The Mexican government confirmed that Ines Coronel Barreras, the father-in-law of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman, was arrested in an operation with no shots fired.
The 45-year-old Coronel Barreras was captured at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday by the Federal Police along with four other people, including his 25-year-old son, Ines Jr., Deputy Government Secretary for Media Affairs Eduardo Sanchez said.
Coronel Barreras, one of Guzman's most trusted associates, was arrested in Agua Prieta, a city in the northern state of Sonora, and taken to Mexico City, Sanchez said.
He was in charge of growing and storing marijuana in the Sierra de Durango, a mountain range in northwestern Mexico, and later smuggling the illegal drug from Sonora into Arizona, Sanchez said.
Investigators began tracking the drug trafficker in January, the deputy government secretary said.
"This arrest was made without one shot being fired," Sanchez said.
Ines Coronel Barreras is the father of Emma Coronel Aispuro, who married Guzman in 2007 in La Angostura, Durango, and gave birth to twin girls on Aug. 15, 2011, at a hospital in Southern California, Sanchez said.
The former beauty queen gave birth at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California, and left the father's name blank on the girls' birth certificates.
Coronel, who is a U.S. citizen, was not arrested because she faces no charges in the United States, U.S. officials said.
The young woman returned to Mexico after giving birth to her daughters.
The U.S. Treasury Department included Coronel Barreras on list in January of individuals whose assets were subject to seizure and banned all commercial and financial transactions with him because of his ties to Guzman's transnational criminal organization.
Mexican government intelligence reports, as well as DEA, CIA and FBI reports, have concluded that the Sinaloa cartel is the largest exporter of illegal drugs to both the United States and countries in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
The United States offered a reward of $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Guzman, who is considered extremely dangerous, in 2004, while the Mexican government put a price of 30 million pesos (about $2.4 million) on the drug lord's head.
Durango, which forms Mexico's so-called "Golden Triangle" of the narcotics trade with Chihuahua and Sinaloa states, is considered one of the likely hiding places of 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. EFE