Mexico drug lord's son freed, and arrested again

Mexico City (AFP) - The son of Mexico's most wanted drug lord was re-arrested Wednesday shortly after he had been freed for a second time in six months.

Ruben Oseguera, alias "El Menchito," had been detained just a week ago over allegations that he is the second-in-command of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel.

But a federal court in the central State of Mexico ordered the 25-year-old suspect's release, saying the authorities failed to prove his links to the gang.

Authorities arrested him again after his release, this time over his "presumed participation in the disappearance of two people," the attorney general's office said in a statement.

Prosecutors also appealed the court's ruling. Officers had waited for Oseguera outside the Almoloya prison in Mexico State to re-arrest him.

Letting Oseguera go free would have been an embarrassment for the authorities, who captured him once before in January 2014 but were ordered to free him a year later due to a lack of evidence.

The US-born son of cartel boss Nemesio "El Mencho" Oseguera was detained again on June 23 as he rode in a car with his brother-in-law in a suburb of Guadalajara, Jalisco's capital.

Authorities said they were carrying four assault rifles, including an AR-15 with "Menchito" (Little Mencho) engraved on one side and on the other the cartel's initials CJNG, the number "02" and the abbreviation "Jr."

In its ruling, the court said the pair should be released because it took nine hours for police to present the suspects to prosecutors and "they were not duly assisted in an immediate way by a defense lawyer."

The powerful New Generation cartel, which has links to gangs as far away as Asia, has emerged as a new challenge to President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration.

The group has taken the authorities head-on, killing some 30 police officers and soldiers since March, downing a military helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade on May 1.

Federal police killed 42 suspected cartel members on a ranch in the neighboring state of Michoacan on May 22.

- 'Lack of will' -

Oseguera's release was the latest clash between prosecutors and judges in Mexico.

An official in the attorney general's office complained that the court that freed Oseguera "valued more the witnesses from the defense than the report of the federal police."

The official said it took nine hours to present the suspect to prosecutors because he had to be taken to Mexico City for security reasons.

Oseguera, who was born in California, also received the assistance of a US consular official, the source said.

Mexican authorities were left red-faced in August 2013 when a judge freed a veteran drug cartel leader, Rafael Caro Quintero, over a technicality.

The US government protested, as Quintero had served just 28 of his 40-year sentence for the torture and murder of an undercover US anti-drug agent in 1985.

The Oseguera case demonstrates a "lack of will" by courts to do their jobs, which could make it harder to combat cartels, said Javier Oliva, security expert at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.