Mexican police capture new drug cartel chief

Federal police said yesterday that they had captured the new leader of a drug gang formerly led by jailed US-born suspect Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez Villarreal, in another blow to a cartel fighting to control the region south of Mexico City to the Pacific resort of Acapulco.

Carlos Montemayor was arrested in Mexico City with the help of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, and with information obtained after Valdez's arrest on 30 August, said Ramon Pequeno, the federal police anti-narcotics chief.

Montemayor, whose daughter is married to Valdez, took over the splintered Beltran Leyva cartel after La Barbie was caught, Pequeno said.

Authorities say Valdez, a Texas native who faces possible extradition to the US, tried to seize control of the gang after the boss Arturo Beltran Leyva died in a December shoot-out with marines.

The battle within the cartel was marked by decapitations, bodies hung from bridges and shootouts.