Monday, December 26, 2011
Key aid to El Chapo Guzmán arrested - an underboss of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel
Enrique "El Chapo" Guzmán is the most wanted man in the world, and easily the primary target of the Felipe Calderón administration as it enters the sixth year of an all-out war against Mexico's drug cartels, which began in December 2006. With just 11 months left in office, Calderón would like nothing better than to take down the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, or Cartel del Pacifico, as it's more commonly referred to here. http://mexicogulfreporter.blogspot.com/2011/10/el-chapo-guzman-dead-or-alive.html.
Authorities announced today that a key operative of the Sinaloa Cartel has been arrested. Felipe Cabrera Sarabia was taken into custody by Mexican special armed forces units on December 23, in Culiacán, Sinaloa, on the country's Pacific coast, an area which has been wracked by narco violence this year. The secretary of defense claims that Cabrera Sarabia was head of Chapo Guzmán's personal security detail, and also served as capo, or underboss of the cartel, in Guzmán's absence. The government says that increasing levels of violence between organized crime groups enabled Cabrera Sarabia to advance his career in recent years, by offering security services to Guzmán and his top lieutenants.
In a press conference today a government spokesperson said that Cabrera Sarabia was in charge of Sinaloa drug trafficking activities in Durango and southern Chihuahua states. Together with two brothers, he is alleged to have headed marijuana growing operations in Durango. Authorities say that Cabrera Sarabia was a key man, responsible for extortion, kidnapping and other crimes in those states, and his arrest will "effect considerably the leadership and operational capacity" of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Cabrera Sarabia was tracked by security forces to Culiacán after fleeing Durango. The government emphasized that his capture was carried out without a fight, and with "surgical precision." Apparently he was under careful surveillance, and special forces arrested him with no shots fired, nor any danger to others living nearby.
Under Mexican law Felipe Cabrera Sarabia can be held for 40 days while a preliminary criminal investigation, known as an averiguación previa, is carried out. That process has already commenced. Pending charges include the use of false identification documents, possession of illegal firearms and organized crime activity.
The United States has offered $5 million for the arrest of Enrique "El Chapo" Guzmán, the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, or for information leading to his capture.
Note: The bullet-riddled body of 39 year old Juan Guzmán Rocha, a nephew of El Chapo, was found along a highway outside of Culiacán on Dec. 16. No one has been arrested in connection with that case.
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