Mexico catches senior drug baron from Juarez cartel

MEXICO CITY Thu Apr 2, 2009 2:24pm EDT

1 of 4. Suspected Mexican drug trafficker Vicente Carrillo Leyva is presented to the media in Mexico City April 2, 2009. Carrillo is the son of Amado Carrillo Fuentes or 'Senor de los Cielos' (Lord of the Skies), the founder of the Juarez cartel.

Credit: Reuters/Daniel Aguilar (MEXICO SOCIETY CONFLICT POLITICS)

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican police have captured a leading drug baron from the border city of Ciudad Juarez, the country's most violent town in a turf war that killed 6,300 people last year.

Vicente Carrillo Leyva, a leader of the Juarez cartel, was seized while exercising in a park in an upscale residential district of Mexico City, police said on Thursday.

The Juarez cartel is locked in a bitter war with traffickers from the state of Sinaloa for control of smuggling routes into Texas. The fighting forced the government to send 5,000 extra troops into Ciudad Juarez last month.

Carrillo Leyva is the son of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, a late drug lord who flew jetliners full of cocaine into Mexico in the 1990s and was known as 'Lord of the Skies'.

Mexico's government put a $2 million reward on Carrillo Leyva's head in a list of dozens of top drug smugglers released last month. He was one of two members of the Juarez cartel listed.

Carrillo Leyva had "roles of leadership and managing illicit resources in the organization," senior prosecutor Marisela Morales told reporters.

The drugs war is the biggest challenge facing President Felipe Calderon and has scared off some investors.

U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Mexico this month, following a trip by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March, and he is tightening security along the border to prevent the violence spreading into the United States.

(Editing by Kieran Murray)

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