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Mexico captures high-ranking Zetas leader

27 September 2012, 09:05

Mexico City - The Mexican navy said on Wednesday it had captured one of the leaders of the notoriously brutal Zetas drug cartel, delivering a boost to the government's efforts to bring the gangs to heel.

The navy said it had caught the man it believed to be Ivan Velazquez in the central state of San Luis Potosi, where the Zetas have fought an internal feud in recent weeks.

Known as "Z-50" or "El Taliban", Velazquez is one of the leading figures in the Zetas. The gang was formed by a group of army deserters who acted as enforcers for the Gulf Cartel before splitting with their former employers in 2010.

Velazquez is one of Mexico's most-wanted kingpins. Since 2009, more than 20 drug kingpins have been caught or killed.

The ruthless Zetas have perpetrated some of the most sickening acts of Mexico's drug war and continued to expand even as rival gangs joined forces against them.

On Monday, the Mexican navy arrested 35 members of the federal police force who were suspected of working for the Zetas in the eastern state of Veracruz and neighbouring San Luis Potosi.

This month, Mexican authorities announced the capture of the head of the Gulf Cartel, Jorge Costilla, alias "El Coss".

About 60 000 people have been killed in drug-related violence during outgoing President Feilpe Calderon's term.

- Reuters


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