Mexican army troops have arrested a top operative of the once-powerful Arellano Felix drug cartel in the northwestern state of Baja California.
Juan Francisco Sillas Rocha, alias “El Sillas”, and three associates were arrested over the weekend in the border city of Tijuana, located 2297 kilometers (1428 miles) northwest of the capital Mexico City, after he opened fire on a car carrying two rivals, the Associated Press reported on Monday.
Army soldiers seized five handguns, ammunition clips, ammunition, two vehicles and other property from them.
Mexican defense ministry said the 34-year-old Sillas Rocha has been one of the key operatives in a brutal turf war over drug-trafficking territory with the country’s oldest and largest drug trafficking organization, the Sinaloa cartel.
Sillas Rocha was the No. 2 man in the Tijuana-based Arellano Felix Organization, also known as the Tijuana Cartel. The criminal organization is led by Fernando Sanchez Arellano.
The Mexican government’s findings show that 2010 was the bloodiest year with 15,273 drug-related murders.
The results said half of the killings in 2010 took place in the Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas states.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon has successfully pushed the US to acknowledge its own responsibility for the violence in Mexico since it is the American market that fuels drug-trafficking and American guns smuggled into Mexico that are used by drug gangs.
In March 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered the clearest acknowledgment of the role the United States plays in the violent narcotics trade in Mexico.
“Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians,” she said.
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