MEXICO CITY, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Federal forces have captured the head of the notoriously violent Los Zetas cartel, Mexico's national security commissioner Renato Sales said on Friday.
Marines arrested Jose Maria Guizar, alias "Z-43," on Thursday afternoon in Mexico City's trendy Colonia Roma, a centric neighborhood bustling with sidewalk bistros and chic boutiques.
Guizar, who has dual Mexican-American citizenship, was on the list of Mexico's 122 most-wanted criminals, Sales told reporters at a press conference.
"He is suspected of being responsible for the trafficking of drugs from South America to the United States and of being one of the leading instigators of violence in the country's southeastern states," said Sales.
Though it is one of Mexico's newer cartels, the Zetas quickly established a reputation for being one of its most barbaric.
Zetas members were mostly recruited from the ranks of military deserters in the late 1990s to serve as the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel, but they broke off to form their own criminal ring in 2010.
Since 2003, Guizar has led the cartel's operations from the small town of Palenque, in southern Chiapas state, which borders on Guatemala, said the official.
With the cartel's control of the southeast consolidated, in 2013 he "expanded his operations to central Mexico, mainly the state of Puebla," said Sales.
Guizar began his life of crime in 1988 in central Michoacan state, before moving to north Mexico's Tamaulipas state in 2001.
According to Sales, he is also wanted in the United States, which offered 5 million U.S. dollars for his capture.
Sales said no shots were fired in the arrest, which was the result of an investigative effort.