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Mexico arrests 'the Accountant' of Gulf cartel

February 20, 2018

The Mexican navy has captured the likely "leader of a criminal organization" in the northern border state of Tamaulipas. Authorities have upped the pressure on cartels as violence escalates across the country.

Members of the Mexican Federal Preventive Police (FPP) participate in the 'Chihuahua Military Operation' through border cities of Reynosa, Ciudad Juarez and other villages in the Chihuahua and Tamaulipas northern states in Mexico, 31 March 2008.
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M.Guzman

On Monday, Mexican marines arrested Jose Alfredo Cardenas, better known as "the Accountant" of the Gulf cartel, in the northern border state of Tamaulipas.

The navy announced the arrest, saying marines had captured the suspect in Matamoros, a city that lies across the border from Brownsville, Texas.

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"Presumably he was the leader of a criminal organization in the region," a statement from the navy read. Military-grade weapons, cocaine and a vehicle were also seized during the operation.

The state of Tamaulipas is known as a strategic corridor for trafficking drugs and migrants to the US. The US State Department last month warned citizens against visiting the state, issuing a "Do Not Travel" advisory.

Tamaulipas has witnessed a sharp rise in drug-related violence since 2014. That year, a group calling itself the Cartel of the Northeast fought against the Zetas — the cartel it broke off from — and the Gulf organization.

Mexican police
Mexican authorities have put further pressure on drug cartels after the capture and extradition of "El Chapo"Image: picture alliance / AP Photo

Cartels under pressure

Last month, Mexican marines captured Zetas kingpin Jose Maria Guizar Valencia, known as "Z43," in an upscale neighborhood in the capital, Mexico City.

According to the State Department, Valencia is "responsible for the importation of thousands of kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine" to the US annually.

"The 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," the State Department reported.

In 2017, Mexico recorded its worst year for homicides, with nearly 30,000 people killed, according to Interior Ministry figures.

Mexican authorities have blamed drug cartels for the soaring violence sweeping across the country in the wake of the arrest and extradition of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman as criminal organizations fight to fill the void left in his wake.

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ls/aw (AP, AFP, EFE)

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