Arrest made in shooting of soccer star Cabanas
A fugitive suspect wanted in last year's near-fatal bar shooting of Salvador Cabanas, a former star for Paraguay's national football team and Mexico's Club America, was arrested in the Mexican capital Tuesday.
Jose Jorge Balderas, known by his initials "J.J.," was arrested during an operation in a wealthy neighbourhood of Mexico City, Federal Public Safety Department Anti-Drug Division chief Ramon Eduardo Pequeno said in a news conference.
Pequeno said Balderas denied shooting Cabanas and instead blamed his bodyguard, who was arrested last year.
Balderas "said the incident happened when he entered the bathroom and encountered Salvador Cabanas and asked for permission to use the toilet," according to Pequeno.
He added that the suspect told investigators the football player "reacted in an aggressive manner, both verbally and physically." Right then the bodyguard entered and shot Cabanas in the head at close range, Balderas allegedly said.
Witnesses have said Cabanas and Balderas got into an argument when Balderas questioned the Paraguayan's performances for his club.
Cabanas miraculously survived the Jan. 25 shooting but is not expected to return to football.
His shooting months before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa rocked Paraguay's national team, which had expected to field him as a starring player.
Balderas is an alleged associate of purported drug lord Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as "La Barbie," who was arrested last year.
According to a transcript released by Mexican authorities, Valdez told investigators he helped Balderas hide on the outskirts of Mexico City for about three months following the shooting.
In Paraguay, Cabanas's brother-in-law, Amancio Rojas, said Balderas' arrest could "help us learn the truth behind why this tragedy happened."
"Salvador's family members hope the presumed aggressor says why he attacked him," said Rojas, who is married to Cabanas' sister.
Cabanas declined to talk to reporters on the recommendation of his doctors.