Suspected drug baron arrested in Mexico

A former police officer who allegedly admits ordering 1,500 killings during a campaign of terror as a drug gang chieftain along the US border has been captured in northern Mexico, federal officials said.

A former police officer who allegedly admits ordering 1,500 killings during a campaign of terror as a drug gang chieftain along the US border has been captured in northern Mexico, federal officials said.

Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez also is a suspect in last year's killing of a US consulate employee near a border crossing in Ciudad Juarez.

Mexican president Felipe Calderon said through his Twitter account that Acosta's capture is "the biggest blow" to organised crime in Ciudad Juarez since he sent about 5,000 federal police to the city in April 2010 to try to curb violence in one of the world's most dangerous cities.

Acosta, 33, was caught on Friday in the northern city of Chihuahua along with his bodyguard, said Ramon Pequeno, head of the federal police anti-drug unit.

Without offering details on the capture, he said the US Drug Enforcement Administration helped by providing information.

Acosta's arrest was not confirmed until yesterday, just before officials displayed him to journalists in Mexico City.

Wearing a long-sleeve dress shirt, the short man with a cleft chin and thick eyebrows limped as he was escorted by two masked federal police officers to stand before the cameras.

Mr Pequeno said at the news conference that Acosta, nicknamed El Diego, told federal police he ordered 1,500 killings.

Investigators believe he was the mastermind of an attack last year that killed a US consulate employee, her husband and the husband of another consulate worker in Ciudad Juarez, he said.

US prosecutors also want to try him in that case. A federal indictment filed in the western district of Texas says Acosta and nine others conspired to kill the three.

Mr Pequeno said he expects an extradition request from the US government.

Mexican authorities have identified Acosta as head of La Linea, a gang of hit men and corrupt police officers who act as enforcers for the Juarez Cartel.

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