Alleged Ringleader of 2010 Migrant Massacre in Mexico Arrested

November 15, 2017 Last Updated: November 15, 2017

MEXICO CITY—The alleged mastermind of one of the worst massacres of migrants in Mexico’s long drug war was detained on Tuesday, Nov. 14, in an operation led by federal police.

Mexican security authorities said in a statement that the suspect Martiniano de Jesús Jaramillo, Zetas Cartel regional chief, allegedly coordinated the massacre of 72 migrants in the town of San Fernando in northern Tamaulipas state in August 2010.

The 56-year-old suspect, also believed to be involved in more recent violent crimes, was detained at a hospital in Ciudad Victoria, the state capital of Tamaulipas, according to the statement.

In one of the worst atrocities in Mexico’s prolonged drug war, Zetas drug cartel gunmen were responsible for the 72 massacred bodies that were found in an empty building at a remote ranch some 90 miles (145 km) from the Texas border.

The victims were mostly Central and South American migrant workers and appeared to have been blindfolded and bound before they were lined up against a wall and gunned down.

Investigators say that the migrants were murdered because they refused to work for the Zetas cartel.

The Zetas cartel is responsible for the murder of over 350 farmers and migrant workers who refused to join their ranks from across Mexico and Guatemala in the years 2010-2011, according to Business Insider.

The Zetas cartel is one of the most ruthless and technologically savvy in Mexico. According to murder statistics from the Mexican government, the cartel has been linked to more than 179,000 murders since 2006.

Honduran migrant Jose Medina awaits at the San Juan Diego shelter, in Lecheria, 30 km north of Mexico City, on Aug. 27, 2010. Blame for the killing of the 72 presumed migrants fell on the Zetas drug gang on Aug. 26. An injured Ecuadoran man claiming to be the sole survivor of a massacre alerted the military and told police the group had been kidnapped and killed by members of the Zetas for refusing to work for the cartel. (LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

By Lizbeth Diaz and David Alire Garcia

Additional reporting by Melanie Sun