REYNOSA — Mexican federal police arrested a suspected member of Los Zetas accused of weapons smuggling and illegally monitoring telephone conversations among government officials.
Rolando "El Roli" de los Santos Guerra, 31, was wanted by federal authorities on organized crime and weapons smuggling charges.
Mexican federal police and troops captured de los Santos on Monday near El Naranjito colonia in Reynosa, according to a statement from the Mexican secretary of public security.
De los Santos is accused of performing wire taps at hotels, hospitals and government agencies for Los Zetas, a gang of armed enforcers believed to have branched off from the Gulf Cartel.
Authorities believe de los Santos worked closely with Jaime "El Hummer" Gonzalez Durán, the former leader of the Reynosa plaza of Los Zetas, who was arrested in November 2008. De los Santos is suspected of being responsible for much of the arms smuggling for Los Zetas, as well as the safekeeping and maintenance of the weapons.
Police arrested the Reynosa resident as he drove near the intersection of Rio Grande and Ocotlán streets. De los Santos was caught driving a white 2009 Porsche Cayenne SUV with no license plates and tinted windows.
Authorities said they found two hand grenades, an M16 machine gun, radio equipment, a fake driver's license and audio recordings inside the SUV. The recorders were presumably telephone conversations of federal, state and municipal authorities.
De los Santos will be transported to a prison in Mexico City to await federal prosecution.
The arrest of "El Roli" comes less than two weeks after Mexican authorities detained another suspected Zetas member.
Sergio "El Concord" Peña Mendoza, 39, was arrested March 14 in Reynosa.
Peña is suspected of slaying a police official and businessman in southern Mexico, as well as participating in an unsuccessful plot to break an imprisoned Zetas leader out of a Guatemala jail.
Mexico's drug violence has claimed more than 9,000 lives since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006. The Mexican government has cracked down on organized crime by the drug cartels, which have also battled each other for territory and smuggling routes into the United States, according to The Associated Press.
Mexican authorities said Monday they believe the nation's drug cartels have split into six factions. The government also announced it would pay up to $2 million for information leading to the arrest of two dozen of the nation's top drug lords.
Jared Taylor covers law enforcement and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4439.