Mexico catches drug lord in tourist hub

2014-10-02 11:35


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mexico City - Soldiers captured on Wednesday one of Mexico's most-wanted drug barons, Hector Beltran Leyva, in a restaurant in a colonial town popular with American tourists and retirees.

The man known as "El H" was caught along with a suspected henchman in a seafood restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, a historic town in central Mexico, without a shot being fired, authorities said.

Tomas Zeron, director of investigations at the attorney general's office, said Beltran Leyva was passing himself of as a "well-off businessman dedicated to real estate and art sales to justify his lifestyle".

Beltran Leyva, who was carrying a gun during his arrest, was detained after an 11-month investigation, Zeron said. Military intelligence work allowed authorities to find his home in the central state of Queretaro.

The arrest allows President Enrique Pena Nieto to cross off another big fish from Mexico's most wanted list following the capture of Sinaloa cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in February and Zetas leader Miguel Angel Trevino last year.

Beltran Leyva, 49, inherited the thrown of his family's drug clan when his brother and "boss of bosses," Arturo, was killed by marines in 2009 in Cuernavaca, a popular weekend getaway for Mexico City residents.

Internal power struggles

Two other brothers, Alfredo and Carlos, are in jail.

Zeron called Beltran Leyva one of Mexico's top drug traffickers, who specialised in moving cocaine from South America and Central America to lucrative US and European markets.

Mexico had offered a $2.2m reward for information leading to his arrest, on top of a $5m US bounty.

He faces charges in Washington and New York courts.

The Beltran Leyva clan was initially allied with Guzman's Sinaloa crime syndicate, considered the biggest cartel in Mexico.

But the two cartels split after Alfredo Beltran Leyva was detained in 2008 following a betrayal by Guzman, officials have said.

More than 80 000 people have died in drug violence in Mexico since 2006, much of the deaths due to turf wars between the country's various cartels.

The Beltran Leyva cartel is believed to operate in a third of the country, mainly in the central and southern regions.

The gang has undergone internal power struggles and is known for its vast money laundering operations and ability to corrupt officials.

Read more on:    mexico

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.