Drug cartel leader held in Mexico

May 24th, 2009 - 9:36 am ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, May 24 (EFE) A senior leader of a dreaded drug cartel of Mexico has been arrested in the northeastern city of Ciudad Victoria, authorities have said.
Nelson Garcia Lozano, the Gulf drug gang’s head of operations in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas province, was held following a gun exchange between his men and troops Saturday, the national defence secretariat said.

Three police officers protecting the drug gang leader were also arrested.

Two armoured vehicles and huge cache of arms and amunitions have also been recovered from them, the secretariat said in a statement.

Separately, security officials also arrested four kidnappers and freed a 37-year-old man who had been held hostage since May 16 at Lazaro Cardenas port, in Michoacan.

So far this month, 28 people suspected of involvement in kidnapping have been arrested and two of their victims released in Mexico.

Kidnapping is a serious problem in Mexico, with people from all classes of society targeted either to quickly drain their savings account - a crime known as “express” kidnappings - or to extract ransom payments from relatives.

According to experts, the nation’s well organised, heavily armed drug cartels have even turned more regularly to kidnapping as a source of revenue due to the disruption of their operations by Mexican security forces.

President Felipe Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of army soldiers and federal police to a dozen states to crack down on the cartels, whose internal power struggles and battles over drug routes have left more than 12,000 dead nationwide since 2006.

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