A suspected boss of a drug cartel based in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas was arrested by federal security forces in Mexico City, the Attorney General’s Office said.
Jose Ivan Chao Llanes was arrested last Friday at a hotel in the southern section of Mexico City, where the suspect was vacationing, Criminal Investigations Agency director Tomas Zeron said.
Chao Llanes was carrying a fragmentation grenade, but no shots were fired during his arrest, Zeron said.
“He is a high-level member of the dominant criminal organization in Tamaulipas state, in charge of the Tampico area,” Zeron said.
Chao Llanes was involved in fuel theft, ran extortion rackets, smuggled drugs and participated in people trafficking,” Zeron said.
The official did not identify the gang that Chao Llanes belonged to, but media reports said the suspect was a member of the Gulf drug cartel.
The 42-year-old Chao Llanes was arrested on May 12 at the Mexico City international airport by federal law enforcement agents, “who released him in exchange for a bribe,” Zeron said.
Chao Llanes paid the officers, who were arrested, 5 million pesos (about $378,000), Zeron said.
The Gulf cartel, one of Mexico’s oldest drug trafficking organizations, was founded by Juan Nepomuceno Guerra in the 1970s and was later led by Juan Garcia Abrego, who was arrested in 1996 and extradited to the United States.
U.S. authorities accuse the Gulf cartel of smuggling hundreds of tons of cocaine into the United States.
The Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels have been fighting for control of Tamaulipas and smuggling routes into the United States for years.
After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account in early 2010 and now control several lucrative territories.