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FACTDROP: Mexico captures suspected leader of Gulf cartel


Mexico captures suspected leader of Gulf cartel

The persumed  leader of the Gulf Drug Cartel, Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, 41, has been captured by Mexican Marines.

Πηγή: Peninsula
Sept 14 2012

MEXICO CITY: Mexican marines have captured the suspected leader of the Gulf cartel, dealing a new blow to the second most powerful drug trafficking gang in the country, the navy said yesterday.

Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, nicknamed “El Coss,” was paraded before television cameras hours after he was arrested Wednesday evening in Tampico, a Gulf of Mexico coastal city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

“Jose Eduardo Costilla Sanchez was at the top of the cartel considered the second most powerful criminal organization in the country,” navy spokesman Jose Luis Vergara told a news conference.

The mustachioed, portly suspect wore a bullet-proof vest and stood silently as masked marine escorted him before news cameras. Some 30 marines were chasing a car with armed men on Wednesday when they entered a house in Tampico, where the troops caught Costilla Sanchez, who did no resist arrest, Vergara said. Five other people were arrested in the operation.

The navy said it seized two large weapons, two smaller guns, 24 clips, 460 bullets of various calibers, three vehicles and expensive jewelry. Hours before the arrest, five more men identifying themselves as Costilla Sanchez’s bodyguards were caught in another Tamaulipas town, Rio Bravo, which is near the Texas border.

Costilla Sanchez was on Mexico’s list of most wanted gang bosses, with a $2.2m bounty for information leading to his capture. US authorities offered a $5m reward and a US federal court in Texas has a warrant for his arrest.

With this arrest, 23 of the 37 most wanted men in Mexico have now been either killed or captured. The navy said “El Coss” led “violent clashes” between the Gulf cartel and their former allies, the Zetas, in the states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, which borders Texas.

In the 24 hours prior to the arrest, authorities said armed gangs stole vehicles and left them in the middle of avenues in three Tamaulipas cities to block traffic, creating road chaos and scaring the population. Criminals often use such tactics to evade authorities.

The Gulf cartel has been weakened since it broke ties in 2010 with its hit men, the Zetas, triggering a brutal turf war between the two gangs. Analysts say some 60,000 people have been killed in Mexico’s drug war since 2006, when President Felipe Calderon deployed 50,000 troops across the country to fight the cartels.

The latest arrest came a week after marines captured the alleged leader of another Gulf cartel faction, Mario Cardenas Guillen, known as “El Gordo” (“The Fat One”), also in Tamaulipas.

The cartel was divided after Cardenas Guillen’s brother, Antonio Cardenas Guillen, or “Tony Tormenta,” was killed in a shootout with Mexican troops in 2010, according to the navy. One side remained loyal to the Cardenas family while the other side pledged allegiance to “El Coss.”

Costilla Sanchez joined the Gulf cartel in the 1990s when it was headed by another Cardenas brother, Osiel Cardenas Guillen.

Osiel Cardenas Guillen was captured in 2003 and extradited four years later to the United States, where he is serving a 25-year prison sentence.

While the Gulf cartel has lost power, the Zetas have grown stronger and extended their tentacles to 17 of Mexico’s 32 federal entities, according to the Texas-based security analysis firm Stratfor. The Zetas are battling the powerful Sinaloa cartel for control of drug trafficking routes to lucrative markets in the United States. The Sinaloa gang is headed by billionaire fugitive Joaquin “El Chapo” (“Shorty”) Guzman, Mexico’s most wanted man.

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