Juárez cartel reputed leader ‘El 80’ Carlos Quintana captured by Mexico special forces

JUAREZ – Mexican special forces have captured the reputed leader of the New Juárez Drug Cartel, officials said Thursday evening, according to the El Paso Times.

Carlos Arturo Quintana, who is known as “El 80,” was captured without firing a shot in the town of Namiquipa in western Chihuahua, federal government officials said.

Quintana is wanted by the FBI as part of indictments issued three years ago in New Mexico targeting the alleged leadership of the Juárez cartel in an investigation dubbed Operation Virus Maker.

Chihuahua state law enforcement identified Quintana as the suspected leader of La Linea crime organization, which also has been called the New Juárez Drug Cartel.

Quintana’s arrest in Namiquipa was carried out in a special operation by an elite team of Mexican military and Mexican Federal Police, federal officials said.

Namiquipa is about 120 miles northwest of Chihuahua City.

Quintana’s arrest occurred during a recent surge in drug-related violence in Juárez and other parts of Chihuahua.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Mexican law enforcement officials have said the bloodshed is partly due to a conflict between La Linea and the Barrio Azteca gang for control of the Juárez cartel.

There are also battles among other drug-trafficking groups across the state.

The Juárez drug cartel is not as large as it was decades ago but remains a regional force in Chihuahua, West Texas and New Mexico, DEA officials have said.

Quintana was the “principal generator of violence in the state of Chihuahua,” a federal police official said at an evening news conference broadcast from Mexico City.

Mexican Secretary of the Interior Alfonso Navarrete in a tweet described Quintana’s arrest as “an important blow against a principal crime group that operated in Chihuahua.”

Mexican officials said that Quintana allegedly ran a crime organization that smuggled marijuana, opium poppy, heroin and methamphetamine from Chihuahua into the United States.

Chihuahua Attorney General Cesar Peniche Espejel said that state police are working with federal police and the military to arrest those generating drug violence.

“We are convinced that with these actions, the coordination of the security forces is strengthened,” Peniche said in a statement.