Video: Juarez cartel's 'El Brad Pitt' arrested

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 6/16/2011 8:55:44 PM ET 2011-06-17T00:55:44

Federal authorities have detained an ex-police officer accused of leading the armed wing of the powerful Juarez drug cartel in northern Mexico.

Marco Antonio Guzman was captured Wednesday in the U.S. border state of Chihuahua along with two alleged accomplices. Guzman, 34, is known by several aliases, including "El Brad Pitt."

"It's a name given to the man by his associates. I guess they think he looks like him," a spokeswoman for federal police said, referring to the 47-year-old Hollywood star.

Guzman, 34, was brought to the Mexican capital Thursday and shown, handcuffed, to the news media.

Police said Guzman was involved in the June 15, 2010 car bomb explosion that killed a federal police officer and two civilians.

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They also accuse him of being involved in drug-trafficking operations across Chihuahua. The state is one of the worst-affected areas of the drug war. It is the state of deadly Ciudad Juarez, where an estimated 3,100 people were killed in 2010 alone.

Image: Marco Antonio Guzman, aka "El Brad Pitt"
Eduardo Verdugo  /  AP
Federal police officers escort suspects Jose Ordaz, left, Marco Antonio Guzman, center, aka "El Brad Pitt," and Octavio Ramirez, alleged members of the Mexican Juarez drug cartel, before the media in Mexico City on Thursday.

A federal official who was not authorized to speak on the record said Guzman's nickname "El Brad Pitt" comes from a disguise he wore when he served as a lookout for the Juarez cartel.

To go unnoticed, he tried to look like a tourist wearing his hair long, a baseball cap and a camera around his neck. According to the official, gang associates said Guzman looked like Pitt in a scene from the American film "Spy Game" about CIA agents, in which the actor wore a similar outfit.

The nickname apparently stuck.

Guzman had a $42,000 (500,000 pesos) reward for his capture, and may have been planning another such bombing; federal police said in a statement that he had been responsible for acquiring another load of explosives seized in Ciudad Juarez on April 25.

He also allegedly participated in a videotaped killing that was posted on a video-sharing site.

Story: 'CSI'-style TV soap scrubs image of  Mexican federal police

Elsewhere in Mexico, 33 people were killed within 24 hours in the industrial capital, Monterrey, authorities said.

Most of those killed had links to the country's drug cartels but two of the victims were bodyguards of the governor of the northern state of Nuevo Leon, where Monterrey is located, BBC News reported.

The state is the stronghold of the Zetas, one of Mexico's most feared drug cartels. They are battling with the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia gangs.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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