09/13/12 – On Wednesday, September 12, the Mexican Navy (Secretaría de Marina, SEMAR) detained one of the most wanted drug kingpins in Mexico and the United States, an alleged leader of the Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo, CDG), Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez (41), also know as “El Coss.” Costilla Sánchez was detained by a 30-person SEMAR team who found him hiding in a house in the neighborhood of Lomas de Rosales, in Tampico, Tamaulipas. Authorities were led to El Coss’s whereabouts as they pursued a vehicle with five armed men inside, which drove to the CDG leader’s hideout. All five men–Miguel Ángel Muñoz Villanueva “El Profe”, Servando Cano Antonio Arzola “El Güero”, Juan Carlos Castañeda Rodriguez, Jaime Alberto Corona Constante, and Ernesto Banda Chaires “El Campos”– were detained along with Costilla Sánchez, who did not resist arrest. Navy personnel also confiscated a batch of costly jewelry, two machine-guns, four handguns, 24 magazines, 460 cartridges of various calibers, and three vehicles from the scene. The information leading to the arrest of El Coss allegedly came from the capture of five individuals earlier that day who were involved in a shootout with the Navy in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas. The arrested individuals–Jose Torres Lugo, “El José;” Jorge Luis Gutiérrez Quintanilla, “El Flaco;” Nahum Vázquez Loya, “El Minitoy;” José Felipe Torres, “El Felipe;” and José Amado Ricardo Álvarez, “El Junior”–were all apparently bodyguards of the CDG leader.
Officials on both sides of the border have been working to capture Costilla Sánchez. SEMAR noted that Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) had a reward of 390 million pesos (almost $30 million USD) for information leading to his capture, while the U.S. Department of Justice offered up to $5 million (USD). Costilla Sánchez has been under investigation twice in the United States and the General Court of the Southern District of Texas has a warrant out for his arrest. SEMAR reported that the detainees, weapons, and jewelry seized on September 12 will be turned to the PGR’s Office of Special Investigations on Organized Crime (Subprocuraduría de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada, SIEDO), where investigations will continue. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) congratulated the government of Mexico through spokesman Lawrence Payne, who acknowledged the Mexican government and its brave armed forces for their continued success in the apprehension of drug traffickers.
Mexican authorities also noted that last week’s capture of Mario Cárdenas Guillén, “M-1,” contributed to El Coss’s arrest. As the Justice in Mexico Project reported, SEMAR captured Cárdenas Guillén, one of the alleged leaders of the CDG, after a special operation in Altamira, Tamaulipas, on September 3. The CDG had apparently divided into two factions–one led by Costilla Sánchez and the other by Cárdenas Guillén–, after the Mexican military captured Osiel Cárdenas Guillén in 2003 and subsequently extradited him to the United States in 2005; and after the death of then-leader Antonio Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén, “Tony Tormenta,” by Mexican soldiers in 2010.