Mexican cartel leader captured in gunboat chase at border

Federal officials announced this week that an alleged high-ranking member of the Los Zetas drug cartel was arrested in a take down on a border lake that included Texas Department of Public Safety gunboats and National Guard helicopters.

In custody are two Mexican nationals, Jose Manuel Saldivar-Farias, 27, and Osiel Hernandez-Martinez, 26, charged with conspiracy to possess more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana.

Saldivar-Farias aka “Z-31” or “El Borrado,” (The Eraser) is thought to be a regional commander of the notorious Los Zetas organization allegedly in charge of moving massive shipments of illegal drugs from Northern Mexico into Texas.

The Zetas, originally formed from rogue Mexican special forces troops have long been considered by the U.S. government to be the, “most technologically advanced, sophisticated, and dangerous cartel operating in Mexico.”

The two were taken into custody after a dramatic waterborne chase on Falcon Lake, which bisects the border near Laredo. The March 12 pursuit was conducted by gunboats of the Texas Department of Public Safety Quick Reactionary Force (QRF), in conjunction with air support provided by the Texas Air National Guard.

The International Falcon Reservoir has long been the stomping ground of outlaw armadas and heavily armed narco traffickers.

The men gave false names when arrested which, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, were quickly seen through. If convicted each man faces the possibility of life imprisonment and up to $10 million in fines.

Both men face a probable cause hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Guillermo R. Garcia on Friday, March 20, 2015 in Laredo.