Mexico City: Alleged Leader Of Juarez Drugs Cartel Hit-Team Arrested: Report

31 Jul

NEWS UPDATE:

Gang Boss 'Behind 1,500 Killings' Arrested

Gang Boss ‘Behind 1,500 Killings’ Arrested

A man suspected of being the leader of one of Mexico’s deadliest gangs has admitted ordering 1,500 killings.

Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, known as ‘El Diego,’ is believed to be the leader of La Linea gang.

There was a \$1.2m (£730,000) bounty on offer for the 33-year-old’s capture, which came after a gun battle between police and gang members.

Acosta, a former policeman, was paraded in front of the cameras in Mexico City following his arrest in the city of Chihuahua.

It is believed he was behind the attack in which an employee of the American consulate in Ciudad Juarez, her husband and another man were killed last year.

The US has said they want to prosecute Acosta for their deaths and Mexican authorities say they expect to receive an extradition request.

Police said he also admitted ordering a car bombing and an attack on a birthday party in which 15 people died, most of them teenagers.

La Linea is comprised of hit men and corrupt police officers who work as enforcers for the Juarez cartel, a notorious drug gang.

The Juarez cartel have been involved in a bloody three-year battle with the Sinaloa gang over the city’s smuggling corridors.

Juarez, which is close to the border with America, is Mexico’s most violent city with more than 3,000 murders last year linked to the drug trade alone.

——–

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican police have arrested an alleged leader of the Juarez drug cartel‘s armed wing linked to a deadly car bomb last year, local media said on Saturday.

 

El Universal daily, quoting government sources, said Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez — also known as “El Diego” and reputed to be one of the bosses of the La Linea hitmen — was captured in Ciudad Juarez on Friday.

Gang Boss 'Behind 1,500 Killings' Arrested

The media reports said Acosta Hernandez was behind a cell phone-detonated car bomb that killed four people in Ciudad Juarez in July of 2010, the first attack of its kind in Mexico’s drug war, and ordered the killing of at least a dozen more.

Formed by renegade police officers in the northern state of Chihuahua, La Linea act as enforcers for the Juarez cartel, a group based in the border city of Ciudad Juarez which controls some of the main drug trafficking routes into the United States.

The Mexican government had offered a 15 million peso reward for the capture of Acosta Hernandez, a former security chief who worked for a now-extinct Chihuahua state attorney’s office, El Universal added.

A spokeswoman for the federal police in Mexico City on Saturday said she was aware an arrest was made but could not confirm it was Acosta Hernandez.

Since President Felipe Calderon sent the army to fight the drug cartels in late 2006, some 40,000 people have died.

In a separate statement late on Saturday, Mexico’s Attorney General office said that Hector Guajardo Hernandez, a top drug trafficker for the Sinaloa cartel in the state of Baja California, escaped from custody on July 27.

Guajardo Hernandez, believed to be an ally of Mexico’s most powerful drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, escaped from a Mexico City hospital where he was recovering from wounds he suffered during his May arrest.

(Reporting by Jean Luis Arce and Cyntia Barrera Diaz; Editing by Vicki Allen)

NEWS UPDATE:

A forensic worker inspects the body of a municipal police officer after he was gunned down in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco, Mexico July 25, 2011.A forensic worker inspects the body of a municipal police officer after he was gunned down in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco, Mexico July 25, 2011. (AP Photo) (AP) 

MEXICO CITY – Federal police have captured the alleged leader of a ruthless gang of killers who work for a drug cartel in the violent border of Ciudad Juarez, Mexican news media said Saturday.

The suspect, Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, is wanted by the U.S. government on charges of murdering a U.S. consulate employee and her husband last year in Ciudad Juarez, which is across the border from El Paso, Texas.

The newspaper El Universal and Milenio television said the 33-year-old Acosta was arrested Friday in the northern city of Chihuahua, capital of the state where Ciudad Juarez is. Mexican authorities have identified Acosta as the head of La Linea, a gang of hit men and corrupt police officers who act as enforcers for the Juarez Cartel.

Federal officials said they could not confirm the arrest, but federal police spokesman Juan Carlos Buenrostro said a suspect would be flown from northern Mexico to Mexico City to be shown before news media by Sunday.

The federal Attorney General’s Office offered a $1.2 million reward last October for information leading to Acosta’s arrest. A woman answering the reward phone line advertised on Acosta’s wanted posters said he had been detained Friday but refused to give her name.

U.S. prosecutors seek to try Acosta in the killings of an employee of the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez, her husband and the husband of another consulate employee in March 2010. The slayings are among the highest profile attacks in the city that has been plagued with violence.

A U.S. federal indictment accuses 10 people, including Acosta, of conspiring to kill the three. Acosta and seven others are now in Mexican custody. Two others, including one of the FBI’s 10 most wanted fugitives, Eduardo Ravelo, are still at large.

Besides the consulate killings, Acosta is blamed for two other notorious crimes in the Mexican government’s 4½-year-old offensive against drug cartels.

Chihuahua state officials allege Acosta ordered the massacre of 15 people, mostly teenagers, in January 2010 and was involved in a July 2010 car bombing, the first used by a cartel in recent history. Both attacks occurred in Ciudad Juarez, a city of 1.3 million people that recorded 3,097 homicides in 2010 and more than 1,300 so far this year.

Mexico’s government says at least 35,000 people have died in drug-related violence across the country since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and launched a crackdown on organized crime. Other sources, including local media, put the number closer to 40,000. The federal government has not released an update of its numbers since December.

Other cities near the U.S.-Mexico border have been hit hard with violence while rival drug cartels battle over control of smuggling corridors.

In the northern state of Durango, federal officials said Saturday they burned 50 metric tons of marijuana that were found earlier in the week inside a large warehouse in black plastic bags.

The warehouse was in Santa Maria del Oro in Mexico’s “golden triangle” region. The area, known for drug cultivation and trafficking, is also where soldiers a week ago found marijuana fields covering 148 acres (60 hectares) with a processing lab and five camps.

In Sonora state, Mexico’s military said Saturday that troops seized five metric tons of marijuana near the U.S. border in Puerto Penasco, a beach city popular with visitors from Arizona.

Soldiers found three tons of the marijuana more than a mile from the port Thursday, a statement said. Officials earlier reported finding two metric tons of marijuana elsewhere in the same town the same day.

U.S. authorities earlier this year urged tourists to “exercise caution” about visiting Puerto Penasco due to rising drug violence in the city.

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