A man suspected of being one of the top leaders of Mexico's Jalisco Nueva Generacion drug cartel has been arrested for the second time in six months, the Defense Secretariat said.
Nicolas Balcazar Lopez was detained last Friday at a house in an upscale neighborhood in Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, a city in Jalisco state, the secretariat said.
Balcazar Lopez had also been arrested last December in the same western Mexican state, officials said.
The suspected cartel boss was detained on Dec. 7 by state police acting on a request from the Siedo organized crime unit of the federal Attorney General's Office in an "airtight operation" not revealed to the media, a Jalisco Public Safety Secretariat spokesman told Efe.
Balcazar Lopez's previous arrest had apparently taken place at the same house and he was taken to the Siedo offices in Mexico City.
AG's office spokesmen told Efe they could not confirm that the suspect had been held at the the Siedo facility and requested more time to review the files.
Balcazar Lopez was captured along with two bodyguards at a safe house where "he was holding meetings with his associates to coordinate his illegal activities," the Defense Secretariat said.
The Jalisco Nueva Generacion organization was created following the death of Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, a top Sinaloa drug cartel boss, two years ago.
Erick Valencia Salazar, considered the cartel's top boss, was arrested on March 9 in Zapopan, a city in Jalisco.
Valencia, who served as the operations chief for the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel before Coronel's death in a shootout with soldiers in July 2010, was responsible for expanding the reach of the criminal organization.
Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes took over the cartel's leadership and named Balcazar Lopez "as his main associate in controlling illegal activities" in Jalisco and Colima states, the secretariat said.
Balcazar Lopez was also appointed "boss in the Guadalajara metropolitan area" to prevent members of the rival Los Zetas cartel from entering Jalisco and getting a foothold in the state capital, the secretariat said.
Soldiers captured Jalisco Nueva Generacion drug cartel members Marco Antonio Reyes Martinez and Salvador Topete Ballesteros in a separate operation last Friday at another house in Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, the secretariat said.
Reyes Martinez, suspected of being "a Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel boss," took his orders directly from Balcazar Lopez, the Defense Secretariat said.
Acting on Oseguera's orders, "Reyes Martinez and a group of gunmen presumably staged the blockades and torchings of buses and vehicles" on March 9 in the Guadalajara metropolitan area, the secretariat said.
Reyes Martinez is suspected of "coopting police officers from the three levels of government and overseeing violent interrogations of members of rival organizations and drug dealers who refused to work with the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel," the secretariat said.
Army troops seized $123,265 in cash, 87,000 pesos (worth about $6,200) in cash, nine rifles, four handguns, ammunition, nine vehicles, communications equipment and computers in the two operations.
The suspects and the property seized in the operations were handed over to federal prosecutors assigned to Siedo. EFE