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Mexico Drug War: 2 Kingpins Arrested Under President Pena Nieto

Image: Mexico Drug War: 2 Kingpins Arrested Under President Pena Nieto Pena Nieto

By David Ogul   |   Monday, 19 Aug 2013 03:00 PM

Since Pena Nieto was inaugurated as Mexico’s president on Dec. 1, two drug kingpins have been arrested, as the leader has followed his predecessor’s strategy to combat the drug war that has pervaded the nation.

The military arrested the reputed leader of the country’s Gulf Cartel, Mario Armando Ramirez Trevino, on Saturday near the border of Texas. A few weeks ago, the leader of the brutal Zetas cartel, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, was captured near the border city of Nuevo Laredo.

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The arrests belie earlier statements from the new leader that he would avoid former President Felipe Calderon’s strategy of arresting cartel leaders, arguing that doing so creates power vacuums and causes unprecedented violence. Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said the new administration would focus more on reducing violence.

In fact, the Mexican government followed Saturday’s arrest by stepping up security in the northeastern reaches of the country to stave off members of the Gulf Cartel or its rivals to take advantage of Ramirez Trevino’s jailing, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Eduardo Sanchez called Ramirez Trevino “one of the principal people responsible for the violence that has been generated in the state of Tamaulipas,” and accused him of being responsible for kidnappings and bombings.

Despite fears that continued arrests of drug kingpins would lead to increased violence, drug-linked killings have plummeted some 18 percent during the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period last year, the government says. Still, some 6,300 people have died over that period.

The Gulf Cartel once controlled drug dealing on Mexico’s Gulf coast, but it has been crippled by a government crackdown, turf wars, and battles with rivals.

The Associated Press noted that the cartel still controls most of the cocaine and marijuana through the Matamoros corridor across the border from Brownsville, Texas. Its reach, meanwhile, stretches well into Central America.

Calderon often touted the fact that the government under his watch had captured 25 of Mexico’s 37 most-wanted drug leaders, but his efforts led to unprecedented violence.

Details on what led to the latest arrest were not released.

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