MEXICAN OFFICIALS SAY DRUG CARTELS TRYING TO REACH NONAGGRESSION PACT
MEXICO CITY: Mexico's two main drug cartels are reaching out to each other in an attempt to end a recent round of bloody turf battles, Mexican and U.S. officials confirmed Monday.
The officials told The Associated Press the talks are aimed at stopping battles to control lucrative trafficking routes to the U.S. market.
The circumstances of the negotiations between the Sinaloa and the Gulf cartels -- first reported in The Dallas Morning News' Monday -- were not clear.
The gangs decided that the turf battles were costing them too much money, too much weaponry and too many deaths in their own ranks, leading them to seek a sort of nonaggression pact, according to a top official in the administration of President Felipe Calderon.
"They realized they couldn't fight the government and each other at the same time," said the official, who was not authorized to be quoted by name. Since taking office in December, Calderon has sent more than 24,000 troops to areas plagued by drug violence.
A U.S. official in Washington, also speaking on condition he not be quoted by name, confirmed reports that the cartels may be reaching out to each other.
"We've had rumblings, intelligence information that the two cartels . are trying to come to an agreement to stop causing each other trouble," the U.S. official said.
No one at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was available to comment Monday.
Both officials denied reports -- among those, a column in the Mexican newspaper Reforma -- suggesting that the government may have been a party to the talks, which came as drug-related executions appear to have dipped slightly from their peak of several dozen per week earlier this year.
In past administrations, Mexican officials have agreed to leave one cartel untouched in return for secret payments.
The clearest case was that of Mexico's former drug czar, Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, who was arrested in 1997 after investigations found that former cocaine kingpin Amado Carrillo Fuentes was paying Gutierrez Rebollo for protection.
Gutierrez Rebollo is serving a 71-year sentence for drug trafficking and racketeering.
Also Monday, authorities announced the arrest of a former Mexican army soldier and key member of the Gulf cartel.
Luis Reyes Enriquez, an alleged member of the Zetas, a group of Gulf cartel enforcers that includes former soldiers, was arrested in central Hidalgo state, said deputy attorney general Noe Ramirez.
Reyes Enriquez deserted the army in 1999 while he was based in Tamaulipas state, a state on the border with Texas, and joined the Gulf cartel where his job was to safeguard transportation of Colombian cocaine bound for the U.S., Ramirez said. [/FONT]