Mexico Arrests Alleged US Member of Tijuana Cartel

Mexican police have captured a U.S.-born suspected drug trafficking operative, who is allegedly one of the leaders of the Tijuana Cartel.

Armando Villareal Heredia, alias “El Gordo,” was captured in Sonora state in north-western Mexico, according to the Federal Secretary of Public Safety.

A statement from the government body confirmed that Villareal, a native of San Diego, California, faces charges of smuggling drugs from the state of Sinaloa in west Mexico to the United States.

It is claimed that Heredia was responsible for coordinating the trafficking of drug shipments from Sinaloa to Baja California, and from there into the U.S. He is also allegedly responsible for stealing drug shipments from other criminal organizations in Jalisco state.

Villareal is the subject of an arrest warrant in the United States, where he is wanted for conspiracy to murder, kidnapping and other crimes. He had been named in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA’s) most-wanted list for the San Diego region.

The once-powerful Tijuana Cartel, also known as the Arellano Felix Organization, has been severely weakened in recent years by a brutal internal war as well as by the capture or death of many of its top leaders.