Mexico City – A suspected Gulf cartel finance chief was captured by marines in northeastern Mexico, the Navy Secretariat said.
Manuel Alquisires Garcia, who had been sprung from a prison in 2002 by a group of gunmen, was arrested last Saturday in Tampico, a city in Tamaulipas state, where the drug cartel operates.
Alquisires Garcia was caught by marines following up on a tip from the public and on the basis of intelligence work, the secretariat said.
The suspect was arrested at a house in Tampico's Club del Valle Residencial section, where tipsters said several armed individuals had been spotted.
He was driving away from the house when he spotted the marines but was unable to get away.
Alquisires Garcia was arrested on June 4, 1998, along with Osiel Cardenas Guillen, the then-leader of the Gulf cartel.
A group of gunmen belonging to Los Zetas, the former armed wing of the Gulf cartel, got Alquisires Garcia out of a prison in Matamoros, a border city located across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, on Dec. 27, 2002.
Marines seized four vehicles, nine handguns, three rifles, a fragmentation grenade, 21 ammunition clips, 704 rounds of ammunition and cash from the suspect.
"Because he is highly dangerous, he will be placed in a maximum-security prison," the secretariat said.
Mexico's most powerful drug trafficking organizations, according to experts, are the Sinaloa, Tijuana, Gulf, Juarez, Los Zetas and Beltran Leyva cartels.
The Gulf cartel was founded by Juan Nepomuceno Guerra in the 1970s and later led by Juan Garcia Abrego, who was arrested in 1996 and extradited to the United States.
Osiel Cardenas Guillen later became the Gulf cartel's undisputed boss.
Cardenas continued running the Gulf cartel, one of the most violent and powerful criminal organizations in Mexico, until his extradition to the United States on Jan. 20, 2007.
The Gulf cartel has been waging a war in northeastern Mexico against Los Zetas, a band of Mexican special forces deserters turned hired guns.
After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.