Mexico catches alleged drug capo 'El Taliban'
MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexican marines acting on United States intelligence seized the leader of a breakaway faction of the hyper-violent Zetas cartel, officials said on Thursday, proclaiming the third such arrest in a month as a victory for a bi-national strategy focused on removing the leadership of Mexico's powerful organized crime groups.
Ivan Velazquez Caballero, known as "El Taliban," was seized by a team of marines in the northern city of San Luis Potosi, the Mexican navy said. He becomes the 24th of Mexico's 37 most-wanted alleged cartel leaders to be killed or captured under President Felipe Calderon, who escalated Mexico's war on drug gangs days after taking office and who ends his term in two months.
Mr Calderon has been praised by the United States (US) for his assault on the cartels, but heatedly criticised inside and outside Mexico for an excessive focus on using armed force and arresting gang leaders.
"Calderon is in his phase where he's establishing legacy, and he wants people to say, 'His strategy was bloody but it worked,"' said Mr Samuel Logan, managing director of the security analysis firm Southern Pulse and co-author of a recent book on the Zetas.