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Major Mexican drug lord captured

By Rafael Romo, Senior Latin American Affairs Editor
updated 5:07 PM EDT, Mon September 19, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jose Carlos Moreno Flores works for a large drug cartel, Mexican officials say
  • He is linked to Mexico's most wanted man, they say
  • He shipped cocaine to the U.S., mostly by land, the officials say

(CNN) -- His nickname is "The Fever." Mexican officials say Jose Carlos Moreno Flores was a major drug lord in charge of trafficking and operations for a large Mexican cartel in the coastal state of Guerrero, where the beach resort of Acapulco is located.

According to Mexico's Ministry of Defense, Moreno Flores was caught Sunday in Mexico City's Tlalpan District. His capture is particularly important because Moreno is allegedly tied to the Sinaloa Cartel led by Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman, Mexico's most wanted man.

Guzman, who remains a fugitive, commands such a vast international drug trafficking network and his profits from the illicit trade are so big that he made Forbes Magazine's list of the world's most powerful. He appeared at number 60 on last year's list with an estimated fortune of $1 billion. The magazine calls him "the biggest drug lord ever."

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of Guzman.

Mexico's top drug kingpin lord, who's reportedly 54, was captured in Guatemala in 1993, but escaped eight years later.

Officials say Moreno Flores, who was considered one of Guzman's lieutenants, did business with drug traffickers from Costa Rica and Guatemala from his base of operations in Chilpancingo, capital of the state of Guerrero.

From Chilpancingo, Moreno Flores shipped the drugs (mainly cocaine) to the United States by land. "The Fever" was also allegedly in charge of the cultivation, harvesting and distribution of marijuana in the fertile mountain region of Guerrero state.

Violence in Chilpancingo had recently increased because a group of Sinaloa Cartel operatives led by Moreno Flores have been fighting a turf war with a rival group known as "Los Rojos" (The Red Ones). When he was caught, Moreno Flores was in possession of three high-caliber weapons, communication equipment and one unspecified vehicle.

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