Mexican Drug Honcho Killed in Shootout
Fed sting in border town yields top prize
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2010 7:40 AM CDT
People hang a banner that reads in Spanish "No more death" outside the federal attorney general office in commemoration of Day of the Dead in Mexico City, Monday Nov. 1, 2010.   (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

(Newser) – Shots rang out for hours in a pitched gun battle between Mexico's military and a drug cartel, and when the dust cleared, a key drug kingpin, Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, or "Tony the Storm," lay dead along with four cronies and three marines. Cardenas, 48, is one of Mexico's most wanted and has a $5 million reward on his head in the US, and died in a sting operation in the border town of Matamoros, reports the AP.

A soldier and a local reporter were also killed in the crossfire of the operation that was the culmination of 6 months of intelligence gathering. Troops who went to arrest Cardenas were greeted with grenades and heavy gunfire, beginning the city-wide shootout. But Cardenas' death is a big win for President Felipe Calderon's bitter war on drugs: "Today, we have taken another meaningful step toward the dismantling of criminal groups that do so much damage to our country," says a presidential spokesman.