Mexican soldiers have arrested a suspected trafficker who has been key to the drug wars in Sonora and is accused of killing a human-rights activist.

The arrest of Jesús Alfredo Salazar Ramírez took place Nov. 1 in a town called Huixquilucan, in the state of Mexico, Mexico's Defense Ministry announced.

Salazar Ramírez is accused in the killing of Nepomuceno Moreno in Hermosillo, Sonora, on Nov. 28 last year. Moreno had joined Mexican poet Javier Sicilia's Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, and Moreno was seeking information on the disappearance of his own son and three others.

The ministry said Salazar Ramirez is the leader of the group known as "Los Salazar" and was responsible for the cultivation, transport and smuggling of marijuana through Sonora and a western sliver of Chihuahua into the United States.

Salazar Ramírez was an important lieutenant of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzman, the ministry says, and he is accused of orchestrating several killings in Sonora, Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Mexico City.

Another notorious recent case was the December 2011 killing of attorney Rubén Alejandro Cepeda Leos in Chihuahua City, Chihuahua.

In September, Mexico's Public Safety Ministry blamed Los Salazar and a competing gang for two outbreaks of violence in the Puerto Peñasco-Sonoyta corridor: the July 19 shootout in Rocky Point that left six dead, and a series of gunbattles in early September near Sonoyta.

On Sept. 6, Mexican police arrested Adelmo Niebla González, the alleged leader of the other gang, called Los Memos, involved in those conflicts with Los Salazar.

Salazar Ramírez also is wanted in the United States and faces an arrest warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the western district of Texas. The United States has requested his extradition.

Contact reporter Tim Steller at 807-8427 or at