MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Mexican police have arrested a suspected top supplier of heroin to the United States, known as "The King of Heroin," security officials said here on Thursday.
Jose Antonio Medina was presented to the press in Mexico as a new US government report underlined the growing dominance of Mexican drug cartels on the illegal US drug market, including an increasing production of heroin in Mexico.
Medina, also known as "Don Pepe," delivered an average of 200 kilos (440 pounds) of heroin a month to the United States, mainly to Los Angeles, earning some 12 million dollars, Ramon Pequeno, head of the anti-drug squad, said at a news conference.
The 36-year-old, who was captured on Wednesday, "is considered by US authorities to be the main supplier of heroin to this country," Pequeno said.
Medina hid the drugs in secret compartments of vehicles crossing between the Mexican city of Tijuana and the US city of San Diego, one of the world's busiest border crossings, Pequeno alleged.
The US State of California was seeking Medina's arrest and extradition, he added.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led a senior delegation to Mexico this week to reinforce joint efforts to tackle spiraling attacks blamed on powerful, feuding drug traffickers.
A US Justice Department report out Thursday meanwhile said that Mexican drug cartels were increasing their control of the illegal US drug market through closer ties with street gangs and increased production.
The Mexican drug cartels last year "increased the flow of several drugs (heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana) into the United States, primarily because of the increased production in Mexico."
According to US government estimates, Mexico's production of heroin more than doubled in one year, from 17 pure metric tons in 2007 to 38 pure metric tons in 2008.
The Mexican government has deployed more than 50,000 troops nationwide in a so far unsuccessful bid to take on drug gangs and organized crime.
A Spanish businessman was among 16 people killed, including one beheading, in the latest attacks in the northern state of Chihuahua, justice officials said on Thursday.
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