December 11, 2010

Mexican Police Kill 'La Familia' Drug Cartel Boss.

The Telegraph UK
written by Staff
Saturday December 11, 2010

Mexican authorities claim to have killed the boss of the 'La Familia' drug cartel in a shoot-out in the western state of Michoacán.

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, one of two chiefs of the powerful drug trafficking cartel, was gunned down on Thursday by police in the town of Apatzingan, government spokesman Alejandro Poire said.

At least three alleged La Familia gunmen, five officers and three civilians were killed in the shoot-out, Mr Poire said, adding that the toll could be higher because many cartel members fled with their wounded and possibly some dead.

"Various sources and information obtained from the operation agree that Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, also known as 'El Chayo' or 'The Doctor,' the main leader and one of the founders of La Familia, was shot dead yesterday," said Mr Poire, the spokesman on security issues.

Moreno, believed to be about 40 years old, is among the country's 24 most-wanted drug cartel leaders, and has a $2.4 million bounty on his head.

Mexican authorities on Tuesday captured La Familia's co-boss Jose Antonio Arcos, one of Mexico's most wanted drug lords. Arcos is also sought in the United States.

Police and navy marines on Friday rushed to Apatzingan, a town of some 100,000 near the Michoacán state capital Morelia, as military helicopters flew over the area searching for cartel members.

Clashes between police and La Familia gunmen broke out late on Wednesday in Apatzingan, Moreno's home town. Police believe the group's main headquarters were located nearby.

Alleged La Familia supporters, many carrying weapons, set vehicles ablaze at the main points of access to the town.

La Familia, one of the seven main Mexican drug cartels, blends family values and quasi-religious zealotry with brutal enforcement methods. Police say it specialises in the production of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine.

Moreno also is believed to be the man behind the group's philosophy, which bans drug use but approves of drug trafficking, and justifies crimes of retribution as "divine justice."

La Familia made headlines in October 2005 when members entered a nightclub and rolled five human heads onto the dance floor.

The group also openly challenged the federal government by hurling grenades at a holiday crowd in Morelia in September 2008, killing eight people.

In late 2009 it claimed the killings of 16 federal police officers. Twelve of their bodies were found heaped next to an area highway.

Michoacán is the home state of President Felipe Calderón, who launched a nationwide crackdown on the drug cartels after taking office in late 2006.

Mexican authorities have been battling a spiralling wave of drug-related crime and murder that has killed more than 28,000 people since 2006, despite the deployment of some 50,000 troops across the country.

The FBI arrested more than 300 La Familia members a year ago in the United States.

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