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Dreaded leader of infamous Gulf cartel captured in Mexico

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 19th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The leader of one of Mexico's oldest and most feared drug-running operations, the Gulf Cartel has been arrested near the border of Texas. Leader Mario Armando Ramirez Treviņo, wanted in the United States on drug charges, was taken into custody by the Mexican army.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Officials say his capture dealt a new blow to a decades-old enterprise. The Gulf Cartel's influence had waned in recent years with the rise of other criminal groups.

The 51-year-old Mario Armando Ramirez Treviņo was arrested Saturday morning, according to a government statement. Authorities say that he was detained in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, near the Texas border.


Ramirez, also known as "El Pelon," or "the Bald One," was indicted in a U.S. federal court in 2008 on drug distribution charges. The U.S. State Department has offered a reward of up to $5 million for his arrest. He's also wanted on similar charges in Mexico.


The Gulf cartel dates to the 1930s when it began as a smuggling operation. Once a formidable force in the Mexican drug business, the group is still involved in moving marijuana and cocaine to the U.S. through the border city of Matamoros, near Texas. The cartel's power has diminished in recent years with the rise of the ruthless Zetas cartel, which originally began as a paramilitary wing of the Gulf cartel.


The Gulf cartel had joined forces with the powerful Sinaloa cartel in order to push back against the Zetas, which resulted in a long and bloody turf war among the various criminal gangs.


The Gulf cartel's leadership has also been targeted. The Mexican military captured top Gulf cartel leaders Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez and Mario Cardenas Guillen last September.


Cardenas' brother, Osiel Cardenas Guillen, a longtime boss of the cartel, had been arrested in 2003 and extradited to the United States in 2007. He got a 25-year sentence in a 2010 plea agreement and is suspected to be cooperating with U.S. authorities, which may have been a factor in the arrests of subsequent leaders.


Mexican President Enrique Peņa Nieto, who took office in December had promised to rethink Mexico's security strategy and reduce the violence. The recent arrest is doubtlessly being welcomed. 



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