Mexico Gulf Cartel leader Mario Ramirez Trevino captured


Mexican policemen walk by a sculpture of a knotted gun in Mexico City.


Ronaldo Schemidt

Mexican authorities on Saturday captured Mario Ramirez Trevino, one of the country's most-wanted drug-gang leaders as head of the Gulf Cartel.

Also known as X-20 or "The Bald One," Trevino was captured in Mexico's northern Tamaulipas state in a joint army and marines operation in Rio Bravo.

He took over as the leader of the Gulf Cartel when his former boss, Jorge Eduardo Costilla, also known as "El Coss," was arrested in September.

Mexico was offering a reward of $3 million for any information leading to the capture of Trevino, while the US government offered $5 million. His capture was the second high-profile arrest in Mexico since President Enrique Pena Nieto was sworn in in December.

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While the Gulf Cartel's power has waned in recent years, Trevino was considered "at least as violent" as the leader of the country's most brutal gang, the Zetas, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, who was arrested last month.

Authorities believed that Morales had enough power to unify the Gulf and Zeta cartels, which had been one gang until it split in 2010.

Mexican authorities also found on Saturday at least 23 bodies in the west of the country, where local vigilantes were fighting drug cartels for control of the region.

Nine men were shot, their hands bound, in Michoacan state, where residents have been fighting the Knights Templar drug cartel. Another 14 bodies were found in neighboring Guerrero state.

The victims have yet to be identified and no one has claimed responsibility for the deaths.