Mexico: 'Sinaloa cartel head' Martin Beltran held

Martin Beltran Coronel, Mexico City, 13 May, 2011 Martin Beltran Coronel was arrested in a wealthy neighbourhood, officials say

Mexican soldiers have captured a man they say is a suspected leader of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel.

Martin Beltran Coronel, known as "The Eagle", is said to have succeeded the late Ignacio Coronel, one of the cartel's leaders who was killed in a shoot-out last July.

Three other people were arrested with him.

Soldiers also seized weapons, jewellery and more than $400,000, (£247,000) in cash, army officials told reporters.

The operation targeted drug-trafficking from Central and South America.

More than 30,000 people have died in spiralling violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched his "war on drugs" in 2006.

In another blow to the Sinaloa cartel, police in Colombia say they have captured a man they accuse of being the main supplier of cocaine to the Mexican cartel.

Hermel Arnubio Alarcon, known as "The Midget", was arrested in an upmarket neighbourhood in Santiago de Cali, in the west of the country.

Prosecutors say he sent large shipments of cocaine to Mexico using sophisticated submarines to avoid being caught by security forces patrolling the surface.

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