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Top Tijuana cartel gunman captured

The Americas Post - Guess which one of these three gentlemen is going to jail?

One of the lead players in a drug cartel war that has terrorized the border city of Tijuana was captured by federal troops, officials said Monday, after he fired at a car carrying two rivals.

Juan Francisco Sillas Rocha, 34, is alleged to report directly to the head of the Arellano Felix cartel, which dominated the smuggling of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs through Tijuana and Mexicali into the US during the 1990s.

The cartel has been weakened in recent years by the capture or killing of the brothers who led it. The powerful Sinaloa Cartel, which controls many smuggling routes along the border, has reportedly tried to take over criminal activities in Tijuana, just across the border from San Diego.

Fernando “The Engineer” Sanchez Arellano, a nephew now leading the Arellano Felix cartel, ordered Sillas to retake control of Tijuana from competitor Teodoro “El Teo” Garcia Simental, who had broken from the Arellano Felix group and reportedly rose through the Sinaloa ranks by ordering murder victims’ bodies to be dissolved in vats of lye.

Conflict between the two factions caused an epidemic of violence in Tijuana from 2007 to 2009, when decapitations, hangings and daylight shootouts  were common.  The killing dropped considerably after Simental’s arrest in January 2010, although attacks still occur regularly.

Army spokesman Col. Ricardo Trevilla said Sillas wounded two unidentified rivals driving through Tijuana on Saturday.  Police and soldiers captured him by surrounding the area.

Trevilla said Sillas’ arrest will “considerably affect the Arellano Felix organization’s criminal activities.”