EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Juarez authorities are reporting the arrest of one of the border’s most wanted criminals.

Jesus Alfredo Martinez Mendoza, 39, was taken into custody Sunday in Juarez, Mexico, while in possession of 5 kilograms of heroin, Juarez authorities said.

Martinez Mendoza has been identified as one of the main heroin distributors for the “Barrio Azteca” gang, which has been associated with “La Linea” drug cartel, Juarez police said. The man also known as “El Freddy” was No. 6 on the list of the 10 Most Wanted criminals in the El Paso, Texas-Juarez, Mexico, region.

Police said the suspect was taken into custody while walking toward the Rio Grande with a backpack carrying the drug in five taped-up “bricks.” Juarez authorities said he was preparing to cross the drug illegally into the United States and bring back the profits for the gang.

The heroin alleged found in the backpack of “El Freedy.” (photo courtesy Juarez Public Safety Commission)

“He admitted to being one of the leaders of the ‘Aztecas’ gang and was carrying more than 5 kilograms of heroin when he was arrested,” Juarez Mayor Armando Cabada said.

The mayor said that the information that led to Martinez Mendoza’s arrest came from the United States, from a binational hotline established late last year under the “Se Busca Informacion,” a most-wanted program.

Martinez Mendoza was No. 6 on the border’s ‘Most wanted’ list.

“There is much participation from citizens in that program. They know they are calling a number in the United States managed by U.S. authorities who share information with us and with (Chihuahua state) authorities,” Cabada said. “This is the first important success we’ve had with this program and we are getting information on other suspects, including some that were not on the list.”

Faced with increased scrutiny at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Mexican drug cartels are now concentrating their exports to America on “hard drugs” such as heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl, analysts and authorities say.

In Fiscal Year 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 5,427 pounds of heroin, 68,585 pounds of meth and 2,545 pounds of fentanyl.

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