The leader of a gang believed responsible for much the violence in the state of Chihuahua was arrested early yesterday by special forces without firing a shot.
Carlos Arturo Quintana Quintana, also known as El 80, has been identified as the principal instigator of violence in the state and has been linked to last year’s death of journalist Miroslava Breach Velducea.
The leader of a gang known as either La Línea or the New Juárez Cartel and one of the United States’ most wanted men, he has been accused of smuggling marijuana, opium, methamphetamines and other narcotics into the United States. His area of influence in Mexico covered the mountainous Chihuahua municipalities of Bachíniva, Matachi, Namiquipa, Buenaventura, Carichí, Cuauhtémoc and Santa Ana Babícora.
Quintana and his men allegedly infiltrated municipal police departments and created a network of political and police protection that allowed them to carry out their criminal activities.
The news magazine Proceso has reported that in 2016 Quintana wanted his mother-in-law to be mayor of Bachíniva. She became a pre-candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) but failed to win the nomination due to news reports written by Miroslava Breach, according to the newspaper La Jornada.
Quintana was subsequently accused of making threats against the journalist, who was assassinated in March last year in the city of Chihuahua.
In the municipality of Namiquipa, where he was arrested, Quintana allegedly helped current Mayor Ramón Enríquez Mendoza gain power.
In recent months, Quintana’s gang was embroiled in a violent turf war with the Gente Nueva gang, a splinter cell of the Sinaloa Cartel. Both gangs were after the control of several towns located on the border between Chihuahua and Texas.
In Mexico, Quintana is wanted for at least five cases of organized crime and drug trafficking.
In the U.S., Quintana is wanted by the FBI on indictments issued three years ago in New Mexico targeting the leadership of the Juárez cartel in an investigation dubbed Operation Virus Maker. The charges relate to international drug trafficking.