Mexican Marines capture top Gulf drug cartel leader

ALTAMIRA, MEXICO (BNO NEWS) -- A man believed to be one of the most senior leaders of the Gulf drug cartel was captured in northern Mexico on late Monday, the Mexican navy announced on Tuesday when the suspect was paraded before reporters in Mexico City.

Mario Cardenas Guillen, who is also known as 'M-1' and 'el Gordo' (the fat one), is the brother of Osiel and Ezequiel Cardenas, the former leaders of the drug trafficking organization. He was captured during an operation in Altamira, a city in the northern state of Tamaulipas, on Monday.

Authorities said Guillen was carrying a rifle, three magazines with 30 rounds of ammunition each, two grenades, 129,000 pesos ($10,000) in cash, and other items such as communications equipment, various identification documents, and small packages containing a white powder which appears to be cocaine.

Vice Admiral Jose Luis Vergara Ibarra said the Gulf cartel is divided by supporters of the Cardenas Guillen family and others who support Jore Eduardo Costilla. Osiel Cardenas Guillen, who was arrested in 2003 after a shootout with Mexican soldiers, was later extradited to the United States and sentenced there to 25 years in prison. Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen was killed by Mexican Marines in November 2010.

According to partial figures released in January, at least 12,903 people were killed in Mexico in violence blamed on organized crime from January to September 2011. Figures for the entire year are not yet available but they will likely bring the total figure for 2011 to more than 17,000, the highest annual number yet.

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