Mexico Makes First Arrest of Major Drug Cartel Leader Under Felipe Calderon

Authorities on Wednesday announced the capture of a purported drug cartel leader, the first major drug arrest under the administration of President Felipe Calderon, who has pledged a nationwide war against the drug trade.

Pedro Diaz Parada was arrested in the country's southern state of Oaxaca on Tuesday and taken to Mexico City. He faces charges of organized crime and drug trafficking, the attorney general's office said in a news release.

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Prosecutors say Diaz Parada founded the cartel named after him in Mexico's southeastern region.

Federal police and soldiers stopped the sport utility vehicle in which Diaz Parada was riding, and found an assault rifle and 20 bags of marijuana inside, authorities said.

While little is known about Diaz Parada, photos of him supplied by the attorney general's office showed a graying, haggard-looking man dressed simply in jeans and a short-sleeve shirt.

Calderon took office on Dec. 1, and almost immediately ordered massive raids by federal police and soldiers in states where rival trafficking gangs have engaged in shootouts, executions and even beheadings in recent months.

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