(re-ledes with arrest of Gulf cartel figure)


Mexico's navy on Wednesday announced the capture of the reputed head of the Gulf cartel in an area of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

The arrest occurred Tuesday in Guadalajara, capital of the western state of Jalisco, that institution said in a statement.

The detainee, Juan Gabriel Montes Sermeño, said he was the Gulf cartel's boss in the southern part of the drug violence-wracked state of Tamaulipas and worked for Mario Cardenas Guillen, who was recently detained by navy personnel.

Cardenas Guillen, thought to have headed one of that cartel's two main branches, was captured last week by navy personnel in Tamaulipas.

Montes told authorities his role with the Gulf mob was to launder narcotics proceeds, transport drugs and manage ranches in Tamaulipas under the false identity of Jesus Angel Almaraz Guzman.

The arrest occurred after marines on patrol in Guadalajara spotted three people stepping out of an SUV, one of whom was carrying a backpack with a gun barrel sticking out of it.

The marines searched the men and found that one of them - Eusebio Horta, Montes' bodyguard - had two rifles, ammunition and 100 small bags of marijuana in his possession.

In another bag, Montes was carrying a rifle, ammo, a grenade, 100 packets containing a white, powdery substance resembling cocaine and communications gear, as well as a briefcase with various documents.

The Gulf cartel, one of Mexico's oldest, mainly operates in the northern part of the country and the Gulf coast region.

It has been weakened in recent years due in large part to a turf war with its former armed wing, Los Zetas, which went into the drug business on its own account in 2010.

News of Montes' arrest followed an announcement that Mexican Federal Police captured the suspected leader of the La Resistencia criminal organization, which operates in Jalisco.

Ramiro Pozos Gonzalez was arrested on Tuesday in Metepec, a city in the central state of Mexico, Federal Police drug enforcement unit chief Ramon Eduardo Pequeño said in a press conference.

The 42-year-old Pozos Gonzalez was the subject of a reward of 1 million pesos (nearly $76,350) being offered by Mexican authorities.

Pozos Gonzalez was wanted on drug, kidnapping, extortion and murder charges, Pequeño said.

The suspect was a member of the Milenio drug cartel, which was put out of business in 2010 by the arrests of brothers Oscar Orlando and Juan Carlos Nava Valencia.

The break-up of the Milenio organization led to the rise of La Resistencia, which had "the support of the leaders of La Familia (Michoacana) and the Gulf cartel," and another gang, the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel, Pequeño said.

La Resistencia formed an alliance in September 2011 with Los Zetas "to increase its operational power and maintain a strong front against the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel," the Federal Police official said.

The war between La Resistencia and Jalisco Nueva Generacion has left scores of people dead in western Mexico, especially Jalisco state, since last year. EFE