Mexico nabs gang chief allegedly behind US NATGEO journalist attack

 Authorities in northern Mexico said Friday they arrested a gang leader allegedly involved in as many as 50 killings and an attack on a U.S. journalist.

Prosecutors in Chihuahua state identified the suspect only by his given names, Omar Alfredo, alias “El Fredy,” in keeping with privacy laws.

The office alleged the suspect ordered a gun attack on bodyguards protecting the state governor in February and the shooting of a National Geographic journalist in the border city of Ciudad Juarez in October.

Prosecutors said the journalist went to a pre-arranged meeting to interview a rival of “El Fredy,” but the suspect was tipped off about it and staged the attack to sow fear. The journalist was shot in the leg and survived. A purported drug dealer died at the attack site, while another died in a hospital.

Ciudad Juarez is just across the border from El Paso, Texas.

The suspect has been jailed pending trial on homicide charges.

The office described “El Fredy” as a leader of hitmen for the La Empresa gang, which sprang up as the old alliances of the Juarez drug cartel broke down. The Juarez Cartel used to have gangs like Los Aztecas, La Linea and La Empresa as subsidiaries or allies, but they are now independent.

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