- drug trafficking - Mexico - police
Suspected drug trafficker Sergio Villarreal arrested
Mexican authorities in the city of Puebla have arrested suspected drug trafficker Sergio Villarreal, known as "El Grande", who is believed to be a key member of the Beltran Leyva cartel, military sources said on Sunday.
AFP - Authorities have arrested one of Mexico's most wanted men, alleged drug trafficker Sergio Villarreal, who is said to work for the Beltran Leyva cartel, a military source told AFP on Sunday.
"Sergio Villarreal, 'El Grande,' was arrested with two other people in a non-violent operation in the (central) city of Puebla," the source said on condition of anonymity.
Mexican authorities had offered a reward of up to 30 million pesos (2.2 million dollars) 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 and light colored eyes, 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 turf 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.
Shortly after Edgar Valdez's detention, authorities discovered some 13 bodies of his suspected rivals buried in secret graves.
More than 28,000 people are believed to have been killed in drug cartel-related violence in Mexico since 2006, when President Felipe Calderon launched a military crackdown.