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MEXICO CITY — Notorious Mexican drug lord Hector Beltran Leyva was captured on Wednesday by soldiers at a seafood restaurant in a picturesque town popular with American retirees. The government's announcement it had snared the boss of the Beltran Leyva cartel is a serious blow to a gang named after a group of brothers who became infamous for the bloody turf war they waged with their former ally, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.
Beltran Leyva, 49, had bounties on his head of $5 million in the United States and 30 million pesos ($2.2 million) in Mexico. He was caught in San Miguel de Allende, a three-hour drive northwest of Mexico City. According to the government, he had been living in the nearby city of Queretaro posing as a businessman dealing in art and real estate. Tomas Zeron, director of criminal investigations at the Attorney General's office, said Beltran Leyva had adopted a "low-key lifestyle, avoiding attracting the attention of neighbors or friends or the authorities." Beltran Leyva now faces charges of trafficking cocaine from Mexico and South America to the United States and Europe and a host of other crimes. In November, the U.S. Treasury Department said the Beltran Leyva gang was responsible for "countless murders" of Mexican anti-drugs and military personnel.