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Mexican Government Says Top Drug Cartel Leader Killed


The Mexican government says a top member of the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel has been killed.

Late Thursday, authorities confirmed reports in the Mexican media that Inacio "Nacho" Coronel, a senior member of the cartel, was killed in a military raid near the western city of Guadalajara.

The U.S. State Department previously described Coronel as responsible for moving multi-ton quantities of cocaine via fishing vessels from Colombia to Mexico and to the southwestern U.S. states of Arizona and Texas.

In late 2003, a federal grand jury in Texas indicted Coronel, charging him with conspiracy to import a controlled substance and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The State Department had offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction.

Authorities say Coronel had close ties to the reputed head of the Sinaloa cartel, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, who has been on the run since escaping from a Mexican prison in 2001.

Separately, Mexican news media report four journalists were abducted earlier this week by gunmen after covering a prison scandal in the northern state of Durango. The journalists included two photographers and two reporters.

Authorities say the kidnappers were demanding that the journalists' news organizations air videos in which informants alleged ties between the Zetas drug gang and corrupt officials.

President Calderon has deployed thousands of soldiers nationwide to fight drug cartels since taking office in 2006. Almost 25,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since he began cracking down on the cartels.

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

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