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Mexican military captures Gulf Cartel boss

August 18, 2013

Gulf Cartel leader Mario Ramirez Treviño, alias ‘X-20,’ was detained in a joint operation between the Mexican Army and the Marines in the border town of Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas on Saturday morning.

The latest of Mexico’s kingpins to fall, Ramirez had assumed leadership of the Gulf Cartel after the arrests of Mario Cardenas Guillen and Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, leaders of rival factions within the gang, last September. Ramirez was left vying for control of the cartel with Miguel “El Gringo” Villarreal, who is believed to have been killed in a bloody three-hour shootout on the streets of Reynosa, Tamaulipas in March.

Once one of Mexico’s most powerful drug gangs, the Gulf Cartel has seen its influence wane since 2010, when its former enforcers Los Zetas turned feral and began their own ultra-violent criminal enterprise. However, the Gulf Cartel is still believed to control most of the cocaine and marijuana trafficking from Matamoros, Tamaulipas into Brownsville, Texas.

The U.S. State Department had offered a reward of five million dollars for information leading to Ramirez’s capture, while the Mexican government also offered around three million dollars.

The capture of Ramirez comes just a month after top Zetas boss Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, alias “Z-40,” was detained near Nuevo Laredo on July 15. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) government led by President Enrique Peña Nieto had said it would focus more on eliminating low-level violence than on pursuing Mexico’s most wanted drug lords, but the latest arrests suggest it is following the National Action Party (PAN) strategy of bringing down the country’s highest profile targets.

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