Mexican Army captures 15 drug cartel members

December 21st, 2008 - 12:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Monterrey (Mexico), Dec 21 (IANS) Mexican Army troops have arrested 15 members of the dreaded Sinaloa drug cartel in northen Mexico, the EFE news agency reported Sunday.According to officials, the arrests were made during a raid on a house in the city of San Pedro, part of the Monterrey metropolitan area, Saturday.

An officer who took part in the operation said that dozens of soldiers travelling in military vehicles arrived early Saturday at an upscale home in the Residencial Chipinque neighbourhood of San Pedro, which has the highest income per capita in all of Latin America.

The soldiers burst into the residence during a party attended by presumed members of the Sinaloa drug cartel, a powerful crime syndicate led by Mexico’s most-wanted fugitive, Joaquin Guzman, for whom the US has offered a $5 million reward.

The soldier said that 15 suspects, including men and women, were arrested inside the home, and that weapons, drugs and money were also confiscated from them.

The detainees have been kept at a military installation and later will be handed over to the federal Attorney General’s Office for processing.

Meanwhile, six people have been killed by a group of suspected drug cartel hit men inside a garage in northern metropolis of Ciudad Juarez in Chihuahua state.

According to prosecutors, the incident occurred Friday afternoon and the cause of slayings remained unclear.

With the latest killings the gangland murder toll in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s most violent city, raised to 1,600 this year.

Since taking office, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has deployed more than 30,000 soldiers and federal police to nearly a dozen states in a bid to crush the cartels.

The operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence because of the drug gangs’ ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking prosecutors.

The US is the main market for the illegal drugs and also the source of most of the weapons that flow to the heavily armed cartels.

Battles over smuggling routes to the US and internal power struggles within the cartels have left more than 5,400 dead nationwide.

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