Traffic checkpoint nets alleged Juarez Cartel capo

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Traffic checkpoint nets alleged Juarez Cartel capo
369370 02: A D.E.A. Supplied Photograph Of Vicente Carrillo-Fuentes, Whose Base Of Operation Is In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico December 7, 1999. He Is One Of The Principle Members In The Mexican Drug Federation. He Is The Brother Of The Late Amado Carrillo-Fuentes. (Photo By Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Alleged Mexican drug trafficker Vicente Carrillo Fuentes is escorted by a police officer in Mexico City on October 9, 2014. Carrillo Fuentes, alias 'El Viceroy,' was arrested by federal police in Torreon, a city in the northern state of Coahuila, a spokesman for the national security commission told AFP. The United States had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of the 51-year-old drug lord. AFP PHOTO/RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, alleged leader of the Juarez Cartel, right, is seen through a helicopter window while being escorted by Mexican security forces at Mexico's International Airport in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2014. Fuentes, known as 'El Viceroy,' was arrested in Torreon, Mexico Security Commissioner Monte Rubido said in a televised news conference. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, alleged leader of the Juarez Cartel, second left, and alleged bodyguard Jesus Dimas Contreras, second right, are escorted by Mexican security forces at Mexico's International Airport in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2014. Fuentes, known as 'El Viceroy,' was arrested in Torreon, Mexico Security Commissioner Monte Rubido said in a televised news conference. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, alleged leader of the Juarez Cartel, center left, and alleged bodyguard Jesus Dimas Contreras, center right, are seen through a helicopter window while being escorted by Mexican security forces at Mexico's International Airport in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2014. Fuentes, known as 'El Viceroy,' was arrested in Torreon, Mexico Security Commissioner Monte Rubido said in a televised news conference. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, alleged leader of the Juarez Cartel, left, and alleged bodyguard Jesus Dimas Contreras are seen through a helicopter window while being escorted by Mexican security forces at Mexico's International Airport in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2014. Fuentes, known as 'El Viceroy,' was arrested in Torreon, Mexico Security Commissioner Monte Rubido said in a televised news conference. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, alleged leader of the Juarez Cartel, second left, and alleged bodyguard Jesus Dimas Contreras, second right, are escorted by Mexican security forces at Mexico's International Airport in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2014. Fuentes, known as 'El Viceroy,' was arrested in Torreon, Mexico Security Commissioner Monte Rubido said in a televised news conference. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - OCTOBER 9: Alleged Juarez Cartel boss Vicente Carrillo Fuentes (3rd L), alias El Viceroy, brother of the late Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo, sits in a helicopter after his arrest at the hangar of the Attorney General of Mexico on October 09, 2014 in Mexico City. Carrillo Fuentes was arrested at a checkpoint in the northern city of Torreon, northern state of Coahuila. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
369370 01: A D.E.A. Supplied Photograph Of Vicente Carrillo-Fuentes, Whose Base Of Operation Is In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico December 7, 1999. He Is One Of The Principle Members In The Mexican Drug Federation. He Is The Brother Of The Late Amado Carrillo-Fuentes. (Photo By Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Alleged Mexican drug trafficker Vicente Carrillo Fuentes is escorted by a police officer in Mexico City on October 9, 2014. Carrillo Fuentes, alias 'El Viceroy,' was arrested by federal police in Torreon, a city in the northern state of Coahuila, a spokesman for the national security commission told AFP. The United States had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of the 51-year-old drug lord. AFP PHOTO/RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Drug boss Vicente Carrillo Fuentes sits after his arrest, in a helicopter in the hangar of the Mexican Attorney Generals Office in Mexico City, Thursday Oct. 9, 2014. Carrillo Fuentes was taken into custody at a traffic checkpoint without a shot being fired, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
This undated image taken from the FBI webpage shows Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, the alleged leader of the Juarez drug cartel. Mexican officials said Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, that Carrillo Fuentes has been arrested in the northern city of Torreon. (AP Photo/FBI website)
In this handout photo released by the Attorney General's office, Ricardo Garcia Urquiza, top right, and Vicente Carrillo Fuentes leader of Cartel de Juarez, top left, are shown. Mexican federal agents arrested the former medical student who siezed control of the reminants of the powerful Juarez Cartel, Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca said Monday, Nov. 21, 2005, shedding further light on a violent split within what was once Mexico's most powerful cocaine smuggling gang. Ricardo Garcia Urquiza, alias "The Doctor" was captured in a shopping mall in southern Mexico City on Nov. 11 and is accused of overseeing an organization that moved up to five tons of Colombian cocaine a month into Mexico and on to the United States, generating up to US$660 million (550 million) in annual sales.(AP Photo/Attorney General Office/Hand Out)
In this hand out photo released by the Attorney General's office, captured suspect Ricardo Garcia Urquiza, pictured right, and Vicente Carrillo Fuentes leader of Cartel de Juarez, second rightm are shown. Mexican federal agents arrested a former medical student who siezed control of the reminants of the powerful Juarez Cartel, Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca said Monday,Nov. 21, 2005, shedding further light on a violent split within what was once Mexico's most powerful cocaine smuggling gang. Ricardo Garcia Urquiza, alias "The Doctor" was captured in a shopping mall in southern Mexico City on Nov. 11 and is accused of overseeing an organization that moved up to five tons of Colombian cocaine a month into Mexico and on to the United States, generating up to US$660 million (550 million) in annual sales. (AP Photo/Attonrney General Office)
Lucina Romero Apariceo holds a photo of her brother, Joaquin Romero, together with police photos and an artist's rendering of wanted drug lord Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, as she protests Tuesday, July 5, 2005, outside the prosecutors' offices in Mexico City. A man identified as Romero's brother was arrested Monday at a Mexico City shopping mall, because police thought he was Carrillo Fuentes. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
In this undated composite handed out by the Mexican General Attorneys Office on Monday July 4, 2005 are seen three images of Mexican drug lord Vicente Carrillo Fuentes. This man, believed to be the chief of Mexico's top drug cartel, was arrested in a shopping mall, and police were checking his DNA and fingerprints to confirm his identity, the president's spokesman said Monday. (AP Photo/PGR-HO)
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MEXICO CITY (AP) - Federal police used a seemingly routine traffic checkpoint to nab Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, the alleged drug cartel boss accused by Mexico's government of turning the border city of Juarez into one of the deadliest places on the planet.

