Carlos Gerardo Sánchez, AKA El 02 from CJNG, journalist Armando Linares López’s alleged killer, is arrested in Zitácuaro

Carlos Gerardo Sanchez was arrested with two other people who were traveling in a pickup truck speeding on the Zitacuaro-Morelia highway.

In Zitácuaro, Michoacán, Mexico, state and federal forces apprehended Carlos Gerardo Sánchez, known as El 02, after a harrowing chase that culminated near a police module. Sánchez, believed to be a key figure in the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG), is also implicated in the killing of journalist Armando Linares López on March 15, 2022.

The pursuit ensued on the Zitácuaro-Morelia highway, where El 02, alongside two associates, were spotted in a Dodge Ram pickup racing at high speeds. The trio’s attempted escape was thwarted when their vehicle veered off the road and plummeted into a ditch. Although they tried to escape on foot, swift action by the Mexican National Guard, Mexican Army, and the Michoacan Civil Guard ensured their capture.

He is identified as the possible leader of a drug trafficking network (Photo: Cuartoscuro).
He is identified as the possible leader of a drug trafficking network (Photo: Cuartoscuro).

Upon his arrest, officials discovered a .9 millimeter firearm on El 02. An additional weapon was recovered from the van they had used in their escape attempt. Sources reveal that Sánchez, 22, had been on the radar of the Michoacan State Attorney General’s Office. This institution had previously announced a reward of 100,000 pesos for information leading to his capture.

The broader context of the arrest ties back to the assassination of journalist Armando Linares López, the director of local media, Monitor Michoacán. Linares López had reported threats against him, originating from his in-depth journalistic investigations in the state. The gravity of his murder was encapsulated in a poignant statement on the newspaper’s Facebook page: “We inform all the audience of MONITOR MICHOACÁN that today the director ARMANDO LINARES LÓPEZ suffered an attack at his home where he sadly lost his life. This is regrettable news. We condemn this event to whoever is responsible.”

Photo: Michoacán Prosecutor's Office.
Photo: Michoacán Prosecutor’s Office.

Following the arrest, verification with federal agencies affirmed that an outstanding warrant for the murder of Linares López existed against Carlos Gerardo. He, along with the detainees, is currently held at the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) in Zitácuaro, awaiting a judicial review of their legal status.

El Universal, a prominent newspaper, identifies El 02 as a principal operative within the framework led by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, or El Mencho, in Michoacán. Notably, Sánchez’s operations were reportedly overseen directly by William Edwin Rivera Padilla, known as El Barbas, who manages the eastern region of CJNG in Michoacán.