The Mexican government has extradited to the United States 15 criminals, including drug cartel leaders, according to Mexico's Attorney General's Office.
The 15 criminals, who had been held in Mexican prisons, were flown to face trials in the United States after their appeals against extradition were dismissed, the office said in a statement late on Friday.
In addition to Gulf cartel leader Osiel Cardenas, Mexico also extradited Hector Palma Salazar, former boss of the Sinaloa cartel, and brothers Ismael and Gilberto Higuera Guerrero, former chiefs in the Arellano-Felix family drug cartel in the border city of Tijuana.
The extradition, the largest of its kind in the country's history, would mean a significant setback for the drug traffickers.
Soon after taking office on Dec. 1, President Felipe Calderon sent 17,000 soldiers and federal police to states where rival drug gangs have engaged in shootouts, executions and even beheadings in recent months.
The extradition "is one more sign of the government's firm decision to confront the wave of violence and impunity linked with organized crime," the statement added.