Leading cartel drug figure arrested by Mexico’s navy

The Mexican Navy says its forces have captured one of the country’s most notorious drug cartel leaders.

The navy has identified the man arrested Wednesday as Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez, who is alleged to be the leader of the Gulf Cartel. Costilla was arrested in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

Costilla, also known as “El Coss,” joined the Gulf Cartel in the 1990s when it was run by Osiel Cardenas Guillen. Costilla remained with the cartel after Cardenas Guillen was arrested in 2003, and assumed control in 2010 after a brother of Cardenas was killed in a shootout with Mexican troops.

Mexican authorities had offered a $2.2 million award for Costilla’s arrest, with the U.S. State Department offering an additional $5.5 million bounty.

Costilla’s arrest comes a week after another of Cardenas Guillen’s brothers, Mario, was arrested in Tamaulipas.

Cardenas Guillen was extradited to the United States in 2007 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. The Gulf Cartel’s power has diminished amid a deadly turf war with its former allies and enforcers, the Zetas.

A military offensive against the cartels launched by outgoing President Felipe Calderón shortly after taking office in 2006 has led to more than 50,000 drug-related deaths.

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