Troops capture 'drug baron' in shootout

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The Independent US

Troops battled a suspected drugs gang in a wealthy suburb of Mexico City and captured an alleged major trafficker with a $2m (£1.3m) US bounty on his head.

Jose Gerardo Alvarez Vazquez – known as "El Indio" or "El Chayan" – is suspected of being responsible for a spike in violence in states near the capital as part of a struggle for control of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel, the military and the federal Attorney General's Office said.

Authorities said Mr Vazquez, 45, was arrested along with 14 other suspected drug traffickers during a shootout on Wednesday night in Huixquilucan, just west of the capital.

Three died in the shooting and two alleged traffickers were wounded. Investigators did not say whether the dead were soldiers or suspected drug dealers. The military said it seized more than a dozen guns and a grenade.

"Cases such as this show the Mexican government's firm decision to continue fighting narcotraffickers," the Attorney General's Office said. Among those arrested was Ascencion Sepulveda Salto, also known as "El Gato", believed to be a powerful cartel lieutenant in Guerrero state.

The US State Department says Alvarez Vazquez is a key member of the Arturo Beltran Leyva drug cartel and has overseen major deals involving crystal methamphetamine and other drugs between Mexico, Central America, South America and the US.

He was indicted on four drug-related counts in 1997 in the Southern District of California and the State Department had issued a $2m reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.