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Mexico navy: Zetas cartel leader apparently killed

By Mark Stevenson

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 9 2012 6:28 a.m. MDT

The report of Lazcano's death came just hours after the navy nabbed a suspected Zetas regional leader accused of involvement in some of the country's most notorious crimes in recent years.

Navy spokesman Jose Luis Vergara said Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo was arrested Saturday in Nuevo Laredo, across from Laredo, Texas. The official said Martinez is believed to have masterminded the massacre of 72 migrants in the northern state of Tamaulipas in 2010.

The man known as "Squirrel" also has been linked to the escape of 151 prisoners in 2010 from a jail in the city of Nuevo Laredo, the recent flight of 131 prisoners in the city of Piedras Negras and the killing of U.S. citizen David Hartley in 2010 on Falcon Lake, which straddles the U.S.-Mexico border.

The death of Hartley drew wide attention as it appeared Hartley and his wife, Tiffany, were on a personal trip when he was shot by Mexican criminals on Sept. 30, 2010. The Hartleys were using personal watercraft on Falcon Lake when David Hartley was shot in the head and fell into the water.

The navy is also blaming Martinez for the killing of the Tamaulipas state police commander and chief investigator on the case, an attack that hampered the investigation.

The navy said Martinez is also a suspect in dozens of killings of people who were buried in mass graves at the same site of the 2010 massacre of migrants. Nearly 200 bodies were discovered in April 2011 in the town of San Fernando, close to the U.S. border. Those two crimes have been the most fatalities since Mexico's federal government launched an armed offensive against drug traffickers in December 2006.

Associated Press writers Olga R. Rodriguez and E. Eduardo Castillo contributed to this report

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