Cartel Leader Wanted in US Captured in Mexico

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WESLACO – A top cartel leader wanted in the U.S. is behind bars. He was captured in Mexico City Thursday. His arrest could mean an increase in violence.

Jose Maria Guizar Valencia, 38, was born in California. He's also a citizen of Mexico. Both governments were after his capture.

A trail of trafficked drugs and murdered Guatemalan civilians led the U.S. and Mexico to Jose Maria Guizar Valencia.

The U.S. Department of State was at one point even offering $5 million for information leading to his arrest. Now, they have him. The question now is – what happens next?

"Every time there's someone this significant getting arrested, there's a power-play," explains former FBI agent, Art Fontes.

He believes those under Guizar Valencia will attempt to climb up into his position causing chaos along the way. What may affect the magnitude of that violence is the cartel's splintering believes Dr. Guadalupe Correa who studies Mexican violence.

"This group has been fragmented," she explains.

Guizar Valencia was not the head of the Zetas cartel but rather a fraction of it.

"In many occasions when a drug lord that operates at the highest levels of the organizations, we see an increase in violence, but it's not overall in the whole country," says Correa.

Guizar Valencia took over the Guatemalan-Mexican border killing many in that process. The cells he may have overlooked could be far from the U.S.-Mexico border.

It leads Correa to suspect the violence created by his arrest won't increase violence in the Valley, but Fontes says the election year may already be increasing violence throughout Mexico.

"They're not just looking for the drug routes or the plaza, the points, they're looking also to influence the elections," says Fontes.

Fontes says that creating alliances with parties could pave the way for benefits that come when the party wins.

He believes people who live on the border should take precautions when traveling into Mexico. Fontes advises to keep conducting your business during the daytime.

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