Mexican police have captured suspected Juarez drug cartel leader Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, whose gang engaged in turf wars that have left thousands of people dead, authorities said.

Carrillo Fuentes, alias "El Viceroy," was arrested by federal police in Torreon, a city in the northern state of Coahuila, a spokesman for the national security commission told AFP news agency on Thursday.

The United States had offered a $5m reward for information leading to the capture of the 51-year-old suspected drug lord.

Al Jazeera's Adam Raney, reporting from Mexico City, said Carillo Fuentes had taken over from his brother Amado, who had died of a reported botched plastic surgery procedure.  

"This comes as all eyes in Mexico are on drug violence in the case of missing students," he said, referring to the disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero.  

Based in Ciudad Juarez, a city on the border with the US state of Texas, the cartel fought for control of the key drug transit route against the Sinaloa cartel of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

More than 10,000 people died in Ciudad Juarez in the past eight years.

The city was once known as the world's murder capital, but the homicide rate has dropped dramatically in recent years.

Analysts believe violence has fallen in the city because the Sinaloa cartel won the war, though officials credit police action and a crime prevention programme.

Source: AFP