Mexican security forces killed reputed Gulf cartel leader Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords, in a spectacular, hours-long gunbattle in the northern border city of Matamoros.
Cardenas Guillen, also known as 'Tony Tormenta' or 'Tony the Storm,' is the brother of imprisoned former leader Osiel Cardenasn Guillen and is the latest in a growing number of high-profile cartel leaders who have been captured or killed by the armed forces President Felipe Calderon has stationed throughout the country to battle drug traffickers.
The clashes yesterday across the border from Brownsville, Texas, also claimed the lives of four gunmen and three marines, according to the Mexican navy, and caused mayhem late into the night. A soldier and a local reporter were also killed, the Mexican Defence Department said in a news release. Across the city, residents holed up in their homes and offices to escape the gunfire, communicating by Facebook and Twitter. "Shelter, everyone! Don't leave your houses please. Pass the word," read one tweet.
Cardenas Guillen, 48, is believed to have run the powerful cartel along with Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, moving cocaine and marijuana into the United States. He had been indicted on drug-trafficking charges in the US, where authorities had offered a USD 5 million reward for information leading to his arrest.
Mexican authorities offered a USD 2 million reward and had him on their list of the nation's most-wanted drug traffickers. He was killed in a two-hour shootout in an operation that included 150 marines, three helicopters and 17 military vehicles and that was the result of more than six months of intelligence work, the Mexican navy said in a statement.
The navy said troops showing up to arrest Cardenas Guillen were met with grenades and heavy weapon fire.