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Mexico's War on Criminals Moves to Internet - 2002-05-07

As part of Mexican President Vicente Fox's war on criminals, the Mexican Attorney General's office has posted a list of its most-wanted criminals on an Internet site. This is one of several moves being taken by the government to target top crime groups.

From now on, anyone with a computer and Internet access can join Mexico's fight against crime. The federal attorney general has posted information, including photos where available, of the country's top fugitives.

The list includes such notorious criminals as Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, a convicted drug smuggler who escaped from a prison in central Mexico in January of 2001 and is still at large.

Also named are some of his alleged associates, including Ismael Zambada Garcia, who is identified as a top drug trafficker in the northern states of Sonora and Chihuahua.

Another one of Mexico's most-wanted is Osiel Cardenas Guillen, considered to be the head of the drug cartel based in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

Mexican authorities recently delivered a strong blow to the nation's most notorious and violent drug smuggling group, the Arellano Felix organization, based in the border city of Tijuana, south of San Diego, California. In February, police killed the gang's top enforcer, Ramon Arellano Felix, and on March ninth, federal agents nabbed his brother, Benjamin.

The new leader of the family-run organization is thought to be younger brother Francisco Javier and he is on the most-wanted list. There is a color photo of the 32-year-old fugitive who is wanted on murder charges as well as charges related to narcotics trafficking.

Included with each photo and description is a local telephone number in Mexico City as well as a toll-free number that can be dialed from anywhere in the country. Federal authorities say they hope the public will help locate these fugitives and provide the government with tips as to their whereabouts. The most-wanted list is modeled after a similar list maintained by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Since Vicente Fox assumed the office of the presidency here in Mexico in December of 2000, federal authorities say they have captured more than 10,000 criminals. President Fox has also made moves to streamline the federal investigative agencies and to provide better cooperation with local and state authorities.