Cartel Boss ‘El Chapito Leal' Possibly Arrested After Shootout With Police in Tijuana

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Mexican authorities report that a man with the same name as known cartel leader Octavio Leal Hernández, also known as “El Chapito Leal," was arrested on Wednesday after a shootout with police.

El Chapito Leal is a known criminal leader who operates and runs the Arellano-Félix Cartel based in Tijuana.

A spokesman for the General Prosecutor's (GP) Office of Baja California said the arrest occurred after a shooting confrontation between alleged car thieves and police in the streets of Tijuana, Telemundo reported.

The shooting occurred after an armed robbery of a used car dealership on Avenida Via Rápida Oriente in Tijuana that led to a police chase and eventually the shooting, Tijuana police reported.

A man named Octavio Leal Hernández is currently being detained in the facilities of the Attorney General's Office of the Republic in the Zona Rio neighborhood near the U.S.-Mexico border, according to authorities.

A spokesperson for the Mexican Attorney General's office could not confirm the man in custody was El Chapito Leal.

"The Tijuana police are working hard to keep residents safe and any action that is taken they will make sure to put the residents of Tijuana first," the Ministry of Security and Municipal Citizen Protection said.

Local police operated in coordination with State Guard, National Guard and the Ministry of National Defense to capture eight people involved in the shooting, the City Council of Tijuana reported.

Mexican media states that since 2012 "El Chapito Leal" has led a criminal cell dedicated to drug transfer between Mexico and the U.S., and in eight years has been arrested four times.

“Very few criminals end up going to jail so this is important, but nevertheless I don’t think this going to have a very big impact in reducing violence in Tijuana and northern Baja California,” said Rafael Fernández de Castro, director of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego.

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