Mexican kingpin's death could spark more bloodshed

December 18, 2009

Mexican troops acting on information from U.S. officials took out drug kingpin Arturo Beltran Leyva in an assault that provided a rare victory for President Felipe Calderon but left a power vacuum that could lead to more violence. In a carefully executed attack, heavily armed Mexican marines quietly evacuated an upscale apartment complex in Cuernavaca Wednesday before some 200 troops stormed the building and demanded the surrender of Beltran Leyva, one of the world's most brutal drug lords. Gunmen fired on the marines, who then launched an attack that lasted nearly two hours. Nicknamed the "boss of bosses," Beltran Leyva is the biggest drug lord to be taken down in Calderon's drug war, which is ending its bloodiest year yet. His absence is expected to shake up Mexico's narcotics trafficking networks eager to take over his billion-dollar business, as well as set off an internal struggle within his gang, said Mexico's Attorney General Arturo Chavez. "Without a doubt, when a cartel leader is taken down it's a big blow and surely this will force a restructuring," Chavez said. "I don't dismiss the possibility that this could bring about violence."

- Sun News Services

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