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Navy arrests Gulf Cartel kingpin

September 5, 2012

The Mexican navy detained Mario Cardenas Guillen, alias “El Gordo,” an alleged leading member of the Gulf Cartel in the city of Altamira, Tamaulipas on Monday.

A navy spokesman said Cardenas was carrying a rifle along with “three ammunition clips holding 30 bullets each, two grenades, 129,700 pesos in cash and four small plastic bags containing a white powder resembling cocaine,” when he was arrested.

First detained for drug trafficking in 1995, Cardenas was imprisoned in Matamoros until 2003. He was then transferred to the Puente Grande, a maximum-security prison just east of Guadalajara, after it was discovered he had been managing marijuana and cocaine shipments behind bars. Cardenas was released in 2007 upon completing his sentence.

Mario is the brother of Osiel Cardenas Guillen, nicknamed “El Mata Amigos” (The Friend Killer), who led the Gulf Cartel until he too was arrested in 2003. Extradited to the United States in 2007, he was found guilty of 22 federal charges in 2010 and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The Gulf Cartel is split between those who remain loyal to the Cardenas Guillen family and another faction led by Jorge Eduardo Costilla, a former agent of the Tamaulipas state police. The cartel has also become significantly weakened since its enforcers Los Zetas broke off to form their own organization and turned on their former employers.

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