizations which are able to find new partners relatively quickly, if one falls away," said Humboldt Institute instructor Günther Maihold.
Online Sources - Deutsche Welle; The Huffington Post; El Universal; Milenio; SDP Noticias

Video Source - YouTube user Excélsior Tv

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