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Mexico says it captures drug-lord's top lieutenant

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:34 PM EST, Mon December 26, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alleged drug kingpin's lieutenant handled his security in Durango, Defense Ministry says
  • The arrest will affect Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa cartel, official says
  • Guzman is a billionaire who is wanted in Mexico and the United States

(CNN) -- Mexican army special forces have arrested a top lieutenant for alleged drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

Troops arrested Felipe Cabrera Sarabia on Friday in "a surgical operation in Cuiliacan" in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, said Ricardo Trevilla Trejo, a Defense Ministry spokesman.

Cabrera, who was responsible for the activities of the Pacific Cartel in Durango and the southern part of the state of Chihuahua, was detained after fleeing from Durango, Trevilla told reporters.

"The analysis of his behavior permitted (us) to find the building where he was hiding" and Cabrera was taken into custody without violence, Trevilla said. Firearms, computer equipment and other documentation were seized, too, he said.

Cabrera, who appeared Monday in the office of a prosecutor who specializes in organized crime, was responsible for Guzman's security in Durango, the state-run Notimex news agency said.

He is charged with possessing firearms reserved for use by the army and falsification of a public document, a spokeswoman for the attorney general said.

Trevilla said Cabrera was involved in kidnappings, extortion and arson.

"The violence caused him to rise within the organization," said Trevilla, who predicted that the arrest will affect the cartel's leadership and abilities.

Guzman, who is under indictment by U.S. authorities in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, is described by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as one of "the most powerful drug traffickers in Mexico." In 2004, the U.S. government announced a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

He is accused of running a major network that distributes cocaine and heroin.

He is worth about $1 billion, according to Forbes Magazine, which began listing him on its billionaires list in 2009. The magazine lists him as No. 55 on its Most Powerful People list and as the only crime lord on its list of Mexico's billionaires.

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