Mexican authorities have arrested a woman who they say led a gang of assassins connected with at least 20 homicides and several kidnappings.
María Jiménez, 26, allegedly led a group that received $1,700 a month from Los Zetas, one of Mexico’s most notorious drug cartels, to carry out contract killings and other crimes, Mexican daily El Milenio reports.
Security forces captured Jiménez and other alleged members of the group last week. She confessed to the murders and other crimes, said security spokesman for the state of Nuevo León Jorge Domene Zambrano to Reuters.
Jiménez, known by her alias as “La Tosca,” a Spanish word meaning “tough,” allegedly operated in the north of the country, including the country’s murder capital of Ciudad Juárez. She was one of four women and three men arrested for their alleged involvement in the group.
Authorities swill charge her with murder, car theft and kidnapping.
Mexican security forces suspect Jiménez of involvement in the murder of a police detective and other drug dealers.
The group also controlled some 14 drug trafficking points within the northern industrial hub of Monterrey, where Mexican authorities announced the arrests Monday. They were arrested in the nearby town of Guadelupe Victoria on May 1.
Mexico has seen levels of drug-related violence skyrocket since President Felipe Calderón launched a frontal assault on the country’s cartels in 2006. Over 50,000 drug war deaths have occurred over the course of his presidency.
Mexico will hold presidential elections in July.