Mexico captures most-wanted ‘drug-cartel kingpin’

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MEXICO CITY: Mexican soldiers have captured Hector Beltran Leyva, one of the country’s most-wanted men and a suspected drug-cartel kingpin who had a bounty of more than $7 million on his head, prosecutors said.

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He had taken over the Beltran Leyva cartel in recent years after his brothers’ deaths or arrests, but was nabbed in the city of San Miguel de Allende, investigating prosecutors’ spokesman Tomas Zeron told reporters on Wednesday.

Known as “H” (for Hector), authorities snared Beltran Leyva — for whom Mexico had offered a $2.2 million reward — without firing a shot, after an 11-month manhunt, Zeron said.

He called Beltran Leyva one of Mexico’s top drug traffickers, who specialized in moving cocaine from South America and Central America to lucrative US and European markets.

In 2009, authorities killed his brother Arturo in Cuernavaca. Brothers Alfredo and Carlos were arrested later, leaving him in charge of the operation.

The United States offered another $5 million reward for his capture. The US State Department says he is 49 years old.

It was not clear when he was arrested.

An estimated 80,000 people have died in drug violence and 22,000 have gone missing since 2006 across Mexico.

Since President Enrique Pena Nieto took over in December 2012, however, the government also has captured Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, head of the Sinaloa cartel and at the time the world’s most-wanted drug trafficker.

AFP

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