Police arrest 3 suspected Gulf cartel members in Mexican resort city

Cancun, Mexico, Apr 8 (EFE).- Juan Daniel Velazquez Caballero, a suspected member of the Gulf drug cartel, and two of his nephews were arrested by police in the Mexican Caribbean resort city of Cancun, officials said.

Velazquez Caballero's nephews are the sons of Ivan Velazquez Caballero, an important member of the Zetas drug cartel who was extradited to the United States, Quintana Roo state Attorney General Gaspar Armando Garcia said.

The three men, all of whom are Gulf cartel members, were arrested after police received a call about armed men in a luxury SUV driving through a Cancun residential area, Garcia said.

The suspects identified themselves as businessmen and gave police false names, the AG said.

An inspection of the vehicle turned up four kilos of marijuana and 100 doses of cocaine, Garcia said, adding that the suspects were arrested and taken to the Quintana Roo Attorney General's Office complex.

"A background search on Plataforma Mexico (a crime database) determined that it was really Juan Daniel Velazquez Caballero, alias 'el Talibancillo,' who controls the regional territory," Garcia said.

"One of the nephews admitted that he was present at the arrest of his father in San Luis Potosi (on Sept. 26, 2012), but he managed to get away," the Quintana Roo AG said.

Velazquez Caballero's nephews were identified as Ivan Alejandro Velazquez Garza, 21, and Ivan Ivan Velazquez Garza, 24.

The Gulf cartel is no longer as powerful as it once was, partly because of its break with Los Zetas, the criminal organization's former armed wing, which severed ties with the cartel in 2010 and now runs its own narcotics trafficking business.

The Gulf organization, which mainly deals in cocaine, synthetic drugs and marijuana, mostly operates in northern Mexico and the eastern coastal areas.

The cartel, like other Mexican criminal organizations, has branched out into kidnappings and running extortion rackets, targeting businesses.

The Gulf cartel, one of Mexico's oldest drug trafficking organizations, was founded by Juan Nepomuceno Guerra in the 1970s.