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Sunday, 3 October 2010

Jose Angel Fernandez de suspected boss of the Los Zetas Lara Diaz, who was based in Cancun, was arrested

15:23 | , ,

The suspected boss of the Los Zetas drug cartel in the southeastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo was captured by army troops, the Defense Secretariat said.

Jose Angel Fernandez de Lara Diaz, who was based in Cancun, was arrested last Friday in the Caribbean resort city, the secretariat said.

Fernandez de Lara told authorities that he belonged to Los Zetas and was put in charge of operations in the area by the group’s leader, Heriberto Lazcano, in June.

The suspect was in charge of drug trafficking, people trafficking and kidnapping in Quintana Roo.

The criminal organization has been extorting money from nightclubs, restaurants, casinos, spas, hotels and other tourism-related businesses, Fernandez de Lara told officials.

Funds generated by these criminal activities are used to cover the expenses of the war that Los Zetas is waging against the Gulf cartel in northeastern Mexico.

Fernandez de Lara confessed that he committed numerous crimes, including the fire-bomb attack on the Castillo del Mar bar on Aug. 31, the secretariat said.

The suspect told authorities that the attack was carried out by a gunman known as “El Humm” and was ordered by Los Zetas regional boss Lucio Hernandez Lechuga because the bar’s owner refused to pay protection money.

Eight people – six women and two men – died in the attack on the bar.

Augusto Leon, who owns the bar, had filed a complaint three weeks before the attack with the Quintana Roo Attorney General’s Office, alleging that a man identified as Juan Piña Gonzalez claimed he was a member of a drug cartel and demanded 40,000 pesos (nearly $3,100) in exchange for protection.

Piña Gonzalez was arrested shortly after the complaint was filed “but regained his freedom because the charges did not hold,” the AG’s office said.

Three other members of Fernandez de Lara’s cell were arrested by army troops.

Soldiers seized three rifles, 1.35 million pesos ($107,000), $36,000, computers and communications equipment, four vehicles and lists of individuals who work for the cartel in Quintana Roo.

Several powerful drug cartels have been battling for control of the illicit trade in Greater Cancun, a year-round tourist destination that has higher median incomes than most of Mexico’s metropolitan areas.

Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficking organizations, according to experts, are the Sinaloa, Tijuana, Gulf, Juarez, Los Zetas and Beltran Leyva cartels, and La Familia Michoacana.

Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as “El Lazca,” deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with three other soldiers, all members of an elite special operations unit, becoming the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel.

The Zetas broke with the Gulf cartel several months ago and the two criminal organizations are at war.

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