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LT-Mexico’sMostWante 5thLd-Writethru 03-23 Web

Bounty put on drug lords

Mexico’s government on Monday offered up to $2 million each for information leading to the arrest of 24 top drug lords in a public challenge to the cartels’ violent grip on the country.

The list indicated that drug gangs have splintered into six main cartels under pressure from the U.S. and Mexican governments. The two most powerful gangs — the Pacific and Gulf cartels — each suffered fractures that have given rise to new cartels, according to the list published by the Attorney General’s Office.

The list offers rewards of up to 30 million pesos ($2 million) for 24 top members of the cartels and 15 million pesos ($1 million) for 13 of their lieutenants.

Mexico’s drug violence has killed more than 9,000 people since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 as gangs battle each other for territory and fight off a government crackdown. Some of that violence is spilling over into the United States, where kidnappings and killings are on the rise.

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