MEXICO CITY - One of the top leaders of Mexico's brutal Gulf cartel was found dead, gunned down on a highway near the US border, local media reported on Friday.
Samuel Flores Borrego, also known as "Metro 3," was found shot to death, along with the body of a local police official, in a pickup truck on the highway between the border city of Reynosa and the industrial hub Monterrey, newspaper Milenio reported on its website.
The US State Department has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture and said on its website that Flores was in charge of the Gulf cartel's operations in Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas.
The Gulf cartel has been engaged in a vicious battle in the region with its former paramilitary wing, the Zetas, over drug trafficking routes to the United States.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Friday mounted a forceful defense of his crackdown on drug cartels. Calderon is under growing pressure to end the violence that has killed more than 42,000 people in less than five years.