Reputed head of Mexican drug cartel caught

Authorities had tracked Teodoro Garcia Simental for six months. Authorities had tracked Teodoro Garcia Simental for six months.
Associated Press / January 13, 2010

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TIJUANA, Mexico - Mexico has captured a kingpin accused of terrorizing his way to the top of a gang fighting for control of key US drug routes, even ordering rivals dissolved in caustic soda. Yesterday’s arrest, announced by US and Mexican officials, capped a series of victories in Mexico’s US-backed war on narcotics.

Teodoro Garcia Simental, known as “El Teo,’’ was arrested before dawn at a home he owned in the city of La Paz on the Baja California peninsula, said Mexican federal police commissioner Ramon Eduardo Pequeno.

Mexican authorities had been tracking him for more than six months, with the help of US antidrug officials, Pequeno said.

Federal police marched Garcia in front of cameras at a news conference in Mexico City yesterday afternoon. Police displayed about a dozen seized handguns, along with several laptop computers and bundles of cash.

Simental, one of Mexico’s most wanted drug traffickers, is the second kingpin to be taken down in less than a month by President Felipe Calderon’s government.

Pequeno said Simental is responsible for the deaths of at least 300 people, including some whose beheaded bodies were dumped in Tijuana. He also ordered hundreds of bodies to be dissolved in caustic soda, officials said.