MEXICO CITY — The capture of a reputed kingpin following the death of his brother has knocked out most of a brutal drug trafficking dynasty after a Mexican crackdown on corruption stripped the Beltran Leyva cartel of many snitches within security forces.
Carlos Beltran Leyva, 40, was arrested in the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa, where he and several of his brothers were born and allegedly started their gang. A judge ordered him held for at least 40 days while officials investigate possible charges of organized crime, the authorities said in a statement Sunday.
His capture came two weeks after his brother, Arturo, known as "the boss of bosses" of the cartel, was killed in a shootout with marines at a luxury apartment in the city of Cuernavaca.
Carlos Beltran's arrest gave President Felipe Calderon back-to-back victories in the drug war and underscored 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.
Calderon vowed he would not be intimidated. Authorities, however, were far quieter in announcing Carlos Beltran's capture, waiting three days to make it public in a terse statement Saturday night.
A third brother, Alfredo, was arrested in January 2008. At least one other brother, who officials say could be named Mario or Hector, remains at large. He is listed as one of Mexico's 24 most-wanted drug lords, with a $2 million reward offered for his capture.
The downfall of Beltran brothers comes a year after a sweeping corruption probe led to the arrest of a dozen high-ranking Mexican officials accused of collaborating with the cartel. They included Mexico's former drug czar, Noe Ramirez, who allegedly received $450,000 a month from Arturo Beltran in exchange for sensitive information.