Mexico deports border gang leader after shooting
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico deported the alleged leader of a bloodthirsty gang of border hitmen Tuesday, one day after his arrest caused retaliatory shooting and burnings that closed U.S. border crossings and a U.S. consulate.
A Mexican official who was not authorized to be quoted by name said Juan Gerardo Treviño had been handed over to U.S. officials in a "controlled deportation." The term implies Treviño holds dual U.S. citizenship, which is not uncommon along the border.
If he had only Mexican citizenship, he would have been subject to a lengthy extradition process.
After his arrest Sunday, members of his gang shot up the border city of Nuevo Laredo, and even hit the U.S. consulate with gunfire. The consulate was closed until further notice and two U.S. border bridges leading to Laredo, Texas, were briefly closed because of the incident.
U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar said in a statement Monday that "I have raised our grave concerns about these incidents and the safety and security of our employees directly with the government of Mexico."
Treviño was handed over at a border bridge in Tijuana, far to the west of Nuevo Laredo, presumably to avoid attempts to free him.
The Mexican army said he was the leader of an extremely violent and heavily armed gang of cartel gunmen known as "The Troops of Hell."
Treviño, who reportedly had two illegal guns when he was detained, faces charges of extortion, homicide and terrorism in Mexico. He was wanted for extradition to the U.S. on charges of conspiracy to traffic drugs and launder money.
The gunfire in Nuevo Laredo erupted late Sunday after the arrest of Treviño, a leader of one faction of the Northeast Cartel, the successor group to the old Zetas Cartel, Mexico's most bloodthirsty gang. Suspected cartel members opened fire and hijacked and burned vehicles.
U.S Customs and Border Protection said that southbound traffic from Laredo into Nuevo Laredo at the Juarez-Lincoln and Gateway to the Americas bridges was suspended, but reopened early Monday.
The U.S. consulate in Nuevo Laredo was closed to the public and existing appointments were to be rescheduled.