Tuesday 17 September 2019

Wife of one of the world's most feared drug lords arrested

Aerial landscape view of Mexico city
Aerial landscape view of Mexico city

Amy Guthrie

The wife of one of Mexico's most feared drug lords has been arrested.

Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete said that marines took into custody Rosalinda Gonzalez Valencia, the wife of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, known as El Mencho, the leader of Jalisco New Generation.

She was detained in the city of Zapopan, setting the western state of Jalisco on high-alert for possible reprisals. Gonzalez is accused of managing the cartel's finances.

At the same location, the marines also captured Gerardo Botello Rosales, known as El Cachas, who is believed to run the cartel's operations in the states of Guanajuato and Michoacan.

Botello is accused of murder, kidnapping and extortion. He has an outstanding order for extradition from the state of Oregon for a 2002 homicide, Mr Navarrete said.

Saturday's arrests are part of the "siege" on El Mencho, said Alejandro Hope, a Mexican security expert. "They have been hunting him with greater intensity since the end of last year."

Mr Navarrete declined to speculate on whether government agents were close to detaining the cartel leader.

"I once heard that they arrived at a place and that he had just left because the coffee was still steaming," said Mr Navarrete.

Jalisco New Generation has a reputation for battling with government agents. Mr Navarrete said he anticipates a "violent reaction" from the cartel, adding that government officials have taken precautions to prevent or respond to possible attacks.

The cartel brazenly shot down a Mexican military helicopter with a rocket launcher in 2015, prompting Mexican officials to declare an all-out offensive against the criminal group.

Tensions spiked again in February after the cartel allegedly abducted and murdered two federal agents in the Pacific state of Nayarit.

Jalisco state governor Aristoteles Sandoval said earlier on Sunday that the state is "calm" amid stepped-up security.

Jalisco New Generation is believed to primarily traffic methamphetamine while also selling cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency said in its October 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment report that the organisation has distribution hubs for illicit substances in Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta.

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