Mexican drug cartel chief killed in shootout

Saturday, November 6, 2010

MEXICO CITY - A leader of the Gulf drug cartel in Mexico was killed in a battle with the military in a town on the US-Mexican border, the government said.

Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, 48, died Friday along with three other cartel members, two soldiers and a local reporter in the battle that lasted several hours in Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, Alejandro Poire, security spokesman for President Felipe Calderon, said late Friday in Mexico City.

The fighting left residents in Matamoros cowering in shops and homes to avoid the gunfire and grenades, and the bridges linking Matamoros with Brownsville were closed.

The Gulf Cartel is one of the most powerful drug-trafficking groups in Mexico. It controls a large portion of the drug and weapons trade and human trafficking in Mexico.

Fighting for control of such illegal activity has raged in Mexico, and deadly violence has erupted this year in a turf war between the Gulf Cartel and its former band of enforcers, Los Zetas.

Cardenas Guillen stepped up into a leadership role with the cartel after his brother Osiel Cardenas Guillen was arrested in 2003 and extradited to the US in 2007.

Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, also known as “Tony Tormenta”, was also wanted on drug-trafficking charges in the US, which had a $5 million reward on his head.

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