March 22, 2009 Sunday
March 22, 2009
Drug cartel hitman arrested
MEXICO CITY - A SUSPECTED drug cartel hitman accused of organising an attack on the US consulate in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey in October has been arrested by security forces, said President Felipe Calderon.

'The Mexican army has arrested Sigifredo Najera, aka El Canicon, (who was) directly responsible for the torture and killing of soldiers and the attack on the US consulate,' Mr Calderon announced late on Friday.

In October, two gunmen opened fire and threw a hand grenade, which did not explode, at the US consulate in Monterrey.

Najera is also accused of a grenade attack in January on the headquarters of television broadcaster Televisa, also in Monterrey.

The Mexican army said Najera was a main player in a group of former soldiers known as 'Zetas,' working for the notorious Golfo cartel.

The arrest comes a day after Mexican authorities detained the son of the notorious Mexican drug lord Ismael Zambada Garcia, who is also a leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

The gang is one of the major drug cartels involved in bloody feuds over Mexico's lucrative trafficking routes.

Meanwhile Saturday officials seized some four tonnes of marijuana in the northern state of Sonora, which borders the United States.

Police and soldiers arrested a 35-year-old man apprehended driving a trailer containing 635 highly condensed packets of the drug, according to a statement released by Mexico's Public Security agency.

More than 1,000 people have been killed so far this year alone in suspected drug attacks amid the government's crackdown on warring cartels, while last year saw more than 5,300 killed in drug violence.

The violence flared after Calderon declared war on drug cartels nearly two years ago, prompting armed resistance from the country's drug barons and setting off a turf warfare between rival gangs. -- AFP

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