Two alleged Sinaloa Cartel hitmen were captured on March 29 in rural Compuertas Carejey near Calexico, California.
In a statement released by the office of the State Public Security Director for Baja California, the pair was identified as José Miguel “N” and Rubén “N” were captured during an operation by investigative elements of the state attorney general’s office.
According to the Public Security Director Gerardo Manuel Sosa Olachea, investigators were responding to a citizen’s report of criminal activity in the area when they located and captured the alleged cartel hitmen traveling in a vehicle. After being stopped, investigators located and seized two AR-15 rifles, two tactical shotguns, a .45 caliber handgun, two tactical ballistic vests with counterfeit military patches, ammunition, an unspecified quantity of marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin, according to Uniradio Informa.
The two men are suspected of being involved in recent cartel-related violence. Both also allegedly admitted to being members of a cell of hitmen belonging to the Sinaloa Cartel. The Public Security Director did not clarify as to which cases of violence were related.
Mexicali experienced an uptick in cartel-related violence compared to previous years, finishing 2017 with 212 cases for the year. There were a total of 121 in 2016. In 2018, Mexicali has already registered 36 homicides and most are believed to be related to internal conflicts involving the Sinaloa Cartel and regional gangs aligned with competing factions.
A recent homicide reported in late March 2018 in Mexicali involved the execution of an individual aligned with the Sinaloa Cartel, identified as Bernardo Antonio Linares Corral “El Tony,” who was gunned down while traveling in a vehicle. “El Tony” was reportedly part of a cell run by Cenobio Flores aka “El Checo.” The Cenobio Flores cell was originally aligned with former Sinaloa Cartel regional boss Gonzalo Inzunza Inzunza “El Macho Prieto,” who was murdered in December 2013. “El Macho Prieto” was the former chief assassin for Ismael Zambada García, aka “El Mayo,” who heads a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)