Mexico Captures Alleged Leader Of La Familia Cartel

Originally published on June 21, 2011 6:50 pm

Mexico's secretary of the Council on National Security said authorities had captured one of the most wanted men in organized crime. The Mexican daily, El Universal reports that Alejandro Poiré said José de Jesús Méndez Vargas, or "The Monkey Méndez," the alleged leader of La Familia Michoacana cartel had been captured in Aguacalientes without any confrontation.

"With this arrest, we've destroyed what was left of the leadership of the organization," El Universal quotes Poiré as saying.

Mexico's president, Felipe Calderón called the capture a "great blow" and congratulated the federal police in a Twitter update.

The AP adds some background:

The government has offered a $2.5 million reward for his capture.

The cult-like La Familia, based in Calderon's home state of Michoacan, uses pseudo-Christian ideology while gruesomely decapitating foes and selling cocaine and methamphetamine by the ton.

The cartel's former top leader, Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, was killed in December during two days of shootouts between his gang and federal police.

After his death, the group split into warring factions, causing increased bloodshed in the state.

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