The gang leader believed responsible for much of the violence in southern Sinaloa was arrested on Monday in the city of Querétaro.
Samuel Lizárraga Ontiveros, 34, was head of Los Mazatlecos, an armed wing of the Beltrán Leyva Organization, and was target No. 108 on the federal government’s list of wanted gangsters.
Lizárraga was known by several nicknames, including “El Maza 14” and “El Dueño del Charco,” which alluded to his claim as “owner” of the municipality of Mazatlán, which the Beltrán Leyva cartel has been vying to control since its alliance with the Sinaloa Cartel ended in 2008.
Another nickname was “El Tortillero,” which he earned by leaving tortillas with the bodies of those he killed.
Lizárraga is known among other gangsters and authorities for the high degree of violence he inflicted on his victims.
Lizárraga also used fear and rewards to control Los Mazatlecos.
Gang members who signed up the highest number of recruits would get a mobile phone and 3,000 pesos (about US $160) every 10 days.
Lizárraga has been linked to trafficking in heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine through the ports of Manzanillo, Colima, and Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, and through Mexicali, Baja California.
He is wanted as well for homicide and kidnapping.
He has followed in the footsteps of his brother Geovanny, another violent drug trafficker, who at the time of his arrest in 2011 was considered by authorities as the main distributor of narcotics in Sinaloa.