MEXICO CITY — Federal police said Wednesday they have captured the new leader of a drug gang formerly led by jailed U.S.-born suspect Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez Villarreal.
In another blow to a cartel fighting to control the region south of Mexico City to the Pacific resort of Acapulco, Carlos Montemayor was arrested in Mexico City on Tuesday with the help of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and with information obtained after Valdez's arrest on Aug. 30, said Ramon Pequeno, the federal police anti-narcotics chief.
Montemayor, whose daughter is married to Valdez, took over his faction, the splintered Beltran Leyva cartel, after "La Barbie" was caught, Pequeno said.
Authorities say Valdez, a Texas native who faces possible extradition to the United States, tried to seize control of the gang after boss Arturo Beltran Leyva died in a December shoot-out with marines.
The battle within the cartel was marked by decapitations, bodies hung from bridges and shoot-outs in the area from Acapulco to the picturesque city of Cuernavaca.
Montemayor told police that his faction also was responsible for kidnapping and killing 20 Mexican tourists in Acapulco, mistaking them for members of the rival La Familia cartel, Pequeno said.
The group of men, many of them mechanics and some of them related to each other, were kidnapped in September while traveling in cars with license plates from their home state of Michoacan — the birthplace of La Familia.
The bodies of the men were found in a mass grave outside Acapulco earlier this month.