Mexican Navy captures Gulf Cartel cell boss in Tamaulipas

Alfredo Cárdenas Martínez was one of the leaders of the Gulf Cartel in Matamoros and is suspected of coordinating illicit drug smuggling into the U.S.
Armed forces patrolling a neighborhood in Tamaluipas – Photo: Daniel Becerril/REUTERS
Manuel Espino Bucio
Mexico City
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Yesterday, Mexican armed forces captured Alfredo Cárdenas Martínez, “The Accountant”, nephew of the former head of the Gulf Cartel, Osiel Cárdenas, during a raid in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. The agents deployed located the alleged regional boss of the Gulf Cartel in the city of San Francisco, close to the U.S. border.

Sources from the Ministry of the Navy have confirmed that the raid began on Sunday night and concluded on Monday morning, with the arrest of the drug lord – one of the main culprits behind the violence in the state of Tamaulipas.

According to local authorities, Alfredo Cárdenas was disputing the leadership of the Cartel with the group led by Luis Alberto Blanco, based in the Río Bravo (Rio Grande) area in Tamaulipas.

Cárdenas Martínez was transferred to the facilities of the Specialized Attorney's Office against Organized Crime in Tamaulipas.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the violent drug lord was one of the main leaders of this criminal group, together with José Antonio Romo.

According to a report presented by the DEA in 2017, the Gulf Cartel has experienced a “rapid turnover in leadership” while keeping its base of operations in Tamaulipas.

“The Gulf Cartel concentrates primarily on marijuana and cocaine trafficking but has also recently expanded into heroin and methamphetamine. Due to its influence over areas in northeast Mexico, the Gulf Cartel smuggles a majority of its drug shipments into South Texas through the border region between the Rio Grande Valley and South Padre Island. The Gulf Cartel holds key distribution hubs in Houston, Detroit, and Atlanta,” states the report.

The cells led by Petronilo Moreno, Luis Alberto Blanco, and Héctor de León Fonseca, vying for the leadership of the Gulf Cartel in Reynosa, are kept in a fierce battle with the Armed Forces, especially with the Navy.

The Gulf Cartel fractured to give way to a new faction, the Gulf-Matamoros Cartel, known to be linked to the Old-School Zetas and United Cartels. There are, at least, 18 regional cartel leaders identified throughout the northeast territory of the Mexican Republic.



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