MEXICO CITY — Mexico's federal police have arrested a founding member of the brutal Zetas drug cartel, a man who controlled drug smuggling routes and the kidnapping of Central American migrants in southern Mexico, officials said Tuesday.
Flavio Mendez Santiago, 35, was arrested along with a bodyguard outside Oaxaca City. He was in charge of operations in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Veracruz, said Federal police anti-drug chief Ramon Pequeno.
Pequeno said Mendez Santiago, known as "El Amarillo" or "The Yellow One," controlled the smuggling of Central and South American migrants and was in charged of moving them to the northern states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, on the border with Texas.
The Zetas are suspected in the disappearance of more than 40 Central American migrants in Oaxaca last month. The travelers were last seen Dec. 16 near the city of Ixtepec along the sun-scorched transit route for thousands who ride northbound freight trains.