September 27, 2012 - 10:35 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Mexican navy said on Wednesday, Sept 26, it had captured one of the leaders of the Zetas drug cartel, a notoriously brutal gang reported to be breaking apart due to an internal feud, Reuters reported.
The navy said it had caught the man it believed to be Zetas boss Ivan Velazquez in the central state of San Luis Potosi, in a boost to outgoing President Felipe Calderon's efforts to crack down on the violent cartels.
The Zetas have perpetrated some of the most sickening acts of Mexico's drug war and continued to expand even as rival gangs joined forces against them. They are now regarded as one of the two most powerful drug cartels in the country.
Velazquez is due to be paraded before the media on Thursday morning as is customary with such captures in Mexico.
The suspected gang leader surrendered to the navy in the city of San Luis Potosi without a shot being fired, an eyewitness told Reuters.
Known as "Z-50" or "El Taliban," Velazquez has been one of the leading figures in the Zetas. Formed by a group of army deserters in the late 1990s, the gang acted as enforcers for the Gulf Cartel before splitting with their employers in 2010.
Longstanding rivalry between the Zetas' top leader, Heriberto Lazcano, and his second-in-command Miguel Trevino has exploded into violence, raising fears the hostilities could bring a fresh wave of bloodletting.
Velazquez is listed by the government as one of the country's most-wanted drug kingpins. The Mexican government has offered a reward of up to 30 million pesos ($2.34 million) for information leading to his arrest.