Photo: Mexican Government
A top leader of the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel was apprehended Monday amid a federal anti-crime offensive in the western state of Michoacan, Mexico’s No. 2 official said.
Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong announced the arrest at a meeting with officeholders of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
Though Osorio Chong did not provide a name, Radio Formula identified the man in custody as Dionicio Loya Plancarte.
In 2009, the Mexican government offered a reward of 30 million pesos ($2.3 million) for information leading to the apprehension of Loya Plancarte, then a member of the Familia Michoacana gang whose subsequent breakup led to the creation of the Templarios.
Osorio Chong informed PRI legislators that the detainee was one of the government’s five “most important” targets in the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar).
Soldiers deployed in Morelia, Michoacan’s capital, intercepted several armed men traveling in an SUV at 3:20 a.m. Monday, security sources told Efe.
That operation, which culminated at a residence in Morelia’s Felicitas del Rio development, may have been linked to the arrest announced by Osorio Chong.
More than 100 suspects have been apprehended by the army troops and Federal Police deployed in Michoacan to rein in the Caballeros Templarios, according to official statements.
The Templarios’ main business is thought to be supplying crystal meth and other synthetic drugs to the U.S. market, but the group also has sidelines in extortion and kidnapping for ransom.