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In brief: Mexico drug cartel leader may be dead

Tue., Oct. 9, 2012

MEXICO CITY – Top Zetas drug cartel leader Heriberto Lazcano has apparently been killed in a firefight with marines in the northern border state of Coahuila, the Mexican navy said Monday.

The navy said there was strong evidence the body of one of two men killed in the shootout was Lazcano, known as “El Lazca.”

The death of Lazcano would be a major victory for Mexican law enforcement. The Zetas cartel that he helped found with other deserters from an elite army unit went on to carry out some of Mexico’s bloodiest massacres, biggest jail breaks and fiercest attacks on authorities.

Lazcano, who is also known as “El Verdugo” (the Executioner) for his brutality, is suspected in hundreds of killings.

On Saturday, the navy nabbed a suspected Zetas cartel leader accused of involvement in some of those notorious crimes, authorities said Monday.

Navy spokesman Jose Luis Vergara announced that Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo was arrested Saturday and is believed to have masterminded the massacre of 72 migrants in the northern state of Tamaulipas in 2010.

The man known as “Squirrel” also has been linked to the escape of 151 prisoners in 2010 from a jail in the city of Nuevo Laredo, the recent flight of 131 prisoners in the city of Piedras Negras and the killing of U.S. citizen David Hartley in 2010 on Falcon Lake, which straddles the U.S.-Mexico border.

Anti-tank mine kills Cambodian farmers

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Police say three farmers died in Cambodia after their tractor struck an anti-tank mine left over from the country’s civil war.

Deputy police chief Noun Muth of the district of Samlot said the accident took place Sunday.

Muth said Monday that three people died instantly and three others were critically wounded.

Samlot is in a former stronghold of the Khmer Rouge, who ruled Cambodia in the late 1970s and was an active rebel group through the 1990s.

An estimated 4 million to 6 million land mines and other unexploded ordnance still remain in Cambodia from more than three decades of armed conflict.

A similar explosion last week in northwestern Battambang province killed six people and wounded two others.

Caribbean nations targeting cholera

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Officials in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are preparing for a long campaign against cholera, the water-borne disease that has sickened tens of thousands of people in the two neighboring Caribbean countries.

Dominican Deputy Minister of Public Health Rafael Schiffino said the two governments are working on a project to wipe out the disease on Hispaniola by 2022.

A bilateral meeting on the plan started Monday in the Dominican Republic.

Cholera emerged suddenly in Haiti in October 2010. Experts say it was likely introduced by U.N. peacekeepers. Since then, the disease has killed 7,000 people and sickened about 300,000 in Haiti. There have been 22,000 cases and 350 deaths in the Dominican Republic.


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