Notorious drug trafficker and cartel assassin arrested in Tijuana

Border Report

Isidro “Chapito” Leal, wanted for numerous killings and the distribution of drugs throughout Mexico, was arrested in Tijuana late Wednesday night. Courtesy: Mexican Federal Police

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico (Border Report) — Late Wednesday night, Tijuana Police Officers responded to a robbery in progress at a car lot in the Zona Rio of Tijuana.

A group of armed men had reportedly tied up employees and tried to steal money and some of the cars, but someone managed to call for help.

Officers responded in mass and the robbers took off. A chase ensued and then a shootout.

While the suspects were being apprehended, one of them stood out. It turned out to be Isidro “Chapito” Leal, considered to be one of Mexico’s most notorious assassins and drug traffickers.

Leal had eluded arrest during another shootout a few years earlier and had been on the run ever since.

Mexico Federal Police says Leal has worked for the Sinaloa cartel and its infamous leader Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman.

Chapo is a nickname that at times is given to men who aren’t very tall.

Leal is also said to have worked for the Arellano Felix cartel based in Tijuana.

Some news reports have stated Leal was a drug lord, but several journalists familiar with cartels in Mexico, say Leal was a well-known “sicario” or assassin as well as a drug smuggler, but not the head of any cartel.

One reporter who wanted to remain anonymous said, “if Leal was a drug lord, he would not have been out stealing cars.”

Through Friday afternoon, Leal had been kept at the Federal Police headquarters in Tijuana not too far from the car lot he reportedly tried to rob.

At some point, Leal is expected to be flown to Mexico City, and then in the future, likely extradited to the United States.

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