Over the course of an 11-month investigation, agents identified two homes in the northern city of Torreon that Carrillo Fuentes was believed to have visited discreetly as well as a vehicle he used to get around town.

They used that information to narrow down his movements, and on Thursday set up the checkpoint. The purported Juarez Cartel boss presented a false driver's license at first but later acknowledged his real identity, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said. No shots were fired in the brief operation.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam called the arrest "a capture of great importance."

Authorities say Carrillo Fuentes, 51, heads the cartel founded by his late brother, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, and both the U.S. and Mexico offered multimillion-dollar rewards for his arrest.

Better known as "The Viceroy" or "The General," he took over control of the Juarez gang after Amado, nicknamed "The Lord of the Skies," died in 1997 in a botched cosmetic surgery. Amado got his nickname by flying planeloads of drugs into the United States.

Raw: Alleged Head of Juarez Cartel Arrested

It was the second capture of a major cartel figure in as many weeks. Mexican authorities arrested Hector Beltran Leyva as he ate fish tacos in a seafood restaurant in central Mexico on Oct. 1. He headed a cartel named for his family.

President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration has captured a string of high-profile capos since taking office nearly two years ago, the biggest of them being the arrest last February of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the elusive boss of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel.

Since Pena Nieto took office nearly two years ago, almost all the old-style narco-mafia bosses including the top leadership of the Sinaloa, Zetas, Gulf, Beltran Leyva and Juarez cartels have been arrested or killed. All were in power for years and in their 40s and 50s, and the only major old-timer left is Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, 66, of the Sinaloa Cartel.

But as the major organizations have been broken up, smaller and more violent bands have taken their place, causing a spike in other kinds of crime that more directly affect citizens, such as kidnapping and extortion.

A case in point is the recent forced disappearance of 43 teachers college students in the southern state of Guerrero, where corrupt police have been charged along with members of the Guerreros Unidos, an offshoot from the breakup of the Beltran Leyva gang.

Carrillo Fuentes had a $5 million reward on his head from U.S. authorities and $2.2 million in Mexico. He faces a forty-six count indictment in Texas charging him with, among other things, trafficking in cocaine and marijuana, money laundering and murder in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise, according to the U.S. State Department.

He was arrested along with a suspected bodyguard, and both were flown to Mexico City. Handcuffed and hunched over in jeans and a blue shirt, Carrillo Fuentes was shown being marched across the wet tarmac to a waiting helicopter.

The Drug Enforcement Administration congratulated Mexico.

"Carrillo Fuentes ... facilitated murder and violence in Mexico while fueling addiction in the United States and across the world," DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said in a statement.

Carrillo Fuentes carried out trafficking on a more modest scale than his brother, but in a much more violent era for the cartel. Based in Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso, Texas, he led the gang in a battle with Sinaloa Cartel interlopers for control of trafficking routes in an area where as much as 70 percent of cocaine entering the U.S. passes through.

The result was a multi-year war that cost at least 8,000 lives.

"The criminal organization (Carrillo Fuentes) led up until today promoted in Chihuahua state the building of diverse groups that made Juarez, at the time, one of the cities considered among the most violent in the world," Rubido said.

In recent years the violence in Juarez has dropped dramatically. The Mexican government cites better police work and more social programs, while some say it was because of a truce between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels.

Gustavo de la Rosa, a long-time Ciudad Juarez human rights activist, said it will be difficult to tell the impact of the arrest on the city. The Juarez Cartel has controlled two local gangs, La Linea and Los Aztecas, which could unite to form a stronger gang, or fight each other for leadership.

"It could drop the violence or increase it," he said.

___

Associated Press writers E. Eduardo Castillo and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report.

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