Mexican officials have captured one of the country’s most wanted drug lords, officials say.
The government had a 30m-peso ($2.2 million) bounty on his head for drug and money-laundering crimes.
The attorney general’s office said on Monday that security forces arrested Dionisio Loya Plancarte, known as “El Tio” (‘The Uncle’), the most senior member of the Knights Templar. He was caught while hiding in a closet in Morelia, the capital of Michoacán.
Vigilante groups in the western state of Michoacán have taken matters into their own hands, while accusing the government of not doing enough to protect locals from extortion and violence.
Subsequently, troops were sent to Michoacán earlier this month after the vigilantes’ private war with the Knights began to get violent.
The troops, armed with high-powered weapons, have pushed out the Knights Templar from areas they occupied in the Tierra Caliente region.
The army was sent in to restore order and disarm the self-defense forces that were taking on the criminals. The vigilantes would not give up their weapons until some of the leaders were captured.
In the past two weeks, authorities announced the capture of more than 100 suspects.
Obviously their efforts were rewarded, the troops were sent in to “break up the fight” and the main cartel was captured.
Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong applauded the arrest of Mr. Loya Plancarte.
“He was detained thanks to the work of our intelligence team, the work of our federal agencies which have shown that you can achieve results when you work this way.”
Referring to the vigilante groups, he said: “It is not through violence that you can stop [gang members] and detain them, but through the institutional work of the Mexican government, to restore peace to the Mexican people.”
The cartel is a Mexican criminal organization composed of relatives of the obsolete La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, which was based in the Mexican state of Michoacán.
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