Hugo Salinas Cortinas, Gulf cartel lieutenant, arrested near Texas border
May 2, 2023
Police in Mexico said Monday they arrested a top lieutenant of the violent Metros faction of the Gulf drug cartel implicated in 23 attacks on police and nine against military personnel. The suspect was identified as Hugo Salinas Cortinas, whose nickname “La Cabra” means “The Goat.”
Police and the Mexican Army said he was arrested Friday, but provided no explanation for the delay in making the announcement.
Police said Salinas Cortinas was caught with two guns and 600 pills, apparently fentanyl. He allegedly headed up drug and migrant smuggling along a stretch of the Mexican side of the Rio Grande river, also known as the Rio Bravo.
He allegedly operated in a territory comprising the towns of Camargo and Miguel Aleman, across the border from the Texas towns of Rio Grande City and Roma.
Local media reported that a woman identified in 2021 as his wife had been arrested in Roma, Texas, after police found over $800,000 hidden in shoeboxes and backpacks in her home.
The Gulf cartel has splintered into warring factions following the arrest and extradition of some of its top leaders over the decade.
The arrest comes just weeks after the brother of Miguel Villarreal, aka “Gringo Mike,” a former Gulf Cartel plaza boss, was sentenced in Houston to 180 months in prison for his role in distributing cocaine.
One of Mexico’s oldest organized crime groups, the Gulf Cartel is based in the city of Matamoros, directly across from the U.S. border in Brownsville, Texas. The cartel has been losing strength in recent years as rivals and internal factions fight for control of drug-trafficking routes into the U.S. along the border.
The Scorpions faction of the Gulf cartel was allegedly responsible for the recent kidnapping of four Americans and the deaths of two of them.
Cara Tabachnick contributed to this report.
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