Feared cartel boss freed days after arrest sparking allegations of collusion

Don’t miss a thing! Sign up to the Daily Star’s newsletter

One of Mexico's most-wanted drug cartel leaders was released just six days after his arrest – sparking speculation of collusion with the government.

Rafael Banuelos Ortega also known as "El Fantasma", the alleged leader of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) in Zacatecas, was released in the early hours of February 18, despite being arrested for being a string of violent offences.

The list of alleged offences included murders, kidnappings, extortion, sale and distribution of drugs.

The wanted criminal was captured in Chihuahua and transferred to Zacatecas in a plane belonging to the armed forces just six days before.

But his release has sparked suspicion of the cartel colluding with the government – allegations that the Mexican president has been forced to address.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at a press conference: "So, we are preventing that from happening, that the dividing line between authority and crime is marked, that there is no collusion, that is what we are working on, but it is not easy.

"And not everything depends on the executive, the federal government, the state governments, it also has to do with the judiciary, both of these and of the federation.

"Today they informed us, for example, and I take advantage of it because it is a matter that we consider serious: here in Chihuahua, with the participation of the state prosecutor's office.

"A person accused of kidnapping was arrested, allegedly a dangerous criminal who acted in Zacatecas and he stops here in Chihuahua, he is taken to Zacatecas and a judge sets him free yesterday."

For the latest breaking news and stories from across the globe from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.

The news comes after two people were killed and nine others were kidnapped in the latest shoot out or rival Mexican drug cartels.

In the early hours of February 16, a large armed convoy began patrolling the streets of Caborca, Sonora for two hours.

CCTV footage showed around seven trucks and a caravan, branded with an X travelling through the streets terrorising locals and forcing them into vans.

  • Crime
  • Police
  • Drugs
  • Gangs

Source: Read Full Article