Police in Mexico have captured the alleged head of Sinaloa Cartel operations in Chihuahua, who is closely linked to cartel leader "El Chapo" Guzman, and is believed to be responsible for at least 350 homicides.
Mario Nuñez Meza, alias "El Mayito" or "M10," arrested on August 28, was one of the Mexican government's 122 most wanted men and a target of the international police body, Interpol, as well as the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). He has an outstanding warrant for his arrest on drug trafficking charges in Texas, and is the subject of at least 30 investigations according to officials cited by El Informador.
Nuñez is believed to be responsible for the murder of over 350 people, many of whom were found in 23 clandestine graves in Durango state, as well as the killing of three anti-kidnapping agents in Chihuahua, reported Milenio.
He began his career as a municipal police officer in the state capital of Ciudad Juarez, but later deserted and joined the ranks of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel.
InSight Crime Analysis
Border state Chihuahua is one of Mexico's murder hotspots. In 2008, the Sinaloa Cartel invaded the state's biggest city, Ciudad Juarez, and waged war on the Juarez Cartel, earning the place the title of "most dangerous city in the world."
SEE ALSO: Juarez After the War
Nuñez, from the mountains of Durango, was one of several leaders of this offensive and gained notoriety for his ultra-violence -- locally his name is associated with thousands of deaths. In 2011, he was also reportedly among a group of Sinaloa Cartel "extremists" who were apparently targeted by both the cartel leadership and the government, retreated to Durango and were thought to have been "cleaned out" by July 2010.
However, according to Mexican media, Nuñez continues to be one of Chapo Guzman's "men of confidence," and also a link to US security forces, providing information about Sinaloa Cartel enemies, the Juarez Cartel and its Zetas-aligned armed branch "La Linea." to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Nuñez's capture is, however, another of recent indications -- among them the US blacklisting of five Sinaloa associates and the arrest of another cartel head in the region -- that authorities may be increasingly targeting the mighty cartel, making for a tardy response to long running accusations that both US and Mexican officials have favored and protected the organization.