Mexican authorities have arrested Zetas drug lord Jose Maria Guizar Valencia. Under his command, the Zetas killed "an untold number of Guatemalan civilians," according to US officials.
Jose Maria Guizar Valencia, an alleged leader in the Zetas drug cartel, was captured in Mexico City, Mexican authorities said on Friday.
Guizar Valencia, a US citizen who is also known by the nickname "Z-43," is accused of directing the Zetas cartel's drug trafficking operations in southern Mexico, National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said.
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The 39-year-old was arrested on Thursday in Mexico City's popular Roma neighborhood, which is known for its cafes and restaurants.
In 2014, the United States offered a $5 million (€4.1 million) reward for his arrest. Guizar Valencia faces drug trafficking indictments in the US states of Texas and Virginia, according to the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
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A "Wanted" page posted online by the US bureau states that Guizar Valencia is "responsible for the importation of thousands of kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine to the United States on a yearly basis."
Under his direction, the Zetas cartel took over territory on the border of Guatemala and Mexico and carried out a violent campaign that saw numerous civilian deaths.
"Los Zetas, under the command of Guizar Valencia, have murdered an untold number of Guatemalan civilians during the systematic overtake of the Guatemalan border region with Mexico during recent years," the INL said.
The arrests and deaths of Zetas bosses in recent years has decimated the cartel's leadership, causing it to splinter into several factions. The cartel is known for its brutality as well as its involvement in drug trafficking, human trafficking and racketeering.
Founded by the deserters of an elite military unit, the Zetas' violent acts include piling victims' bodies into roadside gullies and anonymous graves.
rs/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)