In a significant development in the fight against organized crime in Mexico, authorities in San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León, have reported the capture of at least three men following an intense police mobilization. Among the arrested is José Alberto, known by the alias La Kena, a reputed leader within the notorious Gulf Cartel.
The Tamaulipas Security Spokesperson declared on Thursday afternoon the successful arrest of La Kena. They highlighted their statement, “The arrest of Jose ‘N’ aka the ‘Kena 19’ or ‘CMTE XIX’ is reported in San Pedro Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leon. Considered a priority target and one of the main generators of violence in the northeast of the country.” This announcement was accompanied by a video on social networks showcasing the involvement of Fuerza Civil vehicles and uniformed personnel.
The Reward and Collaboration
It is noteworthy that the Attorney General’s Office of Tamaulipas had previously offered a reward of up to 2.5 million pesos for information leading to La Kena’s capture, as per a search warrant dated April 2022. This arrest was the culmination of a joint operation involving the Secretariat of the Navy (Semar), the Nuevo Leon Attorney General’s Office, and Fuerza Civil agents.
Initial reports suggest that La Kena was identified and secured through facial recognition technology used on video surveillance equipment in the department store where the arrest occurred. Images and recordings of the detained man, donning a black mask and sweatshirt, quickly circulated on social media. In one such video, the subject was seen being escorted out of the shopping plaza by multiple security agents.
Legal Proceedings and Charges
Following his capture, La Kena will be presented before the Public Prosecutor’s Office to determine his legal status. He is wanted for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping, as per the Periódico Oficial de Tamaulipas dated March 22, 2022. The document states, “There is an arrest warrant against JOSE ALBERTO ALIAS ‘LA KENA O CICLON 19,’ for the commission of the crime of Kidnapping.”
La Kena is also allegedly linked to the kidnapping of four U.S. citizens in Matamoros in early March 2023. In this case, five individuals, believed to be responsible for the crime, were found abandoned with their hands tied, alongside a narco message presumably from Grupo Escorpión. The message read, “We have decided to hand over those involved and directly responsible for the facts, who at all times acted under their determination and indiscipline.” Despite the group’s denial of kidnapping as an operational method, cartel members have been previously sentenced for similar crimes.
This arrest follows the capture of El M-58 and/or Comandante Roque, another Gulf Cartel figure, in September 2023. Accused of being the leader of Los Metros, a faction within the Gulf Cartel, he was arrested in Reynosa along with several accomplices. All were indicted last October, marking a continued effort by authorities to dismantle the criminal organization.
La Kena’s arrest marks a significant stride in Mexico’s ongoing battle against cartel-related violence and crime. With multiple agencies collaborating in this operation, it underscores the complexity and severity of tackling organized crime in the region.