Mexican “cartel member” tried to escape from Texan police officers by swimming into Mexico

A suspected cartel member was dragged out of the Rio Grande after attempting to swim to Mexico to escape the Texan police officers trying to arrest him, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.

Jose Francisco Paz-Ruiz, whom officials identified as a member of the Northeast Cartel, was spotted outside a house by District 2 officials of the Webb County Constable on Tuesday as he boarded a pickup truck in Laredo.

Police tried to stop the vehicle near an intersection to execute the warrant, but the driver, whose name was not disclosed, did not comply.

He then led the police on a high speed chase when a Customs and Border Protection Air and Navy operation aircraft joined the chase through downtown Laredo.

Jose Francisco Paz-Ruiz is escorted from the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas after attempting to escape from Laredo police officers who tried to arrest him on Tuesday with an arrest warrant. Paz-Ruiz, identified as a member of the Northeast Cartel, attempted to swim to Mexico with another person who is still at large

Jose Francisco Paz-Ruiz is escorted by officers from Webb County Constable’s Office Precinct 2 in Laredo, Texas shortly after he was stopped from swimming to Mexico across the Rio Grande on Tuesday

The driver exited the vehicle under the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge, where he and Paz-Ruiz jumped out and ran towards Rio Grande as border guards and officials chased them.

The driver was able to swim back to Mexico, but Paz-Ruiz was caught in the river and escorted back to the US side of the Rio Grande.

CBP said the Webb County Bureau District 2 had detained Constable Paz-Ruiz and confiscated the vehicle. reached out to the Webb County Constable’s Precinct 2 Office for comment.

It is not known what position Paz-Ruiz held within the Northeast Cartel, created by former members of the infamous Zetas Cartel. The Zetas Cartel – now known as the Northeast Cartel – was once the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel before it split off in 2010.

Juan Gerardo Treviño has reportedly taken over the leadership of the Northeast Cartel after the DEA arrested Juan Francisco Treviño in Houston in September 2016.

The cartel operates in the state of Tamaulipas and has been involved in several conflicts with its main rival, the Gulf cartel, and the Sinaloa cartel.

According to the DEA’s 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment, the cartel is among the top nine Mexican criminal organizations smuggling drugs into the United States.

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