Alleged drug lord Miguel Angel Trevino Morales fled into heavy brush and fell at least once scratching his face in a failed attempt to escape capture two days ago, a Mexican federal government official said.
The official told The Associated Press that Trevino Morales tried to run away near the border city of Nuevo Laredo, long the base of operations for his brutal Zetas cartel, after marines in a Black Hawk helicopter stopped his truck.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the case.
On Tuesday, officials said three men were in the pickup truck and two dropped to the ground while one fled. The official said Trevino Morales was the one who ran and scraped his face against trees and shrubs.
Trevino Morales had what appeared to be scrapes and bruises in photos distributed by authorities after his arrest.
Authorities have said the marines found $2 million in cash and eight rifles and 500 bullets in the truck. Trevino Morales and the others were detained without a shot fired.
The official said that in recent weeks Trevino Morales had been keeping a low profile and moving before dawn on dirt roads and with only a few bodyguards between the border states of Coahuila and Tamaulipas.
He is being questioned by prosecutors in Mexico City.
Better known as "Z-40," Trevino Morales is one of the highest-level drug suspects captured recently.
His arrest was the first major blow against an organized crime leader by the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto, which has struggled to drive down persistently high levels of violence.
The arrest was at least the eighth capture or killing of high-ranking members of the cartel since 2011.
Experts on the Zetas said the arrest could leave behind a series of cells scattered across northern Mexico without a central command but with the same appetite for kidnapping, extortion and other crimes against innocent people.