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Mexican Drug Boss Arrested at Birthday Party


Gilberto Barragan Balderas, right, is escorted by police officers as he is presented to the media in Mexico City, Friday, May 20, 2011

Gilberto Barragan Balderas, right, is escorted by police officers as he is presented to the media in Mexico City, Friday, May 20, 2011

Mexican police say they have captured a suspected drug kingpin.

Authorities say Gilberto Barragan Balderas was arrested Friday in the border town of Reynosa, across from McAllen, in the U.S. state of Texas, at what appears to have been his birthday party.

Police say Barragan was a leading member of the Gulf drug cartel who was in charge of defending some of the gang's main smuggling routes into the United States from the rival Zeta cartel.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Barragan's capture.

Mexican officials say two of Barragan's alleged associates were also arrested Friday.

The Zetas split from the Gulf cartel last year. The two groups are now fierce rivals.

More than 37,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006 and began cracking down on the nation's cartels.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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