US

Mexican marines capture leader of drug cartel that kidnapped and killed Americans

One of the top leaders of a notorious Mexican drug cartel, which kidnapped four Americans and killed two of them last year, has been captured by marines.

Jose Alberto Garcia Vilano, known by the nicknames La Kena and Cyclone 19, was seized at a shopping centre in an upmarket area on the outskirts of Monterrey.

He headed the Cyclones – one of the most powerful and violent factions of the now-divided Gulf cartel.

While not naming him, Mexico’s navy department said in a statement marines had detained a suspect it called “one of the key leaders of one of the most powerful criminal organisations in Tamaulipas”, adding he was “one of the main targets of the Drug Enforcement Administration”.

State prosecutors had previously offered a $150,000 (£118,000) reward for his arrest.

The kidnapping and killing of the Americans was linked to another faction of the cartel, known as the Scorpions.

The four US citizens had crossed into the border city of Matamoros from Texas last March so that one of them could have cosmetic surgery.

They were fired on in downtown Matamoros and then loaded into a pickup truck.

Americans Zindell Brown and Shaeed Woodard died in the attack while Eric Williams and Latavia McGee survived.

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A Mexican woman, Areli Pablo Servando, 33, was also killed, apparently by a stray bullet.

The Gulf cartel turned over five gang members it said were responsible to police soon after the abduction.

A letter claiming to be from the Scorpions also condemned the violence.

It said: “We have decided to turn over those who were directly involved and responsible in the events, who at all times acted under their own decision-making and lack of discipline.”

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