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The Globe and Mail

Mexico says it has captured top drug boss ‘El Coss’

Mexican federal police officers stand guard behind an AK-47 rifle and ammunition, confiscated during the arrest of suspect Ramiro Pozos Gonzalez, alias "El Molca", a suspected leader and founder of the criminal organization known as The Resistance, during a presentation to the media at the federal police headquarters in Mexico City on Sept. 12, 2012.

Bernardo Montoya/REUTERS

The Mexican Navy has captured one of Mexico's most wanted drug bosses, the head of the Gulf Cartel, the government said late Wednesday, in the latest high-profile arrest in President Felipe Calderon's crackdown on organized crime.

The government said it would reveal more details about the capture of Jorge Costilla, alias "El Coss," on Thursday. Such figures are often paraded in front of the media, handcuffed and dressed in flak jackets.

A government security source said Mr. Costilla was detained in Tampico in northeastern Mexico, where the cartel was active, without putting up a fight. The U.S. State Department had a reward of up to $5-million for Mr. Costilla's capture.

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No other details were immediately available.

Last week, the Mexican Navy captured senior Gulf Cartel member Mario Cardenas, alias "Fatso," also in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas where Mr. Costilla was caught.

The cartel's power has waned during a feud with the brutal Zetas gang, which acted as enforcers for the Gulf Cartel before breaking with their employers. That conflict has caused some of the most sickening killings of the drug war.

There have been more than 55,000 drug-related deaths during Mr. Calderon's six-year offensive against cartels, and incoming president Enrique Pena Nieto has vowed to quickly reduce the number of beheadings and mass executions.

Mr. Pena Nieto takes office on Dec. 1.

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