Mexico City — The Mexican government announced Wednesday the capture of one of the country's most wanted fugitives, Alcides Ramon Magana, a major step in President Vicente Fox's crackdown on drug trafficking and corruption.
Hours after Magana's arrest, an indictment against him was unsealed in U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York, the same venue where U.S. charges against former Gov. Mario Villanueva of Quintana Roo state in southern Mexico were made public last month.
Wednesday's U.S. indictment accused Magana and the former governor of conspiring to distribute 200 tons of cocaine in Quintana Roo from 1994 to 1998, before Villanueva vanished and authorities were about to charge him with trafficking. He was arrested May 24 in the resort city of Cancun.
Magana was arrested Tuesday night at a telephone booth in the southern Mexico city of Villahermosa, in an operation that included Mexican police and army units. He pointed a pistol at officers but surrendered once it was evident he was surrounded, Mexican officials said.
Magana's arrest is the latest blow to Mexican drug cartels and highlights the growing cross-border cooperation in apprehending traffickers, analysts said. Although extradition of Magana and Villanueva has not been requested by U.S. authorities, it is expected.
Magana was nicknamed "El Metro," or "The Subway," because he allegedly oversaw transshipment of enormous amounts of Colombian cocaine from the Yucatan peninsula to the U.S.-Mexico border for the Juarez drug cartel, one of the country's three largest drug mafias.