Mexican authorities have caught a major figure in a Colombian drug cartel responsible for nearly half of the cocaine smuggled into the United States, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico said Friday.
A U.S. official told CBS News that Maya Duran is currently in federal custody in New York.
The arrest of Jaime Maya Duran "shows the determination of U.S. and Mexican law enforcement authorities to pursue the most dangerous criminals, including those who thought they were untouchable," U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza said.
Maya Duran, a Colombian citizen, was arrested Wednesday by agents of Mexico's attorney general's office. It was not revealed where he was arrested, and Mexican officials could not be reached for immediate comment.
Maya Duran and three other key lieutenants allegedly took over the Norte Valle cartel, based in Cartago, Colombia, after the ring's suspected leader, Luis Hernando Gomez Bustamante, was jailed in Cuba for attempting to enter that country with a false passport two years ago.
The ring is believed to have smuggled more than 500 tons of cocaine through Mexico and into the United States since 1990, according to the U.S. State Department.
The State Department said Maya Duran arranged the logistics of multi-ton shipments of cocaine to the United States and Europe. He is under indictment in New York on narcotics trafficking and money laundering charges and is expected to be extradited, Garza said.
U.S. officials had posted a $5 million reward for his arrest.