Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico arrests 'top leader of Zetas drug gang'

Federal police agents present Jesus Enrique Aguilar, alias "El Mamito" to the media in Mexico City, 4 July 2011
Image caption Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar is accused of being a founder of the Zetas

Mexican police have arrested a leader of the feared Zetas drug gang, Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar.

Mr Rejon is alleged to be the third in command of the Zetas, a drug gang formed by former Mexican special forces soldiers.

He is suspected of involvement in various crimes and is being linked to the murder of US immigration agent Jaime Zapata, officials said.

But officials gave no specific details of that alleged link.

Mexico's public security ministry said Mr Rejon, known as El Mamito, had been arrested in Atizapan de Zaragoza, in Mexico State, on Sunday "without a shot being fired".

A police officer with him was also detained, and officers recovered weapons, money, various documents and communication equipment.

A ministry statement said Mr Rejon was a founding member of the Zetas and one of the most wanted criminals in the country, sought by both the Mexican and US governments.

The United States has offered a reward of up to five million dollars for information leading to his arrest and possible conviction.

But the BBC's Mexico City correspondent, Julian Miglierini, notes that Mr Rejon did not figure in a list of the top 37 criminals which the Mexican authorities issued two years ago.

Turf wars

Mr Rejon is accused of involvement in a series of murders in north-east Mexico.

He is also being investigated for links to the shooting of two US immigration agents in Mexico in February, the security ministry said.

Agent Zapata was killed and his colleague, Victor Avila, was injured when their car was ambushed outside San Luis Potosi.

Mexican authorities have made several arrests in connection with this case.

Mr Rejon was a member of the Mexican special forces but deserted in 1999, officials said.

They described him as a founder member of the Zetas, who first acted as armed enforcers for the Gulf Cartel.

The Zetas have since split with their former paymasters, and have been engaged in brutal turf wars for control of smuggling routes.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites