A major figure in the Sinaloa drug cartel responsible for large supplies of cocaine was arrested in Mexico Sunday in Cancun, the Associated Press reported. Kingpin Cesar Gastelum Serrano is a prominent figure in the Sinaloa Cartel and handled operations from Central American countries into Mexico.
Mexican National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido announced Gastelum Serrano’s arrest in the popular Mexican resort town. He was caught with a pistol and a package of cocaine. Rubido said in a statement Gastelum Serrano operated in Honduras and had been connected to police killings.
The U.S. Treasury Department placed Gastelum Serrano on the drug kingpin list in December. In a February update the department listed his nickname as “La Señora,” and named several relatives as possible Sinaloa members. The original December announcement said Cesar Gastelum Serrano ran "a vast criminal network to lead a cocaine trafficking organization capable of moving tons of cocaine per week through Honduras and Guatemala to Mexico."
The arrest comes weeks after the capture of another prominent drug kingpin of the Zetas Cartel, Ramiro Perez Ramos, also known as “El Rama.” Ramos had attempted to seize control of the organization ahead of his arrest in March. His predecessor, Omar Treviño Morales, was arrested a few weeks prior in an effort to destabilize the Zetas’ foothold in the Mexican eastern region.
The apparent crackdown on drug cartel members could be correlated to the national outrage following the gang-related disappearance of 43 students last September. Family members have recently sought the help of the rival gang Reds to find the bodies allegedly hidden by the gang Guerreros Unidos. An associate of Guerreros Unidos gang leader Gildardo López Astudillo was arrested Saturday in Mexico City in conjunction with the investigation.