Mexican police have captured the head of the infamous La Familia drug cartel during a raid. Government officials are hopeful this will put a stop to the violent gang’s criminal activities yet many wonder if the next in the chain of command will simply step up. The former head of La Familia, Narario Moreno was killed this past December.
According to the Telegraph, Jose de Jesus Mendez, nicknamed “The Monkey,” was captured in a raid conducted in the town of Aguascalientes. There were no shots fired during the raid. Mendez was originally from Tepalcatepec in Michoacán state.
According to a report by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, by the late 1990s Mendez had already began working for organized drugs rings shipping both cocaine and marijuana to the United States. Mendez has been in a major conflict as of late with a group that split from La Familia – known as the Knights Templar.
Both La Familia and The Knights Templar are the most violent drug cartels in Mexico. La Familia is considered the country’s top producer of synthetic drugs.
La Familia gained attention from the media in October 2006 when its men walked into a bar and rolled five human heads onto the dance floor. Following the incident on September 15, 2008 the gang posed a direct threat to the government killing eight people in a grenade attack during a parade celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day. Then in July 2009, 16 police officers were murdered.
Mexican government launched a military crackdown against the drug cartel back in 2006. Since then, the toll in suspected drug-related violence has surpassed 37,000. However, since the crackdown the authorities have either killed or arrested several top cartel leaders including Arturo Beltran Leyva and cartel chief Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, also known as “Tony Tormenta.”