The alleged leader of the Zetas drug cartel was apprehended yesterday in the Roma district of Mexico City by Federal Police and marines.
The arrest of José María Guízar Valencia, also known as El Z-43 and El Amo (The Master), was announced today by the National Security Commissioner, who said the detention was carried out without the use of force.
Guizar headed a criminal organization that operates in the southeastern region of Mexico, said Renato Sales Heredia, and has been linked to the smuggling drugs from South America into the United States, triggering violence in the southern Mexico.
Guizar began his criminal activities in 1988 in the state of Michoacán. By 2011, his reach had extended to Tamaulipas and into the United States.
In 2003 he was headquartered in Palenque, Chiapas, where he recruited several criminal cells to secure his grip on the region.
He soon had a presence in the state of Veracruz and by 2007 he had been linked by authorities to trafficking in Colombian cocaine, which he smuggled by land across the Guatemala border.
Guízar’s list of contacts in Central and South America grew, and by 2013 his influence reached central Mexico, focusing on Puebla state. The government of the United States requested his extradition two years later.
There have been several arrest warrants issued for him in the United States and Mexico for organized crime, homicide, kidnapping and others.
The government of the United States had posted a reward of US $5 million for his arrest.
U.S. authorities say Guizar has been responsible for importing thousands of kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine into the United states on a yearly basis.
He is also believed to have taken over territory in Guatemala. “Los Zetas, under the command of Guizar Valencia, have murdered an untold number of Guatemalan civilians during the systematic overtake of the Guatemalan border region with Mexico during recent years,” said the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Guízar has both Mexican and United States citizenship, and his family has a strong presence in the United States and in southeastern Mexico.
The Zetas leader was one of the federal government’s 122 key targets for arrest.
The gang itself has declined in strength in recent years due to the arrests and deaths of its leaders and has splintered into several factions.