Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mexico Offers Rewards for 33 Drug Gang Suspects

The Associated Press

Mexico's government unveiled a list of 33 wanted drug suspects Friday, including three men allegedly tied to a cartel responsible for much of the bloodshed in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez.

The Attorney General's Office did not specify the criminal bands affiliated with each suspect.

However, a security official in the northern state of Chihuahua, where Ciudad Juarez is located, said the three at the top of the list belong to La Linea, a gang tied to the Juarez cartel. Rewards of $1.1 million (15 million pesos) were offered for each.

One of the three, Juan Pablo Ledezma, is believed to be the head of La Linea, said the official, who is with the joint army and police operation in charge of security in Chihuahua. He agreed to discuss the list only on condition of not being quoted by name, because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

A turf battle between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels has turned Ciudad Juarez into one of the world's deadliest cities. More than 4,300 people have been killed over the past three years in the city, which lies across the border from El Paso, Texas.

Five men were killed in a Ciudad Juarez shooting Friday, said Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state prosecutors' office.

The five were riding in a car when gunmen drove up beside them and opened fire, Sandoval said. Two of the five were killed inside the car. The others tried to flee into a restaurant but were gunned down in front of panicked customers.

The Attorney General's Office offered rewards of $387,000 (5 million pesos) each for five other suspects on the list. The other 25 had $232,000 (3 million peso) bounties on their heads.

Officials at the Attorney General's Office did not responded to requests for more information on the suspects.

Last year, the government issued a list of its most-wanted drug traffickers. It offered rewards of $2 million for the leaders of Mexico's six major cartels and $1 million for their lieutenants.

Ledezma also appeared on last year's list, described as a lieutenant of the Juarez cartel. It was unclear if the Attorney General's Office is offering an additional $1 million reward for Ledezma because of his inclusion in both lists.

Several kingpins named on the list released last year have been caught or killed, including Arturo Beltran Leyva, who died in a gunbattle with marines in December.

Beltran Leyva, the head of the Beltran Leyva gang, was the highest-ranking drug trafficker brought down since President Felipe Calderon deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and federal police across the country in late 2006 to fight the cartels.

Authorities have not said whether rewards were given for any of the drug lords captured or killed.

Drug gang violence has surged since Calderon's troop deployment, claiming more than 22,700 lives.

On Friday, police found the bullet-ridden bodies of two men inside black bags in Tecpan de Galeana, a town in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero.

Meanwhile, Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna announced that armored vehicles seized from drug gangs will be used to provide protection for police and government security officials, who have increasingly come under attack from the cartels.

The government also will introduce a law that would assign perment bodyguards to top officials involved in the fight against drug trafficking. Their families would also be assigned bodyguards.

1 comment:

  1. About time they use the armored vehicles, but at the same time now the could be mistaken by one cartel as other cartel members and shot at more frequently.

    ReplyDelete

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