Mexican police have arrested Jose de Jesus Mendez, a top leader of the notorious La Familia drug-trafficking gang, in an operation in the state of Aguascalientes.
Authorities claim that the arrest of Mendez, also known as El Chango, or The monkey, had destroyed the gang's leadership and dealt a big blow to a gang that was once one of the most violent and notorious in the country along with Los Zetas.
With this capture, what was left of the command structure of this criminal organization is destroyed, Alejandro Poire, the government's security affairs spokesman, told reporters adding that no shots had been fired in the raid.
Meanwhile, Mexican President Felipe Calderon congratulated officials on the capture of Mendez and posted the following message on his official Twitter account:
A large blow by federal police to organized crime. One of the most wanted criminals was captured. Congratulations.
Mexican government had offered a $2.5 million reward for information leading to the capture of Mendez, who took control of the cartel after its former leader, Nazario Moreno, was killed in a shootout with Mexican Federal Police on December 9, 2010.
However, Mendez' authority has been disputed by the cartel co-founders Enrique Plancarte Solís (La Chiva) and Servando Gómez Martínez (La Tuta), who formed an offshoot of La Familia calling itself Caballeros Templarios.
Analysts believe the Mendez's arrest is a significant blow to La Familia as he was said to be the brains behind much of the drug group's vast trafficking operation for many years.
With La Familia's top leader killed in a shootout in December, Poire said Mendez was the last remaining head of a criminal group responsible for homicides, kidnappings, extortion, corruption and even cowardly attacks on the authorities and the civilian population.
Originated in the 1980s, La Familia Michoacana is an extremely violent drug trafficking organization operating primarily in the State of Michoacán, Mexico. The organization was initially led by Carlos Rosales-Mendoza, who was arrested in 2004 and paved the way for new leaders such as Mendez.
La Familia Michoacana is a compartmentalized organization heavily involved in narcotics trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, and other criminal activities.
Since 2006, La Familia Michoacana has severed ties with its ally Los Zetas in an effort to take control of Michoacán from any external influences, according to Drug Enforcement Administration. The organization announced its arrival by tossing five decapitated heads onto the dance floor of the Sol y Sombra night club in Uruapan.
Intelligence indicates that La Familia is heavily involved in the production of methamphetamine, based in Michoacán, which is manufactured strictly for export to the United States, apart from distribution of cocaine, and marijuana.