Just two weeks after a chilling reprisal attack for troops' killing of the reputed boss of the Beltran Leyva cartel, police have captured one of his brothers, sending a strong message that Mexico will not back down in the drug war.
Officials said Saturday night that Carlos Beltran Leyva was arrested in Culiacan, the capital of the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa, where he and several of his brothers were born and allegedly started their gang.
On Dec 16, his brother Arturo, the alleged chief of the Beltran Leyva cartel, died during a two-hour shootout with marines in the city of Cuernavaca. He was the highest-ranking drug suspect taken down since President Felipe Calderon sent tens of thousands of soldiers and federal police across the country three years ago to fight brutal drug gangs.
Mexican officials in the past have described Carlos Beltran Levya, 40, as a key member of the gang, but it was unclear if he took over as chief of the cartel after his brother died.
A third brother, Alfredo, was arrested in January 2008. At least one other brother, Mario, remains at large and is listed as one of Mexico's 24 most-wanted drug lords, with a $2 million reward offered for his capture.
The arrest gave Calderon back-to-back victories in the drug war and highlighted the government's determination to destroy the cartel despite the threat of reprisal attacks.
Days after Arturo Beltran was killed, gunmen massacred the mother and three other relatives of the only marine who died in the Dec 16 shootout in Cuernavaca. The brutality of the attack - staged just hours after the marine was buried in a public ceremony - shocked Mexicans who have increasingly been numbed by daily reports of drug violence.
Calderon vowed he would not be intimidated by reprisals. However, authorities were far quieter in announcing Carlos Beltran's capture, waiting three days to make the arrest public.
（中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.