Fear of violence after killing of drug lord in Mexico

As Mexican and US officials have hailed the killing of top drug lord (Marcos) Arturo Beltrán Leyva, many are fearing further violence in the struggle to replace him.

Arturo Beltran Leyva, nicknamed the “boss of bosses,” was killed in a shoot-out with the navy south of Mexico City late on Wednesday, along with six cartel members.

The killing gave a boost to President Felipe Calderon‘s controversial three-year military clampdown on drug gangs, which has been accompanied by a spike in violence, leaving some 15,000 dead.

Calderon called the navy raid in which the drug lord was killed “an important achievement for the government and people of Mexico.”

However many have warned that the high-profile killing could provoke further turf wars.

“We can’t rule out the possibility of in-fighting, until a new line of command is defined,” Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez said on Thursday.

Beltran Leyva was one of five brothers who split from the country’s most powerful Sinaloa Cartel several years ago and aligned themselves with previous competitors from other gangs in a bid to counteract their influence.

Many say that the Sinaloa cartel, which has had a firm support base in western Mexico for decades and operates across the world, would gain the most from Beltran Leyva’s death.

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