Photo: Key Arrest in Sinaloa Cartel
A man suspected of being in charge of Sinaloa drug cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s security detail was arrested by army troops and marines in northwest Mexico, a military commander said.
Jonathan Salas Aviles was captured in an air and land operation launched by federal security forces over the weekend in Costa Rica, a city outside Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, 3rd Military Region commander Gen. Moises Melo Garcia said.
Four of Guzman’s bodyguards were also arrested in the operation on Saturday, the general said.
Firearms and cash were seized from the suspects, Melo Garcia said.
“It started in the early morning hours and it was in the Costa Rica area. The arrests were made with precision and no shots were fired,” Melo Garcia said.
Salas Aviles was taken to Mexico City, where he is being held by the Attorney General’s Office.
The suspect engaged marines in a shootout on March 1, 2012, near Oso Viejo, a community outside Culiacan, that left two gunmen dead and an SUV on fire, Melo Garcia said.
Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, the world’s most-wanted drug trafficker, has been on the list of U.S. drug kingpins since June 1, 2001.
The Sinaloa organization, sometimes referred to by Mexican officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and has an extensive drug distribution network in the United States.
Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001, is considered the most powerful drug trafficker in the world.
Chapo Guzman tops the list of Mexico’s most-wanted criminals and is on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.
The Sinaloa cartel, according to intelligence agencies, is a transnational business empire that operates in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Asia.