World & Nation

Chief of Juarez drug cartel captured, Mexican officials say

Vicente Carrillo Fuentes
Vicente Carrillo Fuentes is shown in a sketch released by the Mexican attorney general’s office in 2005. Authorities said the Juarez drug cartel leader was seized in Torreon.
(AFP/Getty Images)

The last brother running the once-notorious Juarez drug cartel, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, was captured Thursday in central Mexico, authorities said.

Carrillo Fuentes was hunted down in the city of Torreon and taken into custody without a shot being fired, the government said. He was transported to Mexico City in a helicopter and paraded briefly before reporters.

The head of the National Security Commission, Monte Alejandro Rubido, said Carrillo Fuentes was carrying a fake driver’s license when he was taken into custody.

“This is a capture … of great importance,” said Atty. Gen. Jesus Murillo Karam.


Carrillo Fuentes was the younger brother of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, known as the “Lord of the Skies” because of the way he used private planes to traffic drugs and who died during plastic surgery in 1997.

The younger Carrillo Fuentes, known as “The Viceroy,” was the surviving leader of the Juarez cartel. Though the organization had lost power in its namesake city, which once topped the list of deadly places in Mexico, security experts said he continued to control massive transport of marijuana and heroin to the United States.

This was the second major takedown of a drug lord in as many weeks. On Oct. 1, authorities seized Hector Beltran Leyva in a seafood restaurant in the tourist city of San Miguel de Allende; he was the last surviving brother running his family’s cartel, authorities say.

The announcement of Carrillo Fuentes’ capture comes as the government is dealing with bad publicity after two incidents involving security forces in which civilians were killed or disappeared.


Three soldiers were charged with homicide early this month after troops were accused of killing 22 purported gang members who reportedly had already surrendered, and 43 college students are missing after clashing with police in the state of Guerrero.

The United States had offered $5 million for the capture of Carrillo Fuentes.

Follow @TracyKWilkinson on Twitter for news out of Mexico