Mexican soldiers detain drug cartel suspect blamed in deadly Cancun bar fire

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican soldiers detained the Zetas drug cartel's alleged operations chief for the resort city of Cancun, the army said Sunday.

A Defense Department statement said Jose Angel Fernandez is suspected in last month's fire-bombing of a bar that killed eight people.

Fernandez, also known as "El Pelon," or "Baldy," allegedly ran an extortion ring for the Zetas and ordered the bar attacked with gasoline bombs because its owner refused to pay protection money.

The victims — six women and two men — included employees of the Castillo del Mar, which had a rough reputation and was located far from the hotel zone.

Fernandez and three alleged accomplices were detained in a raid Friday. Troops seized three rifles, nearly $144,000 in cash and a payroll list for people who apparently worked for the Zetas, the statement said.

Cancun has largely avoided Mexico's drug violence, in which more than 28,000 people have died since late 2006. However, drug cartels and immigrant traffickers operate in the area.