Mexico captures 1 of 37 'most-wanted' traffickers

March 25, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Soldiers captured one of Mexico's most-wanted drug smugglers, whose nickname "la burra" -- female donkey -- belies his power as the alleged trafficker controlling drugs flowing through the northern city of Monterrey. Authorities announced the arrest of Hector Huerta Rios on Wednesday, just hours before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives for a two-day visit to discuss security issues and U.S. support for Mexico's battle against the drug cartels. Clinton is scheduled to travel to Monterrey on Thursday.

Huerta Rios was detained Tuesday in a suburb of Monterrey, said Army Gen. Luis Arturo Oliver. He was one of 37 top drug suspects on a most-wanted list published Monday.

Officials said Huerta Rios acted as a lieutenant for the Beltran Leyva cartel in Monterrey, an industrial hub and Mexico's third-largest city. They say he directed the cartel's operations there, and even met with the rival Gulf cartel to divide up the territory.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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