MEXICO CITY — Mexican security forces have captured a regional leader of the Zetas drug gang who was on a list of the country’s 37 most dangerous criminals, a statement said Monday.
Raul Lucio Hernandez Lechuga, alias “El Lucky,” was detained in the city of Cordoba in eastern Veracruz state, said a statement from the navy.
The operation was ongoing and included the capture of an unspecified number of people, it said.
Hernandez Lechuga was the 22nd to be captured on the list of 37 most dangerous criminals sought since 2009, it added.
President Felipe Calderon lauded the capture on his Twitter account, calling “El Lucky” a founder of the Zetas and gang leader in Veracruz as well as the southern states of Oaxaca and Puebla.
The Zetas — set up by ex-elite soldiers turned hit men in the 1990s — have spread fear with kidnappings and killings across Mexico and also in Guatemala in recent years.
More than 45,000 people have been killed in growing drug-related violence in Mexico since December 2006, when the government sent tens of thousands of soldiers on the streets to take on organized crime.