Mexican security forces capture alleged Los Zetas leader Mario Alberto Arce Moreno.
By Dialogo September 04, 2014
Mexican security forces have captured Mario Alberto Arce Moreno, the alleged narco-trafficking leader of the Los Zetas Cartel in the states of Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas. Federal and state police authorities arrested Arce Moreno in his home in the city of Nuevo Laredo, in the state of Tamaulipas, officials said on Aug. 31.
Police captured Arce and three other people without a fight.
Arce, 31, is “one of the main leaders of a criminal organization that has generated much of the violence” in those three states, the National Security Commission said.
Los Zetas operates in Central America
Los Zetas in recent years has also generated much violence in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The drug cartel operates in those countries, where it engages in drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping, arms smuggling, and human trafficking. Los Zetas forms alliances with two Central American gangs, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 (M-18) to conduct its criminal enterprises in the region.
The activities of Los Zetas in Central America are detailed in a 2013 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODOC), “Organized Transnational Crime in Central America and the Caribbean.”
Security forces captured Arce and three other people, who Mexican authorities identified as Lorena Carballo Vázquez, 24, Alejandro Aguirre, 20, and Fernando Manuel Reta, 18. Mexican authorities have charged Arce with drug-smuggling, human trafficking and other crimes.
Arce is suspected of coordinating an assault on a unit of Group Special Weapons and Tactics (GATE) agents in Coahuila in late August. He allegedly leads Los Zetas’ operations in the city of Hidalgo and Guerrero in the Coahuila; the city of Colombia in Nuevo León and in the Tamaulipas town of Nuevo Laredo.
Authorities transferred the four suspects to Mexico City, where they were placed in the custody of officials with the Attorney General's Office's Organized Crime Unit.
The arrests mark the latest success in Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s counter-narcotics fight.
Peña Nieto, who took office on Dec. 1 2012, announced on Sept. 1 there’s been a major decrease in drug-related killings.
Peña Nieto used his second state of the nation report to highlight a 36 percent drop in homicides linked to organized crime groups between September 2013 and July 2014. The reduction has helped Mexico’s homicide rate fall from 22 per 100,000 residents in 2012 to 19 per 100,000 residents in 2013.
Kidnappings decreased by nearly 7 percent during the first seven months of 2014 compared to the same time frame a year earlier, the president said. Security forces freed 574 human-trafficking victims, including 391 minors, between September 2013 and June of this year, in addition to rescuing 1,331 abducted migrants, including 236 minors, during the same period.
Peña Nieto has used the military to patrol the streets to complement police forces as part of his plan to improve security. He's also used drones to carry out 149 missions.
“These indicators confirm that the public justice and security policy is efficient and is producing results for Mexicans,” Pena Nieto’s annual report stated.
Peña Nieto’s pledge to fight corruption has dealt a series of blows to the Knights Templar Cartel. For example, authorities have charged three mayors in the state of Michoacán with conspiring with the organized crime group.
Huetamo Mayor Dalia Santana, Lázaro Cárdenas Mayor Arquimides Oseguera and Patzcuaro Mayor Salma Karrum have been charged with organized crime activities by a federal judge, according to Federal Chief of Criminal Investigations Tomás Zerón.
Zerón said all three of the mayors have appeared alongside Servando Gómez, the suspected leader of the Knights Templar, in photographs and videos that have been made public.