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Last Updated: Friday, 18 August 2006, 21:29 GMT 22:29 UK
Mexican held over serial murders
Edgar Alvarez Cruz in Denver police photo
Mr Alvarez Cruz was held in Denver on immigration charges
A man suspected of involvement in a 13-year wave of rapes and killings in a Mexican town that left more than 300 women dead has been detained in the US.

Edgar Alvarez Cruz was arrested for alleged immigration violations in Colorado and faces extradition.

The US embassy said he may have been part of a gang involved in the case.

The women were abducted, often sexually assaulted or raped and then murdered in Ciudad Juarez on the Texan border. Many bodies were dumped in the desert.

Working mothers

The US Ambassador to Mexico, Tony Garza, said it was a major breakthrough in the case.

Map of Mexico

There have been several arrests over the years and the murders have been variously attributed to serial killers, drug cartels and domestic violence.

Several gangs have also been mentioned as the perpetrators.

But there was no major breakthrough and last year Amnesty International accused the federal government of not doing enough to stop the killings.

Many of the victims were poor women employed in factories in the industrial city.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy in Mexico City says Mr Alvarez Cruz had been under investigation but left Mexico before he could be captured.

Mr Garza said Mr Alvarez Cruz would be extradited to Mexico as soon as possible.

Mexican Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca said: "We don't exactly know how many homicides he may have been responsible for but there is solid evidence in several cases that we know of."

Families of the victims pay their respects

Mexico to tackle women's murders
26 May 05 |  Americas
Fund unveiled for Mexican murders
03 Mar 05 |  Americas
Mexico to aid bereaved in Juarez
21 Jul 04 |  Americas
Lawyer to probe Mexican murders
31 Jan 04 |  Americas
Mexico 'failure' over murders
12 Aug 03 |  Americas

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