By Jim Kouri
The suspected leader of Mexico’s Gente Nueva gang, the de facto enforcement wing of the Sinaloa drug cartel, was captured by the federal police (Federales) this weekend, according to a U.S. drug enforcement agent assigned as liaison with Mexican authorities who spoke to the Law Enforcement Examiner in “the strictest confidence.”
Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo is believed to have murdered civilians and assassinated government officials in the most brutal ways imaginable. For example, in 2009 he ordered an attack on a drug treatment clinic in Ciudad Juarez in which 18 patients were lined up against a wall and shot dead for simply trying to “kick the habit.”
Police said the gunmen also targeted rival gang members whom they found hiding in “safe houses.”
Marrufo, 33, was wanted by the Mexican authorities — which offered a $150,000 reward for his capture — and the U.S. Department of Justice, which accuses him of drug trafficking in the United States.
Marrufo was arrested in Leon, in central Guanajuato state, along with his bodyguard. During the capture, police seized weapons and “crystal meth” (methamphetamine) that allegedly belonged to the two suspects.
Counter-narcotics Police Chief Ramon Eduardo Pequeno said Marrufo’s capture was “a severe blow to the Sinaloa cartel.”
The cartel, which is led by Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, is one of Mexico’s most powerful and prosecutors say Marrufo led its armed wing, called Gente Nueva (New People).
They accuse him of drug trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, and murder.
Marrufo is suspected of having been in charge of eliminating rival gang members in the Sinaloa cartel’s fight to take over control of Ciudad Juarez from the Juarez cartel.
His boss, “Shorty” Guzman, is the most wanted drug trafficker by authorities in both Mexico and the United States. Forbes magazine listed him last year as one of the most powerful men in the world with a personal fortune of more than $1 billion.