Conflict & Justice

Top drug lord arrested in Mexico, Calderon tweets


Agents of the General Attorney's office set up a billboard with portraits of the members La Familia drug cartel along the Lazaro Cardenas-Uruapan road, Michoacan state, Mexico, on December 11, 2010.


Alfredo Estrella

Mexican police have caught one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords, with President Felipe Calderon posting on Twitter that it was "a big blow" to the drug cartels.

Jose de Jesus Mendez, the alleged leader of the La Familia cartel, was captured in a raid near the central town of Aguascalientes without any shots being fired, the newspapers Milenio, Reforma and Excelsior reported.

(From GlobalPost in Mexico: Mexico: New cartel on the block)

Mendez is known by the nickname "El Chango," or "The Monkey," the AP writes. The government had offered a $2.5 million reward for his capture.

The cartel's top leader, Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, was killed in December during two days of shootouts between his gang and federal police in the western state of Michoacan.

Classed among Mexico's seven major drug cartels, La Familia is considered the country's top producer of synthetic drugs, writes Agence France-Presse, adding that:

It announced its arrival on the scene in October 2006 when its men walked into a bar and rolled five severed heads onto a dance floor.

The former boss of La Familia, Nazario Moreno, was killed in December in a shootout with police.

Calderon, on his Twitter account, wrote: "A great blow by federal police against organized crime. One of the most wanted criminals captured. Congratulations."