Mexico Nabs Gulf Cartel Boss 'Fatso'

Arrest seen as major blow to fading drug war power
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2012 8:43 AM CDT
Mexican Navy officers flank Mario Cardenas Guillen, also known as "El Gordo" and "M-1," during his presentation to the media in Mexico City, Sept. 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

(Newser) – In a huge victory for President Felipe Calderón, Mexican authorities have arrested the head of the infamous Gulf Cartel: Mario Cardenas, alias "Fatso." Marines captured Cardenas in a raid in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas on Monday, and authorities showed him off to the media yesterday, Reuters reports. He was caught with weapons, ammo, $10,000 worth of pesos, and what appeared to be four envelopes of cocaine.

The Gulf Cartel is a shadow of its former self, thanks in part to its war with the Zetas. It is rumored to have split in two when Cardenas was released from prison in 2007, with half following him and half following a rival. "This is certainly a hit to the cartel, "says one security researcher at Mexico's North Border University, "but historically new leaders are tapped very quickly." (Read more Felipe Calderon stories.)

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