|Galiana is alleged to have led a drug cartel believed to be responsible for murders in Acapulco [Reuters]|
Mexican police have arrested the alleged leader of the La Barredora drug cartel, which is believed to be partly responsible for the recent upswing in abductions and murders in the resort city of Acapulco.
Under heavy security, police showed Victor Manuel Rivera Galiana, known as “Victor, El Gordo” (Victor, the Fat Man), to journalists at a Mexico City news conference.
Ramon Eduardo Pequeno, a federal police official, said that Rivera Galiana, who was arrested on Friday, was one of three founders of La Barredora.
Pequeno said Rivera Galiana was left in charge after the capture of its former head Christian Hernandez Tarin last month.
La Barredora arose in 2010 upon the break-up of members of the independent Acapulco cartel Cida.
The two groups have been fighting each other for control of drug trade in Acapulco.
“The dispute between the two criminal organisations was what detonated the violence in Acapulco port, due to the fight over control of drug sales and other illegal activities they undertook, such as homicides and extortion of business people,” Pequeno said.
Vollyball court crime
In a separate development on Friday, gunmen opened fire on a group of volleyball players in the drug violence-plagued state of Sinaloa, killing at least eight people and injuring at least seven others.
Francisco Cordova, Sinaloa state police chief, said soldiers, federal police and local officers were deployed in the crime scene.
He said that some of those killed in the state were playing volleyball while others were watching. The volleyball court is in a working-class neighbourhood of Culiacan, the state capital.
It was not immediately clear whether the shooting was drug related, but Sinaloa is the home state of Joaquin Guzman’s powerful drug cartel. It has been the scene of bloody battles between the gang and its rivals.
On Thursday, groups of heavily armed men fired hundreds of shots at each other in the streets of the border city of Ciudad Juarez, in the state of Chihuahua, leaving at least six people dead.
Police said investigators recovered 442 spent bullets from the scene.
Ciudad Juarez is considered one of Mexico’s most violent cities, with nearly 10,000 drug-related deaths in the last five years.
About 45,000 people have died in drug-related killings in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon waged a war on the drug gangs shortly after taking office at the end of 2006.
Violence was long concentrated in northern Mexico, but cities farther south, including Acapulco, have increasingly been swept up in the lawlessness.
As authorities increasingly target well-established cartels such as the Zetas and Sinaloa gang, smaller groups have risen up to take their place, further fuelling viscous turf wars between cartels.