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U.S. deports former cartel kingpin to Mexico

PHOENIX, Apr 10 (Reuters) - U.S. immigration police deported a former drug cartel kingpin to Mexico, where he was wanted on charges related to organized crime and drug trafficking, authorities said on Friday.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said federal agents in El Paso, Texas, handed Jose Manuel Garza Rendon, 56, to Mexican authorities at a bridge over the border with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, early on Friday.

Garza Rendon, a high-ranking member of Mexico's Gulf cartel, was deported after serving a nine-year sentence in federal jail in west Texas for conspiracy with intent to distribute marijuana, the agency said in a news release.

Mexico's attorney general informed the agency that Garza Rendon had been wanted in Mexico since 2002 for organized crime, attempted murder and possessing firearms used exclusively by the Mexican army.

Curbing drug cartel violence is a top concern for authorities in both the United States and Mexico, where warring traffickers killed 6,300 people last year.

The U.S. government announced plans last month to help Mexican authorities combat the gangs south of the border, as well as stepping up efforts to choke off the southbound flow of U.S. guns and smuggling profits to the cartels.

Garza Rendon was one of 11 men named in the Mexican arrest warrant. Among the others is Osiel Cardenas Guillen, the boss of the Gulf Cartel who was extradited to the United States last year to face drug charges, U.S. immigration said.

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