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Mexicans seize brutal drug kingpin

MEXICAN police yesterday captured one of the world's most brutal and most wanted men.

The arrest of the reputed drug kingpin after the death of his brother has knocked out most of a brutal drug trafficking dynasty.

Carlos Beltran Leyva was arrested in the Pacific coast state Sinaloa, where he and several of his brothers were born and allegedly started their gang. A judge last night ordered him held for at least 40 days while officials investigate possible charges of organised crime, the Attorney General's office said in a statement yesterday.

His capture came just two weeks after his brother Arturo, known as "the boss of bosses" of the cartel, was killed in a shootout with marines at a luxury apartment in the city of Cuernavaca.

The crackdown on corruption has stripped the Beltran Leyva cartel of many "dirty" or paid off police.

Carlos Beltran's arrest gave Mexican President Felipe Calderon back-to-back victories in the ruthless drug war and underscored the government's determination to destroy the cartel despite the threat of reprisal attacks.

Days after Arturo Beltran was killed, gunmen massacred the mother and three other relatives of a marine who died in the December 16 shootout in Cuernavaca. Mr Calderon vowed he would not be intimidated.

A third brother, Alfredo, was arrested in January 2008. At least one other Beltran Leyva brother, who officials say could be named Mario or Hector, remains at large. He is listed as one of Mexico's 24 most-wanted drug lords, with a $2m (€1.4m) reward offered for his capture.

The downfall of the Beltran Levya brothers comes a year after a sweeping corruption probe led to the arrest of a dozen high-ranking Mexican officials accused of collaborating with the cartel.

The attorney general's office said a citizen tipped authorities to the presence of an armed man in the Canadas neighbourhood of Culiacan. Beltran Leyva gave police a driver's licence that identified him as Carlos Gamez Orpineda, but when the police ran the document by Mexico's Centre of Intelligence they learned it was false.

He later acknowledged he was Arturo Beltran Leyva's brother, the Public Safety Department said. Police said he was found with two guns and ammunition.

The Beltran Leyva brothers allegedly worked side by side with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, before breaking away and seizing lucrative drug routes in north eastern Mexico.

Irish Independent