MEXICO CITY (AP) — The alleged leader of a Mexico City gang that is blamed for drug dealing, extortion and killings in the capital has been arrested, authorities announced Thursday.
National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said at a news conference that the suspected head of the Tepito Union gang known as “El Betito” was detained Wednesday in a southwestern neighborhood. He didn’t give a full name, but local media reported it as Roberto Moyado Esparza.
Sales said “El Betito,” 37, had used hair implants and lost more than 66 pounds (30 kilograms) through gastric bypass surgery to try to escape recognition.
Sales said the suspect is presumed to oversee the Tepito Union gang’s drug sales, extortion and protection rackets in upscale neighborhoods, as well as robbery and money laundering, especially in the central borough of Cuauhtemoc. He is also being investigated in connection with various murders.
He was previously arrested in 2008 and sentenced for robbery.
The Tepito Union takes its name from the notoriously gritty Tepito neighborhood just a few blocks north of the main square known as the Zocalo, the political, cultural and social heart of the capital and the country.
“El Betito” was detained after anti-drug agents identified him on a street and launched an operation to capture him. He was arrested in possession of 10,000 U.S. dollars, drugs and a handgun, and along with his 50-year-old brother.
Sales said the suspect had apparently moved among a number of homes and apartments in fancy neighborhoods to try to avoid detection by police and gang rivals.