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Mexican military: Suspected drug cartel leader arrested

By Nick Valencia, CNN
The Mexican military said it arrested Jesus Isreal de la Cruz Lopez, alias "El Tomate."
The Mexican military said it arrested Jesus Isreal de la Cruz Lopez, alias "El Tomate."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jesus Israel de la Cruz Lopez is believed to be a leader in the Sinaloa cartel
  • The Sinaloa cartel is Mexico's largest drug mafia
  • Mexican President Felipe Calderon has touted Tijuana as a success story
  • However, a police spokesman says there has been a resurgence of drug cartel activity

(CNN) -- A suspected leader of a Mexican drug cartel was arrested in Tijuana, Mexico, along with four other alleged cartel members, the Mexican military said.

Jesus Israel de la Cruz Lopez is believed to be a leader in the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico's largest drug mafia, which took a strong interest in the region after recent arrests of a rival cartel's leadership.

In a news release Wednesday, the Mexican military said it arrested Cruz Lopez, alias "El Tomate," and confiscated six packages of marijuana weighing about 65 kilograms, several guns and a GMC truck with Mexican plates.

Last January, Teodoro Garcia Simental, a top leader for the Tijuana cartel, was arrested in La Paz, California. Garcia was a top lieutenant for the Tijuana cartel until he defected to the rival Sinaloa cartel after a power struggle.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has touted Tijuana as an example of a success story against the drug cartels in his war on organized crime. However, a Tijuana police spokesman said recently that there has been a resurgence of drug cartel activity in the coastal city.

U.S. authorities discovered about 30 tons of marijuana in November that were part of a smuggling operation using a tunnel under the California-Mexico border.

The 600-yard tunnel -- which featured a rail system, lighting and ventilation -- connected a warehouse in Tijuana to one in an industrial area of San Diego.