Mexican federal police say they have captured a regional leader of the Zetas drug gang, who allegedly trafficked drugs from the Dominican Republic and Panama to the United States.
Security official Luis Cardenas said Thursday that Eduardo Ramirez Valencia was detained Wednesday along with an accomplice in Hidalgo state. Cardenas also said Ramirez was thought to have collaborated closely with Heriberto Lazcano, an alleged Zeta leader.
Authorities have blamed the Zetas, in part, for an escalation in violence in northeastern Mexico this year.
Mexico's northern border is being rocked by violent crime and clashes involving groups battling for control of drug-trafficking routes into the United States. About 30,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug war since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006 and began cracking down on the cartels.