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Report: Leader of La Linea gang arrested in Mexico

By the CNN Wire Staff
Acosta's ring was implicated in the killings of U.S. Consulate employee Lesley Enriquez and her husband, Arthur Redelfs.
Acosta's ring was implicated in the killings of U.S. Consulate employee Lesley Enriquez and her husband, Arthur Redelfs.
  • NEW: A U.S. official lauds the arrest, saying Acosta was "on our radar for some time"
  • A military leader tells state-run media that the raid was well planned and coordinated
  • Acosta has been a reputed top leader in La Linea, the armed branch of the Juarez drug cartel
  • Authorities link him to killings at a house party and that of a U.S. consulate employee

(CNN) -- A purported leader of the infamous La Linea criminal organization has been arrested in Mexico, state-run media reported, citing a military leader.

Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, known as "El Diego," was taken into custody during an operation in Chihuahua, Emilio Zarate Landeros told Notimex on Saturday.

Zarate, who leads troops in Mexico's Quinta Zona Militar or Fifth Military Zone, said the raid had been carefully planned and coordinated. Video from CNN affiliate XHIJ shows several armed men going into a Chihuahua building to detain Acosta.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez applauded the arrest, saying Acosta "has been on our radar for some time."

"We are happy with the arrest and congratulate the Mexican authorities," said Olga Bashbush, the U.S. spokeswoman. "Anytime a top-level cartel member is arrested is a good thing for both the United States and Mexico."

La Linea is the armed branch of the Juarez drug cartel, Mexican federal police official Ramon Eduardo Pequeno Garcia has previously told CNN.

This group ordered the March 2010 killing of U.S. Consulate employee Lesley Enriquez, the same official added. She and her husband, Arthur Redelfs, were gunned down, as they left a birthday party in a white SUV. A third victim, found dead in the other vehicle, was identified as the husband of a Mexican employee of the consulate.

We are happy with the arrest and congratulate the Mexican authorities
--Olga Bashbush, U.S. spokeswoman
  • Illegal Drugs
  • Mexico

Authorities have said that Jesus Ernesto Chavez Castillo -- who was arrested last summer in connection with various deadly shootings in Juarez -- got his orders directly from Acosta.

Acosta, whose other alias is Blablazo, himself worked under La Linea leader Emilia Ramirez Castillo, or El Negro, according to the general prosecutor's office of Mexico. A 15 million-peso reward was being offered for information leading to his arrest.

That office, on its website, said that Acosta masterminded a house party massacre in the early morning hours of January 31, 2010, in Villa de Salvarcar in Ciudad Juarez.

Fifteen people -- most of them students, with no ties to organized crime -- were killed in an attack that officials have said was likely the result of bad intelligence on the part of cartels.

The northwestern Mexican state of Chihuahua, which contains the namesake capital city as well as Juarez, has been a hotbed for drug-related violence. The federal government has been targeting cartels' operations, and especially its leaders, in an ongoing battle.

Earlier this month, the U.S. consulate in Juarez issued a statement warning "American citizens to remain vigilant" based on information it had received that cartels may target the consulate or entry points on the U.S.-Mexico border.

CNN's Nick Valencia contributed to this report.