Hilario Guadalupe Reyna Cuevas (center), the 36-year-old suspected leader of the Los Zetas drug cartel in Sabinas Hidalgo, a city in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, and Leslie Anahi Godinez Gonzalez (lower right), 22; Rosa Maria Palacios Martinez (lower left), 35; Juan Daniel Flores Chapa (upper right), 30; and Jose Juan Escobedo Rodriguez (upper left), 22.EFE
The leader of the Los Zetas drug cartel in Sabinas Hidalgo, a city in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, and four other suspects have been arrested, the Federal Police said Monday.
Hilario Guadalupe Reyna Cuevas was arrested last Friday, thanks to "intelligence work," the Public Safety Secretariat said.
The 36-year-old man was "identified as the area boss in Sabinas Hidalgo" of Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent criminal organization, the secretariat said.
"The lines of investigation indicate that this subject is linked to the crimes of drug trafficking, as well as the murders and kidnappings of at least six members of rival gangs, activities that he ran from the town of Garza Ayala, Nuevo Leon," the secretariat said in a statement.
Reyna Cuevas was arrested at an abandoned farm on the Sabinas-Paras highway, the secretariat said.
Leslie Anahi Godinez Gonzalez, 22, Rosa Maria Palacios Martinez, 35, Juan Daniel Flores Chapa, 30, and Jose Juan Escobedo Rodriguez, 22, were also arrested in the operation.
Reyna Cuevas told investigators there was a clandestine grave in the town of Carboneras, the secretariat said.
The clandestine grave was found and "human remains, some of them burned," were discovered at the site, the secretariat said.
The Public Safety Secretariat, however, did not say how many people may have been buried at the site.
The suspects and property seized in the operation were turned over to federal prosecutors.
The Los Zetas cartel has been battling the Gulf cartel for control of smuggling routes from Nuevo Leon into the United States.
Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as "El Lazca," deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with three other soldiers, all members of an elite special operations unit, becoming the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel.
After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.
The wave of drug-related violence in Nuevo Leon claimed the lives of 2,003 people in 2011, official figures show.