Gulf cartel gunman linked to 11 slayings arrested in Mexico

Cancun, Mexico, Apr 17 (EFE).- A man suspected of being in charge of the Gulf drug cartel's gunmen in the Mexican Caribbean resort city of Cancun has been arrested in connection with the murders of 11 people last week, Quintana Roo state Attorney General Gaspar Armando Garcia Torres said.

Victor Raul Torres Ojeda was arrested in a movie theater at the Plazas Outlet shopping center along with his bodyguard, Garcia Torres said.

Federal Attorney General's Office personnel and army troops provided support for state law enforcement agents during the operation to arrest Torres Ojeda, the AG said.

Torres Ojeda's bodyguard, identified as Luis Armando Valerio, tried to escape but was captured in the vicinity of the shopping center, the AG said.

Torres Ojeda, who is from Cancun, allegedly ordered and helped carry out the killings of at least 11 people in the past few days, the Quintana Roo attorney general said.

Police found the bodies of seven of his victims - five men and two women - bound and blindfolded at a house in Cancun on Sunday.

The bodies were found by officers responding to a tip from an anonymous caller, Cancun police chief Arturo Olivarez Mendiola said.

The Gulf cartel, one of Mexico's oldest drug trafficking organizations, was founded by Juan Nepomuceno Guerra in the 1970s.

The Gulf cartel is no longer as powerful as it once was, partly because of its break with Los Zetas, the criminal organization's former armed wing, which severed ties with the cartel in 2010 and now runs its own narcotics trafficking business.

The Gulf organization, which mainly deals in cocaine, synthetic drugs and marijuana, mostly operates in northern Mexico and the country's eastern coastal areas.

The cartel, like other Mexican criminal organizations, has expanded into kidnappings and extortion rackets, targeting businesses.