- Title: MEXICO: Mexican soldiers capture suspected drug chief Jose Angel Fernandez
- Date: 28th September 2010
- Summary: CANCUN, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF "CASTILLO DEL MAR" BAR / CORDONED OFF
- Embargoed: 13th October 2010 13:00
- Location: Mexico
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Defence / Military
- Reuters ID: LVA4M82FRGIWV3CCX1DMDOV5ERKJ
- Story Text: Mexican army arrest drug chief working with los Zetas, one of Mexico's most violent drug gangs, and say he ordered a bar attack.
Mexican soldiers have arrested a suspected leader of the violent Zetas drug gang in the Caribbean resort city of Cancun and blamed him for a deadly attack on a bar last month.
Soldiers captured Jose Angel Fernandez late last week and said he was in charge of trafficking and enforcement operations in Cancun and the surrounding state of Quintana Roo state.
The army said in a statement that Fernandez ordered the attack on a bar on Aug. 31 in Cancun that killed eight people because the bar declined to pay protection money.
The army blamed Fernandez for the sharp rise in extortions in the city, saying the Zetas were using that income to fight their war with rivals the Gulf cartel.
Quintana Roo state attorney general Francisco Alor, said
"I think it's a very important arrest carried out by the army. Of course he's been sent to the SIEDO (Mexico's special organized crime investigation unit) together with two other people. I think it's an important blow because according to the Defense department, he's the main head of a criminal group who have carried out extortions, homicides, kidnappings. I think it's an important blow because he has been linked to the bar "Castillo del Mar." His arrest came after investigations, carried out by this office and the army, following the event. This is a great hit and relieve for the state of Quintana Roo that the army - in this very delicate operation - could arrest this person who allegedly had arrived at the beginning of June," said Quintana Roo State Attorney General Francisco Alor.
The army declined to say how Fernandez was captured but said he was caught with three other people, weapons, cash in dollars and pesos, cell phones, vehicles and a list of names of people on the Zeta payroll in Quintana Roo.
Cancun is one of Mexico's top tourist resorts, famed for its white sand beaches and nearby Mayan ruins, but it is also a stronghold for drug gangs bringing narcotics in from Central America and the Caribbean.
The battle between rival cartels and state security forces has killed more than 29,000 people across Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched his offensive on the cartels in late 2006.
Many of the dead are corrupt police, drug dealers and hitmen. U.S. and European tourists have not been targeted but fears of drug violence spreading to hotel strips across Mexico are driving away some tourists and threatening Mexico's crucial tourism industry, hotel owners say.
Named after a Mexican police code for high-ranking officers, the Zetas are led by former Mexican special forces who switched sides to work for the Gulf cartel in the late 1990s but who have since split from their former employers, unleashing horrific violence.
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