EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The Mexican army is reporting the capture of a top Sinaloa cartel operative in the state of Chihuahua and the killing of a Gulf cartel leader in Matamoros, Mexico.

An army unit based in Madera, Chihuahua, engaged in a firefight with members of a cell of the Sinaloa cartel on Friday in the town of La Norteña; the shootout led to the capture of Francisco Arvizu Marquez, a.k.a. “El Jaguar,” or “The Jaguar.”

Arvizu sustained gunshot injuries and was taken into custody along with three other alleged drug traffickers. He was wanted on charges of organized crime and murder and is considered one of the main “generators of violence” in Western Chihuahua, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. The army said it seized high-caliber weapons and ammo from the detainees.

Arvizu on Monday morning remained in a Juarez hospital under army custody being treated for gunshot wounds to the right shoulder and forearm, according to local news media. He was expected to be flown to a maximum-security prison shortly.

Arvizu led the Gente Nueva del Jaguar cell of the Sinaloa cartel, which was involved in a bloody two-year war with Roberto Gonzalez Montes, a.k.a. “El Mudo,” or “The Mute,” of La Linea cartel for control of drug trafficking, illegal logging, gasoline theft and extortion in Western Chihuahua, according to state authorities and U.S. security experts.

The two gangs clashed near the town of Las Varas, Chihuahua, in April of 2020, resulting in the death of 19 people, mostly alleged members of the Jaguar’s gang, including at least two close relatives, the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office said at the time.

Federal authorities arrested Gonzalez last November in connection with the murders of nine American citizens near the Chihuahua-Sonora border. The massacre of three women and six children was allegedly carried out by members of La Linea who mistook their vehicles with a caravan of Sinaloa cartel rivals, a top Mexican official said in a news conference a few days after the killings.

The Mexican army on Sunday also linked The Jaguar to the killings, though it wasn’t clear what role Arvizu might have played other than leading the Sinaloa cartel factions fighting La Linea in the general area of the U.S. citizens’ killings.

Security experts and Mexican lawmen have told Border Report La Linea is asserting control over drug-trafficking routes into the United States in the Nuevo Casas Grandes to Janos region, while encroaching on Sinaloa’s Agua Prieta, Sonora-Douglas, Arizona, corridor.

Gulf cartel leader slain in Matamoros

The Mexican army also said it killed a high-ranking member of the Gulf cartel late Friday in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.

The gunfight began with the pursuit of two suspicious vehicles – including an armored vehicle lacking license plates – driving along the Cavazos Lerma Boulevard in Matamoros, the army said in a statement.

The army said its soldiers were shot at with “high-caliber weapons” by occupants of the pursued vehicles and returned fire.

Four suspects were arrested and three more were killed, including Ariel Treviño Peña, a.k.a. “El Tigre,” or “The Tiger.” Treviño was wanted on kidnapping charges and was believed to be in charge of the Nuevo Progreso-Progreso, Texas, “plaza” or drug corridor, the army said in its statement. News reports have identified Treviño as the leader of the “Scorpions” cell of the cartel, charged with keeping rivals in line between Matamoros and Nuevo Progreso.

Both the governor of Tamaulipas and the Mexican army said the demise of The Tiger will make people safer.

“With actions such as these, the Mexican army reaffirms its commitment to safeguard the welfare of citizens, working in coordination with authorities from the three levels of government to guarantee the peace and safety” of people in Mexico, the army statement said.