Smoke billows out of a building housing a casino as firefighters try to extinguish the fire after an attack in Monterrey.

Mexican authorities said Friday they had captured an alleged Zetas drug gang member who masterminded a arson attack on a casino that killed 52 people in the northern city of Monterrey last year.

Baltazar Saucedo Estrada, alias “Mataperros” or “Dog killer,” ordered the August 25 attack on the Casino Royale, said Adrian de la Garza, prosecutor of Nuevo Leon state, at a news conference.

Saucedo Estrada was the third to be caught of five Zeta chiefs allegedly reponsible for one of the deadliest attacks in more than five years of brutal drug violence in Mexico.

Authorities had offered more than one million dollars for information leading to his capture.

Almost 20 suspects have been detained in relation to the attack.

Saucedo Estrada said he received orders to burn the casino because the owner refused to pay protection money, according to Jorge Domene, Nuevo Leon security spokesman.

The Zetas, who started out as hitmen working for the Gulf cartel in the 1990s, have been accused of a string of killings, kidnappings and macabre brutality that have made them one of the most feared gangs in Mexico. - Sapa-AFP