Police have arrested the alleged mastermind of the kidnapping and murder of 13 youths in Mexico City, marking the final stages of the investigation into the notorious “Heaven” case, which has broken the myth that organized crime has not penetrated the capital.
Police arrested Javier Rodriguez Fuentes, alias “El Javi,” almost exactly a year after 13 youths were abducted from the bar “Heaven,” murdered, dismembered and buried in a mass grave.
Authorities have been hunting Rodriguez, who they say is a leader of the local organized crime group Union de Insurgentes, since his alleged accomplices identified him as the intellectual author of the crime, reported Milenio.
The capture of Rodriguez takes the number of people arrested in the case to 24, with police still searching for 11 more.
InSight Crime Analysis
The Heaven case has fatally undermined claims that Mexico City has managed to avoid the influence of violent organized crime, although questions remain over the links between the local criminals behind the killings and national drug cartels.
The story that has emerged is one of revenge, drugs, and turf wars that can be traced to the division of one criminal organization, La Union.
La Union controlled micro-trafficking, extortion and the movement of stolen goods in and around the city’s nightlife center, the Zona Rosa. The group split following the loss of their leadership a decade ago, with one faction calling itself the Union de Insurgentes, the other the Union de Tepito or the Tepito Cartel. The dispute between the two sides has often spilled over into violence, but before the Heaven case the Insurgentes were believed to have the upper hand.
In May 2013, a drug dealer working with the Insurgentes faction was executed by members of the Tepito organization. In response, Rodriguez ordered the kidnapping and murder of the 13 youths — just two of whom were related to men involved in the murder.
While the story of the Heaven killings as it stands suggest the motive was a dispute between local criminal groups competing over local revenues, these groups have been connected to larger organizations. According to some reports, they are also involved in large scale drug trafficking; the Tepito faction has been connected to the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO), and the Insurgentes with the Familia Michoacana.
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With authorities reporting that arrests in the case have dismantled the Insurgentes, the question is whether any of these larger groups will forge new local alliances to capitalize on the vacuum. There have already been reports of the Sinaloa Cartel looking to profit from micro-trafficking in Mexico City, as well as recent reports of a possible Gulf Cartel presence.