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Police arrest a Beltran Leyva cartel boss in Mexico City

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Mexico City, Apr 17 (EFE).- A man suspected of being the Beltran Leyva drug cartel's No. 2 boss was arrested by the Federal Police in Mexico City following an eight-month investigation, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said.

Arnoldo Villa Sanchez, a 40-year-old native of the southern state of Guerrero, became cartel boss Hector Beltran Leyva's security chief in 2009 and developed a reputation for his aggressiveness and use of violence, qualities that helped him quickly climb the criminal organization's ranks.

The drug trafficker established his headquarters in Mexico City and ran operations in Mexico, Chiapas, Guerrero, Puebla and Tlaxcala states, Rubido said.

Villa Sanchez lived an executive lifestyle, meeting with associates at luxury hotels in the upscale Pedregal, Valle and Condesa districts, investigators said.

Federal Police officers arrested the drug trafficker and his bodyguard, identified as Augusto Roman Baena, during a meeting Tuesday in the Condesa neighborhood.

Villa Sanchez was found in 2013 after police seized cocaine in different operations, Rubido said.

"As a result of these investigations, Arnoldo Villa Sanchez was identified as the one behind the shipments," the national security commissioner said.

Villa Sanchez and Roman Baena were turned over to the Siedo organized crime unit of the Attorney General's Office.

Villa Sanchez was identified last year as one of the Beltran Leyva cartel's leaders and U.S. authorities added his name to a list of drug lords.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, included Villa Sanchez on the drug kingpin list in November 2013.

U.S. authorities accuse Villa Sanchez, who also goes by the alias Erick Rene Calderon Sanchez, of committing numerous violent acts on behalf of the Beltran Leyva cartel.

Villa Sanchez is the principal shareholder of Sistemas Elite De Seguridad Privada, a security company based in the western Mexican city of Guadalajara that employs more than 150 people, U.S. officials said.

The U.S. Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, known as the Kingpin Act, prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with individuals included on the list and freezes any assets such individuals may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

The Treasury Department included Hector Beltran Levya on the kingpin list in December 2009 and he faces charges in the District of Columbia and New York.

he Beltran Leyva cartel has been weakened by the killings and arrests of several of its leaders, as well as infighting.

The Beltran Leyva cartel arose as a splinter group of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Mexico's oldest and most powerful drug trafficking organization, in 2008.

The criminal organization was led by Arturo Beltran Leyva, who died in a shootout with marines at a luxury condo in Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos state, on Dec. 16, 2009.

Two weeks after Arturo was killed, Carlos Beltran Leyva was arrested in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, where he was going by the alias of Carlos Gamez.

Hector Beltran Leyva took over control of the cartel after Arturo's death, but he had to battle a rival faction led by Edgar Valdez Villarreal for control of the organization.

Valdez Villarreal, known as "La Barbie," was arrested by the Federal Police on Aug. 30, 2010.

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