Jan. 27 (UPI) — Mexican authorities have rounded up three more accused drug-runners, including a man they believe is a high-ranking member of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel, officials said.
Roberto Nájera Gutiérrez was taken into custody by Mexico’s Public Security Secretariat at a checkpoint in the town of Tizimín on Thursday, along with two other, lower-ranking operatives.
Authorities believe Gutiérrez is one of the cartel’s top bosses in the southeastern part of Mexico. The other two were identified as Miguel Angel Rodríguez Ramírez and Romeo Orantes Gómez.
Known as “La Gallina,” Spanish for hen, Gutiérrez was on the lam for years before his capture. He was arrested and charged with multiple crimes in 2013, including two for homicide, before he was sprung from prison by allegedly bribing a guard.
He is suspected of running drugs from Central America to multiple Mexican states, including Yucatán and Chiapas.
Police said they also seized firearms during the arrest. All three will be detained in Mérida.
Investigators believe Gutiérrez was a top operator for Guzmán, who himself has been extradited to the United States to face a slew of drug-related charges.
Cartel-related violence has long been problematic in Mexico and police are aggressively going after their top managers.
Authorities on Thursday said they arrested, charged and extradited Jesús “El Chuy Raúl” Beltrán León, another member in the Sinaloa group, to the United States.