Federal police have arrested a man suspected of being one of Mexico's leading smugglers of firearms, ammunition and explosives, the Public Safety Secretariat said Thursday.
In a statement, it said the authorities arrested 34-year-old Eduardo Avila Ojeda Wednesday in the northwestern city of Culiacan, capital of Sinaloa state, as part of an investigation launched after the Dec. 30 capture of another suspected arms trafficker, Ramiro Rendon Rivera.
Intelligence reports indicate that Avila and Rendon are firearms distributors for the Sinaloa drug cartel and several previous investigations by federal organized crime prosecutors have linked them to that activity.
Police found three cellular phones, three credit cards, two driver's licenses, identity documents and other objects in Avila's possession, but no weapons.
The suspect was turned over to the federal Attorney General's Office.
The Sinaloa organization is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and is led by Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001.
Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him.
Forbes magazine estimates that Guzman has a fortune of more than $1 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world.
The Sinaloa cartel, according to Mexican journalist Jose Reveles, controls at least 3,500 companies around the world.