July 31, 2011 in Nation/World

Leader of enforcers for cartel arrested

Adriana Gomez Licon Associated Press
 

MEXICO CITY – Federal police have captured the alleged leader of a ruthless gang of killers who work for a drug cartel in the violent border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexican news media said Saturday.

The suspect, Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, is wanted by the U.S. government on charges of murdering a U.S. consulate employee and her husband last year in Ciudad Juarez, which is across the border from El Paso, Texas.

The newspaper El Universal and Milenio television said the 33-year-old Acosta was arrested Friday in the northern city of Chihuahua, capital of the state where Ciudad Juarez is. Mexican authorities have identified Acosta as the head of La Linea, a gang of hit men and corrupt police officers who act as enforcers for the Juarez Cartel.

Federal officials said they could not confirm the arrest, but federal police spokesman Juan Carlos Buenrostro said a suspect would be flown from northern Mexico to Mexico City to be shown before news media by today.

The federal attorney general’s office offered a $1.2 million reward last October for information leading to Acosta’s arrest. A woman answering the reward phone line advertised on Acosta’s wanted posters said he had been detained Friday but refused to give her name.

U.S. prosecutors seek to try Acosta in the killings of an employee of the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez, her husband and the husband of another consulate employee in March 2010. The slayings are among the highest profile attacks in the city that has been plagued with violence.

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