MEXICO CITY – The son of the alleged leader of the country's most violent drug cartel has been captured in the western state of Jalisco, Mexican authorities said Tuesday.
A federal official speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss the arrest confirmed that federal forces captured Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez, alias "el Menchito," early Tuesday. His father is Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, leader of the Jalisco New Generation cartel.
The father's nickname — "Mencho" — is a phonetic derivation of his first name. The son's nickname is a diminutive version of his father's.
It is at least the second time the younger Oseguera Gonzalez has been captured. Federal forces arrested him in January 2014, but he was released months later because of a court decision. It was not immediately clear why he had been released on that occasion.
The Jalisco cartel is blamed for some of the bloodiest and boldest attacks on federal forces in years. The gang was implicated in an ambush that killed 15 state police officers in April, and a May 1 attack in which a rocket launcher shot down an army helicopter, killing 10.
Federal forces last month killed 42 suspects believed to be affiliated with the gang on a ranch in Michoacan state, which borders Jalisco.
In just a few years, New Generation has grown from a small branch of the powerful Sinaloa cartel to one of Mexico's strongest criminal groups in its own right, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, whose Office of Foreign Assets Control maintains a "black list" of drug trafficking organizations.
New Generation's quick rise reflects a rapidly changing organized-crime landscape in Mexico as the government targets top leaders of established cartels. More than any other criminal group, New Generation has taken advantage of the government strategy, strengthening and grabbing territory as its rivals are weakened.
The Zetas cartel was once considered Mexico's most violent, but arrests of its top leadership have lowered the gang's profile.