One of Mexico’s most-feared drug kings has been captured at a highway checkpoint, without bloodshed, in the usually gory fight against the cartels. National security spokesman Alejandro Poire called it a major victory.
“We’ve made the biggest hit against the drug cartel ‘La Familia’. With this capture, this criminal group is destroyed. The federal government has arrested its highest-ranking leader, Jesus Mendez Vargas, also know as ‘El Chango’ (The Monkey), during an operation in Aguascalientes.”
Army raids last December turned La Familia’s heartland state of Michoacan into a war zone. The top boss was killed, but the cartel split into factions, and bodies continue to stack up. Despite the government’s glee over El Chango, a new gang calling themselves The Knights Templar, is suspected of killing 23 people just last weekend.
Since Felipe Calderon became president in 2006, there have been some 40,000 deaths in the drug war across Mexico — many of them ordinary civilians unaffiliated with gangs.