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Mexico captures ‘El Nini,’ Sinaloa Cartel’s alleged security boss


MEXICO CITY, Nov 22 (Reuters) – The Mexican National Guard on Wednesday captured Nestor Isidro Perez Salas, or “El Nini,” who is accused of heading security for the faction of the Sinaloa Cartel headed by the sons of founder Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Seen by U.S. anti-narcotics agents as one of the most ruthless Mexican drug figures, Perez Salas was detained in Culiacan, the Sinaloa Cartel’s heartlands, and was taken to Mexico City, according to government detention records.

He is accused by the U.S. State Department of working under Ivan Archivaldo Guzman to lead the “Ninis,” a violent group of security personnel for the Guzman brothers, also known as “Los Chapitos.”

U.S. courts have indicted Perez Salas on a slew of charges in relation to his alleged role at the helm of the Chapitos’ security apparatus, including cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy, possession of machine guns and witness retaliation.

The State Department had offered up to $3 million for information leading to his arrest.

Nini’s capture comes less than a week after U.S. President Joe Biden met with his Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

“We’re working side-by-side to combat arms trafficking, to tackle organized crime and to address the opioid epidemic, including fentanyl,” Biden said.

The U.S. and Mexico also agreed with China last week to stem the flow of fentanyl precursor chemicals from the Asian country.

The Sinaloa Cartel is largely responsible for the huge influx of fentanyl into the U.S. in recent years, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration alleges.

In January, Mexican authorities captured Ovidio Guzman in Sinaloa and extradited him to the United States in September. The three other Guzman brothers who suspected of being leaders of Los Chapitos – including the figurehead, Ivan – remain free.

Reporting by Manuel Carrillo and Kylie Madry; Editing by Sarah Morland, Brendan O’Boyle and Lincoln Feast

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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