CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Two alleged senior members of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel who are wanted by the US Drug Enforcement Agency were arrested in Mexico’s crime capital Ciudad Juarez, officials said.
The two suspects, identified as Fernando Arellano Romero and Daniel Franco Lopez, were arrested by a special Chihuahua state police unit late Monday along with a woman who “attempted to hide several firearms,” the state prosecutor’s office said. She was identified as Lopez’s wife and Arellano Romero’s niece.
Two other men also wanted by US officials however escaped during the operation, state officials said, identifying them only by their nicknames.
Lopez and Arellano Romero “appear on a list of more than 20 members of that organization published by the DEA,” the state prosecutor’s office said.
The US Justice Department indictment, published April 24, includes cartel leader Joaquin “Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman and his top lieutenant, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, as well as other Sinaloa Cartel members.
Charges in the US indictment include kidnapping, murder, money laundering and drug trafficking.
Ciudad Juarez is located on the Rio Grande river, just across from the US city of El Paso, Texas. The city is a choice location from which to smuggle drugs into the United States.
Analysts say the Sinaloa Cartel has gained control of Ciudad Juarez after a bitter, bloody battle with the once powerful Ciudad Juarez-based Carrillo Fuentes group.
The US Treasury Department considers Guzman “the world’s most powerful drug trafficker.” Forbes magazine estimates his wealth at $1 billion.
More than 50,000 people have been killed and 5,000 have gone missing in Mexico since outgoing President Felipe Calderon launched a military crackdown on the cartels when he took office in late 2006.