Police and military forces in Mexico have captured a top cartel boss responsible for managing a faction of the Gulf cartel. The latter is one of the oldest criminal organizations in the country, with a history of illegal gambling rackets, drug and human trafficking and other crimes that dates back almost 100 years.
Police, along with the Mexican army and others, arrested Hugo Armando Salinas Cortinas, alias “La Cabra” (the goat), last Friday in Tamaulipas, Mexico. However, they only announced the arrest of the leading boss of the Metros faction on Monday.
A report by the Secretaries of Security and Citizen Protection and National Defense indicated that Salinas was caught in the act of making a deal. In his possession were 600 synthetic drug pills, two firearms, two ammo clips and several dozen rounds of ammo.
Roping The Goat
Salinas is reportedly responsible for organizing cross-border drug deals and human trafficking between Tamaulipas and Texas. Anyone who stood in the way of the faction’s activity, including police and military, paid the price.
Over the past several years, the Metros faction has reportedly been responsible for at least 30 violent assaults on law enforcement and military personnel. The group controls territory in Tamaulipas, a state in the northeast part of Mexico that shares a border with Rio Grande City and Roma in Texas.
Salinas may have been able to slip back and forth across the border at will. In a house in Roma that allegedly belonged to his wife, police found $800,000 in cash.
As part of the Gulf cartel, Metros shares ties with the Scorpions faction. The latter was reportedly responsible for kidnapping four Americans and killing two of them in March after mistaking them for Jamaican drug dealers.
The authorities tried to keep the Salinas arrest under wraps, but that’s not possible in a place where everything can be bought for the right price. The arrest didn’t go over well with area Gulf cartel drug traffickers, who carried out several blockades in different municipalities of the state.
The blockades included setting vehicles on fire, damaging commercial locations and other acts of violence. The authorities were finally able to regain control, but not before at least two cartel members died in a shootout.
Dismantling An Empire
The Gulf cartel’s roots can be traced back to the 1930s, and its primary base of operations is Tamaulipas. It made a fortune off illegal gambling, illegal trafficking of anything that would make it money, extortion, kidnapping and more. It also has alleged ties to other large criminal groups throughout the world.
The cartel is also known for being the birthplace of Los Zetas, its former goon squad whose job was to carry out the most gruesome operations for the cartel. Later, Los Zetas decided they could make more money on their own and broke free, ready to take on their former bosses.
Over the past decade, joint operations by Mexican and US officials have tried to dismantle the cartel. However, the emergence of the factions has made it difficult.
Still, Mexico has made some headway recently in stopping it. Possibly serving as a source of data for the capture of Salinas, the authorities arrested three other members of the group in March.
Ernesto Sánchez Rivera, Sergio González Bocanegra and Jorge Eduardo Navarro Chávez fell in separate operations two months ago. They face charges of illegal weapons possession, participation in organized crime and other crimes.
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