News Release
December 17, 2009
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
(202) 307-7977

Statement from DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart on the Death of Mexican Drug Cartel Leader Arturo Beltran-Leyva

“President Calderon of Mexico scored a major victory against the Arturo Beltran-Leyva drug cartel. Last August when DEA, along with our U.S. law enforcement partners, announced the indictment of Mexican drug kingpin Arturo Beltran-Leyva, we were confident that our Mexican counterparts would work with us to pursue him and hold him accountable for his horrific crimes. And last night they did.”

“His death has dealt a crippling blow to one of the most violent cartels in the world, and it comes as a result of significant cooperation and information sharing between law enforcement in the United States and our courageous partners in Mexico.”

“DEA has consistently shared information with our Mexican counterparts to target the Mexican cartels, which threaten both countries. This pattern of cooperation was the basis for the arrest operation. Last night, when the Mexican Navy closed in on Beltran-Leyva’s apartment complex, a sustained firefight ensued and Arturo Beltran-Leyva was killed, along with several of his bodyguards.”

“Arturo Beltran-Leyva and members of his organization have smuggled ton-quantities of lethal and highly addictive drugs into the United States every year for more than a decade . As he first created and then defended his empire built on cocaine, meth, and heroin, he orchestrated the murder of countless law enforcement officers, innocent civilians, and rival traffickers. And along the way, he took every opportunity to terrorize the innocent, and to corrupt government officials.”

“The reign of Arturo Beltran-Leyva is over. His cartel has been directly responsible for much of the violence plaguing Mexico today, and this operation is a model of our commitment to continue working in close cooperation with our Mexican partners to disrupt and dismantle all of the Mexican cartels.”