On Monday, Mexico announced another blow to the organization, with the arrest of a Zetas commander believed to have ordered the massacre of 72 illegal immigrants whose bodies were found in San Fernando, Tamaulipas in August 2010.
Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo was presented to the press by the Mexican navy along with five alleged accomplices. They were captured Saturday in Nuevo Laredo, a border city in the northern state of Tamaulipas.
Known as “Comandante Ardilla,” Martinez is suspected of involvement in the murder of an American, David Hartley, in September 2010 and the killing of a police commander who was investigating the crime.
Martinez, who worked for Morales, is also accused of masterminding the escape of 141 inmates from a prison in Tamaulipas in December 2010 and another jail break last month by 131 inmates from a penitentiary in Coahuila.
He has also been linked to other mass graves found in Tamaulipas containing more than 200 bodies and to the executions of more than 50 people nationwide.
Coahuila is one of the border states at the epicenter of Mexico’s vicious drug war, which is estimated to have claimed some 60,000 lives since the launch of a military crackdown in 2006.