Alleged Leader of Group That Killed Americans Has Been Arrested

Alleged Leader of Group That Killed Americans Has Been Arrested

( – A drug cartel kidnapped four Americans who traveled to Mexico in March 2023. The friends made the trip so one could undergo a cosmetic procedure. In the end, cartel members murdered two of them and seriously injured the remaining two, but they returned home. Authorities speculated that the cartel kidnapped them in a case of mistaken identity. Now, officials have captured one of the leaders of the gang that reportedly took the Americans.

In a press release on Thursday, January 18, the Mexican Navy detailed the arrest of “one of the key leaders” of Tamaulipas’ most feared criminal syndicate. Though it didn’t name the suspect directly, San Pedro Garza García mayor Miguel Treviño confirmed it was José Alberto García Vilano, locally known as “La Kena.” The Navy said it was working “with authorities from the three levels of government … to weaken criminal groups.”

Law enforcement officials arrested the suspected gang leader in a shopping mall. Authorities had sought to detain him for quite some time before his arrest, posting a $150,000 reward for information leading to him. They made the arrest without any violence.

La Kena is reportedly the leader of the Cyclones gang, a faction of the now-divided Gulf Cartel. It’s one of the most violent and powerful syndicates to branch off from another cartel. It’s also the one officials tied to the kidnapping and murder of Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown.

The kidnapping and deaths led to investigations and some arrests, with the Scorpions faction turning over five people it claimed were involved in the abduction just days after it happened, along with an apology. It also condemned the violence.

The State Department has regularly advised against traveling to specific areas of Mexico, particularly those not offering the security of a resort, because of the increasing violence and drug trade in the country.

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