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Major drug kingpin held in Mexico

world Updated: Apr 03, 2009 13:23 IST

IANS
Highlight Story

Mexican authorities have arrested a dreaded drug cartel kingpin, who is known as the "lord of the skies" for his fleet of aircraft.

Vicente Carrillo Leyva, son of late Juarez drug cartel founder Amado Carrillo Fuentes, was arrested from a park in the capital Wednesday following a coordinated effort by police and officials from the Attorney General's (AG) Office, federal Police Commissioner Rodrigo Esparza told reporters here Thursday.

The 32-year-old Leyva, who has a reward of $2.1 million on his head, is the nephew of Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, who has led the Juarez cartel since Amado's death in 1997.

According to the police commissioner, the drug lord was going by the name of Alejandro Peralta Alvarez and posing as a businessman.

Marisela Morales, head of the organised-crime unit in the AG's office, said the highly educated Leyva was one of the "heirs" to the Juarez cartel and was responsible for "management functions and hiding illicit resources" of the group.

The arrest was the second major blow to the leadership of Mexico's drug cartels in less than two weeks.

On March 19, Vicente Zambada Niebla, the son of Ismael "El mayo" Zambada, was arrested for his alleged role as chief of operations and logistics for the Sinaloa cartel.

Mexico has been plagued by drug-related violence, with powerful cartels battling each other and the security forces, as rival gangs vie for control of lucrative smuggling and distribution routes.

Gunmen in the pay of the cartels murdered around 2,700 people in 2007 and 1,500 in 2006, with the 2008 death toll soaring above 6,000.

So far this year, more than 1,500 people have died.