A joint operation by the National Guard and Quintana Roo police has led to the arrest of the suspected leader of the Playa del Carmen cell of the Los Pelones crime gang.
Ernesto “N,” also known as “El Pantera” (The Panther), was detained at 11:00pm Monday on Azulejos avenue in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo Public Security Secretary Alberto Capella told a press conference.
The 43-year-old native of Acapulco, Guerrero, was armed at the time of his arrest and in possession of drugs, Capella said.
The vehicle in which he was traveling was seized and an 18-year-old woman with him was also taken into custody.
Capella said the arrest is a significant blow to organized crime, explaining that “El Pantera” has been identified by both federal and state authorities as the principal instigator of homicides and extortion in Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Tulum.
The security chief also presented images of eight suspects with links to organized crime who are believed to be involved in a range of criminal activities in the municipality of Solidaridad (Playa del Carmen), including homicides, extortion and drug trafficking.
Capella urged the public to report their location to authorities should they see any of the eight men, one of whom is the brother and alleged right-hand man of Ernesto “N.”
“The party is over for these guys,” Capella declared.
After taking over policing duties in Solidaridad in May, Quintana Roo state police yesterday also assumed control of the municipal security department.
Capella said the takeover coincided with the launch of “Operation Solidaridad,” which will aim to improve security across the municipality with special attention to the high-crime neighborhoods of Villas del Sol, Centro, Luis Donaldo Colosio, Misión del Carmen and Misión de las Flores.
According to elcri.men, a crime monitoring website, Solidaridad was the 11th most violent municipality in Mexico in the first half of the year.
Capella said that there were 135 homicides in Solidaridad to the end of July but expressed confidence that authorities will be able to reduce the murder rate by year’s end.
He charged that the crime and violence problem in Playa del Carmen was “inherited” from past municipal and state governments that allowed local, national and international crime groups to operate with total impunity.
Since state police assumed security responsibility for the resort city under Quintana Roo’s single command policing system, several suspected members of criminal groups have been arrested.
Among those detained are six suspected members of the Sinaloa Cartel including the criminal organization’s alleged plaza chief in Playa del Carmen.
Source: El Universal (sp)