Héctor Beltrán Leyva (born 15 February 1965) is a Mexican suspected drug lord and former leader of the Beltrán Leyva Cartel, a drug trafficking organization. He is the brother of Arturo Beltrán Leyva (deceased), former leader of the cartel. Héctor was the second-in-command and rose to the leadership of the criminal organization after his brother's death on 16 December 2009 during a confrontation with Mexican marines.
Although originally a part of the Sinaloa Cartel, the four Beltrán Leyva brothers broke ties with the organization in 2008 after Alfredo Beltrán Leyva was arrested by Mexican military special forces, and the Beltrán Leyva brothers blamed their boss Joaquín Guzmán (a.k.a. El Chapo) of treason. In response to the supposed betrayal, the Beltrán Leyva brothers ordered the murder of 22-year-old Édgar Guzmán López, a son of Joaquín Guzmán, who was killed in a shopping center parking lot by at least 15 gunmen using assault rifles and grenade launchers.
The remaining four Beltrán Leyva brothers established the Beltrán Leyva Cartel and forged a collaboration pact with their former rivals: the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas. Today, the Beltrán Leyva Cartel is responsible for the procurement of fire arms and ammunitions from the United States in furtherance of their criminal enterprise and is responsible for the trafficking of multi-ton amounts of illicit drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine. Héctor Beltrán Leyva is also credited with rising rates of violence within Mexico, as his organization is reportedly responsible for kidnapping, torture, murder, and various other acts of violence against numerous men, women, and children in Mexico. The cartel is considered one of the most ruthless and brutal in the way they dispose of their enemies. The organization is connected with the assassinations of numerous Mexican law enforcement officials, including Édgar Eusebio Millán Gómez, the former acting commissioner of the Mexican Federal Preventive Police.
The U.S. Department of State was offering a reward of USD $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Héctor Beltrán Leyva, while the Mexican government offered a USD $2.1 million bounty reward.
On 3 December 2009, the United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned Beltrán Leyva under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (sometimes referred to simply as the "Kingpin Act"), for his involvement in drug trafficking along with twenty-one other international criminals and ten foreign entities. The act prohibited U.S. citizens and companies from doing any kind of business activity with him, and virtually froze all his assets in the U.S.
Beltrán Leyva was arrested by the Mexican Army on Wednesday, 1 October 2014, at about 2:30 PM inside a restaurant, Mario's Fresh Seafood, in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, 10 blocks away from the city center. He was arrested in a lightning raid by federal Army special operations agents, while eating a late lunch with another man, businessman and local political activist German Goyenechea, an associate. The restaurant was empty of customers save for those two at the time; both were dressed casually but expensively, in jeans. According to official reports, not a single shot was fired during the operation, even though both men had pistols. Goyenechea is alleged by the federal criminal investigations chief, Tomas Zeron, to have served as the financial operator of the group, presumably laundering drug money. He has been listed as a member of a nonpartisan civic group known as Mexican Civic Parliament and Mexico's Green Party.
On 6 October 2014, he was transferred by federal agents to the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1 (commonly referred to simply as "Altiplano"), a maximum-security prison in Almoloya de Juárez, State of Mexico. He was accused of violating Mexico's Federal Law of Firearms and Explosives. The next day, he was formally charged in a federal court for drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime offenses.