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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Top Mexican Drug Boss xCaptured, Sent to U.S.

MEXICO CITY -- One of Mexico's most notorious drug lords, a fugitive on the FBI's 10 most-wanted list, was behind U.S. bars Monday after eluding authorities on both sides of the border for years.


The arrest of Juan Garcia Abrego in northern Mexico and his deportation to Houston was an enormous victory for Mexico, coming after criticism that widespread corruption has prevented the government from halting the flow of narcotics into the United States.


His deportation to face charges in the United States "is important as a signal that international cooperation can break the formerly impenetrable shield held by the narco-traffickers," said Bob Weiner, spokesman for the White House office of National Drug Control Policy.


Garcia Abrego has been linked to top Mexican officials accused of corruption, including Raul Salinas, the elder brother of the former president.


Garcia Abrego, 51, is the reputed head of the Gulf cartel, Mexico's second most powerful drug organization after the Juarez cartel.


Last March, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno put him on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list. The Mexican government had offered a $1 million reward for his arrest and the U.S. government had offered $300,000. Nuevo Leon state attorney general spokesman Oscar Diaz said Garcia Abrego was arrested Sunday night in Villa de Juarez, a small town about 56 kilometers northeast of the industrialized city of Monterrey.


Diaz said the heavyset, mustachioed drug lord jumped several fences around neighboring houses trying to flee after agents zeroed in on him during an extensive manhunt in the northern states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz and Nuevo Leon.


Garcia Abrego faces a 26-count indictment on charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and murder.