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Archive for Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Officials claim capture of Juarez cartel leader

November 22, 2005

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— The Mexican government said Monday that it has captured the No. 2 figure in the Juarez drug cartel, calling the apprehension a major blow against narcotraffickers.

Atty. Gen. Daniel Cabeza de Vaca said Ricardo Garcia Urquiza, known as "The Doctor," was apprehended Nov. 11 at a Mexico City mall.

Several others were arrested in the sting, including a woman believed to be the group's accountant, identified as Maria Nereida Garcia, who was trying to leave her home with four boxes containing $2.8 million cash and documents pertaining to the cartel's financial operations, officials said.

The suspect was able to raise $660 million annually by marketing drugs coming from South America, and his group marketed more than 5 tons of cocaine each month, the attorney general said. The drugs typically are destined for the U.S., he added.

Garcia is the reputed top lieutenant of cartel leader Vicente Carrillo Fuentes.

One U.S. investigator was skeptical of the importance of Garcia's arrest. "Quite frankly I haven't heard of this guy. He's not even on our radar screen," said the investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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