Share & Connect
A top Mexican drug cartel figure “El Diego” was captured in northern Mexico, federal officials reported.
Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, a key drug cartel figure, also known as “El Diego” was caught in the northern city of Chihuahua according to Ramon Pequeno, the head of the federal police anti-drug unit. He was one of the country’s most wanted criminals, with officials offering a reward of 15 million pesos ($1.3 million) for his arrest.
Acosta is also a suspect in last year’s slaying of a U.S. consulate near a border crossing in Ciudad Juarez. Felipe Calderon, Mexican President, stated on Twitter about Acosta’s capture. He said that with Acosta’s capture happened “the biggest blow” to organized crime in Ciudad Juarez since he sent almost 5,000 federal police to the city in April 2010 in order to try to curb violence in one of the world’s most dangerous cities.
Pequeno said at the press conference that “El Diego” told federal police he ordered 1,500 killings. Investigators believe he also was the mastermind of an attack last year that killed a U.S. consulate employee, her husband and the husband of another consulate worker in Ciudad Juarez.
U.S. prosecutors also want to try him in mention name of case. A federal indictment filed in the western district of Texas says Acosta and nine others conspired to kill the three. The head of federal police anti-drug unit stated he expects an extradition request from the U.S. government.
Until now, Mexican authorities have identified Acosta as head of La Linea; a gang of hit men and corrupt police officers who act as enforcers for the Juarez Cartel. According to the Mexican police, Acosta acknowledged he ordered many notorious crimes such as the detonation of a July 2010 car bomb and a massacre that killed 15 people, mostly teenagers, at a birthday party, both in Ciudad Juarez.
The northwestern Mexican state of Chihuahua, which contains the namesake capital city as well as Juarez, has been a hotbed for drug-related violence. The federal government has been targeting cartels’ operations, and especially its leaders, in an ongoing battle.
Mexican authorities have arrested several others they accuse of being connected to the slayings of three people connected with the consulate last year.
Ciudad Juarez has been the scene of bloody turf battles between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels as well as the street gangs allied with them. The city is also the site of widespread poverty and violence, including an infamous series of unsolved murders of female factory workers.
The violence generated by the drug war translated into more than 2,600 killings in 2008. More than 1,600 of them occurred in Juárez; three times more than the most murderous city in the United States. Between February 17–19, 2011, 53 people were killed, including four police officers. State attorney general’s office spokesman Arturo Sandoval said “This is the worst violence we’ve seen this year.”
The increase in violence left city morgues overwhelmed, causing trouble for storing bodies. As of February 20, 2011, Juárez averages eight homicides per day.