Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Mexican Navy says captures top drug boss "El Coss"

13 September 2012, 09:09

Mexico City - The Mexican Navy said on Wednesday it had captured one of Mexico's most wanted drug bosses, the head of the Gulf Cartel, in what would mark a major victory in President Felipe Calderon's crackdown on organized crime.

The Navy said it would give more details about the arrest of the man it believed to be Jorge Costilla, alias "El Coss," when it parades him in front of the media early on Thursday.

A government security official said Costilla, 41, was detained in Tampico in north-eastern Mexico, where the cartel is active, without putting up a fight. The U.S. State Department has a reward of up to $5 million for his capture.

No other details were immediately available.

The arrest of the suspected capo comes barely a week after the Mexican Navy captured senior Gulf Cartel member Mario Cardenas, alias "Fatso," also in the state of Tamaulipas where Costilla was caught.

The Gulf Cartel has been weakened by a violent turf war with the Zetas, a gang formed by army deserters which acted as enforcers for the cartel before breaking with their employers in 2010.

It could also have political implications because top officials in the cartel's stronghold of Tamaulipas have been accused of taking money from local drug gangs.

"All these politicians who were getting money from the Gulf Cartel ought to be very worried now because this information is going to come to light in Mexico or the United States," said Alberto Islas, a security expert at consultancy Risk Evaluation, after hearing the reports of Costilla's capture.

Costilla features prominently on a wanted list of 37 kingpins the Mexican government published in 2009. Well over 20 on that list have now been captured or killed.

Still, the Mexican Navy has erred before in its claims, saying in June it had captured a son of Mexico's most wanted man Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, only to later admit that it had not.

Damaging revelations

Islas said he expected Costilla to be extradited to the United States, and that his testimony could prove damaging to officials in Tamaulipas and neighbouring Veracruz state, which has also been dogged by allegations of corruption.

Tomas Yarrington, a governor of Tamaulipas between 1999 and 2005, is fugitive and wanted in Mexico for aiding drug gangs.

Yarrington governed Tamaulipas for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which will retake the presidency in December after its candidate Enrique Pena Nieto won a July 1 election. The PRI suspended Yarrington from the party in May.

Islas said damaging revelations about graft would raise pressure on Pena Nieto to take steps to clean up the image of the centrist PRI, which governed Mexico between 1929 and 2000. That rule was tainted by frequent allegations of corruption.

The FBI said Costilla is believed to have taken over the daily operations of the cartel after his former boss Osiel Cardenas was arrested and jailed in Mexico in 2003.

It said a federal arrest warrant was issued for Costilla in Texas in 2002, and that he was charged with drug offenses, threatening to assault and murder federal agents, and money laundering.

The FBI's wanted notice includes a grainy photograph of Costilla wearing a cowboy hat and a moustache.

With Costilla's apparent capture, the cartel is looking increasingly weak, and bloody turf wars for control of the north-eastern border with Texas would now intensify. "There will be an increase in violence there," Islas said.

The stage was now set for increased hostilities in the region between Mexico's two most powerful gangs, Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas, he noted.

This could prove a headache for Pena Nieto, who has vowed to quickly reduce the number of beheadings and mass executions. There have been more than 55,000 drug-related deaths in Calderon's six-year offensive against cartels.

- Reuters

Tags mexico drugs

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...