Alias “Ardilla,” center

Mexican authorities claim to have captured the Zetas boss behind a 2010 massacre of 72 Central American migrants -- the second time they have claimed to have found the man behind this crime.

On October 8, Mexican Navy spokesman Jose Luis Vergara announced that authorities had arrested Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo, alias “Ardilla,” a Zetas boss who Vergara said was the mastermind of the 2010 killings in San Fernando, Tamaulipas. Martinez is also accused of committing at least 50 other murders.

According to officials, Martinez is a close confidant of Zetas kingpin Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, alias “Z-40,” and managed the group’s turf battle against the rival Gulf Cartel.

InSight Crime Analysis

This is the second time that the authorities have claimed to have captured the "mastermind" behind the San Fernando massacre. In April 2011, Omar Martin Estrada, alias “El Kilo,” was identified as the "intellectual author" of the killings.

The high profile of the massacre creates an incentive for the Mexican authorities to claim that the case has been solved, reflecting a political need to identify a “bad guy” that authorities can hold up as proof of their success.

In addition to the massacre, officials have alleged that Martinez orchestrated two mass prison breaks. The first involved the escape of 151 prisoners in 2010 from a Nuevo Laredo Jail, and the second occurred in September in the border city of Piedras Negras, when 131 inmates escaped. He has also been accused of killing US citizen David Hartley in 2010, while the latter was waterskiing on Falcon Lake on the US-Mexico border.

Investigations

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