Major Mexican drug chief finally captured there

Mexican President Felipe Calderón says police have arrested the leader of a powerful drug cartel, dealing a major blow to organized crime.

Calderón congratulated police for the arrest of one of Mexico’s most wanted criminals on his personal twitter account Tuesday.

A government spokesman identified the gang leader as Jose de Jesús Méndez Vargas, also known as El Chango, or “The Monkey.” He said Méndez had been apprehended without violence in the central state of Aguas Calientes.

The spokesman told reporters Mendez’ arrest destroyed the last remnants of the La Familia drug cartel’s command structure.

Authorities say Méndez had been running the cult-like La Familia cartel since its founder and leader Nazario Moreno González was killed in a shootout with police in December.

But the gang has splintered into factions since Gonzalez’ death, and rival leaders remain at large.

The government had been offering a more than $2 million reward for Mendez’ capture.

President Calderón launched an offensive against the cartels in 2006 when he took office.

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