Mexico arrested an alleged top Sinaloa Cartel member suspected of being behind the murder of a prominent peace activist last year, highlighting the threat faced by civil society groups from organized crime.
On November 1, Mexican authorities detained Jesus Alfredo Salazar in Huixquilucan, Mexico State, reported Milenio. Salazar is an alleged lieutenant of Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and the suspected author of the hit that killed peace activist Nepomuceno Moreno Nuñez in November 2011.
Moreno was a prominent member of the Movement for Peace, an organization headed by Javier Sicilia that protests gang violence in Mexico and calls for the government to reform its fight against organized crime. Moreno joined the movement due to his son’s disappearence after being arrested by police in Sonora in July 2010.
Salazar has an arrest warrant in Texas for the production and trafficking of narcotics to the US. He is also thought to be responsible for murders in the states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Mexico State and Sinaloa, according to Milenio.
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Moreno’s murder was the second of three assassinations that that Movement for Peace suffered in the space of two months last year, underscoring the threat faced by civil society from organized criminal groups. In a separate case, for example, the alleged killer of activist Marisela Escobedo who died in 2010, declared last month that the Zetas had ordered her murder because they felt her work drew unwanted attention to the gang.
If Salazar was indeed behind Moreno’s death, the motive is as yet unclear. Moreno, like many other Movement for Peace members, was primarily concerned with promoting governmental reform, particularly because his son was allegedly disappeared by local police. As in other cases, though, the Sinaloa Cartel may have simply wished to silence him and the Movement for condemning gang-related violence.
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