el diego
Federal police escort drug suspect Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, "El Diego", as he is presented to the media during a news conference at the federal police headquarters in Mexico City July 31, 2011. Reuters

One of Mexico's most dangerous drug lords was arrested in Juarez on Friday.

Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, known as "El Diego," is thought to be the leader of the La Linea gang, the enforcement arm of the Juarez cartel in the northern state of Chihuahua.

Acosta, who is a former policeman, has admitted to ordering the murders of 1,500 people, according to authorities. He is also thought to be involved with the death of three people with ties to the U.S. Consulate, including a consulate employee and her husband, in 2010.

The government had set a 15-million peso ($1.3 million) reward for his capture.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon said via Twitter that the arrest was the biggest victory in the war on drugs to date. In June, police captured Acosta's second-in-command. Marco Antonio Guzman Zuniga, who is nicknamed "El Brad Pitt," was arrested on charges relating to a car bomb detonated outside a police station last year.

On Friday, Acosta and his bodyguard were apprehended by police after a gun battle at Acosta's Juarez home. One officer was shot in the leg during the standoff. Acosta was detained in part for his connection to a number of grisly murders, including the killing of a state prosecutor and a shoot-out at a house party where 15 people were killed.

As per usual in Mexico, Acosta was displayed in front of the media at a press conference after his capture.

Juarez is said to be Mexico's most violent city. It sits on the United States border, next to El Paso, Texas. The Juarez cartel -- along with La Linea -- has been fighting an ongoing turf war with The Pacific Cartel for control of the area. La Linea was founded by a number of former and corrupt police officers.

Drug-related violence in Mexico exploded in 2006 when the government launched an offensive against organized crime. Since then, nearly 40,000 people have been killed, including civilians, government officials and soldiers.

Related: Mexico's escalating drug war, in pictures [Slideshow]