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Mexican authorities arrest top Gulf Cartel leader hiding in resort town of Puerto Vallarta

August 7, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Mexican authorities arrest top Gulf Cartel leader hiding in resort town of Puerto Vallarta

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One of the highest ranking Gulf Cartel commanders, directly associated with the out of control violence in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, was discovered hiding in the beach town of Puerto Vallarta.

Victor Manuel Flores Rico alias “Pantera 16” has been referred to by authorities as a violent cartel leader.

He is tied to multiple cases of murder, abduction, extortion, cattle theft, and fuel theft.

Federal and state law enforcement officials in Mexico managed to track him down and apprehended him last week.

According to local reports, Flores Rico is directly linked to the kidnapping of Roberto Quiroga Valdez.

The victim is the son of a family in the food industry who was kidnapped by cartel associates in 2014 and has never been seen again.

Quiroga Valdez had been kidnapped on two occasions in 2013 but he was released after his family paid substantial sums of money to the Gulf Cartel.

Despite covering the ransom request, Gulf Cartel members did not release Quiroga Valdez after the 2014 abduction. Mexican federal officials are currently offering almost $80,000 USD for information leading to his whereabouts.

Along with being tied to multiple abductions and slayings, Pantera 16 controlled the central rural areas of Soto La Marina, Abasolo, Jimenez, and Aldama for the Gulf Cartel. Despite having dominance in that area, Flores Rico had moved his headquarters to the central part of Mexico in Leon, Guanajuato.

At the time of the arrest, Flores Rico had been visiting the popular hotspot of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, on the Pacific Coast.

Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior revealed that the arrest was executed without incident. A six-month-long probe conducted in conjunction with the Tamaulipas government resulted in the cartel leader’s capture.

State officials offered over $110,000 USD for information leading to Flores Rico.

At the same time the reward was announced, Tamaulipas police also launched an international tip-line with the helped of federal U.S. law enforcement agencies so that people in Mexico can contact U.S authorities to provide information.

Since the start of the two initiatives, authorities have apprehended two out of 10 wanted cartel leaders.

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