Mexico extradited to the United States on Tuesday one of the founders of the brutal Zetas drug cartel who had been linked to the killing of a US customs agent last year.The Mexican Attorney General’s office said that former soldier Jesus Rejon, known as Z-7, was handed over to face trial at a federal court in Washington on drug-trafficking charges.
Rejon was captured in July 2011 after being sought in connection with the roadside shooting of two US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, one of whom died.
The Attorney General’s office did not mention the February 2011 killing in its statement on the extradition.
The shooting of the ICE agents sparked anger in the United States and prompted a round of finger-pointing between Mexican and US politicians over the failure to curb drug-related violence that has plagued Mexico in recent years.
The Zetas have been blamed for some of the worst atrocities to hit Mexico during this period. Turf wars between drug gangs and their clashes with security forces have claimed more than 55,000 lives over the past six years.
Rejon was a founding member of the Zetas, a gang made up originally of army deserters at the end of the 1990s and initially worked as enforcers for the Gulf Cartel, before splitting from their employers in 2010.
President Felipe Calderon’s government has tried to turn up the heat on the Zetas and recent in-fighting among gang members suggests it may be rupturing, threatening a new wave of bloodletting.
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