Deadly day in border city as drug violence continues unabated.
|Edgar Valdez was captured last month, and is accused by Mexican authorities of drug trafficking and murder [AFP]|
Authorities in Mexico have arrested one of the country’s most wanted men, alleged drug trafficker Sergio Villarreal, who is said to work for the Beltran Leyva cartel.
A military source told AFP news agency on Sunday that “Sergio Villarreal, ‘El Grande,’ was arrested with two other people in a non-violent operation in the (central) city of Puebla”.
Mexican authorities had offered a reward of up to $2.2 million for information leading to his arrest.
According to authorities, Villarreal was a key participant in a bloody struggle for the leadership of the Beltran Leyva cartel that began after former chief Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed last year.
Villarreal and Hector Beltran Leyva, Arturo’s brother, were feuding with would-be cartel leaders including Edgar Valdez, also known as “La Barbie,” who was captured by authorities on August 30.
“La Barbie,” so-called for his fair complexion, is accused by both Mexican and US authorities of drug trafficking and murders.
Villarreal is similarly accused by Mexican authorities of trafficking and carrying out murders for several of the country’s brutal drug cartels, which have killed tens of thousands of people in bloody battles with each other and confrontations with Mexican authorities.
The leadership struggle within the Beltran Leyva cartel has left dozens of people dead, with authorities in cities including Acapulco and Cuernavaca discovering multiple bodies, some of them beheaded or mutilated.
More than 28,000 people have been killed in Mexico since December 2006, when president Felipe Calderon launched a military offensive against the cartels soon after taking office.
On Saturday, police discovered nine bodies in clandestine graves in the central state of Morelos, the same area where four more were recently found.
The Public Safety Department said in a statement that all 13 victims were believed to have been killed on the orders of “La Barbie” in his battle for control of the cartel.
On Sunday, the military announced that it filed charges against four troops for the September 5 shooting deaths of a man and his 15-year-old son along the highway linking the northern city of Monterrey to Laredo, Texas.