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US: Mexican drug cartel leader arrested in Netherlands

January 4, 2014 1:54pm
LOS ANGELES — A Mexican man described as an alleged leader of the powerful Sinaloa drug syndicate has been detained in the Netherlands on a US arrest warrant, US authorities said Friday.

Jose Rodrigo Arechiga-Gamboa, also known as "Chino Antrax" and "Norberto Sicairos-Garcia," was arrested Monday at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the office of the US attorney for the southern district of California, based in San Diego, said in a statement.

A federal grand jury in San Diego returned a sealed indictment on December 20 charging Arechiga-Gamboa with conspiracy to import and distribute controlled substances. An arrest warrant was issued the same day.

Arechiga-Gamboa was arrested at the airport "under a fraudulent name as he deplaned from KLM Flight 686 from Mexico City, Mexico to Amsterdam," the statement read.

US officials are seeking his extradition to face charges in southern California.

The main leader of the Sinaloa cartel, based in the western Mexican state of the same name, is Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty)Guzman.

Guzman escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001 and is now the drug trafficker most wanted by US officials. He is also considered by Forbes as the most powerful criminal on the planet.

More than 77,000 people have been killed in Mexico in connection with organized crime since now former president Felipe Calderon launched a nationwide war against the drug cartels after taking office in 2006. —  Agence France-Presse
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