One of four brothers who founded the once-powerful Beltrán Leyva Organization died yesterday of a heart attack.
Héctor Beltrán Leyva, 56, was transferred from a prison cell at the Altiplano maximum-security prison in México state to a hospital after complaining of chest pains. He died soon after.
Beltrán Leyva, also known as “El H,” assumed the leadership of the drug cartel after the death of his brother, Arturo, in 2009. Two other brothers, Alfredo and Carlos, are in jail.
The brothers were based in Sinaloa where they initially worked with the Juárez Cartel as hitmen and drug transporters, according to InSight Crime.
Later they formed an alliance with Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, now on trial in the United States, but split after the arrest of Alfredo, which the brothers believed had been engineered by Guzmán.
Héctor Beltrán Leyva was the cartel’s financial operator and managed connections with politicians, businessmen and security personnel before assuming the leadership.
He had been living in the state of Querétaro at the time of his arrest in 2014 in a restaurant in San Miguel de Allende. He portrayed himself as a businessman, selling real estate and art, and maintained a low profile.
“El H” was born in Badiguarato, Sinaloa, “El Chapo” Guzmán’s home town.
He was at one time one of the biggest cocaine traffickers in the world, alongside Guzmán and current Sinaloa Cartel leader “El Mayo” Zambada.