Mexico City - Mexican authorities announced Monday the arrest of a Los Zetas drug cartel commander allegedly linked to a massacre of 72 immigrants, the murder of an American and two massive jail breaks.
Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo was presented to the press by the Mexican navy along with five other alleged accomplices. They were captured Saturday in Nuevo Laredo, a border city in the northern state of Tamaulipas.
Martinez was the “presumed intellectual author” of a massacre of 72 illegal immigrants whose bodies were found in San Fernando, Tamaulipas in August 2010, Navy spokesman Jose Luis Vergara said.
Known as “Comandante Ardilla,” Martinez also was accused of taking part in the murder of an American, David Hartley, in September 2010 and the killing of a police commander who was investigating the crime.
Vergara said he was also involved in the escape of 141 inmates from a prison in Nuevo Laredo in December 2010 and another jail break by 131 inmates from a penitentiary in Piedras Negras in the northern state of Coahuila.
He said Martinez worked for Miguel Angel Trevino, one of two leaders of the divided Los Zetas, a band of assassins formed by former Mexican special forces soldiers.
In addition to the San Fernando massacre, Martinez was also “presumed responsible” for other mass graves found in Tamaulipas with more than 200 bodies and the executions of more than 50 other people nationwide, Vergara said.
More than 60 000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon put the military in charge of a campaign against organized crime. - Sapa-AFP