Key member of one of Mexico’s most dangerous cartels imprisoned

A judge has sentenced Alfonso Zamudio Quijada, known as El Samurai, to 36 years in prison yesterday after being arrested in 2013. It is believed that the convicted man was in charge of managing the finances of an organised-crime group known as Los Zetas cartel.

According to local reports, Zamudio Quijada was arrested in 2013 in Coahuila as a result of a tip-off to the authorities. At the time of his arrest, he was leaving a building in which 500 bags of cocaine were subsequently seized, as well as possessing an AK47 firearm, 55 cartridges and a driving license in the name of Carlos Meléndez.  The firearm and cartridges are only permitted to be used by armed forces in Mexico.

At the time of his arrest, it has also been revealed that he attempted to bribe the officers who had detained him.

Los Zetas cartel is one of Mexico’s most powerful and deadly criminal organisations which was originally formed by ex-military members. The group focuses on drug trafficking whilst also running arms deals and sex-trafficking rings. The cartel also organises smuggling through Guatemala and it has been claimed that they have even recruited people from the United States to cooperate with their illicit activities. Whilst also being one of the most powerful and widespread cartels, they have seen a number of fractions from within the group as well as increased efforts to detain cartel members. In February of this year, the Business Insider revealed that regional Los Zetas leader, Jose Maria Guizar Valencia, was captured after overseeing the trafficking within southern Mexico.

The original arrest that happened back in 2013 took place during President Enrique Peña Nieto and occurred during a huge clampdown on cartel control. Previous conflicts against cartels, however, have proved unsuccessful and have led larger cartels to splinter and a new wave of organised crime and increased violence take precedence throughout Mexico. The incoming President, known by his initials  AMLO, has pledged to shake up the country’s approach to organised crime and bring an end to criminal groups once and for all. Unlike his predecessors, the leftist leader promises to change and a firm stop to the corruption that allows cartels to thrive.

The conclusion of yesterday’s trial saw the District Judge of the state of Coahuila deliver the sentence charging  Alfonso Zamudio Quijada with responsibility for organised crime and possession of a firearm and cartridges. It is unclear where the prisoner will spend his jail term.

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