World News

Mexican marines capture top drug lieutenant: report

A Mexican marine stands guard on a street on the outskirts of Puebla September 12, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican marines captured a top lieutenant of a leading drug cartel Sunday as authorities intensified their campaign against drug kingpins, local media reported.

Sergio Villarreal, dubbed ‘El Grande,’ was a leading member of the Beltran Leyva cartel and was captured by the marines in an operation in central Mexico, two local news stations reported.

The Beltran Leyva cartel has suffered several recent setbacks since marines in December killed the leader of the gang, Arturo Beltran Leyva, and Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez was captured late last month.

More than 28,000 people have died since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched his crackdown on drug cartels in late 2006.

Reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Paul Simao