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2009-03-26

Mexico offers US$2 million rewards for capture of drug lords

(FILE) This photograph taken on 10 July, 1993, shows Joaquin ‘Shorty’ Guzman in Almoloya prison, Mexico. Guzman is a new arrival on the Forbes rich list, with an estimated US$1 billion fortune from the proceeds of drug trafficking.

(FILE) This photograph taken on 10 July, 1993, shows Joaquin ‘Shorty’ Guzman in Almoloya prison, Mexico. Guzman is a new arrival on the Forbes rich list, with an estimated US$1 billion fortune from the proceeds of drug trafficking.

Antonio Porras

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – On 23 March the Mexican government announced hefty rewards for information leading to the arrest of people named on its list of 37 leaders of the country's six drug cartels.

La Jornada reported that the attorney general’s office (PGR) is offering rewards of up to 30 million pesos (US$2 million) for the capture of each of the top 24 drug lords and half that amount for the other 13. The offer became official once it was published in the state gazette.

According to AFP, the attorney general, Eduardo Medina Mora, made it clear that that the rewards will be paid only after an arrest has been made, adding that informants’ anonymity will be guaranteed.

Medina Mora told El Milenio that “the unwavering participation and collaboration of society is essential” to put an end to organised crime and its associated violence. He did not rule out accepting information from accomplices, relatives, or cartel members. In such cases, he said, the rewards would be paid but crimes committed by the informants would not be pardoned.

Manlio Fabio Beltrones, a party leader in the senate, expressed his support for the proposal, saying, according to El Universal, that he hoped that the decision would “help [the police] catch the really top drug lords instead of the small-time criminals”.

El Universal reported that the rewards will be financed from money and property seized from drug traffickers. The Mexican government said that the money to pay the rewards has already been earmarked and that even more might be made available,  although, citing security reasons, the attorney general’s office declined to give information on the total amount available.

Among those on the most-wanted list are leaders of the Sinaloa cartel headed by Joaquin ‘Shorty’ Guzman and of the Gulf cartel commanded by the Beltran Leyva brothers, as well as the capos of the enforcer gangs ‘La Familia’ (the Family) and the Zetas. Guzman was recently listed on the Forbes world's richest people list with an estimated US$1 billion fortune.

Siglo XXI noted that the most-wanted list also included Vicente Zambada and Sigifredo Najera, both of whom had been arrested the week before. A PGR spokesman explained that the list had been drawn up a few days before the arrests.

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