Mexico announced the arrest of Jesus Radilla, a boss of the South Pacific Cartel, who is accused of ordering the murder of the son of poet Javier Sicilia and six others.
Federal Police arrested Radilla, alias “El Negro,” who is accused of being the author of the March murder of Juan Francisco Sicilia and six of his friends. Radilla was captured along with two subordinates in the Gulf state of Veracruz, following a shootout with police.
The murder of Sicilia, whose father is well-known in Mexico, sparked protests around the nation, bringing tens of thousands of people out onto the streets. It also propelled Javier to the front of the anti-violence movement “No Mas Sangre,” or No More Blood.
Prior to his arrest, Radilla operated in Cuernavaca, Morelos. Sicilia and his friends died there after a barroom altercation with members of the South Pacific Cartel on March 28. According to the Federal Police, Radilla gave the order for the men to be killed. One of the men arrested alongside Radilla, Jose Luis Luquin Delgado, is also accused of being involved in the murders.
The public outrage over the killings seems to have sparked a effort by the government to punish the gang. Radilla’s arrest followed last week’s detention in Cuernavaca of Victor Manuel Valdes Arteaga, alias “El Gordo Varilla,” another of the local leaders of the South Pacific Cartel, along with the city’s police chief, Raul Diaz Roman, who stands accused of protecting the group.
Former criminal allies, such as the Beltran Leyva clan, have repudiated the South Pacific Cartel in response to the outcry over Sicilia’s murder.