A suspected leader of the Los Caballeros Templarios drug cartel (Knights Templar) was arrested last week in western Mexico, a high-level federal security official said.
Gregorio Abeja Linares, who was the subject of a reward of $227,790, was detained last Tuesday, federal security spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said.
Abeja Linares, known as “El Guero,” was captured “without firing a shot” in a subdivision in Morelia, the capital of the western state of Michoacan, Sanchez said.
The Caballeros Templarios drug cartel operates in Michoacan and the Tierra Caliente region, which straddles Michoacan, Guerrero and Mexico states, the federal security official said.
Abeja Linares faces murder, kidnapping, drug and organized crime charges, among others, Sanchez said.
“He is linked to 14 prior investigations opened by the Attorney General of the Republic’s Office and with at least four criminal cases in Guerrero and Jalisco courts,” the federal security official said.
Abeja Linares has been considered since 2011 to be one of the individuals most responsible for the wave of violence in Michoacan, Sanchez said.
Michoacan is one of the states where the federal government is focusing its security strategy because of the strong presence of drug traffickers.
Cartels like Los Caballeros Templarios, which was founded in March 2011 by former members of La Familia Michoacana and deals in both synthetic drugs and natural drugs, operate in the state.
The gang commits murders, stages kidnappings and runs extortion rackets that target business owners and transport companies, affecting everyday life.
Michoacan’s forests and mountains are used by drug traffickers to grow marijuana and produce synthetic drugs.
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