Here is an excerpt from Sandra Dibble's article in the San Diego Union Tribune, titled "Mexico arrests leader of gang":
"His brutality was widely broadcast, as victims were found tortured, beheaded, dissolved in lye, hung from bridges, often with messages attached. Yet Eduardo Teodoro García Simental for many months maintained a low profile and evaded capture. Yesterday, his luck ran out. The gang leader known as El Teo, who also was linked to numerous kidnappings and extortions in the Tijuana region, was captured in the quiet seaside city of La Paz, capital of Baja California Sur. What his arrest will mean to the violence that has gripped the Tijuana region has yet to play out.
"Authorities had been on García’s trail for five months, but the operation to detain him early yesterday was over quickly as Federal Police, soldiers and marines closed in on the two-story residence in an upscale neighborhood of the city about 900 miles south of Tijuana. Hours later, García was in Mexico City, in handcuffs as he was forced to pose for photographs with masked and heavily armed federal agents. A one-time member of the Arellano Félix drug cartel, García is being blamed for 300 murders, including the deaths of numerous police officers." Link to Full Article
Analysis: I was bombarded yesterday with emails of the news of El Teo's arrest, and I was thrilled to hear about it. I was also frustrated because I'm in the middle of a cross-country move, and didn't get a chance to post my analysis until just now. Regardless, this is a really big deal, and there are a lot of ramifications that come with it.
If you have been following events in Mexico's drug war even casually in the last year, you know that violence levels in Tijuana sharply spiked in the spring of 2008. That's because El Teo split off from the AFO in April, got the backing of the Sinaloa Federation, and started his own little war against what was left of the AFO in northern Baja. Life in and around Tijuana has been pretty brutal ever since, and it's mostly because of El Teo.
You'd think that now because he's behind bars, things will get better, and everyone in the Calderón administration will be jumping for joy for some time. Unfortunately, that probably won't be the case. Like any capo worth his salt, El Teo had a right-hand man, and his name is Raydel "El Muletas" López Uriarte. López is probably the guy who will take the reins in El Teo's stead. He'll have a lot of responsibility to deal with in very short order, and the easiest way for a new capo to prove he means business - especially to someone as brutal as the head of the Federation, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera - is to start killing people.
Bottom line, it's really a good thing that the federales picked up El Teo; it's good news for the people of Tijuana and the rest of northern Baja, and good for the morale of the Mexican army, federal police, and government. However, the bloodshed is far from over, and the Mexican authorities are going to need to figure out how López is going to proceed.