Sinaloa Cartel
'Wanted' poster for key members of the Mexican Sinaloa drugs cartel in Monterrey Getty

A Sinaloa drugs cartel chief's son suspected of running drug distribution network and managing the gang's finances has been arrested, Mexican authorities said. Mexican National Security Commissioner Renato Sales identified the man arrested as Juan Jose, with no last name given, and said he had been taken into custody on 19 January 2017.

A federal official confirmed to Associated Press that the man was Juan Jose Esparragoza Monzon, 54, son of cartel chief Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno, aka "El Azul".

The elder Esparragoza is one of the senior members of the Sinaloa cartel alongside Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, and Ismael "El Mayo" Zambarda. His name translates into English as "The Blue", and he reportedly acquired it because of the dark tone of his skin.

He was imprisoned for seven years in 1986 for his role in the kidnapping, torture and murder of undercover US Drugs Enforcement Agency agent Enrique Camarena Salazar.

The Sinaloa cartel is regarded as one of the world's most powerful criminal organisations, and is responsible for transporting tons of drugs including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine into the US annually. The younger Esparragoza allegedly plays a key role in cartel operations.

Guzman was recently extradited to the United States to stand trial, after being arrested in 2016. Since his arrest several key figures in the cartel have also been arrested, with 20 indicted in Chicago courts in recent months.

The whereabouts of Esparragoza and Zambarda is unknown.