Mexico captures Juarez drug cartel chief after traffic stop

Mexico captures Juarez drug cartel chief after traffic stop
(Image credit: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

On Thursday, Mexican federal police arrested Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, the reputed head of the Juarez drug cartel. Carrillo Fuentes, 51, took over the Juarez cartel after his brother Amado Carrillo Fuentes died in 1997 from a botched cosmetic surgery operation. Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, known as "The General" or "The Viceroy," was best known for his bloody turf war with the rival Sinaloa cartel. The federales captured him at what appeared to be a routine traffic stop, following an 11-month stakeout. He was flown to Mexico City.

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Since President Enrique Peña Nieto was elected two years ago, all but one of Mexico's major old-style cartel bosses have been captured or killed, the latest arrest being Héctor Beltrán Leyva last week. Also captured have been Sinaloa boss Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán (February), Zetas capo Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales (July 2013), and the Gulf cartel's Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez (September 2012). "The only major old-timer left is Ismael 'El Mayo' Zambada, 66, of the Sinaloa Cartel," The Associated Press says.

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Carrillo Fuentes had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head and a $2.2 million award in Mexico. If he is extradited to the U.S., Texas wants to try him on 46 counts, including murder and cocaine and marijuana trafficking. The decapitation of the major cartels, while welcome, may actually increase violence as lieutenants fight for control or drug routes. Carrillo Fuentes' arrest "could drop the violence or increase it," Ciudad Juarez human rights activist Gustavo de la Rosa tells AP.

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