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Mexico captures notorious drug lord

Police have captured a drug kingpin blamed for a vicious turf war that has included bodies hung from bridges and shoot-outs in central Mexico.

The arrest of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias "the Barbie", was the culmination of a year-long intelligence operation, Mexico's Public Safety Department said.

The department said Valdez was captured in the state of Mexico, which borders the capital of Mexico City, but did not offer any other details.

Texas-born Valdez - the third major drug lord brought down by Mexico's security forces in less than a year - was charged in May in US District Court in Atlanta, Georgia, with distributing thousands of pounds of cocaine from Mexico to the eastern US from 2004 to 2006.

US authorities had offered a reward of up to £1.3 million for information leading to his capture and the Mexican government offered a similar amount.

Mexican authorities have said Valdez was battling for control of the Beltran Leyva cartel since its leader, Arturo Beltran Leyva, was killed in a December shoot-out with marines in Cuernavaca, a city just south of the Mexican capital.

The fight against Hector Beltran Levya, brother of Arturo, had made a battleground of what was once a relatively peaceful pocket of Mexico and brought the drug war ever closer to Mexico City. Their fight has extended westward toward the resort city of Acapulco.

Valdez's capture was Mexican government's latest victory against the crumbling Beltran Leyva cartel.

Two other Beltran Leyva brothers have been arrested under the government of President Felipe Calderon, who had deployed thousands of police and soldiers to fight drug traffickers in their strongholds.

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