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Mexico Navy arrests suspected drug kingpin

world Updated: Sep 13, 2010 08:02 IST

IANS
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Mexican marines Sunday said they had arrested Sergio Villareal Barragan, one of the country's most-wanted drug traffickers.

Villareal Barragan, called "El Grande", is believed to be a powerful leader of the Beltran Leyva cartel. The former policeman was arrested in the state of Puebla, southeast of Mexico City, television reports said.

His arrest comes a fortnight after the capture of another drug kingpin, Edgar Valdez Villarreal, or "Barbie", who earlier belonged to the same cartel.

Barbie's arrest was hailed as a major victory for the government in its war against the country's powerful drug cartels.

Valdez had risen to become one of Mexico's top drug lords on taking control over the cartel headed by Arturo Beltran Leyva, who was killed by soldiers trying to capture him in December.

Earlier this month, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said that in the nearly four years since he took office, 125 drug bosses have been arrested along with more than 5,100 foot soldiers of the cartels.

An estimated 8,000 people have died in Mexico since January in incidents linked to organized crime, according to official figures.