Saturday, July 20, 2024

Sinaloa Cartel security chief arrested in northern Mexico

An alleged drug cartel member identified as the security chief for the brother of convicted Sinaloa Cartel drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera was arrested in northern Mexico on Monday after a shootout that reportedly resulted in the deaths of at least four people.

Luis “N” — the alleged head of security for Aureliano “El Guano” Guzmán Loera — was detained during an operation carried out by the army and the National Guard in the region where the states of Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua meet.

AI image extrapolation of what Aureliano Guzman Loera would look like today
The original target of the military operation that captured the alleged Sinaloa Cartel security chief known as “R8” was R8’s boss, Aureliano “El Guano” Guzmán, seen here in this AI-assisted extrapolation of how he would look today. US authorities say El Guano, allegedly the head of the Gente del Guano Sinaloa Cartel faction, operates drug operations throughout Mexico’s “Golden Triangle.”

The operation was reportedly aimed at capturing Guzmán, who authorities say leads a Sinaloa Cartel faction called Gente del Guano (GDG), or Guano’s People. The older brother of “El Chapo,” Aurealiano is wanted on drug trafficking charges in the United States, where authorities are offering a reward of up to US $5 million for information leading to his arrest.

Federal sources told the Milenio newspaper that Luis “N,” allegedly known as “El R8,” was arrested in the municipality of Tamazula, Durango. Three other alleged criminals were also detained, according to reports. Their identities are unknown, but it is believed they are affiliated with GDG.

The arrests reportedly occurred after a confrontation between security forces and armed civilians near the border between Tamazula and the Sinaloa municipality of Badiraguato, Guzmán Loera family’s hometown. At least four alleged criminals were killed in the clash, and five others were wounded, according to reports.

Authorities haven’t confirmed those deaths or commented publicly on the four arrests in northern Mexico.

Luis “N,” whom the news media outlet Mileno identified as Luis Enrique Rivera Rocha, and the other detained suspects were transferred by helicopter to an Air Force base in Culiacán, Sinaloa, and subsequently flown by Air Force plane to Mexico City, where they were placed in the custody of the Federal Attorney General’s Office.

According to Milenio, authorities accuse Rivera — as Aureliano Guzman’s alleged security chief — of being the main instigator of violence in the drug-producing region of Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua known as the Golden Triangle. He is linked to various homicides, and the attempted murder of members of the Los Chapitos, a Sinaloa Cartel faction led by sons of “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Wanted poster of US Justice Department showing an old black and white photo of Aureliano Guzman and vital details and information about him
Aureliano Guzmán, the older brother of jailed Sinaloa Cartel head Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, is also wanted by U.S. authorities. (US Department of Justice)

Aureliano Guzmán’s GDG is reportedly involved in a dispute with Los Chapitos and another Sinaloa Cartel faction led by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

According to the U.S. Department of State, Aureliano Guzmán’s criminal group “can be classified as a poly-drug organization responsible for growing, cultivating, producing, manufacturing, and transporting poppy, marijuana, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel.”

In a 2021 statement announcing the reward of up to $5 million for information leading to El Guano’s arrest, the State Department said that Aureliano Guzmán’s drug trafficking organization is based out of the town of La Tuna, in Badiraguato municipality, but “operates drug grow operations and drug production facilities throughout various locations within what is referred to as Mexico’s ‘Golden Triangle’.”

It noted that a federal grand jury in the District of Arizona returned a superseding indictment against Aureliano Guzmán in November 2019, “charging him with four counts related to an international conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl, in violation of federal law.”

The State Department also said that a federal grand jury in the District of Arizona returned a separate superseding indictment against Guzmán in February 2020, “charging him with an additional two counts related to the international distribution of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.”   

His brother, El Chapo, was found guilty in a U.S. court on drug trafficking charges in early 2019. In July 2019, El Chapo was sentenced to life in prison and subsequently transferred to the Florence Supermax penitentiary in the state of Colorado.

With reports from Milenio, Proceso, Radio Fórmula and Infobae

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