Federal Police have arrested the leader of a criminal organization who controlled several municipalities in the Costa Grande region of Guerrero.
Rubén “El Nene” Granados Vargas, head of a gang known as Los Grandados, was captured without incident Tuesday in San Luis de la Loma, Tecpan. Eight others were also arrested.
Authorities say Granados and his brother, Salvador “El Chava,” exercised control over the region through a series of alliances with other criminal groups from their center of operations in the municipality of Técpan de Galeana.
Zihuatanejo is one of the municipalities under their control. Others are La Unión de Isidoro Montes de Oca, Coahuayutla de José María Izazaga and José Azueta.
The arrest was announced by Federal Police commissioner Manelich Castilla Craviotto, who reported that Granados is under investigation for extortion, kidnapping and executing local farmers.
Granados joined the Bletrán Leyva Organization in 2008 and later, with his brother, founded Los Granados.
The federal Attorney General’s office posted a 3-million-peso reward in March last year for information that could lead to “El Chava’s” arrest.
Los Granados is just one of an estimated 21 criminal gangs accounted for by Guerrero’s Public Security Secretariat (SSP).
The gangs are fighting for control of the fertile drug plantations, smuggling routes, small-scale drug trafficking in urban and tourist areas and the extortion of small businesses, known as derecho or cobro de piso.
The gangs Los Rojos and Los Ardillos have increased their presence in the central region and in the Montaña Alta and Montaña Baja areas, while the municipality of Chilapa is at the center of the war between the two: so far this year 59 people have been executed there.
In Chilpancingo, the state capital, and other neighboring municipalities in the central region the war is between Los Rojos, Los Jefes and the Cártel del Sur, killing 91 people so far this year.
In the northern region, the SSP has identified two organizations, Gente Nueva and Ojitos Verdes, that have divvied up the territory, but they face opposition from Los Rojos and La Familia Michoacana.
The latter, along with Los Caballeros Templarios and Los Tequileros, have the strongest presence in the Tierra Caliente region.
Los Tequileros, a splinter cell of La Familia, carried out over 50 kidnappings in the region last year, although the state Attorney General’s office claims that today it has only 30 individuals in its ranks.
In the Costa Grande, scene of this week’s arrest, are Los Granados, Guardia Guerrerense, Sangre Nueva Guerrerense, Los Rodríguez and Los Viagras.
In the municipality of Acapulco de Juárez, considered a state region in itself, three criminal gangs are operating: the Beltrán Leyva, the Independent Cartel of Acapulco (CIDA) and La Barredora.
Those three have also splintered into smaller groups, often with just 10 to 15 members.
In the Costa Chica it is the Sinaloa Cartel, Los Carrillo, Los Añorve and Los Marín who are vying for the territory’s control.