Alleged top drug dealer caught near Mexico City

"El Indio" is suspected of being responsible for a spike in violence in states near the capital

Topics: Mexico, Latin America,

Troops battled a suspected drug gang in a wealthy neighborhood on the outskirts of Mexico City and captured an alleged major trafficker with a $2 million U.S. bounty on his head, officials announced on Thursday.

Jose Gerardo Alvarez Vazquez — known as “El Indio” or “El Chayan” — is suspected of being responsible for a spike in violence in states near the capital as part of a struggle for control of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel, the military and the federal Attorney General’s Office said.

Authorities said Alvarez Vazquez, 45, was arrested along with 14 other suspected drug traffickers during a Wednesday night shootout in Huixquilucan, just west of the capital.

Three died in the shooting and two alleged traffickers were wounded. Investigators did not say whether the dead were soldiers or suspected drug dealers. The military said it seized more than a dozen guns and a grenade.

“Cases such as this show the Mexican government’s firm decision to continue fighting narcotraffickers,” the Attorney General’s Office said in a written statement. Among those arrested was Ascencion Sepulveda Salto, also known as “El Gato,” believed to be a powerful cartel lieutenant in Guerrero state.

You Might Also Like

The U.S. State Department says Alvarez Vazquez is a key member of the Arturo Beltran Leyva drug cartel and that he has overseen major deals involving crystal methamphetamine and other drugs between Mexico, Central America, South America and the U.S.

He was indicted on four drug-related counts in 1997 in the Southern District of California and the State Department had issued a $2 million reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

“This significant arrest is another demonstration of the commitment and efforts being made by the Mexican government to disrupt and dismantle these violent drug trafficking organizations and bring their leaders to justice,” said Paul E. Knierim, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman.

Mexican Gen. Edgar Luis Villegas Melendez said Alvarez Vazquez had partnered with Edgar Valdez Villarreal, a U.S.-born enforcer known as “La Barbie,” in his quest for control over the Beltran Leyva cartel.

Authorities say a battle for the cartel began after Mexican marines killed drug kingpin Arturo Beltran Leyva during a December shootout at an upscale apartment complex in Cuernavaca, south of Mexico City. The struggle for power has triggered dozens of killings in Morelos state, where Cuernavaca is located, and in neighboring Guerrero, authorities say.

The arrest of Alvarez Vazquez and Sepulveda Salto “significantly affects the operations and security of the Beltran Leyva organization,” Villegas Melendez said.

At least seven major drug cartels operate in Mexico and an estimated 22,700 people have been killed in Mexico’s drug war since December 2006, when a stepped-up military crackdown on the cartels began.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>