Cartel Hitman Suspected in 21 Deaths Captured in Mexican Border State


A suspected Gulf Cartel hitman believed responsible for at least 21 homicides was captured in Sonora earlier this week.

The State Attorney General’s Office of Sonora announced the arrest of Yair Pérez López, aka “El Chicano,” a suspected cartel hitman wanted for a series of murders in Nuevo León. The capture was carried out by investigative personnel of the ministerial police (AMIC) in Hermosillo.

The operation was carried out Monday at approximately 3pm. Pérez López was later handed over to Nuevo León authorities.

Pérez López is expected to be charged with multiple counts of murder, kidnapping, and weapons violations related to his alleged activities in and around Monterrey between 2010 and 2011.

One of his suspected high-profile crimes is the 2010 attack on a prison transport van. Gunmen kidnapped the jailed member of a kidnapping cell, Gabriela Elizabeth Muñiz Tamez La Pelirroja. Muñiz Tamez was abducted during transport to a medical clinic and her semi-nude body was later found hanging from an overpass in colonia Mitras several days later, according to local reporting at the time. Muñiz Tamez was topless and had the name “Yair” marked on her back.

Pérez López is accused of carrying out numerous attacks on municipal and state police, including the use of grenades and other explosive devices. Pérez López is also suspected in a series of prison personnel abductions from Topo Chico Prison. Federal Police carried out an arrest operation in 2011 but Pérez López was eventually released from custody, according to local reports.

Authorities in Sonora indicated they did not know how long Pérez López was hiding in Hermosillo. The city is located 170 miles south of Arizona.

Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce completed work assignments in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year tour in Monterrey, Mexico, for the U.S. Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program.


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