Leader of drug hitmen captured in Chihuahua

Mexican authorities say they have arrested the suspected leader of a gang of drug cartel hitmen in northern Mexico.

Federal officials said Sunday José Antonio Acosta Hernández has admitted to ordering 1,500 killings during a terror campaign as a gang leader along the U.S. border.

Acosta is the suspected chieftain of La Linea gang, whose members act as enforcers for the Juarez drug cartel.

Officials say he was captured in the state capital, Chihuahua, Friday. Acosta was one of the Mexico’s most wanted criminals, with the government offering a $1.2 million reward for his capture.

The man known as “El Diego,” had also been sought by U.S. authorities for last year’s killings of a U.S. consulate employee, her husband and a third American in Ciudad Juárez, which borders El Paso, Texas.

The suspect has also been linked to a car bombing that killed four people last year in Ciudad Juårez, a city plagued by drug-related violence.

Mexican authorities say at least 40,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon’s army began cracking down on drug cartels in 2006.

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