[QODLink]
Americas
Mexican drug lord shot dead
Arturo Beltran Leyva killed in Mexico navy operation in southern city of Cuernavaca.
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2009 09:23

 
Watch Al Jazeera's report on the fears of a drug
warfare in the wake of Beltran Leyva's killing
 

One of Mexico's most wanted drug lords has been killed in a shootout with government forces in the country's navy south of Mexico City.

Arturo Beltran Leyva, dubbed "The Boss of Bosses," was killed on Wednesday during the fight with about 200 naval sailors in a luxury residential complex in the southern city of Cuernavaca.

"We confirm the death of Arturo Beltran Leyva. He was killed in a navy operation in Cuernavaca," said a Mexican navy captain.

Six of Beltran Leyva's bodyguards died in the fighting.

Drug violence

The death of Beltran Leyva is a boost for Felipe Calderon, the Mexican president, who launched a war against drug cartels after coming into office in 2006.

"This is a victory for Calderon in the short term, but his [Beltran Leyva's] position will be filled very quickly," said Alberto Islas, a security analyst.

The shootout came after suspected drug gangs dumped the severed heads of five police officers and a prosecutor outside a church in the northern state of Durango on Wednesday.

The heads were left in plastic bags discovered by rubbish collectors as blood ran out of the bags onto the street.

Islas said more violence was likely in the wake of Beltran Leyva's death, as rival drug gangs attempt to take back territory lost to the drug lord in recent years in southern Mexico and Mexico City.

Territorial war

The Beltran Leyva brothers, who were considered responsible for the importation and distribution of tonnes of cocaine into the US, had been involved in a bloody fight over smuggling routes into the US with former ally Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.

Beltran Leyva's death is a boost for Calderon in his war against drugs [AFP]
 
A $2.4 million bounty had been placed on Beltran Leyva's head by Mexican authorities seeking his arrest for organised crime activities and kidnapping.

In August, Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, announced an indictment against the drug lord and other Mexican smugglers for moving billions of dollars of cocaine across the US border.

Navy forces have increasingly joined army troops and federal police in the fight against drug barons

The US Treasury Department said last week the US had frozen the US assets of 22 individuals and 10 companies linked to the Beltran Leyva.

More than 16,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence between rival gangs and security forces in the last three years.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.