Ken Ellingwood
LA Times
January 19, 2011

Reporting from Mexico City — Mexican authorities said Tuesday that they have arrested a founding member of the notorious Zetas gang who oversaw the smuggling of drugs and migrants in southern Mexico.

Flavio Mendez Santiago, 35, and a bodyguard were captured Monday in the southern state of Oaxaca, from which Mendez allegedly relayed drug shipments and moved migrants from Central and South America north to the U.S. border.

The former soldier allegedly joined the Zetas when the gang was formed in the 1990s by ex-members of elite military units. He was among Mexico’s 37 most wanted drug suspects, 20 of whom have been arrested or killed.

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