Main Cocaine Supplier for Los Zetas is Captured

By Dialogo
November 23, 2012

Argentinean authorities recently captured an alleged drug trafficker who was reportedly a key cocaine supplier for Los Zetas in Buenos Aires.

On October 30, Argentinean security forces arrested Henry de Jesús López Londoño, a Colombian national who is also known as “Mi Sangre,” “Salvador,” and “Carlos Mario,” in a Buenos Aires supermarket, when he was with his wife and 10 bodyguards, according to news reports.

According to Colombian daily El Tiempo, cooperation between security forces from Colombia, Argentina and the United States led to the arrest of “Mi Sangre.”

The alleged drug trafficker used multiple identities to move about in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Uruguay. Official sources reported he usually traveled with bodyguards. According to the Colombian news daily, Argentinean security forces followed “Mi Sangre” after planting a sophisticated tracking device in one of his cars.

Carlos Ramírez Acosta, a security analyst and head of Prisma Consulting firm, based in Mexico City, said that cooperation between countries battling transnational criminal organizations is increasing.

This has resulted in “a significant exchange of information at the intelligence level,” which contributes to the arrests of drug traffickers, the analyst added.

“Mi Sangre” is wanted in Colombia and in the United States for cocaine trafficking.

Before his capture, he was the “main cocaine supplier” for Los Zetas, said General José Roberto León, the chief of Colombia’s National Police.

For more than a decade, “Mi Sangre,” was one of the leaders of Los Urabeños, a Colombian paramilitary group which engages in drug trafficking, said authorities, adding that he had met with Los Zetas operatives the day before his arrest.

Though the capture of “Mi Sangre” will hurt the cocaine trafficking operations of Los Zetas, it will not cripple it, according to Ramírez Acosta. The capture of “Mi Sangre” is a “temporary limitation,” the security analyst reflected, because the transnational criminal organization will turn to other suppliers.

From the 1990s through 2005, “Mi Sangre” was a lieutenant to Colombian drug kingpin Diego Fernando Murillo, alias “Don Berna,” who in turn led Colombian drug cartel Oficina de Envigado. In 2005, “Don Berna” surrendered to Colombian authorities, while in 2008 he was extradited to the United States, where he plead guilty to cocaine trafficking charges and was sentenced to 31 years in prison.

The capture of “Mi Sangre” is the latest in a series of blows against Los Zetas.

The most important incident took place on October 7, when a team of Marines killed Los Zetas kingpin Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, alias “The Executioner,” during a gun battle in Progreso, Coahuila.

At least 10 Los Zetas leaders have been captured or killed since 2009, authorities said.

The transnational criminal organization has “suffered serious blows in the last months: loss of territory, capture or death of (its) regional leaders and internal fighting for the control of the organization,” according to a Mexican Military report titled “National Strategy against Organized Crime and its Impact on National Security.”

In addition to killing The Executioner, the Mexican Armed Forces and Federal Police have captured several key Los Zetas operatives in recent months:

In October, Marines in Coahuila captured Salvador Alfonso Martínez Escobedo, alias “The Squirrel,” who is suspected of ordering the massacre of 72 migrants in Tamaulipas in August 2010.

In September, Marines in San Luis Potosí captured Iván Velásquez Caballero, alias “El Talibán” and “Z-50.”

In July, Marines in the city of Puebla captured William de Jesús Torres Solórzano, a.k.a. “The Worm Eater” and “El W,” who is suspected of being a key financial operator for Los Zetas. The Worm Eater was allegedly responsible for trafficking drugs from Guatemala to the United States, according to authorities.