World and Nation

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Mexico announces capture of Gulf cartel leader

MEXICO CITY — In a major strike against one of the largest drug-trafficking organizations, the Mexican navy said Thursday that it had detained one of the most sought-after drug kingpins in Mexico and the United States, the top leader of the Gulf Cartel.

In an early morning news conference in Mexico City, the man, Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, who faces an array of charges in both countries, was marched before reporters by masked marine guards. A stocky man handcuffed in front and dressed in a checkered shirt and jeans and wearing a bulletproof vest, he looked sternly at the gathering, standing before a table covered with rifle parts, fancy jewelry, a couple of gold-plated handguns and other goods seized during his arrest Wednesday evening.

Jose Luis Vergara, a marine spokesman reading a statement, said Costilla, 41, known as El Coss, was detained without any resistance by about 30 marines around 6 p.m. in Tampico in northeastern Tamaulipas State. Several other people detained with him were also shown to reporters, some of them with facial cuts and bruises.

The arrest gives Mexican forces a notable victory in their battle against drug-trafficking leaders, days ahead of Mexican Independence Day celebrations, and presents another blow to the Gulf Cartel, one of the three principal groups feeding rampant violence in the country. Costilla has been wanted by the United States since 2002 on charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and threatening to assault and murder federal law enforcement agents, and his arrest sets up the possibility of an extradition.

—Randal C. Archibold, The New York Times

Chinese ships enter waters controlled by Japan

TOKYO — Six Chinese maritime patrol vessels entered waters claimed by Japan around a group of disputed islands on Friday, the first Chinese government ships to enter the area since the Japanese government announced that it had bought the islands this week.

Japan’s coast guard said one of its patrol ships tried to warn off the Chinese vessels. The Japanese Foreign Ministry summoned the Chinese ambassador in Tokyo to protest.

The coast guard identified two of the Chinese vessels as the Haijian 51 and Haijian 66, unarmed ships used for law enforcement in Chinese waters. The Chinese government had announced that it was sending the vessels to protest Japan’s purchase on Tuesday of three islands in the uninhabited chain, which is called the Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China.

The islands, in the East China Sea between Okinawa and China, are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.

The coast guard said the two ships entered Japanese-controlled waters near one of the islands early Friday morning, and left two hours later. The other four ships are still in the area, it said.

—Martin Fackler, The New York Times