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Mexico Arrests Alleged Hitmen in Acapulco Slayings

A municipal police officer runs during a confrontation with members of a gang in the beach resort of Acapulco, Mexico, 8 Jan 2011.

Mexican officials say they have arrested seven suspected drug gang members, including a man they say is the top hitman in the murder of 22 people earlier this month in the resort town of Acapulco.

Authorities believe Jose Lozano is the mastermind behind the January killings, in which 15 of the 22 killed were decapitated. The Associated Press reports Lozano is 21 years old.

Lozano's gang is also suspected of the September murders of 20 Mexican mechanics who disappeared while vacationing in Acapulco.

Mexican police say Lozano was arrested along with the six other gang members Thursday. The police did not explain why the arrests were not announced until Sunday.

An estimated 30,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon began a crackdown on drug cartels after taking office in late 2006.