MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities said Friday that they had captured one of the leaders of the Gulf drug cartel, striking another blow against what was once one of Mexico's most powerful crime organizations.
Authorities arrested Hugo Baldomero Medina Garza on Wednesday, sources confirmed Friday. He was detained on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and illegal possession of arms.
Medina Garza inherited his position in the Gulf cartel from Juan Garcia Abrego, authorities said. Garcia Abrego led the cartel in its heyday before being arrested in January 1996. He was later deported to the United States and sentenced to 11 life terms.
Medina Garza was known as the "Lord of the Trailers" for his penchant for transporting Colombian cocaine through Mexico in trucks, according to media reports.
His arrest is another blow to the Gulf cartel, which has lost most of its clout to the more organized Juarez and Arellano Felix cartels since Garcia Abrego's imprisonment.
Sources in Mexico's anti-drug trafficking unit, known as the Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes Against Health, said Medina Garza was arrested in Tampico, a port city on the Gulf of Mexico.
The agency sources would not give further details of the arrest.
Mexican media said Friday that Medina Garza, 42, was arrested by police and army officers after he was involved in a traffic accident. He was transferred to Ciudad Victoria in the northern state of Tamaulipas before being sent to Mexico City for questioning.